IntroductionThis year, I went to UKOUG Tech for the first time, as I got my paper about Oracle Process Cloud Service accepted. Looking at the agenda in advance, the content of the conference looked very interesting and I can already say that I wasn't disappointed. Not being particularly interested in the vast amount of database sessions, I decided to mainly focus on the Middleware and Development tracks, to see the latest developments on Oracle's PaaS offerings and the coolest new technology trends.
Even though many visitors to the conference are still working on on-premise projects, I haven't been able to find even one session about on-premise middleware. This is only logical, since SOA Suite, BPM Suite and Oracle Service Bus are lacking spectacular new features: it's all happening in the cloud. So, what exactly is happening in the cloud?
PaaS (Platform as a Service)The main thing is that Oracle's iPaas (Integration Platform as a Service) portfolio is ever growing stronger. Every three months, these products are getting updated, rapidly maturing and expanding in, occasionally overlapping, functionality. Oracle Mobile Cloud Service impressed me as a solid back end for mobile, offering APIs, offline synchronization, authorization and tons of other features that are really useful for the challenges that come with mobile (or multi-channel) integration. Oracle API Platform is growing stronger as well and makes us re-think our way of agile development. API first is the way to go, so we get feedback from consumers early, while we are still working on the actual implementation in the back end. Another advantage here is that the back end is not impacting the API design much, so we can keep things clean and smart.
Moving further down the road, we see that Integration Cloud Service is turning more and more into a full-blown SOA platform and I was happy to present the Decision Models of Process Cloud Service myself. Once Dynamic Processes (Case Management) capabilities are released, I think we can say goodbye to BPM Suite, at least for new projects. Development in Process Cloud Service has become a smooth experience and the UI has improved dramatically since the product was launched in 2014.
Open Source & DevelopmentBut PaaS is not everything. We have seen an increasing interest in open source technology recently and even Oracle is embracing those products these days, standing at the very heart of their cloud offerings. So, I had the opportunity to learn more about Docker, which is a key element in Oracle's many Container oriented cloud offerings, Kubernetes, for which Oracle will provide a managed platform soon and Wercker, which can be used for continuous integration/continuous delivery of containerized microservices.
However, the star of the show was Apache Kafka. Brought to us with much grandeur by Robin Moffatt and Guido Schmutz, among others, Apache Kafka is looking extremely promising for not big data and streaming content, but basically for any event-driven style of architecture. Kafka can be used as an open source product, but you can also choose to use the Confluent Platform or Oracle's Event Hub Cloud Service. I believe that Kafka will be the cornerstone of modern integration architecture, powerfully delivering the promise that traditional SOA couldn't live up to. It's also perfect for being the event hub between your microservices, so they can communicate with each other without dependencies.
All in all, I can say that it was a fantastic conference, with not just great content, but also great social activities. It was a great opportunity to catch up with my friends, meet new people, exchange ideas and attend my first Oracle ACE dinner. I hope to be back next year!