What to expect from PentahoWorld 2015

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This time last year the Computer Weekly Open Source Insider blog reported on the inaugural PentahoWorld 2014 conference and exhibition.

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As many will already know, Pentaho is an open source data integration and analytics company with a special penchant for data-driven intelligence, data warehouse refinery controls and data streamlining i.e. data goes on a journey, so let's be aware of that element.

Data on a journey

As I have written elsewhere, sometimes data is stored, sometimes data in analysed in greater depth, or sometimes it is just passed along to the next node in the distributed data supply chain. Hitachi's move to snag Pentaho is something of an affirmation of the need for these 'data machining processes'.

It has been a busy 12 months for the firm -- getting bought by Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) doesn't happen without a couple of bumps, but (on the face of it so far) it appears that a) the users are being well looked after and b) the Pentaho name is being held intact inside the parent firm as an HDS brand.

The promise from Pentaho is as follows -- attendees can learn more about the acquisition by HDS and the positive impact for users.

"Attend the Social Innovation breakout track presented by HDS to learn about the new solutions that will drive value in a world dominated by the Internet of Things," says Pentaho.

Onward to PentahoWorld 2015 and we see the firm staging event #2 once again in its home state of Florida with roughly the same kind of audience composition:

• 75% developers
• 25% business decision makers for data and analytics

Extra developer love

The only thing is... this year there's extra developer love with a new track called Developers By Developers.

This is a chance for programmers to have technical 'how-to' questions answered by the actual team that developed the products.

"Learn first hand from key Pentaho developers about customization, development best-practices and pro-tips, the latest techniques and sources for blending, next-generation plug-in development and more (can you think of anything more? Let us help!)," asks the firm.

Attendees can also expect some clarity on the Pentaho roadmap and what we can expect in Pentaho 6.0 and beyond.

Chief product officer Chris Dziekan will present the firm's three-year roadmap that supports big industry trends and the Pentaho vision will be laid out by Quentin Gallivan, the firm's chief executive officer.

Which verticals?

Pentaho says customers across industries - Automotive, Aviation, Maritime, Oil & Gas and Telecommunications are using its platform to perform data-driven software application creation (these customers include: Halliburton Landmark, IMS and KDS).

The company will also use the event to talk about a new report titled "Delivering Governed Data For Analytics At Scale" -- selected "findings" include:

◦ 52% of firms blend together 50 or more distinct data sources to enable analytics capabilities.
◦ 34% blend 100 or more data sources, and 12% blend 1,000 or more.
◦ More than 60% of survey respondents rated data quality, as well as security and privacy, as very important aspects of data governance.
◦ Data quality, security, and privacy are paramount in governance.
◦ Different types of data require different levels of governance. Data professionals recognize that all data is not created equal.

You want one fact more fact about PentahoWorld 2015? The hotel has a 'lazy river' again... oh, okay, I'm sold.

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Basho Riak TS -- an IoT database must be a fast read/write time series database

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Basho Riak TS arrives this month, but what is it?

Well, first of all, what is Basho?

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Basho is a 'data platform' (it's software, of course) that provides the services to support multiple database models optimised for key value, time series and large objects.

So, what is Basho Riak?

Riak is a distributed NoSQL database.

... and what is Basho Riak TS?

Riak TS is a distributed NoSQL database and key/value store optimised for fast reads and writes of time series data.

Doh! TS = time series, get it?

NOTE: Time series data (and indeed time series applications) is sometime also called 'time stamp' data and is simply data that has been time coded... as we now build out the Internet of Things (with all its environment sensors etc.) the ability to know when data was created becomes arguably even more crucial than in the past.

Back to the news... this product then is a distributed NoSQL database architected to aggregate and analyse massive amounts of sequenced, unstructured data generated from the Internet of Things (IoT) and other time series data sources.

According to Accenture, the IoT will add $14.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030, enabling companies to capture new growth and boost revenue.

As more and more enterprise applications collect IoT data, specifically time series data from sensors, they need fast, reliable and scalable read and write performance (so says the company) -- so to accomplish this, the data must be stored, queried and analysed together.

Unlike traditional databases, Riak TS is built to store and retrieve time series data with enhanced read and write performance says the firm -- Basho insists that Riak TS can be operationalized (they mean deployed) at lower costs than traditional relational databases and is easy to manage at scale.

The PR quote parade

"At The Weather Company, we manage 20 terabytes of new data a day, including real-time forecasting data from over 130,000 sources. The sheer volume of time series data requires databases that can efficiently and reliably store and query time series data. Riak TS delivers on this need and allows us to perform the associated queries and transactions on time series data, while maintaining high availability and scale," said Bryson Koehler, executive vice president and CIO, The Weather Company.

"The rise of unstructured data presents a significant opportunity for innovation. As a result, companies are demanding database solutions that are operationally easy and specifically optimized to handle this type of data. Built on the same core Riak foundation, we now provide a solution specifically optimized for storing and retrieving unstructured data, making us the only NoSQL player that has specialized offerings for key value, large object and time series data. With Riak TS, customers can more easily scale and execute on Internet-of-Thing uses cases and more," said Adam Wray, CEO, Basho.

Couchbase Server 4.0 introduces SQL-based query language N1QL (Nickel)

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Couchbase Server 4.0 is designed to give software application development pros a route to building more apps on Couchbase.

What is Couchbase?

Couchbase is an open-source distributed NoSQL document-oriented database that is specifically optimised for interactive applications -- the play here is: the power of SQL with the flexibility of JSON, in one place.

(Ed -- aren't, like, all applications, kind of interactive applications?)

When Couchbase says 'interactive applications', it is referring to document access, index and query power in terms of read and write data access.

The new release introduces Couchbase's own SQL-compatible query language for this NoSQL system, potentially then expanding the total deployment areas for the platform.

According to the firm's website, users can, "Sort, filter, transform, group, and combine data with N1QL ("nickel") -- a declarative query language that extends SQL for JSON -- by leveraging language and framework integration and fluent APIs, or writing query statements."

"Build and extend applications with greater agility by separating how data is queried from how it is modeled. This powerful abstraction enables applications to model data one way, but query it in many ways -- including those that may not yet be anticipated."

The firm's products and engineering 'veep' Ravi Mayuram says that with N1QL, and what he calls "foundational improvements" like Global Secondary Indexes, Multi-Dimensional Scaling and Cross Datacenter Replication, the firm is a new breadth of functionality to deploy a single distributed database under the majority of web, mobile and IoT applications.

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"N1QL (Nickel) helps developers build enterprise-class applications with less code and greater agility. N1QL is an efficient and complete declarative query language that makes it easy for developers familiar with SQL to build applications on top of a JSON data model that can be extended on demand," said the company, in a press statement.

Couchbase Server 4.0 with N1QL also enables standard SQL-based reporting and data visualisation tools to access data stored within Couchbase.

Through ODBC and JDBC connectivity provided via Simba drivers, that can work with both the standard SQL-92 and N1QL dialects, for insight using the most widely adopted BI and data visualisation tools, including Microsoft Excel, Tableau, Looker, Qlik and more to access data stored in Couchbase.

KPMG: five good reasons to use open source

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Sometimes the best news is hidden... and isn't always news.

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You'd have to be looking hoard to find this... but deep inside a PDF white paper written by KPMG, the firm has justified its reasons for using, adopting, developing and subsequently releasing open source software.

KAVE man like big data

The KPMG Analytics and Visualization Environment (KAVE) is an open source big data offering.

The software itself is described as a modular big data platform that can be tailored to each user's needs.

According to the firm, "Through complete use of your own data, you generate value; for people, for society, for customers, for businesses and governments. The first step lies in overcoming obstacles common to many organisations, to easily unlock the value of your data, external data, and to develop new applications."

Validation for open source

KPMG has validated and justified its reasons for choosing open source components and says it selected software on the following basis:

  1. In environments where there are no 'sufficiently advanced' close-source competitors
  2. Where there exists a choice of licenses for use by commercial and non-commercial organisations
  3. Where the software in question exhibits what we might label as 'class-leading' performance or it can be said to be a class-defining solution with a history of excellence
  4. Where there exists dynamic and actively good support in terms of an vibrant user community and/or an open source contribution community
  5. Where there was full horizontal scalability for immediate use in full blown enterprise environments

Mendix 6: offline functionality in mobile is key for rapid (RAD) programmers

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Mendix is one of those companies that says things like -- we drive digital innovation by empowering customers to bring new digital products to market.


It's generically non-specifically hard to swallow, right?

What the firm actually does is produce a rapid application development platformŠ for software engineering.

The firm's new Mendix 6 version is remarkable for its support for offline functionality in mobile applications -- it also has a model API and open source platform SDK offering enhanced import & export of application models.

Derek Roos, Mendix's CEO and co-founder says that Mendix is the first in the industry to offer out-of-the-box offline mobile support across platforms and devices through a model-driven rapid mobile app development approach.

"Without any code, rapid developers can build mobile applications that make use of static resource storage, read access to data, and data entry caching to maintain consistency of user experience and performance even when disconnected or offline," he said.

The Mendix 6 Model API and open source Platform SDK also boasts the chance to eliminate vendor lock-in - with the new model exchange functionality, application models can be easily exported for documentation purposes, or to port applications to other platforms, increasing transparency and eliminating lock-in concerns.

Model import capabilities support automated cloud migration of legacy applications, allowing (so says Mendix) teams to accelerate application modernisation at massive scale

Also here, new API's allow static analysis on application models to check for inconsistencies, ensure quality standards, and improve maintainability.

Notes from the keynote: Apache Big Data & ApacheCon Core Europe 2015

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Conferences come and go, but Apache: Big Data Europe and its sister event ApacheCon Core Europe 2015 is kind of special... as it's a pure thoroughbred user conference.

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Compatibility & quality paramount

As already reported on the Computer Weekly Open Source Insider blog, this event is dedicated to the vendor-neutral work of the Apache Foundation and its focus on products that power petabytes of data, teraflops of operations and billions of objects.

Keynote: open data advancement

The keynote panel at the event itself was called the 'ODPi -- Advancing Open Data for the Enterprise Panel' and it featured - Anjul Bhambri, IBM; Konstantin Boudnik, WANdisco; Owen O'Malley, Hortonworks; Roman Shaposhnik, Pivotal -- it was moderated by C. Craig Ross, director of developer programs, The Linux Foundation.

A reference implementation specification has been developed to produce a more formalised documented approach to using (and developing with) the technologies involved here -- as usual, you can expect to be able to find these technologies available on GitHub.

Although the panel acknowledged that although there has always been a lot of opportunity with Apache Hadoop, there has also been a lot of fragmentation -- so this event is a good opportunity for users to be able to find out which elements of the technology work together well.

Let's get to the core

Customers need to figure out which distribution of Hadoop they need to go and we need to make it easier to make that decision easier -- this way, those people involved with the project can focus on putting efforts into the Hadoop core and making the technology itself better.

At the point you might be wondering what ODPi is...?

This is a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project, which are independently funded software projects that harness the power of collaborative development.

"ODPi is a useful downstream project for the community to work on a common reference platform and set of technologies around Hadoop," said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. "We've seen this model work with open source technologies experiencing rapid growth and know it can increase adoption and open up opportunities for innovation on top of an already strong Hadoop community."

The panel confirmed that ODPi is in no way supposed to be a replacement for Apache and that the project itself is fully connected to the wider upstream projects here.

NOTE: ODPi uses an open governance model that is led by a community of developers who will form a Technical Steering Committee (TSC) based on expertise and value of contribution.

When asked what the projects goals are in the coming months, the panel confirmed that they are looking to finesse the finer details in the current release of the software.

This is clearly an important summit for the Apache team and a good opportunity for them to get together and agree on priorities (and key facilitating and steering technologies) as we now go forward -- thinking about COMPATIBILITY will be a key part of this process i.e. the team will be looking to make the maximum amount of other software work on Apache Hadoop without unnecessary alterations.

In the future... speakers and audience members alike said they would like to see RFP (request for proposals) start listing a question point to assess whether particular technologies are ODPi compliant -- it's a good goal to aim for.

In terms of barriers to entry for Hadoop in the enterprise, the panel recognised that some obstacles will exist in some firms -- but what matters is that we make technical resources available (with technical compliancy) to the people that want to use these technologies today without trying to stipulate draconian usage rules upon these development teams.

Governance will always be strong

Other elements of the discussion here focused on the importance of open governance -- there's a huge difference between a project that has been developed under the auspices of Apache as opposed to one that has just been "dumped" on GitHub.

Whether that's a cruel term (dump) or not, the point is well made... The Apache Foundation continues to uphold its principles and for that we must applaud it.

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MapR, an in-Hadoop document database

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MapR Technologies is a firm that provides a distribution of Apache Hadoop that integrates storage and database functions.


The firm has announced the addition of native JSON support to MapR-DB, its NoSQL database.

This, the firm claims, represents the first in-Hadoop document database for developers to create applications that use continuous analytics on real-time data.

"With these major enhancements, developers benefit from the advantages of a document database combined with the scale, reliability and integrated analytics of enterprise-grade Hadoop and Spark," said the firm, in a press statement.

The MapR Distribution including Hadoop is architected to serve as a single platform for running analytics and operational applications.

MapR-DB enables continuous analytics on real-time data, while reducing cluster sprawl, eliminating data silos and lowering the TCO of data management.

The native JSON support in MapR-DB is said to let developers quickly stand up more business applications on more data types and sources.

MapR-DB supports the Open JSON Application Interface (OJAITM), which is designed to be a general purpose JSON access layer across databases, file systems and message stream -- and this produces a more flexible and unified interface to work with big data.

"MapR continues to build on the innovative data platform at the core of its Hadoop distribution," said Nik Rouda, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group. "The addition of a document database capability (JSON) neatly extends the powerful NoSQL MapR-DB to seamlessly cover more types of unstructured business data. This makes it faster and easier to build big data applications, without the burden of shuffling data around first."

A developer preview package of MapR-DB with native JSON support is available immediately.

Spiceworks Network Monitor: Linux monitoring just got easier

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Spiceworks is a company that provides a professional vertical network for IT users.

It connects what is actually millions IT users with over 3,000 technology brands -- it's mission is to simplify the way we buy and manage technology products and services.


The firm has this month announced a series of new features for Network Monitor, a free application to monitor and manage server and network devices in real-time.

Love for Linux

Network Monitor now gives IT pros the ability to actively monitor Linux-based server environments, invite colleagues to view and create custom dashboards, fine-tune alert settings and understand communication issues associated with offline devices.

"We're continuing to focus on the Network Monitor features and functionality, like Linux support, IT professionals have told us are important to them and add value to their day," said Sanjay Castelino, VP of Marketing at Spiceworks.

"Our intentions are clear. We're accelerating our Network Monitor development efforts and building new apps to provide users with the solutions they need to get their jobs done."

Introduced in December 2014, Spiceworks' Network Monitor can be installed and up-and-running in 10 minutes.

The application helps IT professionals understand what's happening in their environment by providing a dashboard showing more than 25 possible sensors including network utilisation and server activity including disk and CPU usage, system memory, active services and processes and other network data.

Across the Linux spectrum

With Network Monitor, Linux administrators can keep important workloads including databases, web and proxy servers, and file servers running in top condition. The new functionality enables users to monitor system processes and services, CPU utilization, disk I/O, memory latency, and other system statistics of the most popular Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE, Red Hat, CentOS and Fedora.

Dropbox open sources Zulip chat app

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File hosting service Dropbox, Inc has released its Zulip chat application under an open source Apache Foundation licence.


Open source group chat

Zulip is group chat application said to be 'optimised' for software development teams.

It was acquired by Dropbox in 2014 -- https://zulip.org/

According to the firm's Tim Abbott, "At Dropbox, we love and depend on numerous excellent open source projects, and we consider contributing back to the open source community to be vitally important."


Abbott contends that the world of open source chat has for a long time been dominated by IRC and XMPP.

"In comparison, Zulip starts with many useful features and integrations expected by software development teams today and has a well-engineered, maintainable codebase for those that are missing," he said.

Each Zulip chat conversation has a topic, which makes it easier to decide how much you want to engage with the discussion taking place.

In terms of operation, Zulip categorises messages so that they "never overwhelm" -- as with any topic in Zulip, the user can focus in, skim, defer to later, or ignore -- as appropriate.


What to expect from Apache: Big Data Budapest & ApacheCon Core Europe 2015

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Last year the Computer Weekly Developer Network blog and Open Source Insider reported on what was then called the CloudStack Collaboration Conference & ApacheCon 2014.

This year we are able to call the event Apache: Big Data Europe and its sister event is ApacheCon Core Europe 2015 -- with both developer-fests being staged in the crown jewel of the Danube that is Budapest.

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According to The Apache Software Foundation, Apache products power over half the Internet, petabytes of data, teraflops of operations, billions of objects and enhance the lives of countless users and developers.

There are code contributions by more than 3,500 ASF committers around the world.

So what should we expect?

The event claims to be able to gather together developers, engineers, architects and data scientists that develop and use big data technologies including Hadoop, Spark, CouchDB, Falcon, Kafka, Knox, Phoenix and more.

A glance at the keynote selection looks tasty:

• Big Science and Big Data at CERN -- by Dirk Duellmann, CERN
• Apache's Key Role in the Big Data Industry -- by Arun Murthy, Hortonworks

But check out the actual opener entitled 'The State Of The Feather' by ASF president Ross Gardler, who himself is a senior programme manager at Microsoft.

CW blogs: The state of the feather (obviously) sounds like a real state of the nation address -- without giving away the substance of your keynote, what is your higher-level message for attendees at this year's event?

Ross Gardler: This is a short session we run at every ApacheCon event. It covers growth of the foundation, financial management, infrastructure, fundraising etc. It also establishes the ASF as a vendor neutral space. We use it as an opportunity to reinforce that influence in the ASF cannot be bought.

That we keep our overheads low by focusing on the essentials of producing good software through our community over code approach (commonly known as The Apache Way). It's really a celebration of who and what we are and a reassertion of our core values.

At the highest level the message is "we continue to grow, we continue to improve, we continue to be vendor neutral, we appreciate our sponsors who make this possible, we appreciate our volunteers who make this possible". If you want the numbers, facts and figures to back this up then watch the video or review the deck.

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CW blogs: You've said before that titles don't really mean anything in the Apache Foundation and you were obviously talking about the need to champion a meritocracy and the recognition of great effort -- is this something that everybody constantly 'just gets' do you think?

Ross Gardler: No, this is not something that everybody 'just gets'. It is not common to find a management structure as flat as that found at the ASF.

Once someone has been around an ASF project for a short while they quickly realize that it is true. A newcomer to a project who has valuable contributions has as much authority as the person who is credited with founding the project.

CW blogs: The Apache Foundation always sets out to produce software that is "of value to the public good" ... that can be tough with embryonic prototype projects that are great for conceptual evolution, but never actually come to fruition isn't it?

Ross Gardler: Well I guess how you interpret "for the public good", what we mean is for the benefit of everyone who seeks to benefit from them. This allows us to focus on the community rather than the code. It is our belief that bringing people with similar goals together, and providing them with an environment designed to facilitate collaboration, will result in the production of code of value.

We don't pick winning projects, we facilitate the building of communities and everything else takes care of itself. That's not to say that all our communities succeed, sometimes the alignment is not quite right, but where goals are aligned across a sufficiently diverse group of individuals we often see success.

To maximise the chances of success we have an Incubator where we provide mentors to help guide new communities on the path to being a self-regulating Apache community producing software for the public good.

CW blogs: There is huge diversity in terms of domains, language (although Java dominates), client applications and tools. So today we know that the Apache Foundation has been around for 15 years (your pace of growth is increasing, yet your original bylaws are still mostly the same) -- what shape do you think the group will look like in another 15 years?

Ross Gardler: I suspect that in 15 years the ASF will still operate (mostly) as it does today. You see the Apache Way consists of very few fixed rules, such as influence is earned through positive contribution to community health rather than through money or job title and project decisions are not influenced by vendor bias.

Other than our very limited set of rules our communities are free to self-govern. They can adapt to the needs of their community and to the needs of their environment. This is why we have so much diversity today and why we will continue to increase this diversity in the next 15 years.

NOTE: Pivotal has also taken the time to specify a special preview of what it will be doing at the event at the following link: http://blog.pivotal.io/big-data-pivotal/features/what-to-expect-from-pivotal-at-apachecon-europe-2015

As the sister event, ApacheCon: Core will bring together the open source community to learn about and collaborate on the technologies and projects driving the future of open source, web technologies and cloud computing.

CW blogs: Just to close, this year's event is in Budapest, can we expect goulash -- and what should attendees be thinking about Hungary right now?

I am guessing you are asking about Europe's refugee crisis. Like other governments in Europe, Hungary has been caught off guard by the scale of the refugee crisis. There is still not a EU-wide political consensus on what the correct response should be, and attitudes will continue to change as the situation evolves. On the whole, the Hungarian people have reacted with warmth and concern for the plight of refugees and have organised donations of food, clothes and other much needed items. We are also requesting donations on the conference registration site as well as onsite that our local public relations coordinator in Budapest is helping us with. We have had a great experience with the Corinthia Hotel and the city as a conference venue in the past, hence the conference is returning to Budapest for the 2nd time. As for the goulash, yes expect some at our Attendee Reception :)

DataStax Cassandra & the big, messy and connected world of data

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DataStax is a company that supplies a commercially supported version/offering of Apache Cassandra.

For those that would enjoy a recap, Apache Cassandra is an open source distributed database for managing large amounts of structured data (typically) across many commodity servers, with highly available service and no single point of failure.

The Planet Cassandra website described this technology's key virtues saying that Cassandra's architecture is responsible for its ability to scale, perform and offer continuous uptime.

Enough background, what's the news please?

DataStax Enterprise (DSE) has now reached its 4.8 version -- the firm says that we should consider this to be, "The database platform purpose-built for the performance and availability demands of Internet of Things (IoT)."

DataStax also announced the release of Titan 1.0, a scalable open source graph database optimized for storing and querying graphs containing billions of vertices and edges distributed across a multi-machine cluster.

What is a graph database?

A graph graph database focuses on the relationships between data-points, rather than on the values themselves, graphs are perfect for those big, messy and connected data sets.

Neo4j describes it nicely here.

There are no isolated pieces of information, but rich, connected domains all around us. Only a database that embraces relationships as a core aspect of its data model is able to store, process, and query connections efficiently. While other databases compute relationships expensively at query time, a graph database stores connections as first class citizens, readily available for any "join-like" navigation operation.

"Additionally, with a technical preview of Apache Cassandra 3.0, the open source distributed database management system, available, DataStax further demonstrates its strong commitment to open source," says the company.

DataStax Enterprise 4.8 provides a number of enhancements aimed at meeting the requirements of production web, mobile, and IoT applications, that need to consume, analyze, and search data at record speeds.

Enhancements in DSE 4.8 include:

• Production certification for Spark 1.4, providing customers with trusted and enhanced analytics for production systems
• Support for the Spark job server, which helps manage and monitor Spark activities
• Enhancements to DSE Search's innovative "Live Indexing" feature that makes incoming data available for search faster than ever before
• User Defined Type (UDT) support in DSE Search, which reduces the coding effort for developers and allows for easy storage and search for various data formats (e.g. JSON) that are stored in Cassandra
• Packaging and deployment ease-of-use improvements via support for Docker

Titan is a scale-out, high performance graph database built for managing highly connected data. DataStax, along with the Titan community, is excited to see Titan achieve its 1.0 status, which includes powerful new capabilities. "We, along with everyone else in the Titan community, are celebrating the release of 1.0," said Matthias Broecheler, Director of Engineering at DataStax. "Titan is designed to scale and perform where other graph databases cannot, and with all of the improvements in version 1.0, its ability to handle complex and heavy workloads has gotten even better."

Platfora's big data play: a full stack from preparation to analytics to visualisation

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The growth of open platform tools for big data analysis is immense.


Platfora Big Data Discovery 5.0 sounds like an off-road 4x4 wheel all terrain vehicle and maybe that naming convention is deliberate.

This is a Hadoop- and Spark-native analytics platform for big data analytics.

So what? There are a bunch of big data tools out there.

Platfora's "sell" (if you will), or technology proposition here is full-stack big data discovery.

What does that mean?

This is big data all the way from data preparation (prep) to analytics to visualisation.

According to the firm's website, "Platfora brings together traditionally separate tools: data prep, in-memory acceleration, BI, analytics and visualisation -- to streamline big data analytics and simplify data discovery."

So how do you update a piece of software (sorry, platform) that performs these kinds of tasks?

The new version 5.0 includes a more tightly integrated workflow and critical big data discovery technologies including Apache Spark, SQL and Excel.

#1 productivity killer for data discovery

The firm claims to be "taking aim" at the #1 productivity killer for data discovery i.e. preparation.

"Powered by Apache Spark, Platfora's data prep provides instant statistics and sample data to guide users towards customised data-driven decisions," said the firm, in a press statement.

Being able to make more intelligent, iterative investigations into big data delivers critical clues to analysts, saving them time and eliminating the frustration associated with traditional analyses dependent on guesswork.

"Data teams spend the majority of their time preparing data for analysis, before they are even able to ask the question they set out to answer. The iterative nature of big data analysis compounds this problem. Today's businesses deserve a modern platform that is designed with iteration as the norm," said Peter Schlampp, VP of products at Platfora.

"Platfora 5.0 was built to empower average users to become 'citizen data scientists' by making this process accessible to the masses. We are thrilled to be opening up our platform to increase user accessibility and look forward to expanding with additional functionality in the near future," added Schlampp.

New programmer pow-wow for coders paranoid about Android

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Information security consultancy MWR InfoSecurity is hosting a DevSecCon workshop.

A what?

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Oh sorry, DevSecCon means Developer Security Conference, obviously.

The DevSecCon (Ed - surely DevSecPowWow would have worked better no?) is labelled Android Security Within the Development Lifecycle.

So what?

NOTE: For clarification -- It is MWR's workshop that's titled 'Android Security Within the Development Lifecycle' - not the conference as a whole.

The session will aim to provide insight into common security flaws seen in Android applications and offers a view toward automation methods which may be used to prevent vulnerabilities going to market.

This is a one day event, with seminars, workshops and open sessions, aiming to initiate a culture change in IT to deliver integrated, continuously secure solutions to the business.

Did someone say after-party?

Speaking about MWR's support, DevSecCon organiser - Francois Raynaud, said: "DevSecCon is pleased to announce MWR InfoSecurity as our sponsor for the after-party drinks and will also run workshops covering mobile and web hacking."

MWR's technical director - Martyn Ruks, added, "Bringing together DevOps and SecOps practitioners in a collaborative environment is a natural progression, and I think will make for a very interesting discussion. Integrating security from the outset is vital and that means both practitioners understand either other's viewpoint and working together effectively."

DevSecCon is a newly formed, non-profit conference for DevOps and SecOps practitioners, run by practitioners. By creating a neutral platform, it will exchange and create new ideas on how to leverage the best of both worlds and adopt a new mind-set of inclusiveness and collaboration.

Intergalactic Software Freedom Day is today

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Your diary is marked for September 19 to celebrate Intergalactic Software Freedom day, right?

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Actually, they don't use the 'intergalactic' part, I just added that -- but they should.

This global (online) event is simply a celebration of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).

According to the organisers at softwarefreedomday.org the goal here is to celebrate and educate the world (they mean galaxy, I think) about the benefits of using high quality FOSS in education, in government, at home and in business.

The non-profit organisation Software Freedom International coordinates SFD at a global level, providing support, giveaways and a point of collaboration, but volunteer teams around the world organize the local SFD events to impact their own communities.

Vision & Objectives

1 To celebrate software freedom and the people behind it
2 To foster a general understanding of software freedom, and encourage adoption of free software and open standards
3 To create more equal access to opportunities through the use of participatory technologies
4 To promote constructive dialogue on responsibilities and rights in the information society
5 To be inclusive of organisations and individuals that share our Vision
6 To be pragmatic, transparent, and responsible as an organisation


IBM StrongLoop puts IoT API bling in Bluemix

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IBM this week acquired StrongLoop -- a software provider that sets out to help developers connect enterprise applications to mobile, Internet of Things (IoT) and web applications in the cloud.

StrongLoop is a provider of enterprise open source JavaScript programming language Node.js -- this is software designed to build applications using APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).


The acquisition has enabled IBM to integrate StrongLoop's Node.js into its Bluemix cloud platform.

Hello Hilwa

"This news is super interesting as it ties two important shifts in the industry. On the one hand it comes down to the shift to APIs as the key building blocks of the digital economy and the important role that new languages like Node.js are playing in it," said Al Hilwa, program director for software development research at IDC.

Hilwa went on to say that the API economy is built on top of the web ecosystem of skills -- and Node.js is at the epicenter of the web ecosystem today.

"The other reason this is interesting is IBM's shift towards investment in such new languages to augment its expansive Bluemix offering. IBM is increasingly building on open source technologies and this one piece that can enhance its offering and ecosystem."

Protocols & routines

As data becomes increasingly critical in cloud environments, developers are using APIs to create protocols and routines that specify how one application can interact with another application.

For example, developers can create new information assets by combining data and services shared by other organisations.

"Enterprises are focused on digital transformation to reach new channels, tap new business models, and personalize their engagement with clients," said Marie Wieck, general manager, Middleware, IBM Systems.

"APIs are a critical ingredient. By bringing together StrongLoop's Node.js capabilities to rapidly create APIs with IBM's leadership in Java and API Management on our cloud platform, we are unlocking the innovation potential of two vibrant development communities."

IBM intends to integrate Node.js capabilities from StrongLoop with its software portfolio, which already includes MobileFirst and WebSphere, to help clients use enterprise data and conduct transactions in the cloud or on-premises.

These new capabilities are hoped to enable clients and developers to build scalable APIs and to connect existing back-end enterprise processes with front-end mobile, IoT and web apps in an open, hybrid cloud.

Google open sources Bazel build system

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Google has used its own open source blog to announce the beta release of Bazel.


This is an open source software system/environment/toolset for developers to create and test software builds across a variety of platforms.

Bazel supports a wide variety of different programming languages and platforms.

Other build systems are available

Google openly admits that there are lots of other build systems out there for example:

  • Maven,
  • Gradle,
  • Ant,
  • Make,
  • CMake.

So what's special about Bazel?

According to Google, "Bazel is what we use to build the large majority of software within Google. As such, it has been designed to handle build problems specific to Google's development environment, including a massive, shared code repository in which all software is built from source, a heavy emphasis on automated testing and release processes, and language and platform diversity."

Bazel isn't right for every use case says Google, "But we believe that we're not the only ones facing these kinds of problems and we want to contribute what we've learned so far to the larger developer community."

Bazel has built-in support for building both client and server software, including client applications for both Android and iOS platforms. It also provides an extensible framework that programmers can use to develop their own build rules.

Hortonworks responds to expanding Hadoop universe, opens new London HQ

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Open Enterprise Hadoop company Hortonworks is responding to what is now a bigger universe of Hadoop.


The firm this week today announced the opening of its new international headquarters in the City of London.

The move comes at the same time as a new Hadoop Community Hub for Central London.

"The City of London is a hub for multinational technology innovation," said Herb Cunitz, president of Hortonworks. "With a strong local economy, highly-skilled workforce and extensive transport and communication links, London is the perfect match for the dynamic growth Hortonworks is experiencing."

It's practical progress, not PR puff

2015 has been a year of progress for Hortonworks -- there is the addition of 119 new support subscription customers worldwide, bringing its customer base to over 550.

With the growth of Hortonworks' business, the company had outgrown its existing facilities. The Hortonworks leadership team engaged with partners, customers and the Hadoop community to discuss how the new space could best benefit all parties.

Their feedback was used to both decide on the new location in the heart of the London financial district and to influence the design of the new headquarters.

Facilitating focal focus

"These new facilities reflect our ambition to further grow and expand both our UK and wider international business," said Andy Leaver, vice president of international operations, Hortonworks. "We will also be looking to seek a degree of local recruitment for our new facilities and hope Hortonworks can provide a focal point for the local Hadoop community."

The new offices also offer improved space for Hortonworks' technical support team, as well as an improved facility for its solution and support engineers, marketing and sales teams.

Open Data: 'civic engagement' is on the cusp

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Mark Headd is the key guy when it comes to developer evangelism at Accela -- the firm provides cloud-based 'civic engagement' solutions for government.

Headd spoke this week to opensource.com via Jason Hibbets, senior community evangelist in corporate marketing at Red Hat.

What is civic engagement?


The New York Times defines this new term as follows:

"Civic engagement means working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes."

On the cusp of change

Headd is leading a panel discussion at the All Things Open conference about open data and wants to explore how open data is changing government, both institutionally and operationally.

His most pertinent comment is shown below:

"I think open data has progressed to a point where we are on the cusp of seeing dramatic changes in the way governments operate by leveraging data in different ways. For those of us--inside and outside of government--that care about it, we need to ensure that the promise of open data is fully realised. Now that governments are publishing their data and starting to make better use of it themselves, there needs to be serious conversations about how this affects the structure and operation of government."

He concludes by arguing that governments are still organised in ways that reflect their siloed, opaque past, not their agile, transparent future.

You can read the full interview here.

Accela's Civic Platform, which includes open APIs and mobile apps, enables and improves core processes for city, county, state and federal governments.

Amazon C++ SDK: cloud games development on the cloud, for the cloud

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) is aiming to provide software application development professionals with more tangible tools to build native cloud applications on the cloud, for the cloud.


The public cloud technology offering has been augmented this month with the release of an open source Software Development Kit (SDK) for the object-oriented C++ programming language .

AWS already offers SDKs for the Google Go programming language, Microsoft's .NET platform -- plus also Node.js, PHP, Python, Ruby and Scala.

As Jordan Novet notes on Venture Beat, the new tooling makes it easier for more developers and game studios to start building code with hooks into AWS infrastructure.

"It's surprising that it took this long for AWS to ship a C++ SDK, though. C++, a descendent of C that first appeared in the late 1970s, is very widely used by programmers," writes Novet.

Amazon says...

Amazon's Jonathan Henson explains that the AWS SDK for C++ is a modern C++ interface with lightweight dependencies.

"We designed it to be fully functioning, with both low-level and high-level interfaces. However, we also wanted it to have as few dependencies as possible and to be platform-independent. At the moment, it includes support for Windows, OS X, Linux, and mobile platforms," notes Barr.

This SDK has been specifically designed with game developers in mind, but AWS insists it has also worked hard to maintain an interface that will work for systems engineering tasks, as well as other projects that simply need the efficiency of native code.


NodeConf EU all set for blarney in 'Nodeland'

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It's NodeConf EU time again -- the third annual gathering of what is hoped to be 400 of the top influencers in Node.js at Waterford Castle from September 6th to 9th.

NOTE:Node.js is a platform built on Chrome's JavaScript runtime for building network applications and is very popular in the areas of robotics, embedded applications and (hence, logically) the Internet of Things.

Cheesy, but nice

For the duration of the event the private island surrounding the historic Waterford Castle will be renamed 'Nodeland'.


The event features speakers from the Node Foundation for the first time since the merger of Node.js and io.js under the last May.

Node Foundation members and community leaders such as Todd Moore, IBM director for Open Technology and Partnerships, Danese Cooper, head of open source for PayPal, Gianugo Rabellino, senior director of Open Source Communities at Microsoft and Brian McCallister, CTO of Platform at GroupOn will be speaking at the event. Mikeal Rogers will also be present and is the originator of NodeConf in the U.S with a number of other top speakers.

The audience will be comprised of C-level executives, Node.js developers at all skill levels, tech managers with Node.js teams and technology thought-leaders and visionaries.

As in previous years NodeConf EU will be curated by nearForm, now the world's largest Node.js consultancy, whose CEO Cian O'Maidin is the only European member of the Node Foundation.

Ireland's oldest city

Waterford is Ireland's oldest city, founded by Viking raiders in AD 914. It has played a pivotal role in the economic, political and cultural life of Ireland and developing into Node.js centre of excellence.

According to the organisation, "NodeConf this year will be bigger and better than ever with delegates treated to their own Node.js powered robotic bartender that will prepare a cocktail in two minutes."

Other features at the conference will be a lavish opening ceremony with a flagbearer on horseback, a Speigel tent, live music, traditional whiskey tasting, dueling singing waiters, archery and falconry.

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