This is my third in series of “reporting”  from Qcon. My earlier posts are here and here.
In this post, I will briefly talk about few Design and Architectural strategies that I came across at Qcon. Some of these were new to me and others I have used\known in some form or other for sometime, but it was good to hear about them as established patterns.
Here goes…

Feature toggle
This is a common problem in Scrum, but I am sure other methodologies can find a spot for this as well. You have two or more features under development – with all code being checked into Trunk (Branches are evil- remember ?) One of the feature reaches the finish line first and is now ready for prime time. The other one is still in progress. How do you now release one feature alone from a trunk which has both features ? One (non-)solution would be to work on feature branches or roll back changes for one feature later on. One of this is ugly and the other is insane.
Consider Feature Toggle.
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Day before – I attended OTN Architect Day – hosted by Oracle at Cafe Escadrille, Burlington, MA

In a summary – it was SOA on steroids

That Oracle wants to sell the idea of SOA- was so out rightly written on the wall- it was beginning to get amusing- Not that i have anything against SOA- but just something i was compelled to observe

Oracle Coherence

I got to hear Cameron Prudy . For those who don’t know- he and his team pioneered In-memory Data Grid Technology. He led a a very effective break-out session on how the key to scalability is by making CPU and memory as the bottleneck and not the Database. This is a variant which is easy to add on and getting cheaper day by day

Branded as Oracle Coherence – it is basically a huge map based Cache implementation. The idea is simple- avoid the trips to the database.  Implementing the cache in grid- gives fault-tolerance and High Availability.

New nodes can be added to the grid on the fly and when taken offline- the load is evenly distributed to the other nodes.

It also has features like- write behind which synchronizes the data with the Database behind the scenes and it also easily plugs into the Hibernate transparently as second level cache.

Oracle Event driven Architecture

Another session that I enjoyed very much was on Oracle Event driven Architecture.

The topic for this session was – “Going beyond Extremes, 1million messages per second, 24/7 a day ”

This re-enforced my belief on Event based model. Just like my mom told me- Keep your bites small- and eat plenty. Bigger the bite – more reasons to choke.

He also talked about JRockit- Oracle’s no dead-zone JVM. basically it’s GC implementation doesn’t freeze the all the whole JVM like Sun’s does . I need to check if it is as good as it sounded. I also wonder how well it works with other J2EE servers. Since this was originally a BEA product – it could have been optimized for Weblogic

Oracle Fusion Middleware

Another speaker I liked very much was Dr. Paul Dorsey

He gave a quite neutral presentation on Oracle fusion middleware- on the feedback he has got from the industry on practices and technologies. He expressed frank hesitation on SOA- which immediately set him apart from the flock. He also expressed in very strong words – his affinity for thick database design.

His argument that of all enterprise technologies- Database is the only piece that hasn’t changed, was hard to ignore. More you put in the database- more stable will be your architecture. He added – for his views – he is never invited to java World.

Cameron who spoke soon after Paul had interestingly a different case to plead- put more on the application server- but like he said- the idea is the same- reduce the chattiness between the application and the database

The essentials

And oh yes- food was good and I won a $25 Starbucks gift card in a raffle giveaway- anything helps in today’s economy !!!

My overall rating? 4

Will I go again? Sure !!!

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