Infrastructure

Open tech architecture, StrongLoop and football: 3 reasons this trio makes a lot of sense

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wpid-thumbnail-c2817f5d6d2987ca1c2e3b18b59ebf5a-333x500As I followed the preseason football games these past weekends, my mind wandered. I couldn’t help but think of the great news we were unleashing this week. Less than two months ago, the Open Technology Architecture (OTA) welcomed the Node.js Foundation to open governance. This week, IBM welcomes StrongLoop to the IBM team.

Just like in football, when a player joins a team, there is usually one overarching reason. But coaches, like managers in business, look across a number of factors. For IBM, this was an easy choice, and StrongLoop’s Node.js capabilities certainly played a role in our decision. However, the decision ultimately goes beyond just the importance of Node.js in the modern enterprise architecture.

It’s really about culture, microservices, and APIs…and ultimately football. Let me explain.

It’s about open source team culture

If you’ve heard me speak, you know I’m often talking about the importance of culture to an enterprise OTA—like organized team activities in football, investing in an Open Technology Architecture is an investment in your enterprise’s long term skills and capabilities.

At IBM, we say we are open by design.  But what does this mean?  It means that we don’t just use open source code; open source collaboration is in our DNA.  We look across the enterprise architecture and we think about where and how open source can unlock value for our customers. We partner to move those technologies into open governance so the best and most innovative technologists in that segment can collaborate.

StrongLoop’s culture is all about open source collaboration as well, and a strong team needs team players who understand each other and who can actively collaborate in the community’s technical discussions. The StrongLoop developer culture is adept at open collaboration, and during the period where everyone wondered if Node.js would land successfully, they were advocates for tackling the big issues head on.  Establishing open governance is a lot of work, and sometimes the work ethic is overlooked for pure raw technical innovation on the field. But that’s a mistake.

You can’t ignore governance because it immediately enables more technologists to contribute and more implementers to consume your code. Without it, it’s like having a great quarterback and a great wide receiver who have never practiced a day together and head right into regular-season games.  That doesn’t work out too well.

It’s about speed and scalability in an API economy 

Speed is a vital attribute for running backs and just as relevant for developers. Not every deployment is going to go as fast as today’s NFL elite, but we can try.  The StrongLoop API is the first end-to-end platform for the full API lifecycle that allows developers to visually develop REST APIs in Node and get them connected to new and legacy data with built-in mBaaS features, fast.

It’s an API economy and managing the multitude can be as difficult as managing the dietary needs of a hungry football team after practice.  The faster your team can get one job done and integrate it with your current enterprise capabilities, the better. With StrongLoop’s API platform, enterprises gain a universal mechanism for managing APIs without backend dependencies. Because of this addition to our team, your team will be able to deliver Node-powered API projects faster by focusing on services and business logic instead of data and service integration.

It’s about agility   

I like to think of microservices as a tool to empower the quarterbacks on your team to call an audible. In football, if the quarterback is uncomfortable with the formation being used, he can call a change during the play. For instance, if he’s executing a running play and notices the defense is running a blitz, he may want to change the play to prevent getting sacked. He makes a split-second judgement call and yells out a formation change and his offensive line shifts.

Microservices are core to your continuous delivery strategy. Development teams today have to square off against the imperative to keep pace with the demand for new app functionality and better performance across distributed experiences and devices. In a microservices architecture, you’re deploying small software changes very frequently. The great thing about microservices is that they are independent and easy to deploy, which makes your team more agile. StrongLoop has invested in performance by design with a Node-powered microservices approach so your team can call audibles as challenges arise.

Becoming an open source-oriented culture doesn’t happen by accident, it happens because you invest in it and you practice it—at Apache, at OpenStack, at CloudFoundry, at Node.js. These are the best open source stadiums in the world. And we’ve been doing it for a while and we keep doing it because it adds value to for our customers. You don’t get locked in like a quarterback facing a blitz. You get to make small adjustments and add major innovative capabilities to the playbook as you go. You have vendor choice as we all build off the same foundation—and we are getting better at getting better at it.

Open source team culture. Speed and scalability. Agility.

What football team doesn’t want that?

Welcome to the team, StrongLoop. Let’s get ready to play!


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