Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Stackify Blog, Aruna Ravichandran, Dalibor Siroky, Kevin Jackson, PagerDuty Blog

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Microsoft Cloud

Microservices Expo: Blog Feed Post

An Enterprise and Software Architect's Tools of the Trade

It isn't easy keeping up the latest technologies, processes, architectural techniques and enterprise architecture improvements

I have been doing Software Architecture for 16 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few. Along with architecture I usually find as part of each gig, if not the main focus of each gig, process implementation or at least process improvement is required.

It is not easy keeping up the latest technologies, processes, architectural techniques, and enterprise architecture framework improvements. I am a firm believer that to be an architect, you must also be an experienced developer. I do not believe in the hands off architect role and wish the Ivory Tower Architects would stop claiming to be Architects. They are theorist not architects. Modeling, Governance, and documenting are part of the architect's job, but in order to produce valuable artifacts you need to be getting your hands dirty.



I also run into a ton of Googler-Developers. Meaning they have no idea why they are using the code they are using, they just know someone else posted it so it must work. Google has been one of the biggest assets and one of the biggest downfalls for the development community. Proof of concepts are one of the most important parts of the architecture process, and Google has made it easy for developers and architects to shortcut the learning and thinking part of the process.

Back in 1994 when I started my own business I decided I would at a minimum invest 10% of my income back into my education. Over the years that has gone into tons of books, MSDN licenses, other software, and of course equipment.

Now more than ever an architect needs a lot of assets to keep up. I currently carry 5-6 books I am reading with me and 2 laptops to work every day. A shot of my home office is below.

Equipment at Home Office
Click for larger view

On the next page are the tools I am currently using to stay current. My hope is that it helps others heading into software development or software architecture understand what it takes to stay current.

Equipment and Environments

The Computers

I have four laptops, a windows home server, and a desktop I use at home. The MacBook Pro has 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD hard drive. The Alienware has 32GB of RAM and a 750GB 7200RPM hard drive. The Toshiba has a 64GB SSD and a 500GB hard drive.

On the MacBook I program in Xcode and I am running Windows 8 (which by the way is the best place to run it) in Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac.  I use Visual Studio 2012 and SQL Server 2012 on Windows 8 instance.

On the Alienware I use Visual Studio 2010 and 2012 with SQL Server 2012.  I also have several virtuals built in both Windows Server 2003 and 2008 R2.  I do not have any in Windows Server 2012 yet because the RTM kept bombing in VMware. I tried installing it 3 times with no luck. I also have an instance of Windows 8 set up in VMware, but rarely use it.

I have an instances of SharePoint 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013 I use to proof of concept.  I am just finishing up a big 2007 to 2010 migration and without these environments it would not be happening.  The Alienware allows me to run two virtuals at the same time with plenty of power left over.


MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Alienware AM18X

Toshiba Qosmio X505-Q890



The Mice

My mice are big time productivity savers. Besides the two shown here, I also own the Apple Magic Mouse.  It is the best mouse made for the Mac and is by far the best mouse for Windows 8 on the Mac.

The two shown here are awesome for programming, which is all I use them for.  When people see my equipment they always ask which games I play.  The last game I played was Link (The Legend of Zelda) in the late 1980s.

I have both of these programmed to work with Visual Studio and they work great for building and running, stepping through code, and injecting snippets.

Cyborg M.M.O.7

Logitech G600 MMO



The Coolers

I use coolers on all my machines when I am running them heavy. I started using them because my main laptop that I had 4 years ago would overheat to the point of shutting down.

I use the NotePal U2 for my MacBook.  What I like about it is it has 2 fans that can be repositioned and completely removed.  I also use this cooler to provide additional protection for my MacBook Pro in my backpack. I put my MacBook Pro in a Thule MacBook Sleeve and then slide the Thule Sleeve into the NotePal U2. Together they provide excellent protection.

I use the ZM-NC2000 for my Alienware and Toshiba.  I doubt the Alienware needs it because when its fan system kicks into to high gear it is like a jet engine starting up, but I use it anyway.  Most of the time I do not need to use the fans on these.  Just getting the laptops off the desk provides the cooling they need.

NotePal U2

ZM-NC2000



The External Storage

I own several external hard drives. I use them for storage but I also use them to run virtuals off of them. I have a Western Digital WD Elements 1 TB USB 2.0 and a U32Shadow (on the right).  It is a 1 TB USB 3.0.  Virtuals run fine from the externals and the externals allow me to keep tons of them.  I have virtuals with Windows 2000 and VB 6.0 development environments and every environment in-between up to Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 available.
U32 Shadow



Developer Programs and Software

MSDN
This is the first year since 2002 that I am not a MSDN subscriber. I still have one through my current job, but decided to give my personal one up.  For years as a consultant I found value in having access to all the Microsoft tools and servers, but Microsoft has changed my opinion over the past two years. My attitude now is if a company wants me to develop in Visual Studio, they can provide the license from now on.

Microsoft may change my mind in the future if when they get their act together, but right now they are nothing but aggravating to me. The way I look at it is Microsoft has to be doing enough to keep me making enough to afford a license, if they aren't, then I am just throwing my money away. I felt I had been burning $5000 a year for nothing over the past 2 years and the future they are offering I have no interested in. I will learn Microsoft technologies and use it to get a check, but the techie in me has lost all passion for Microsoft.

All that being said, if you are a consultant in the world of Microsoft and you love what they are doing, your current firm should provide an MSDN as part of your contract.  If they don't, I would say raise your rate so you can cover it yourself.  If I ever get passionate about Microsoft technologies again and the place I am at does not give me an Ultimate license, I will purchase my own.  That however won't be anytime soon.

I use the MSDN subscription to set up environments to do proof of concepts and make use of the software that comes with it.  I use Expression Studio 4 Ultimate, Team Foundation Server 2012, Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate, Office 2013, and Microsoft SQL Server 2012.

You can check out your MSDN Subscription options here.

iOS Developer Program
Apple offers two real developer programs and a free Safari developer program.  The Mac Developer Program allows developers to distribute their Mac apps on the Mac App Store, the iOS Developer Program allows developers to distribute their apps on the App Store and reach millions of iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch users, and the Safari Developer Program includes all the tools and resources for creating extensions that enhance and customize Safari.

I currently only belong to the iOS Developer Program. I like being able to push my apps to my devices for testing and the iOS Developer Program allows me to provision devices to do so.  Since Xcode 4 is free to download, that is the only advantage I get right now.  If I want to push my applications out for approval and to the store I can also do that with the license.

You can check out the developer programs at the links below.
iOS Developer Program
The Mac Developer Program
The Safari Developer Program


Software Beyond the Subscriptions
Below is some of the key software I use beyond what Apple and Microsoft provide.

SPARX System's Enterprise Architect- Enterprise Architect 9.3 is a high performance modeling, visualization and design platform based on the UML 2.4.1 standard.

Eclipse Process Framework (EPF) - The Eclipse Process Framework (EPF) aims at producing a customizable software process enginering framework, with exemplary process content and tools, supporting a broad variety of project types and development styles.

Android Development Tools (ADT) is a plugin for the Eclipse IDE- Designed to give you a powerful, integrated environment in which to build Android applications.

LINQPad- LINQPad is also a great way to learn LINQ: it comes loaded with 500 examples from the book, C# 4.0 in a Nutshell. There's no better way to experience the coolness of LINQ and functional programming.

Paint.NET- Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software for computers that run Windows.

Notepad++- Notepad++ is a free (as in "free speech" and also as in "free beer") source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages.

Auslogics Disk Defrag- Compact and fast defragmenter with over 11,000,000 fans worldwide. It will improve your PC's performance by defragmenting and re-arranging files on your disk.

Parallels Desktop for Mac- Parallels Desktop for Mac is the most tested, trusted and talked-about solution for running Windows applications on your Mac.

VMware Player- VMware Player is the easiest way to run multiple operating systems at the same time on your PC.

Apple Developer Library
Although I have heard plenty of complaints about the iOS Developer Library I have only found certain information in the library.  All iOS books, and I have read plenty, fall short on service communication and security.  They either only mention it, or they use a third party library.  I don't mind books including third party libraries, but I would prefer they include how to use the framework also.  The Developer Library was the only source of any good information on service communication and security using the actual framework.

Webinars and Videos
I am not going to list all the videos I have found on the web. I am just including a few that were really beneficial.

iPad and iPhone Application Development (HD) by Paul Hegarty
Apple Developer Videos
Pluralsight Starter Subscription for MSDN

Reading

Latest Books I've Read and some Classic Must Reads

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Tad Anderson

Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
The nature of test environments is inherently temporary—you set up an environment, run through an automated test suite, and then tear down the environment. If you can reduce the cycle time for this process down to hours or minutes, then you may be able to cut your test environment budgets considerably. The impact of cloud adoption on test environments is a valuable advancement in both cost savings and agility. The on-demand model takes advantage of public cloud APIs requiring only payment for t...
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
Many enterprise and government IT organizations are realizing the benefits of cloud computing by extending IT delivery and management processes across private and public cloud services. But they are often challenged with balancing the need for centralized cloud governance without stifling user-driven innovation. This strategy requires an approach that fundamentally reshapes how IT is delivered today, shifting the focus from infrastructure to services aggregation, and mixing and matching the bes...
"CA has been doing a lot of things in the area of DevOps. Now we have a complete set of tool sets in order to enable customers to go all the way from planning to development to testing down to release into the operations," explained Aruna Ravichandran, Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy at CA Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
While we understand Agile as a means to accelerate innovation, manage uncertainty and cope with ambiguity, many are inclined to think that it conflicts with the objectives of traditional engineering projects, such as building a highway, skyscraper or power plant. These are plan-driven and predictive projects that seek to avoid any uncertainty. This type of thinking, however, is short-sighted. Agile approaches are valuable in controlling uncertainty because they constrain the complexity that ste...
Cavirin Systems has just announced C2, a SaaS offering designed to bring continuous security assessment and remediation to hybrid environments, containers, and data centers. Cavirin C2 is deployed within Amazon Web Services (AWS) and features a flexible licensing model for easy scalability and clear pay-as-you-go pricing. Although native to AWS, it also supports assessment and remediation of virtual or container instances within Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or on-premise. By dr...
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was reali...
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
It’s “time to move on from DevOps and continuous delivery.” This was the provocative title of a recent article in ZDNet, in which Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google Cloud Platform, suggested that “software shops should have put these concepts into action years ago.” Reading articles like this or listening to talks at most DevOps conferences might make you think that we’re entering a post-DevOps world. But vast numbers of organizations still struggle to start and drive transfo...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
DevOps teams have more on their plate than ever. As infrastructure needs grow, so does the time required to ensure that everything's running smoothly. This makes automation crucial - especially in the server and network monitoring world. Server monitoring tools can save teams time by automating server management and providing real-time performance updates. As budgets reset for the New Year, there is no better time to implement a new server monitoring tool (or re-evaluate your current solution)....
We just came off of a review of a product that handles both containers and virtual machines in the same interface. Under the covers, implementation of containers defaults to LXC, though recently Docker support was added. When reading online, or searching for information, increasingly we see “Container Management” products listed as competitors to Docker, when in reality things like Rocket, LXC/LXD, and Virtualization are Dockers competitors. After doing some looking around, we have decided tha...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The benefits of automation are well documented; it increases productivity, cuts cost and minimizes errors. It eliminates repetitive manual tasks, freeing us up to be more innovative. By that logic, surely, we should automate everything possible, right? So, is attempting to automate everything a sensible - even feasible - goal? In a word: no. Consider this your short guide as to what to automate and what not to automate.
identify the sources of event storms and performance anomalies will require automated, real-time root-cause analysis. I think Enterprise Management Associates said it well: “The data and metrics collected at instrumentation points across the application ecosystem are essential to performance monitoring and root cause analysis. However, analytics capable of transforming data and metrics into an application-focused report or dashboards are what separates actual application monitoring from relat...