My 2017-2018 Introspections

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Thursday, January 4. 2018 in Open Source, Personal, Technology, Work

As the old year falls away and the new year boots up, it is traditional for people to write "old year retrospectives" as well as "new year predictions." Heck, I originally envisioned this entry as a duet of 2 separate blogs. But as much as I tried, it was just too difficult to keep them distinct and self-contained. There was simply too much overlap and as much as I expect "new things" in 2018, I think 2018 will mostly be a solidification of events and issues ramped up from 2017.

So with all that in mind, I present my 2017-2018 Introspections... in no particular order:

Containerization

Docker is dead; Kubernetes lives. OK, so maybe it's not all that cut-and-dried, but what we are seeing is that in this whole sphere, the container itself isn't significant; what is is the life-cycle and orchestration there-of. This is not, of course, new news. It was, after all, the "tough nut" that needed to be cracked, and Docker really had, IMO, the perfect opportunity to own this space. The problem was, well, they wanted to literally "own" it, the way they "own" the container itself. And what we have seen is that for new tech to really take off as well as be entrenched, no single entity should "own" it at all. Long ago I suggested this, that Docker more fully embrace open source and open source foundations, to ensure that they maintained primacy in Containerization. CNCF should have been driven from Docker, instead of driven because of Docker; in response to Docker. Hopefully there is a lesson to be learned in all this by other companies still struggling with how to really engage in open source.

Of course, there are alternatives to Kubernetes, damn good ones in fact. The "winner", if there really needs to be a single winner (which I seriously doubt), should take a page out of the old RPM wars and yum. Recall it's not the package, or the package format, which is significant, but how that package is managed.

InnerSource

I've been incredibly happy to see the huge uptake in awareness of, and interest in, InnerSource. In essence, InnerSource is taking the lessons learned of successful, healthy open source projects, and bringing those methodologies into Enterprise IT s/w development.

It's in many ways the 2nd phase of the open source movement... not only are open source projects the de-facto standards by which software is measured, but now the ways it is built and managed are being recognized as such. Expect some very cool news from the InnerSource Commons in the coming month.

In the meantime, as was the case back in the "old days" of Open Source, there is much FUD out there regarding InnerSource. Some players claim to embrace InnerSource, but talk only of "code sharing"... they miss the big picture. InnerSource is a true cultural and communal paradigm shift. We have much work to do here to have people really understand this. Again, the upcoming news from InnerSource Commons is something to keep your eyes and ears open for.

MicroServices

Yeah, of course. One simply has to mention this. There are lots of topics I could discuss here, and likely will in later posts, but the 2 main ones I wish to chat about here are The Hype and The Implementation.

The Hype

Remember the Web2.0?  Web Services? How about SOA? Maybe ESBs? Anyone else feeling that the old saying that "history never repeats" is an out-and-out lie? I've seen way too many companies go "all in" on micro-services without a really clear idea about wtf it even means. In addition to the plain, old dissatisfaction with hype-driven design, the real problem, imo, is when the hype trumps the implementation.

The Implementation

Believe it or not, there are no free lunches. You make everything an API driven service and you add latency upon latency. You sacrifice performance for deployment. Instead of collaboration, you drive silo-based teams and development. You move complexity from one realm to another.

Of course, there are valid, architectural reasons behind moving lots of stuff outside of a single monolith. The issue is knowing what that is and where it is. Way too many implementations lack this basic knowledge and long term strategic vision.

There is another topic under Implementation which, I think, will be significant in 2018, and that is the increased pub/sub offerings. Right now, Apache Kafka is the cat's meow, and with good reason. But it is hardly the only player and its competition has better performance, more flexibility and an eagerness to make major waves. The 2 most significant alternatives are Apache RocketMQ and Apache Pulsar (and I'm not saying this because I'm on those projects). You owe it to yourselves to try them out and get involved. The barrier to entry to contribute to these 2 projects is also much more open and readily available than Kafka.

Employment

This one is more personal. Back in Oct of 2015 I left Red Hat to join Capital One. As with many others, CapOne was aware that they were, after all, a tech company that "just happens to be a bank" and were looking for experienced people to help with that transition. It was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. But recently, the Tech Fellows program, which I was a part of, was dissolved, and as of this date, I haven't found, nor have been offered, anything within Capital One which I feel truly leverages my experience, skills, and talents. It was a fun journey, and I enjoyed being their "most visible tech spokesperson", but it is likely time to move on.

So I'm looking for new opportunities for 2018. There is, of course, my LinkedIn profile, but if you are reading this, you most probably know enough about me to know how/if I can help. Ideally, these are things I'd love to be doing:

  • Starting or growing an Open Source office
  • Leading long term Digital Transformation Strategy
  • Distinguished Engineer or Chief Technologist driving Innovation
  • Mentoring and Development
  • Remote/Tele-commuting
  • Continue my involvement in Open Source (which greatly benefits the company, after all)

I'm looking for someplace that not only wants/needs someone like me, but wants/needs me. So please reach out if interested. And I'd appreciate it if people could pass the word around.

Cheers! And Happy New Year!


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