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MVC for the Cloud
We're seeing the birth of a "3rd generation" (or is that a third wave?) of MVC

While planning for a talk at Cloud Expo Europe a few weeks ago I was thinking about appropriate metaphors for the way APIs are changing the web. Although the title was APIs as glue for the Cloud, I think the core metaphor behind it deserves some explanation: MVC for the Cloud. I thought I'd add some notes here as to what this might mean.

MVC or Model View Controller is an architectural pattern for software that seperates out three import things - Models (or Data), Views (visualisation of that data) and Controllers (operations on the data). Since it's invention at Xerox Parc in the late 70's, MVC has a had a huge impact on software engineering and nowhere more so that on Web Applications - there are MVC frameworks for almost every Web programming language and framework out there.

MVC

What I'd call "1st generation" MVC was applied to desktop applications and gave great new flexibility at design and build time but separating these three elements out and allowing independent work on all three pieces. When the software shipped everything got baked together and the end user had no knowledge how the underlying system was stitched together.

Moving to Web Applications there is a "2nd generation" of MVC which takes this even further - M, V and C can even stay separate at deploy time for a web app - this means developers of SAAS apps can independently work on and update their data models, views and controllers without affecting the other components - again all without the user needing to know. We can even allow users to switch interfaces "views" according to their needs - and keep exactly the same underlying logic and data models. Advanced testing frameworks and continuous deployment make it increasingly feasible to decouple almost everything.

Cloudscale MVC
However, arguably we're seeing the birth of a "3rd generation" (or is that a third wave?) of MVC which has the potential to have an every broader and deeper impact - Cloud (or Web) scale MVC - all enabled by APIs. To explain this: MVC models have to date been though of as applying to single software applications (desktop or web), but the metaphor extends much further. Namely:

  • Models (Data): can mean any data anywhere, held by any company.
  • Views (Interfaces): can mean any view onto some data or function - i.e. an iPhone app, a mashup with other data, produced by the owners of that data / function or by somebody else.
  • Controllers (Logic): can mean any piece of business logic applied to data, again by the owners of the data or by somebody else.

The implications of this are enormous - instead of a world in which individual applications/services are silos which have M+V+C locked inside of them the MVC connections a can perfectly well exist between applications and between companies. Better stated a company with great data assets can enable access to this data to aggressively grow an ecosystem of partners who provide exiting views (often coupled to audiences) and transformations of this data.

Looking at some examples:

  • Companies such as the New York Times, Bloomberg or Weatherbug have great data - it's often real time, often broader, deeper and unique value over their competitors.
  • Companies such as Animoto, Shazam and Twitter provide amazing functionality which transforms data - Animoto turns images into video, Shazzam turns audio into metadata, Twitter organises a huge global conversation.
  • Companies such as Yahoo! and Tweetdeck provide views on data and structure it in clever ways. Further in the case of Yahoo they bring it to a huge Audience.

I'd also include Apple in the later category - creating devices which end up in the hands of millions and aggregate/transform applications and content into convenient forms for apple users. Some companies (potentially the New York Times falls into this category) have assets in more than one place - in the NYT's case great data, but also a loyal audience which trusts its brand.

APIs are the key strategic asset which is needed to make this happen. Using APIs companies are now no longer forced to provide all parts of the value chain of their service themselves - in fact, it has huge value to partner with others and focus on one's core strength. Today companies can likely still be victorious in their market segment without partnering up - but as the Internet evolves it seems likely that:

  • The companies with the best data should partner with those who can reach the widest (relevant) audience and who can best transform / manipulate and integrate that data.
  • The companies with the best algorithms and processes should seek the best data partners.
  • The companies which provide smart interfaces - be they in software, hardware or in terms of audience should bring in the best data and functionality from wherever they can find it.

Such changes might require changes in business models and strategy, but increasingly they look like a natural evolution of the Web economy. As Data and Services move to the cloud the opportunities for focus and re-use of core valuable assets is a potentially huge untapped benefit for many companies.

APIs and the Internet OS
APIs are the natural glue which can make Cloud scale MVC happen since they allow a complete decoupling of the different elements needed for meaningful applications. What's also interesting is that MVC generally doesn't exist without a fourth element - an MVC framework which provides the structure within which everything comes together.

At the software level, this 4th element is represented by frameworks such as Rails, Jango, Cake, Spring's Java MVC framework or any of the other many frameworks. At the cloud scale the equivalent seems to be something akin to the Internet Operating System postulated by TIm O'Reilly and others which argues that many core internet functions such as Search, Media Access, Location, Communication and others are morphing from standalone services into a commonly available infrastructure which others can rely on - again often through the use of APIs.

This metaphor seems spot on - common substrates such as twitter messaging and google search are clearly becoming the basis of many thousands of new applications. The idea extends further to services such as Facebook connect and Twitter connect which are quickly becoming a standard way to set up user authentication for new Web applications (just as Paypal has largely become for payments). (Of course in some cases there are concerns about how much power some of the players behind such services may ultimately have, but leaving this aside, they arguable provide the means for a whole new economy of applications.

The Internet Operating System seems to be clearly emerging and taking the analogy further - is beginning to make it possible to build compound applications which string together data and services from many places to create user experiences.

Back to MVC
Although there are ton of possible metaphors for the way the Web is evolving, the MVC metaphor seems to be a good fit for what is happening not only at the architectural level (and what might be happening "on top of" the Internet Operating System) but also at the business level.

It seems a fair bet that web companies over the next few years will need to establish what their core value and differentiator is (M, V or C?) and aggressively establish partnering channels to links themselves into strong partner ecosystems. This also creates opportunities for a wealth of new applications which combine data, functionality and views/audiences in new ways.

Read the original blog entry...

About Steven Willmott
Steven Willmott is Co-Founder & CEO of 3scale - a leading provider of mission critical Web Services / API infrastructure services. The company helps web businesses of all types launch and manage Web Service access to digital content and services - accelerating their move to the Cloud. Prior to 3scale, Wilmott was previously the R&D director of one of the leading European research groups on distributed systems and Artificial Intelligence at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. He has 10 years of technical experience in Web Services, Semantic Web, network technology and the management of large-scale international R&D teams. He is also an expert advisor to the European Commission's Future Internet Research Infrastructure program.

Articles & Feature Stories
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Cloud Expo - Cloud Looms Large on SYS-CON.TV


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The World's 30 Most influential Cloud Bloggers
Cloud Expo on Ulitzer
1
Dustin Amrhein 11 Kevin Hoffman 21 Greg O'Connor
2
Ezhil Babaraj 12 Alin Irimie 22 Maureen O'Gara
3
Tony Bishop 13 Kevin Jackson 23 Mark O'Neill
4
Reuven Cohen 14 Fuat Kircaali 24 Bill Roth
5
Ernest de Leon 15 David Linthicum 25 Ellen Rubin
6
David Dean 16 Lori MacVittie 26 John Savageau
7
Ray DePena 17 Bill McColl 27 Michael Sheehan
8
Dana Gardner 18 Paul Miller 28 Roman Stanek
9
John Gauntt 19 Louis Naugès 29 John Treadway
10
Jeremy Geelan 20 Greg Ness 30 Alan Williamson

@CloudExpo Blogs
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Cloud applications are seeing a deluge of requests to support the exploding advanced analytics market. “Open analytics” is the emerging strategy to deliver that data through an open data access layer, in the cloud, to be directly consumed by external analytics tools and popular programming languages. An increasing number of data engineers and data scientists use a variety of platforms and advanced analytics languages such as SAS, R, Python and Java, as well as frameworks such as Hadoop and Spark. Cloud APIs are commonly designed to support application integration representing a disconnect with...
Interested in leveling up on your Cloud Foundry skills? Join IBM for Cloud Foundry Days on June 7 at Cloud Expo New York at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Foundry Days is a free half day educational conference and networking event. Come find out why Cloud Foundry is the industry's fastest-growing and most adopted cloud application platform.
Most DevOps journeys involve several phases of maturity. Research shows that the inflection point where organizations begin to see maximum value is when they implement tight integration deploying their code to their infrastructure. Success at this level is the last barrier to at-will deployment. Storage, for instance, is more capable than where we read and write data. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Atwell, a Developer Advocate for NetApp, will discuss the role and value extensible storage infrastructure has in accelerating software development activities, improve code...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet the demands of Digital Transformation – including accelerating application delivery, closing feedback ...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, which can process our conversational commands and orchestrate the outcomes we request across our persona...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to change everything by enabling “smart” environments (homes, cities, hospitals, schools, stores, etc.) and smart products (cars, trucks, airplanes, trains, wind turbines, lawnmowers, etc.). I recently wrote about the importance of moving beyond “connected” to “smart” in a blog titled “Internet of Things: Connected Does Not Equal Smart”. The article discusses the importance of moving beyond just collecting the data, to transitioning to leveraging this new wealth of IoT data to improve the decisions that these smart environments and products need to make: t...
IBM helps FinTechs and financial services companies build and monetize cognitive-enabled financial services apps quickly and at scale. Hosted on IBM Bluemix, IBM’s platform builds in customer insights, regulatory compliance analytics and security to help reduce development time and testing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Tom Eck, Industry Platforms CTO at IBM Cloud, will discuss how these tools simplify the time-consuming tasks of selection, mapping and data integration, allowing developers to use IBM services or combine them with their own data.
The help desk forms the backbone of IT operations for many federal, state and local government agencies. In fact, the cross-functional nature of its operation means the help desk directly impacts productivity and is an essential part of what enables an agency to meet its stakeholder needs. However, owing to increasingly complex IT environments, managers struggle to ensure that their help desks are operating at optimum efficiency. This seven-point guide will help IT managers ensure their help desks deliver exceptional service while maximizing productivity.
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver the analytics that add value.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, will motivate why realizing the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast trove of private and public data available to enterprises.
It has never been a better time to be a developer! Thanks to cloud computing, deploying our applications is much easier than it used to be. How we deploy our apps continues to evolve thanks to cloud hosting, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and now Function-as-a-Service. FaaS is the concept of serverless computing via serverless architectures. Software developers can leverage this to deploy an individual "function", action, or piece of business logic. They are expected to start within milliseconds and process individual requests and then the process ends.
SYS-CON Events announced today that EARP Integration will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EARP Integration is a passionate software house. Since its inception in 2009 the company successfully delivers smart solutions for cities and factories that start their digital transformation. EARP provides bespoke solutions like, for example, advanced enterprise portals, business intelligence systems and mobile applications for international enterprises across different sectors such as Energy and Util...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Get certified, manage the full lifecycle of your cloud-based resources, and build your knowledge based...
The 21st International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Industry after industry is under siege as companies embrace digital transformation (DX) to disrupt existing business models and disintermediate their competitor’s customer relationships. But what do we mean by “Digital Transformation”? The coupling of granular, real-time data (e.g., smartphones, connected devices, smart appliances, wearables, mobile commerce, video surveillance) with modern technologies (e.g., cloud native apps, big data architectures, hyper-converged technologies, artificial intelligence, blockchain) to enhance products, processes, and business-decision making with customer, ...
There are two main reasons for infrastructure automation. First, system administrators, IT professionals and DevOps engineers need to automate as many routine tasks as possible. That’s why we build tools at Stackify to help developers automate processes like application performance management, error monitoring, and log management; automation means you have more time for mission-critical tasks. Second, automation makes the management of complex, diverse environments possible and allows rapid scaling.
Van Andel Institute has a 20-year legacy of biomedical research and scientific education with a focus on improving health and enhancing the lives of current and future generations. Formed in 1996 by Jay and Betty Ann Van Andel, the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based organization has evolved into a premier center for research and education that supports more than 360 scientists, educators, and staff. At Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), a dedicated team works tirelessly to determine the epigenetic, genetic, molecular and cellular origins of cancer, Parkinson’s and other diseases. Using state-of-...
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Past SYS-CON Events
    Cloud Expo Europe
cloudexpoeurope2010.
sys-con.com

 
    Cloud Expo East
cloudcomputingexpo
2010east.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo East
virtualizationconference
2010east.sys-con.com
    Cloud Expo West
cloudcomputingexpo
2009west.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo West
virtualizationconference
2009west.sys-con.com
    GovIT Expo
govitexpo.com
 
    Cloud Expo Europe
cloudexpoeurope
2009.sys-con.com
 

Cloud Expo 2010 Allstar Conference Faculty

SARWAL
Oracle

COFFEE
Salesforce

KHAN
Sybase

MALCOLM
Abiquo

KHALIDI
Microsoft

RILEY
AWS

BARRETO
Intel

CHAKRAVARTY
Novell

CRANDELL
RightScale

GROSS
Unisys

SCHALK
Google

YEN
Juniper Networks

What The Enterprise IT World Says About Cloud Expo
 
"We had extremely positive feedback from both customers and prospects that attended the show and saw live demos of NaviSite's enterprise cloud based services."
  –William Toll
Sr. Director, Marketing & Strategic Alliances
Navisite
 


 
"More and better leads than ever expected! I have 4-6 follow ups personally."
  –Richard Wellner
Chief Scientist
Univa UD
 


 
"Good crowd, good questions. The event looked very successful."
  –Simon Crosby
CTO
Citrix Systems
 


 
"It's the largest cloud computing conference I've ever seen."
  –David Linthicum
CTO
Brick Group