Twin peaks: #MFSummit2017

Like scaling a mountain, sometimes it makes sense to stop and see how far you have come, and what lies ahead. #MFSummit2017 is your opportunity to check progress and assess the future challenges.

We called the first #MFSummit ‘meeting the challenges of change’ and it’s been another demanding 12 months for Micro Focus customers. Maintaining, or achieving, a competitive advantage in the IT marketplace isn’t getting any easier.

The technology of two recent acquisitions, the development, DevOps and IT management gurus Serena Software and multi-platform unified archive ninjas GWAVA puts exciting, achievable innovation within reach of all our customers. These diverse portfolios are also perfectly in tune with the theme of #MFSummit2017.

Build, Operate, and Secure (BOS)

BOS is the theme of #MFSummit2017 and our overarching ethos. Micro Focus products and solutions help our customers build, operate, and secure IT systems that unite current business logic and applications with emerging technologies to meet increasingly complex business demands and cost pressures.

Delegates to #MFSummit2017 can either focus on the most relevant specialism, the possibilities the other two may offer – or sample all three. This first blog of two focuses on Build.

DevOps – realise the potential

Following keynote addresses from Micro Focus CEO Stephen Murdoch and General Manager, Andy King, Director of Enterprise Solutions Gary Evans presents The Micro Focus Approach to DevOps.

Everyone knows what DevOps is, but what does it mean for those managing enterprise applications?

Gary’s 40-minute slot looks at the potential of DevOps to dramatically increase the delivery rate of new software updates. He explains the Micro Focus approach to DevOps, how it supports Continuous Delivery – and what it means to our customers.

Interested?

Want to know more about this session, or check out the line-up for the Operate and Secure modules – the subject of our next blog? Check out the full agenda here.

Use the same page to reserve your place at #MFSummit2017, a full day of formal presentations and face-to-face sessions, overviews and deep-dive Q&As, all dedicated to helping you understand the full potential of Micro Focus solutions to resolve your business challenges.

Our stylish venue is within easy reach of at least four Tube stations and three major rail stations. Attendance and lunch are free.

If you don’t go, you’ll never know.

Achieve peak performance at #MFSummit2016

The inaugural Micro Focus cross-portfolio summit opens this week. Andy King, General Manager for UK and Ireland offers his insights as to what to expect from the program.

This is a big week for myself and Micro Focus. On Wednesday, I raise the curtain on the future of our new company and our products for the customers who want us to take them into tomorrow.

Since the 2014 merger with the Attachmate Group, we have become one company operating two product portfolios across six solution areas. The single aim is to meet our customers’ mission-critical IT infrastructure needs with enterprise-grade, proprietary or open source solutions.

But what does that mean in reality? We are all about to find out.

#MFSummit2016: Current challenge, future success is our first cross-portfolio conference. The format mixes formal sessions and face-to-face opportunities, informative overviews with deep-dive, issue-specific questioning. It is a first chance to check out the roadmaps, and share experiences with our experts.

The focus is firmly on interaction; product specialists and fellow customers will be there to discuss your business and IT change issues. Set your itinerary to get maximum value from the day. The 12 sessions are split into three broad themes.

SUMMITT

Build. Operate. Secure.

Whether your IT issues span every area of build, operate and secure, or are confined to one or two, Micro Focus has it covered with a diverse range of products and solutions that will help to meet the challenges of change. I’ve selected three sessions to illustrate the point.

Secure

Dave Mount, UK Solutions Consulting Director presents an Introduction to Identity, Access and Security. Dave’s view is that understanding and managing identity enables better control of internal and external threats. He illustrates how our solutions can help our customers better understand and manage these threats. Find out how from 11 to 11.30pm.

Operate

From 1.30 to 2.20 pm David Shepherd, Solutions Consultant, Micro Focus and Stephen Mogg, Solutions Consultant SUSE discuss how Micro Focus and SUSE could help customers meet escalating storage requirements and costs with secure, scalable, highly-available and cost-effective file storage that works with your current infrastructure. If that would help you, then check out The Race for Space: File Storage Challenges and Solutions.

Build

Immediately after that, our COBOL guys, Scot Nielsen, Snr Product Manager and Alwyn Royall, Solutions Consultant, present Innovation and the Next Generation of COBOL Apps. It’s a demo-led look at the future that show the way forward for modernising COBOL application development and deployment in new architectures. So if you are ready for new innovation from older applications, get along to see that between  2.20 to 3.10 pm.

Networking opportunities?

Of course. Whether you are enjoying refreshments, post-event drinks – or your complementary lunch – alongside industry representatives, product experts and customers, visiting the pods for demos or roadmap walkthroughs, then the whole day is a refreshingly informal way to resolve your technical questions or business challenges. Alternatively, ask your question of the expert panel at the Q & A session at 3.45 to 4.15 pm.

PH House

In summary

Our promise to delegates is that after a visit to #MFSummit2016 they will be in a better position to navigate the challenges of business and IT change.

Wherever you are in your IT strategy, Micro Focus solutions enable our customers to innovate faster with less risk and embrace new business models. #MFSummit2016 is our opportunity to show you which solutions will work for you, where – and how.

Sounds attractive? You’ll really like our stylish venue, Prince Philip House. It is handy for Piccadilly, Charing Cross and St James’s Park Tube stations. Attendance is free, but book here first.

I’ll be speaking from 9.30. See you there?

Artix : Modernizing and Maximizing CORBA

John McHugh looks into 25 years of CORBA’s reliability, security and proven performance and how Micro Focus Artix can maximize existing assets and connect CORBA with Web Services, .NET, and REST to maximise and modernize your existing investment.

I often hear that CORBA has made itself absolutely indispensable to the organizations that have relied upon it for the past 25 years. Why? CORBA’s reliability, security and proven performance are second to none.

However, like any technology, CORBA is often just one piece of a much larger solution. And for anyone who is responsible for ensuring that CORBA and additional applications function as one, integration may appear a daunting task. Not only do you have to deal with different technologies with their own protocols, products and applications, but, in many cases, you also have to do so without the expertise that was used to develop the system in the first place.

All too often, solution providers expect you to replace perfectly functioning systems and rewrite them using their products. Clearly, this is a costly and expensive exercise you likely want to avoid. It also introduces risk that may not become apparent until late in the project, or worse, in production. For this reason, integrating rather than replacing is a vital part of any IT solution, which, thanks to Artix, is a very straightforward undertaking, especially so when it comes to CORBA.

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Why Replace When You Can Extend Your Reach?

You likely have a wealth of technologies and products within your IT infrastructure that are essential to everyday business operations. As these solutions have typically been deployed over a long period of time, ensuring that critical business data contained within them remains accessible and actionable can become a challenge. Moreover, the ubiquitous nature of mobile and web means that the programming paradigms associated with emerging forms of communication can introduce additional complexity when your organization tries interfacing established solutions with newer applications.

I frequently see organizations quickly resign themselves to the fact that integration is too much to take on or that their data is irreparably siloed, and move to rip and replace well-established technology entirely – or rely upon ad-hoc data bridges that are difficult and expensive to maintain.

Artix puts the data that some may (mistakenly) consider locked away in multiple protocols, particularly CORBA, into easy reach and ensures that you can connect cutting-edge yet disparate technologies in sustainable fashion. So, instead of ripping, replacing or recoding the technology you rely on every day, you can extend your reach with Artix. No matter the CORBA solution deployed in your organization, Artix can integrate seamlessly, bringing cost savings and multiple new use cases to the fore.

Eliminate Risk with Seamless Interoperability

Through Artix, existing CORBA applications can seamlessly interoperate with non-CORBA technologies (including those built on .NET, Web Services and REST) without any modification – and they will continue to function with existing applications and systems exactly as before.

Working alongside CORBA, Artix operates in tandem allowing you to modernize using the latest industry standards, extending the functionality without any additional investment in CORBA. It’s a mature and proven technology, already powering robust and resilient integration infrastructures for industry leaders in a variety of markets including Telecommunications, Financial Services and Manufacturing.

For CORBA users, who typically operate in a request-reply world, Artix’s ability to convert the IIOP message in to a SOAP message and transmit over HTTP is most interesting. However, where you may need more flexibility and integrate through REST, that’s not a problem either. Thanks to Artix, there’s no need to change the behaviour of your CORBA applications, so they can continue communicating with your existing CORBA assets, thereby allowing its introduction with little to no risk. You can continue to rely upon CORBA to power your mission-critical applications with best-in-class performance, security and scalability while bring the data contained within CORBA to the widest range of devices and systems.

Artix in Action

Check out our Modernizing CORBA through Artix video series to learn how you can maximize existing assets using Artix and dig into the details of connecting CORBA with Web Services, .NET, and REST with these educational videos.

You can also sign up for a free 30 day trial and download the code in the video series to see for yourself how Artix can help you introduce new revenue models and operational efficiencies in far less time. Contact us with questions and share your experiences with CORBA and Artix in the comments section below. Also don’t forget that you can follow and talk to @MicroFocus on Twitter.

McHugh

Micro Focus and microservices

A growing trend in the software world is microservices, but is it an important innovation or just a passing fad? Derek Britton looks to the experts to find out.

The  interview with middleware expert Mark Little, featured in ZDNet, reveals some fascinating perspectives behind the interest in the industry trend microservices, including – importantly – how microservices might coexist with existing IT investments.

Micro what?

Microservices. A new term to some, but with a growing market awareness, microservices is  a “software architecture style… [in] which complex applications are composed of small, independent processes communicating with each other using language-agnostic APIs”.

Microservices has what SDTimes refers to as “striking resemblance to service-oriented architecture”. Such process are “small, highly decoupled and focus on doing a small task”, while the idea behind small services is akin to the “Unix philosophy of ‘Do one thing and do it well’”.

Small wonder perhaps that exponents of this approach include Amazon, Netflix and Bluemix. Outside these pioneers, what challenges ahead does it face as microservices looks to become main-stream?

Micro versus monolith

In the same way that technologies including CORBA, SOA and Web Services appeared over time, the pursuit of more efficient methods of how applications and systems communicate has never been off the table. While in each case these technologies offered an exciting new paradigm with profound potential, none of them became the ubiquitous global standard to replace all other protocols. Why is that? Simple really – there was too much complexity and cost involved in changing what was already there.

Interestingly, in the same article, Mark Little entertains the idea of a pragmatic approach.  “If you’ve got something that doesn’t work, you should still look to see if there’s some of it that you could carve off and keep – particularly if you’ve had it deployed for 20 or 30 years”. He adds “‘even where software is not working, avoid re-implementing everything from scratch because there may be elements that could be retained”.

This is profoundly shrewd. Accepting and exploiting the available, working infrastructure, retaining the value where possible, enables micro service creation to focus only on what new technology is needed. Using this approach, a journey towards a microservices architecture is a simpler, easier and less risky one as a result. But is that really possible? Let’s explore two popular incumbent core technologies that might need examination – COBOL and CORBA – to which Little had referred.

Godfrey

COBOL

Now in its 6th decade of industry use, it is hardly surprising that mature COBOL systems, so often the lifeblood of enterprise IT, are identified as important systems of record with which new microservices may need to integrate.

Little makes it clear that COBOL could well form the underlying support for robust systems that don’t need to change, “if it’s implemented in COBOL, then it’s battle-tested”, he phrases it. The value of this trusted application is that it represents “COBOL code that you could take and use again…”

One of the seemingly incompatible aspects of talking about COBOL and microservices together is that these technologies hail from entirely different eras of technical evolution. However, the continued evolution of the COBOL language and supporting technology ensures that it remains as current as contemporary approaches may require. Indeed, Product Director for Micro Focus’ Visual COBOL product, Scot Nielsen, confirmed “the upcoming (Visual COBOL) release includes support for REST-ful style services that is well suited as an integration mechanism for creating COBOL Microservices”.

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CORBA

One microservices definition refers to it as a model that “might also integrate with other applications via either web services or a message broker”. Little refers to CORBA as a fairly typical communications model that may need to co-exist with microservices.

CORBA-based communications technology, conceived over 20 years ago, is a valued communications protocol that supports mission-critical systems across a variety of industries including FS, Telco, aerospace, government and manufacturing. Micro Focus CORBA Solutions Product Director, John McHugh, said that it was a typical case in many customers for them to look at “protecting existing investments to lower costs and risk … to use [CORBA] products in conjunction with emerging trends and expanding their value and footprint: it is one of the reasons why CORBA continues to thrive”.

Talking of the broad technology choices enterprises have faced over time, McHugh continued “it demonstrates again the fragmentation that can occur when a new architectural style is introduced, and why any technology innovation should be seen as part of an evolutionary journey”.

Conclusion – Building Bridges

Tried and trusted systems of record, featuring transactional, messaging and core business processing components are the lifeblood of most successful organizations. This is the technology that makes the organization work. Labels such as monolithic, old, cumbersome might be lazily applied, but just as appropriate would be mission-critical, valued, trusted, and reliable.

These systems are in the comet tail of technology innovation. These ideas came to market some time ago, stood up to scrutiny, enjoyed widespread adoption, and just carry on working, without fail, quietly in the background; meanwhile, and continuing the comet theme, white-hot innovation drives new technical direction.

As Mark Little explains, and as Micro Focus would agree, bridging from valued technology investments into new innovative ways of working – microservices being a great example – is both technically possible and eminently sensible.

Learn more about Micro Focus’ COBOL and CORBA offerings at our website.

DerekB

For Mission-Critical Systems and Success: Leaders Look to CORBA

John McHugh, Micro Focus CORBA Product Director explains why leaders still rely on CORBA after nearly 25 years of active service and why this rock solid technology has a bright future ahead!

CORBA has experienced tremendous growth since its introduction nearly 25 years ago as an open industry standard for architecting and implementing high performance distributed software systems. Now considered a classic among standards-based computing methodologies, CORBA was the hot new technology and wildly popular among companies building solutions and applications during the mid- to late-90s for the very same reasons it remains so vital to system architecture today. It allows organizations to build highly performant, highly scalable systems in a platform- and language-neutral fashion.

Since that time, a number of newer technologies have brought different types of solutions to the market, each promising to be the answer to everyone’s problems. As IT organizations adopt these alternatives, they often realize that bringing their solution to market is actually a lot more complex than originally made out. While getting up and running may be a fairly straightforward task, dealing with the intricacies of ensuring correct qualities of service can pose significant delays and unplanned expenses.

As all businesses and agencies are unique and each part of an organization has different needs, there is now a general acceptance that no one solution can solve all problems. Rapid development may be important to one team, while performance is critical to another. What is important is that you can build and manage an ecosystem of different technologies that act as one and gain the benefits of each. That’s why cross-technology integration solutions have become so popular, and why products like Micro Focus Artix® is a key component for many of our customers.

CORBA technology is perfect for highly-regulated industries, among others, such as utilities, banking and government environments, where it is continually deployed in demanding environments, such as aerospace and military control applications. Moreover, if you talk to our customers, who represent the bulk of Fortune 1000 companies, CORBA is very much a part of their mission critical systems today.

THE HIGH COST OF RIP AND REPLACE

While there is continual change in the entire IT space, including application integration, there is clearly no “one size fits all” solution set, and newer does not always mean better. Why incur the high risks and costs of deploying something new and untested within your infrastructure when you already have perfectly valid, stable existing systems that perform perfectly

Our longstanding and new customers know that they can deploy a CORBA solution and rely on it for decades. That superior reliability coupled with outstanding performance is exactly why our aerospace clients use CORBA applications in their satellite systems and logistics applications. They know that, not only will CORBA work as part of a wider IT ecosystem with different technologies, operating systems, hardware platforms and programming languages, but they can rely upon it to run for decades without fail.

Sure, there are multiple market options and approaches to developing, connecting and deploying complex applications, and organizations must do what’s best to meet their objectives. However, the question businesses and agencies planning for 2015 and beyond must ask is: Do I want a new programming language or systems architecture just because it’s being touted as the latest and greatest solution to hit the market – or would I rather modernize while reducing risk by leveraging my existing investments, CORBA included?

We’re finding that the answer for many forward-thinking organizations is an easy one: We’re sticking with CORBA as it’s truly been battle-tested and meets or even exceeds our needs for scalability, security, performance and deployment flexibility. Indeed, three quarters of the world’s financial institutions rely on Orbix®, the world’s most widely deployed enterprise CORBA solution. The Micro Focus CORBA solutions are also used by 80% of French mobile operators, half of the top 50 and eight of the top 10 U.S. government system integrators.

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MICRO FOCUS CORBA SOLUTIONS ARE ROCK SOLID BUT NOT STANDING STILL

Through the acquisition of IONA and OpenFusion assets, Micro Focus is now the home of CORBA, with the world’s leading experts building and delivering solutions to continually drive improvement. With Micro Focus’s unique knowledge of mature markets and understanding of how to extract additional value from previous investments, CORBA and the organizations that use it to meet even the most demanding requirements have a long and bright future ahead.

We are continually investing in CORBA and working to make it easier to use. Whether you are developing applications with CORBA directly or utilizing Orbix®, VisiBroker®, Orbacus®, Artix® or OpenFusion®, we want to know what you want and need as we look to add and evolve CORBA features and functionality to meet the needs of today’s developers, system architects and winning enterprises across the globe. We invite you to share your thoughts in the comments section below, our community site or contact us directly.

McHugh