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DZone Repost: Testing Serverless Functions

February 11, 2022 | AWS, Cloud, GCP, Kubernetes, Microservices, Open Source, Software Consultancy

DZone Repost: Testing Serverless Functions

Serverless functions are easy to install and upload, but we can’t ignore the basics. This article looks at different strategies related to testing serverless functions.

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Fargate As An Enabler For Serverless Continuous Delivery

February 14, 2018 | Cloud

Fargate As An Enabler For Serverless Continuous Delivery

AWS Announced a few new products for use with containers at RE:Invent 2017 and of particular interest to me was a new Elastic Container Service(ECS) Launch type, called Fargate

Prior to Fargate, when it came to creating a continuous delivery pipeline in AWS, the use of containers through ECS in its standard form, was the closest you could get to an always up, hands off, managed style of setup. Traditionally ECS has allowed you to create a configured pool of “worker” instances, with it then acting as a scheduler, provisioning containers on those instances.

 

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QCON London 2017 (Video): Monitoring Serverless Architectures

[Past event] Serverless London February Meetup

Our Lead Consultant, Rafal Gancarz will be speaking at the Serverless London February Meetup. This month the meetup will be hosted by onefinestay and will kick off at 6:30pm. There will also be some great talks on Serverless by James Thomas from IBM and Dave Blooman from FundApps.

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[Past event] ServerlessConf London

Join Rafal Gancarz at ServerlessConf London! Serverlessconf is a community led conference focused on sharing experiences building applications using serverless architectures. Serverless architectures enable developers to express their creativity and to focus on meeting user needs rather than spend time managing infrastructure and looking after servers. These architectures build on the work done in many […]

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Deploying Neo4j Graph Database Server across AWS regions with Puppet

August 16, 2012 | Neo4j

Deploying Neo4j Graph Database Server across AWS regions with Puppet

neo4jIt’s been more than a year now since I rolled out Neo4j Graph Database Server image in Amazon EC2.

In May 2011 the version of Neo4j was 1.3 and just recently guys at Neo Technology published version 1.7.2 so I thought now is the time to revisit this exercise and make fresh AMIs available.
Last year I created Neo4j AMI manually in one region then copied it across to the remaining AWS regions. Due to the size of the AMI and the latency between regions this process was slow.

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What you might have missed in Kubernetes 1.22 release

December 5, 2021 | Cloud, Kubernetes

What you might have missed in Kubernetes 1.22 release

Kubernetes’ second release in 2021, version 1.22, has been out for a little while now and with 1.23 on its way, we thought we’d take a look back. Kubernetes 1.22 was a highly comprehensive release with 53 enhancements in all three graduation levels: 13 features have graduated to stable, 24 enhancements reached beta status, and 16 new features have been accepted into the alpha stage. 

The latest version has some noteworthy security features such as running Kubelet without root access, pod security policies, and seccomp. There are also a couple of deprecated and removed APIs. In this blog, we’ll discuss the significant changes in v1.22, as well as how to handle the removed APIs.

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Exploring How Policy-as-Code and OPA Fit into the K8s World

November 4, 2021 | Kubernetes

Exploring How Policy-as-Code and OPA Fit into the K8s World

We always read that ‘security is everyone’s responsibility’. For any organisation, big or small, security should always be the primary concern—not a mere afterthought. In terms of Kubernetes, securing a cluster is challenging because it has so many moving parts and, apart from securing our Kubernetes environment, we also want to control what an end-user can do in our cluster.

To achieve these goals, we can start with the built-in features provided by Kubernetes like Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), Network Policies, Secrets Management, and Pod Security Policies (PSP). But we know these features are not enough. For example, we may want specific policies like ‘all pods must have specific labels’. And even if we have the policies in place, the next big question is how to enforce them on our Kubernetes cluster in an easy and repeatable manner.

In this blog post, we’ll address this challenge and other questions pertaining to OPA and how it can integrate into Kubernetes.

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Kafka vs RabbitMQ: The Consumer-Driven Choice

July 20, 2021 | Blog, Data Engineering, Kafka

Kafka vs RabbitMQ: The Consumer-Driven Choice

Message and event-driven systems provide an array of benefits to organisations of all shapes and sizes. At their core, they help decouple producers and consumers so that each can work at their own pace without having to wait for the other – asynchronous processing at its best.

In fact, such systems enable a whole range of messaging patterns, offering varying levels of guarantees surrounding the processing and consumption options for clients. Take for example the publish/subscribe pattern, which enables one message to be broadcast and consumed by multiple consumers; or the competing consumer pattern, which enables a message to be processed once but with multiple concurrent consumers vying for the honour—essentially providing a way to distribute the load. The manner in which these patterns are actually realised however, depends a lot on the technology used, as each has its own approach and unique tradeoffs. 

In this article we will explore how this all applies to RabbitMQ and Apache Kafka, and how these two technologies differ, specifically from a message consumer’s perspective.

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Running a Terraform Provider with a Debugger

May 19, 2021 | DevOps, Hashicorp, Open Source, Terraform Provider

Running a Terraform Provider with a Debugger

Developing a Terraform provider is a great thing for a company to do as it allows customers to quickly integrate a product with their existing systems with very little friction. During development, occasionally there might be bugs and issues to fix, and it can be quite difficult to work out what is causing them. In this post, I outline how you can attach a debugger such as Delve to a Terraform provider to save time when solving these issues.

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Machine Learning at scale: first impressions of Kubeflow

April 20, 2021 | Data Engineering, Machine Learning, Software Consultancy

Machine Learning at scale: first impressions of Kubeflow

Our recent client was a Fintech who had ambitions to build a Machine Learning platform for real-time decision making. The client had significant Kubernetes proficiency, ran on the cloud, and had a strong preference for using free, open-source software over cloud-native offerings that come with lock-in. Several components were spiked with success (feature preparation with Apache Beam and Seldon for model serving performed particularly strongly). Kubeflow was one of the next technologies on our list of spikes, showing significant promise at the research stage and seemingly a good match for our client’s priorities and skills.

That platform slipped down the client’s priority list before completing the research for Kubeflow, so I wanted to see how that project might have turned out. Would Kubeflow have made the cut?

 

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Anthos – A Holistic Approach to your Hybrid Cloud initiative

February 17, 2021 | Blog, Cloud, Cloud Native, GCP, Open Source

Anthos – A Holistic Approach to your Hybrid Cloud initiative

Multi-cloud is rapidly becoming the cloud strategy of choice for enterprises looking to modernise their applications.

And the reason is simple – it gives them much more flexibility to host their workloads and data where it suits them best.

In this post, we focus on Google’s application modernisation solution Google Anthos and the role it can play in your cloud transformation strategy.

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WebAssembly – Where is it going?

December 11, 2020 | Cloud, Cloud Native, Kubernetes, Microservices

WebAssembly – Where is it going?

“WebAssembly is a safe, portable, low-level code format designed for efficient execution and compact representation.” – W3C

In this blog, I’ll cover the different applications of Wasm and WASI, some of the projects that are making headway, and the implications for modern architectures and distributed systems.

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Hacking Kubernetes on AWS (EKS) from a Mac

October 29, 2020 | Cloud, Kubernetes, Open Source

Hacking Kubernetes on AWS (EKS) from a Mac

While working with a client recently, we experienced some issues when attempting to make use of NLB external load balancer services when using AWS EKS. I wanted to investigate whether these issues had been fixed in the upstream GitHub Kubernetes repository, or if I could fix it myself, contributing back to the community in the process.

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Decision time with AWS Keyspaces

September 22, 2020 | AWS, Blog, Cassandra, Cloud, DevOps, Open Source

Decision time with AWS Keyspaces

With the upcoming Cassandra 4.0 release, there is a lot to look forward to. Most excitingly, and following a refreshing realignment of the Open Source community around Cassandra, the next release promises to focus on fundamentals: stability, repair, observability, performance and scaling.

We must set this against the fact that Cassandra ranks pretty highly in the Stack Overflow most dreaded databases list and the reality that Cassandra is expensive to configure, operate and maintain. Finding people who have the prerequisite skills to do so is challenging.

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Three Highlights from CloudNative London Conference Day 3

October 8, 2019 | Cloud, Cloud Native, Culture

Three Highlights from CloudNative London Conference Day 3

Following on from the last two blogs by Stuart (who shared highlights for day 1) and Trent (who shared highlights from day 2), I will conclude with mine on CloudNative London 2019 Day 3.

The Cloud Native landscape can be bewildering, and not only for newcomers. As a traveller on the Cloud-native journey, I have sometimes been overwhelmed by the number of products and projects. This is why I took hold of the opportunity to go to Day 3 of the Cloud Native London Conference last month hosted by Skills Matter.

Here are my top highlights from Day 3 of the CloudNative London 2019.

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3 Highlights from CloudNative London 2019 (Day 2)

October 3, 2019

3 Highlights from CloudNative London 2019 (Day 2)

Continuing on from Stuart’s previous blog which covered highlights from CloudNative London conference day 1, I have put together a summary for day 2. 

Being an OCer (OpenCredo employee) has given me the opportunity to fully embed myself in the London technology scene. Alongside our direct engagements with clients, it is a chance to understand and evaluate the trends and lessons that have emerged over the past year.  

For conferences and technical content, London is a very crowded location. Every day it seems like a new conference is being announced and I know I cannot attend them all, no matter how much I want too!  Alongside some of my other colleagues, I was given the option to attend the Skillsmatter CloudNative London conference and with the increase of organisations embracing the dynamic and transformative benefits offered by an ever-growing choice of cloud providers, it seemed like a good fit. 

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Kafka Connect – Source Connectors: A detailed guide to connecting to what you love.

July 30, 2019 | Blog, Kafka

Kafka Connect – Source Connectors: A detailed guide to connecting to what you love.

Writing your own Kafka source connectors with Kafka Connect. In this blog, Rufus takes you on a code walk, through the Gold Verified Venafi Connector while pointing out the common pitfalls

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Securing Kafka using Vault PKI

February 20, 2019 | DevOps, Hashicorp, Kafka, Open Source

Securing Kafka using Vault PKI

Creating and managing a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) could be a very straightforward task if you use appropriate tools. In this blog post, I’ll cover the steps to easily set up a PKI with Vault from HashiCorp, and use it to secure a Kafka Cluster.

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HA Prometheus – The Thanos Evolution

February 5, 2019 | Cloud Native, DevOps, Kubernetes, Microservices, Open Source

HA Prometheus – The Thanos Evolution

While Prometheus has fast become the standard for monitoring in the cloud, making Prometheus highly available can be tricky. This blog post will walk you through how to do this using the open source tool Thanos.

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[Past event] Hashicorp User Group #23

Join us this month the Hashicorp User Group! Thanks to the lovely people at Elsevier who are hosting and providing the food and drink, the Hashicorp meetup will be back on the 17th of July.

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Self-testing infrastructure-as-code

May 31, 2018 | DevOps

Self-testing infrastructure-as-code

As traditional operations has embraced the concept of code, it has benefited from ideas already prevalent in developer circles such as version control. Version control brings the benefit that not only can you see what the infrastructure was, but you can also get reviews of changes by your peers before the change is made live; known to most developers as Pull Request (PR) reviews.

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Heuristics for Identifying Service Boundaries

May 16, 2018 | Microservices

Heuristics for Identifying Service Boundaries

To identify service boundaries, it is not enough to consider (business) domains only. Other forces like organisational communication structures, and – very important – time, strongly suggest that we should include several other criteria in our considerations.

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[Past event] Devoxx UK 2018

Join us for Devoxx UK 2018! We are excited to announce that we are sponsoring and speaking at Devoxx UK 2018. Devoxx is a conference by developers, for developers. Conference Tracks include: Cloud, Containers & Infratructure Big Data & AI Architecture Server Side Java Modern Web Programming Languages Security and much more… Multi Env Deploys […]

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Get your -aas in gear: Privatelink and PaaS democratisation on AWS

February 6, 2018 | Cloud

Get your -aas in gear: Privatelink and PaaS democratisation on AWS

Among the many announcements made at Re:Invent 2017 was the release of AWS Privatelink for Customer and Partner services. We believe that the opportunity signalled by this modest announcement may have an impact far broader than first impressions suggest.

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Writing a custom JupyterHub Spawner

January 11, 2018 | Data Engineering

Writing a custom JupyterHub Spawner

The last few years have seen Python emerge as a lingua franca for data scientists. Alongside Python we have also witnessed the rise of Jupyter Notebooks, which are now considered a de facto data science productivity tool, especially in the Python community. Jupyter Notebooks started as a university side-project known as iPython in circa 2001 at UC Berkeley.

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Terraform Provider Development

August 9, 2017 | Cloud, DevOps, Terraform Provider

Terraform Provider Development

The recent 0.10.0 release of HashiCorp Terraform, saw a significant change to the way Providers are managed. Specifically, the single open source code repository for Terraform has been divided into core and multiple provider repositories.

 

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OpenCredo Cloud Report: July 2017

July 11, 2017 | Cloud, Cloud Native

OpenCredo Cloud Report: July 2017

Over the years, OpenCredo’s projects have become increasingly tied to the public cloud. Our skills in delivering cloud infrastructure and cloud native applications have deepened and the range of cloud projects we are able to take on has grown. From enterprise cloud brokers to cloud platform migration in restricted compliance environments, our ability to deliver on the cloud is now a core component of our value proposition.

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CockroachDB: First Impressions

June 15, 2017 | Data Engineering

CockroachDB: First Impressions

CockroachDB is a distributed SQL (“NewSQL”) database developed by Cockroach Labs and has recently reached a major milestone: the first production-ready, 1.0 release. We at OpenCredo have been following the progress of CockroachDB for a while, and we think it’s a technology of great potential to become the go-to solution for a having a general-purpose database in the cloud.

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[Past event] Devoxx

Join OpenCredo at Devoxx UK 2017 We are pleased to announce that we are sponsoring and attending Devoxx UK this year The Devoxx Family welcomes annually over 11,000 developers to events in Belgium, France, UK, Poland, Morocco & USA. Devoxx UK returns to London 11th – 12th May, 2017. They will again welcome amazing speakers and attendees for the very best developer content and […]

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Testing a Spark Application

May 9, 2017 | Cassandra

Testing a Spark Application

Data analytics isn’t a field commonly associated with testing, but there’s no reason we can’t treat it like any other application. Data analytics services are often deployed in production, and production services should be properly tested. This post covers some basic approaches for the testing of Cassandra/Spark code. There will be some code examples, but the focus is on how to structure your code to ensure it is testable!

 

This blog is written exclusively by the OpenCredo team. We do not accept external contributions.

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[Past event] PROGSCON 2017

It’s all about Containers, Serverless and Reactive Programming right now! ProgSCon London 2017 will explore these trends through engaging talks delivered by leading industry experts. Several talks will also feature various aspect of Blockchain, Microservices and Big Data. If you are a software developer looking to sharpen your skills and learn from the best in the industry, then ProgSCon London 2017 is the place you need to be at!

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Programmable Infrastructure Needs Testing Too

March 20, 2017 | DevOps

Programmable Infrastructure Needs Testing Too

DevOps has swept the tech landscape. Now, many are discovering the benefits of programmable infrastructure. I have been lucky to work on many projects where we’ve taken advantage of tools such as Terraform, Ansible, or Chef.

 

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[Past event] QCon 2017

We are pleased to announce that we are sponsors of QCon 2017, where our Lead Consultant, Rafal Gancarz and Consultant Matt Long will be speaking. Our Chief Scientist, Daniel Bryant will also be hosting the track: Observability Done Right – Automating Insight & Software Telemetry.

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Google Cloud Spanner: our first impressions

March 7, 2017 | Data Analysis, GCP

Google Cloud Spanner: our first impressions

Google has recently made its internal Spanner database available to the wider public, as a hosted solution on Google Cloud. This is a distributed relational/transactional database used inside for various Google projects (including F1, the advertising backend), promising high throughput, low latency and 99.999% availability. As such it is an interesting alternative to many open source or other hosted solutions. This whitepaper gives a good theoretical introduction into Spanner.

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[Past event] Voxxed Days Bristol 2017

Join Lorenzo Nicora at Voxxed Days Bristol 2017 for his talk on Event Sourcing and CQRS! Voxxed Days is a series of tech events organised by local community groups where local and international speakers converge at a wide range of locations around the world. This means each event retains a unique regional flavour, whilst being part of the overall Voxxed movement. Topics covered at Voxxed Days fall under the same radar as Voxxed.com, including: Server Side Java, Java Language, Cloud and Big Data, Web & HTML, Mobile, Programming Languages, Architecture & Security, Methodology, Culture and Future Technologies.

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Everything you need to know about Cassandra Materialized Views

February 16, 2017 | Cassandra

Everything you need to know about Cassandra Materialized Views

One of the default Cassandra strategies to deal with more sophisticated queries is to create CQL tables that contain the data in a structure that matches the query itself (denormalization). Cassandra 3.0 introduces a new CQL feature, Materialized Views which captures this concept as a first-class construct.

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Event Replaying with Hazelcast Jet

February 13, 2017 | Data Engineering

Event Replaying with Hazelcast Jet

One of the stated intentions behind the design of Java 8’s Streams API was to take better advantage of the multi-core processing power of modern computers. Operations that could be performed on a single, linear stream of values could also be run in parallel by splitting that stream into multiple sub-streams, and combining the results from processing each sub-stream as they became available.

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Let’s Encrypt and Terraform – Getting free certificates for your infrastructure

January 24, 2017 | Cloud

Let’s Encrypt and Terraform – Getting free certificates for your infrastructure

This blog aims to provide an end to end example of how you can automatically request, generate and install a free HTTPS/TLS/SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt using Terraform. Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open certificate authority (CA) aiming to make it super easy (and free – did I say free!) for people to obtain HTTPS (SSL/TLS) certificates for their websites and infrastructure. Under the hood, Let’s Encrypt implements and leverages an emerging protocol called ACME to make all this magic happen, and it is this ACME protocol that powers the Terraform provider we will be using. For more information on how Let’s Encrypt and the ACME protocol actually work, please see how Let’s Encrypt works.

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What I Don’t Like About Error Handling in Go, and How to Work Around It

January 23, 2017 | Data Analysis

What I Don’t Like About Error Handling in Go, and How to Work Around It

More often than not, people who write Go have some sort of opinion on its error handling model. Depending on your experience with other languages, you may be used to different approaches. That’s why I’ve decided to write this article, as despite being relatively opinionated, I think drawing on my experiences can be useful in the debate. The main issues I wanted to cover are that it is difficult to force good error handling practice, that errors don’t have stack traces, and that error handling itself is too verbose.

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Common Problems with Cassandra Tombstones

September 27, 2016 | Cassandra, Data Engineering

Common Problems with Cassandra Tombstones

If there is one thing to understand about Cassandra, it is the fact that it is optimised for writes. In Cassandra everything is a write including logical deletion of data which results in tombstones – special deletion records. We have noticed that lack of understanding of tombstones is often the root cause of production issues our clients experience with Cassandra. We have decided to share a compilation of the most common problems with Cassandra tombstones and some practical advice on solving them.

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Simulating GitHub OAuth2 Login for Tests with JUnit, Webdriver & Hoverfly: Record, Sanitise, Playback and Assert

September 21, 2016 | DevOps

Simulating GitHub OAuth2 Login for Tests with JUnit, Webdriver & Hoverfly: Record, Sanitise, Playback and Assert

Sometimes, it can be difficult to write automated tests for parts of your application due to complexities introduced by an external dependency. It may be flaky or have some sort of rate limiting, or require sensitive information which we don’t want to expose outside of our production environment. To get around this, teams might take the approach of manually stubbing the service or using mocks – but the former is tedious and error prone, whereas the latter doesn’t test collaboration at all.

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Kubernetes from scratch to AWS with Terraform and Ansible (part 3)

August 26, 2016 | Kubernetes

Kubernetes from scratch to AWS with Terraform and Ansible (part 3)

This post is the last of a series of three tutorial articles introducing a sample, tutorial project, demonstrating how to provision Kubernetes on AWS from scratch, using Terraform and Ansible. To understand the goal of the project, you’d better start from the first part.

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Kubernetes from scratch to AWS with Terraform and Ansible (part 2)

August 26, 2016 | Kubernetes

Kubernetes from scratch to AWS with Terraform and Ansible (part 2)

This post is the second of a series of three tutorial articles introducing a sample, tutorial project, demonstrating how to provision Kubernetes on AWS from scratch, using Terraform and Ansible. To understand the goal of the project, you’d better start from the first part.

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Kubernetes from scratch to AWS with Terraform and Ansible (part 1)

August 26, 2016 | Kubernetes

Kubernetes from scratch to AWS with Terraform and Ansible (part 1)

This post is the first of a series of three tutorial articles introducing a sample, tutorial project, demonstrating how to provision Kubernetes on AWS from scratch, using Terraform and Ansible.

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Fulfilling the promise of Apache Cassandra performance

August 24, 2016 | Cassandra

Fulfilling the promise of Apache Cassandra performance

At OpenCredo we are seeing an increase in adoption of Apache Cassandra as a leading NoSQL database for managing large data volumes, but we have also seen many clients experiencing difficulty converting their high expectations into operational Cassandra performance. Here we present a high-level technical overview of the major strengths and limitations of Cassandra that we have observed over the last few years while helping our clients resolve the real-world issues that they have experienced.

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Microservices Manchester (#micromanchester) Conference Recap

July 8, 2016 | Microservices

Microservices Manchester (#micromanchester) Conference Recap

OpenCredo recently co-organised the first Microservices Manchester event with OliverBernard recruitment, and it was a resounding success. Over 100 people showed up at the Victoria Warehouse near Manchester’s trendy Salford Quays for a day discussing the realities of implementing microservice systems.

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Securing Terraform state with Vault

April 2, 2016 | Terraform Provider

Securing Terraform state with Vault

When it comes to automating the creation of infrastructure in cloud providers, Terraform (version at time of writing 0.6.14) has become one of my core go to tools in this space. It provides a fantastic declarative approach to describing the resources you want, and then takes care of making it so for you, keeping track of the state in either a local file or a remote store of some sort. Various bits of sensitive data is often provided as input to terraform.

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Easy API Simulation with Hoverfly JUnit Rule

March 17, 2016 | Software Consultancy

Easy API Simulation with Hoverfly JUnit Rule

In order to be able to regularly release an application, your automated tests must be set up to give you fast and reliable feedback loop. If bugs are only found during a long and expensive multi-service or end-to-end test run, it can be a hinderance to fast delivery. Unfortunately I have often seen this problem in development environments: a huge suite of clunky, flaky and slow end-to-end tests which test the full functionality of the application as opposed to being more lightweight and reflecting basic user journeys. This produces the “ice cream cone” anti-pattern of test coverage, where unit tests aren’t providing the kind of coverage and feedback they need to.

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React/Redux boilerplate

March 3, 2016 | Software Consultancy

React/Redux boilerplate

In this post, I’ll be sharing some React/Redux boilerplate code that Vince Martinez and I have been developing recently. It’s primarily aimed at developers who are familiar with the React ecosystem, so if you are new to React and/or Redux, you might like to have a look at Getting Started with React and Getting Started with Redux.

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Is it Time for Your ‘Microservices Checkup’?

March 2, 2016 | DevOps, Microservices

Is it Time for Your ‘Microservices Checkup’?

Many of our clients are currently implementing applications using a ‘microservice’-based architecture. Increasingly we are hearing from organisations that are part way through a migration to microservices, and they want our help with validating and improving their current solution. These ‘microservices checkup’ projects have revealed some interesting patterns, and because we have experience of working in a wide-range of industries (and also have ‘fresh eyes’ when looking at a project), we are often able to work alongside teams to make significant improvements and create a strategic roadmap for future improvements.

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Versioning a Microservice System with git

March 2, 2016 | Microservices

Versioning a Microservice System with git

Microservice-style software architectures have many benefits: loose coupling, independent scalability, localised failures, facilitating the usage of polyglot data persistence tools or multiple programming languages.

However, they also introduce other challenges. A major one is the fact that the end-user functionality of the system will ultimately emerge as a composition of multiple services. This significantly increases the complexity of deploying the system. In addition, because we lose the concept of “versions” of the system, it becomes harder to answer questions like “what capabilities are in production?” and “when is a new feature considered ‘done’?”.

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Akka Typed brings type safety to Akka framework

January 18, 2016 | Software Consultancy

Akka Typed brings type safety to Akka framework

Last time in this series I summarised all the Akka Persistence related improvements in Akka 2.4. Since then Akka 2.4.1 has been released with some additional bug fixes and improvements so perhaps now is a perfect time to pick up this mini-series and introduce some other new features included in Akka 2.4.x.

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Facebook’s React, and the Signal:Noise Ratio

January 15, 2016 | Software Consultancy

Facebook’s React, and the Signal:Noise Ratio

So, you’ve started to hear a lot about React, the Javascript library developed by Facebook, but is it something you need to investigate? It’s time to distil the signal from the noise, position React amongst its rivals, and provide an indication of where it currently would – and would not – be a suitable fit.

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OpenCredo is now an Amazon Web Services APN Consulting Partner
(Spring) Booting Hazelcast

December 1, 2015 | Software Consultancy

(Spring) Booting Hazelcast

This post introduce some of the basic features of Hazelcast, some of its limitations, how to embed it in a Spring Boot application and write integration testings. This post is intended to be the first of a series about Hazelcast and its integration with Spring (Boot). Let’s start from the basics.

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Reusing ansible roles with private git repos and dependency management

November 4, 2015 | Software Consultancy

Reusing ansible roles with private git repos and dependency management

Writing reusable roles for Ansible is not an easy task but one that’s worth doing. This post should walk you through the basics of writing reusable roles with dependencies backed by public and private git repositories.

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Implementing HAL hypermedia REST API using Spring HATEOAS

November 1, 2015 | Microservices

Implementing HAL hypermedia REST API using Spring HATEOAS

To use or not to use hypermedia (HATEOAS) in a REST API, to attain the Level 3 of the famous Richardson Maturity Model. This is one of the most discussed subjects about API design.
The many objections make sense (“Why I hate HATEOAS“, “More objections to HATEOAS“…)
. The goal of having fully dynamic, auto-discovering clients is still unrealistic (…waiting for AI client libraries).

However, there are good examples of successful HATEOAS API. Among them, PayPal.

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JavaOne: Building a Microservice Development Ecosystem (Video)

October 31, 2015 | Microservices

JavaOne: Building a Microservice Development Ecosystem (Video)

Microservices: Some Assembly Required

Over the past few weeks I’ve been writing an OpenCredo blog series on the topic of “Building a Microservice Development Ecosystem”, but my JavaOne talk of the same title crept up on me before I managed to finish the remaining posts. I’m still planning to finish the full blog series, but in the meantime I thought it would be beneficial to share the video and slides associated with the talk, alongside some of my related thinking. I’ve been fortunate to work on several interesting microservice projects at OpenCredo, and we’re always keen to share our knowledge or offer advice, and so please do get in touch if we can help you or your organisation.

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Our Thoughts on DevOps and Cloud at JAX London

October 18, 2015 | Cloud, DevOps

Our Thoughts on DevOps and Cloud at JAX London

DevOps, Cloud and Microservices: “All Hail the Developer King/Queen”

Last week Steve Poole and I were once again back at the always informative JAX London conference talking about DevOps and the Cloud. This presentation built upon our previous DevOps talk that was presented last year, and focused on the experiences that Steve and I had encountered over the last year (the slides for our 2014 “Moving to a DevOps” mode talk can be found on SlideShare, and the video on Parleys).

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Microservice Platforms: Some Assembly [Still] Required. Part Two

September 20, 2015 | Microservices

Microservice Platforms: Some Assembly [Still] Required. Part Two

Working Locally with Microservices

Over the past five years I have worked within several projects that used a ‘microservice’-based architecture, and one constant issue I have encountered is the absence of standardised patterns for local development and ‘off the shelf’ development tooling that support this. When working with monoliths we have become quite adept at streamlining the development, build, test and deploy cycles. Development tooling to help with these processes is also readily available (and often integrated with our IDEs). For example, many platforms provide ‘hot reloading’ for viewing the effects of code changes in near-real time, automated execution of tests, regular local feedback from continuous integration servers, and tooling to enable the creation of a local environment that mimics the production stack.

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SaltStack – Using Consul as an External Pillar Source

September 14, 2015 | DevOps, Hashicorp, Open Source

SaltStack – Using Consul as an External Pillar Source

Recently I was working on a project that was using SaltStack for configuration management and Consul for service discovery. It occurred to me that using Consul’s key/value store would be great place to store data needed for my Salt runs, but unfortunately Consul was not supported in SaltStack as an official data store at that point in time. Being an open source project however, this provided an excellent opportunity to contribute back and this blog post looks to provide some details on how this works, as well as a practical demo on how you can take advantage of Consul as an external data store.

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Terraform Infrastructure Design Patterns

September 14, 2015 | Cloud, DevOps

Terraform Infrastructure Design Patterns

If you are operating in the programmable infrastructure space, you will hopefully have come across Terraform, a tool from HashiCorp which is primarily used to manage infrastructure resources such as virtual machines, DNS names and firewall settings across a number of public and private providers (AWS, GCP, Azure, …).

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Designing a REST API with fine-grained resources, HATEOAS and HAL

August 12, 2015 | Microservices

Designing a REST API with fine-grained resources, HATEOAS and HAL

Over the last few months one of my main projects at OpenCredo has involved creating various microservices which are interacted with via REST. We’ve been working with a relatively rich domain model, which in turn has presented a lot of challenges in how to design our various resources. This blog post aims to summarise various techniques and practices which I’ve found helpful in overcoming these challenges.

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Boot my (secure)->(gov) cloud

August 10, 2015 | Cloud, Software Consultancy

Boot my (secure)->(gov) cloud

As a company, we at OpenCredo are heavily involved in automation and devOps based work, with a keen focus on making this a seamless experience, especially in cloud based environments. We are currently working within HMRC, a UK government department to help make this a reality as part of a broader cloud broker ecosystem project. In this blog post, I look to provide some initial insight into some of the tools and techniques employed to achieve this for one particular use case namely:
With pretty much zero human intervention, bar initiating a process and providing some inputs, a development team from any location, should be able to run “something”, which, in the end, results in an isolated, secure set of fully configured VM’s being provisioned within a cloud provider (or providers) of choice.

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Building a Google analytics dashboard with Python3, Tornado and deploying it on OpenShift (for free)

August 5, 2015 | Data Analysis, Data Engineering

Building a Google analytics dashboard with Python3, Tornado and deploying it on OpenShift (for free)

A few weeks ago, we thought about building a Google analytics dashboard to give us easy access to certain elements of our Google Analytics web traffic. We saw some custom dashboards for bloggers, but nothing quite right for our goal, since we wanted the data on a big screen for everyone in the office to view.

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July 28, 2015 | Microservices

Documenting REST APIs – a tooling review

Recently I co-presented a talk at Goto Amsterdam on lessons learnt whilst developing with a Microservices architecture; one being the importance of defining and documenting your API contracts as early as possible in the development cycle. During the talk I mentioned a few API documentation tools that I’d used and, based on feedback and questions from attendees, I realised that this topic merited a blog post. So, the purpose of this is to introduce 5 tools which help with designing, testing and documenting APIs.

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A deep dive into Angular 2.0

July 8, 2015 | Software Consultancy

A deep dive into Angular 2.0

I was quite excited around autumn last year when Google started to work on a new version of Angular (Angular 2.0) which promised to revolutionise web development. There were rumours that Angular 2.0 wouldn’t be backward compatible with its predecessor, and would be written in Google’s AtScript which is a JavaScript based language on top of Microsoft’s TypeScript. The lack of backwards compatibility raised some concerns, especially for the clients that we had used Angular at. But, lets not get ahead of ourselves here….

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Asynchronous Cloud bootstrapping with Terraform, Cloud-Init & Puppet

June 23, 2015 | Cloud, DevOps, Terraform Provider

Asynchronous Cloud bootstrapping with Terraform, Cloud-Init & Puppet

Working with OpenCredo clients, I’ve noticed that even if you are one of the few organisations that can boast ‘Infrastructure as Code’, perhaps it’s only true of your VMs, and likely you have ‘bootstrap problems’. What I mean by this, is that you require some cloud-infrastructure to already be in place before your VM automation can go to work.

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Neo4j in Action

December 21, 2014 | Publications

Neo4j in Action

Neo4j in Action is a comprehensive guide to designing, implementing, and querying graph data using Neo4j. Using hands-on examples, you’ll learn to model graph domains naturally with Neo4j graph structures. The book explores the full power of native Java APIs for graph data manipulation and querying.

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October 23, 2014 | Cassandra

Spring Data Cassandra Overview

Spring Data Cassandra (SDC) is a community project under the Spring Data (SD) umbrella that provides convenient and familiar APIs to work with Apache Cassandra.

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Experiences with Spring Boot

February 24, 2014 | Cloud Native, Microservices

Experiences with Spring Boot

Last year some of us attended the London Spring eXchange where we encountered a new and interesting tool that Pivotal was working on: Spring Boot. Since then we had the opportunity to see what it’s capable of in a live project and we were deeply impressed.

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New features in Cassandra 2.0 – Lightweight Transactions on Update

February 17, 2014 | Cassandra

New features in Cassandra 2.0 – Lightweight Transactions on Update

In our previous posts we gave an overview of Cassandra’s new compare-and-set (lightweight transaction) commands and a more detailed look into the API for using them when inserting new rows into the database.

In this third post, we are going to cover update statements. We recommend reading the previous posts, as there are some details which are the same for inserts and updates which are not repeated here.

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New features in Cassandra 2.0 – More on Lightweight Transactions

December 2, 2013 | Cassandra

New features in Cassandra 2.0 – More on Lightweight Transactions

Perhaps the most important of Cassandra’s selling points is its completely distributed architecture and its ability to easily extend the cluster with virtually any number of nodes. Implementing a classical RDBMS-style transaction consisting of “put locks on the database, modify the data, then commit the transaction”-style operations are simply not feasible in such an architecture (i.e. that doesn’t scale well).

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New features in Cassandra 2.0 – Lightweight Transactions and Triggers

November 14, 2013 | Cassandra

New features in Cassandra 2.0 – Lightweight Transactions and Triggers

Cassandra 2.0 was released in early September this year and came with some interesting new features, including “lightweight transactions” and triggers.

Despite the rising interest in the various non-relational databases in recent years, there are still numerous use-cases for which a relational database system is a better choice. The latest major release of Cassandra (version 2.0) provides some interesting features that aim to close this gap, and offers its fast and distributed storage engine enhanced with new options that will make users’ lives easier.

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Cross platform test automation with Appium, WebDriver and Cucumber-JVM

September 19, 2013 | Software Consultancy

Cross platform test automation with Appium, WebDriver and Cucumber-JVM

This post will give an overview of mobile testing using Appium. We will integrate tests for a native Android application into an existing Cucumber-JVM based set of acceptance tests and demonstrate multi platform testing from a single set of BDD scenarios. The sample code for this can be found here.

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Configuration Management with Flexible Contexts

August 2, 2013 | Software Consultancy

Configuration Management with Flexible Contexts

Configuration management was born in the pre-cloud era. Remember the days when acquiring a super powerful multi core server felt like winning the jackpot? Infrastructure was a slightly different place back then. Yet for all the recent developments in DevOps, its legacy is still with us.

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Running Cucumber JVM tests in parallel

July 2, 2013 | Software Consultancy

Running Cucumber JVM tests in parallel

This blog post will address the issue of slow test runs when using Cucumber JVM with web automation tools such as WebDriver to perform acceptance testing on a web application.

If your team is using continuous integration this becomes especially noticeable, forcing teams to either wait for acceptance tests to complete before deploying or having to ignore the bulk of the tests.

The sample code and description in this post will show you how to convert your suite to running tests in parallel, something which has historically been problematic with unanswered questions and outstanding Cucumber-JVM bugs on the subject. Tying the described approach in with Selenium Grid2 will allow you distribute your testing across several machines if your suite is especially large or slow.

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Spring Data Hadoop – Objective Overview

June 30, 2013 | Software Consultancy

Spring Data Hadoop – Objective Overview

Spring Data Hadoop (SDH) is a Spring offshoot project that allows the invocation and configuration of Hadoop tasks within a Spring application context. It offers support for Hadoop jobs, HBase, Pig, Hive, Cascading and additionally JSR-223 scripting for job preparation and tidy-up.

It is most suited for use in organisations with existing Spring applications or investment in Spring expertise. Some SDH features replicate functionality of tools in the Hadoop ecosystem that DevOps engineers who maintain a Hadoop cluster will be more familiar with.

 

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Model Matters: Graphs, Neo4j and the Future

February 25, 2013 | Neo4j

Model Matters: Graphs, Neo4j and the Future

As part of our work, we often help our customers choose the right datastore for a project. There are usually a number of considerations involved in that process, such as performance, scalability, the expected size of the data set, and the suitability of the data model to the problem at hand.

This blog post is about my experience with graph database technologies, specifically Neo4j. I would like to share some thoughts on when Neo4j is a good fit but also what challenges Neo4j faces now and in the near future.

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Withstanding the test of time – Part 2

February 19, 2013 | Software Consultancy

Withstanding the test of time – Part 2

How to create robust tests for Spring based applications

This blog post continues on from Part 1 which discussed types of tests and how to create robust tests. Part 2 will examine techniques to help whip a test suite in to shape and resolve common issues that slow everything down. The approaches in this post will focus on spring based applications, but the concepts can be applied to other frameworks too.

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48 hours – The Pursuit of Proper Performance

February 13, 2012 | Software Consultancy

48 hours – The Pursuit of Proper Performance

Recently we were approached by a client to do some performance testing of the web application they had written. The budget allowed two days for this task. Ok. No problem. Yes, we can. Naturally I had one or another question though…

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A Simple Introduction to Complex Event Processing – Stock Ticker End-to-End Sample

February 8, 2012 | Data Analysis, Data Engineering

A Simple Introduction to Complex Event Processing – Stock Ticker End-to-End Sample

Most of the important players in this space are large IT corporations like Oracle and IBM with their commercial (read expensive) offerings.

While most of CEP products offer some great features, it’s license model and close code policy doesn’t allow developers to play with them on pet projects, which would drive adoption and usage of CEP in every day programming.

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Neo4j Super Nodes and Indexed Relationships, Part II

November 4, 2011 | Neo4j

Neo4j Super Nodes and Indexed Relationships, Part II

 Neo4j Super Nodes

In the previous post we compared the performance of fetching relationships from densely populated nodes using Neo4j native store and using lucene index.

We’ve seen that we can fetch the small subset of relationships from a super-node (containing ~1M relationships in total) directly from the Lucene index, the performance of the first run (cold-caches) is better then using the Neo store directly. The subsequent runs with caches warmed up show comparable performance, slightly in favor of direct Neo store fetching, sue to low level cache optimizations.

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Jussi of OpenCredo Creates a Neo4J Amazon Machine Image