#gluecon 2013 Day 1 Recap

Note: This post, ,”#gluecon 2013 Day 1 Recap” originally ran on the ProfitBricks blog.

Pretty much every developer you know was either in Broomfield, CO today for Gluecon 2013 or watching the #gluecon hashtag on Twitter.  A magnet for coders, Day 1 of Gluecon 2013 certainly didn’t disappoint with the depth of technical discussion on a wide variety of topics.  Reuse of both APIs and data was a running theme, as was the idea that cloud apps require different approaches as detailed by conference favorite, Netflix Cloud Architect Adrian Cockroft.

Enterprise as a Platform

AT&T VP of Ecosystems and Solutions Laura Merling started off the morning keynote sessions by discussing the path her company is on to exposing an ecosystem of APIs.  Reminiscent of Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) debates from the early 2000s, Laura discussed the internal governance involved in exposing programmatic functionality first to internal teams, then in a protected way to partners, and finally to anybody through public interfaces.  Aspects of readiness through quality control and discovery of what is available within a growing library of APIs are key to AT&T’s growing success in creating a platform out of their enterprise ecosystem.  Unlike the struggles that SOA was bound by, her organization has buy in from those who control the purse strings as to why this is important as an enabler for new businesses.

Better User Modeling and Sharing

Peter Biddle, GM of Intel’s Cloud Services Platform, continued this theme when discussing the work his organization is doing on user profiles.  In an attempt to tackle the problem of different vendors having the same basic information about their users while simultaneously being unable to share key attributes in specific situations to make a better user experience, Peter’s team is building an interesting model.  Basic information (name, address, phone number) is stored by one provider where additional, app-specific data gets tagged and stored wherever.  On a case by case basis, users and apps can choose to share data with other apps, like when a travel planning app could share future location data with a restaurant guide instantly giving the user food recommendations for a location they aren’t physically present at yet.

Improved Tools for Cloud Thinking

Runscope Co-Founder John Sheehan announced their toolset, which enables developers to better interact with APIs, is open for business.  He pointed out that in a different era, a developer had control over the code written, the server it ran on, and the network it communicated to the outside world with.  In the cloudy world we now live in, though, a database, a server, or the network is provided by someone else and controlled via an API that you can’t always see inside of when troubleshooting.  Runscope’s tools assist in this different world, enabling troubleshooting these modern distributed environments.

Cloud Thinking on Steriods

Speaking of distributed environments, none is more elaborate than what Adrian Crockroft runs at Netflix.  In an extremely transparent talk where he addressed the question that everyone asks him (Why run on AWS when you compete directly with Amazon Instant Streaming?) head on while epitomizing the notion of different thinking when utilizing cloud.  The most interesting segment of Adrian’s talk, though was where Netflix ISN’T using AWS with the idea that you use the cloud for some things but not necessarily for everything.

The Netflix custom caching gets the most attention, but their DNS and global load balancing needs are unique as well.  Instead of relying on one source, they use a multi-vendor approach that gives them a better performing and more available solution.

The World is Changing Here

Breakout sessions throughout the day continued these themes of different cloud thinking and exposing data or APIs in new ways.  As you may have read in Wired this month, this is the wave of the future where APIs and thinking about the world differently will significantly change how we interact with it and each other.  And it’s being planned at Gluecon 2013.  I can’t wait for Day 2!


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