“The more things change, the more they stay the same”. Author and technology evangelist Derek Ashmore’s new book “Microservices for Java EE Architects: Addendum for The Java EE Architect’s Handbook”, covers microservices architecture best practices and provides a voice for the movement towards the integration of continuous delivery, cloud integration, and DevOps. Derek has been an avid technology enthusiast since college and has always enjoyed learning different technologies and using them to solve real world problems. Derek has worn many hats in his career and transitioned technologies several times. He started out as a mainframe COBOL / DB2 developer, transitioned to database design and administration roles for both DB2 and Oracle and then to Java development and architecture work.

Derek discovered early on that explaining technology concepts to other people solidified his own knowledge about a topic because it forced him to work through pertinent details and foresee problems and issues that people are going to have on a given topic. Derek started writing articles in the 1990s and followed up with his first book “The J2EE Architect’s Handbook”, in 2004. Derek has recently been working on cloud technologies, primarily with AWS.

“I’m always checking out new technologies and IT trends in my spare time. I consider it that I really learn for a living. The result of that is that I can provide more value to my clients and readers.”

The Beginning of Microservices and its Change Resistance

Derek’s interest in microservices peaked in late 2014 after hearing one of Fred George’s early presentations on the topic on YouTube. Derek began to comb through the blogs and other informal literature to increase his knowledge and noticed the little resources microservices had available. His research proved that microservices can provide tremendous business benefit if implemented well. It also proved that poor implementations can be very costly. Derek decided to capitalize on the research that he has been doing and presented his findings at Chicago Coder Conference 2015, JavaOne 2015 and several Java User Groups.

“…there wasn’t a lot of practical and actionable advice in print for architects to help them avoid some of the pitfalls.

microservicesAs a seasoned technical architect, Derek has seen the resistance that often comes with change. Prerequisites for microservices include a robust DevOps culture, cloud integration, and continuous delivery which happen to also be concepts that meet resistance. Derek predicts that acceptance of this paradigm will be slow in more conservative organizations but the business benefit for microservices boils down to much faster “speed to market”.

In our sit down with Derek he recalled the avid resistance brought on by the introduction of client-server and non-mainframe solutions and makes it clear that microservices architecture is not exempt. Derek also spoke on the trial and tribulation that technologists experienced under Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), which looks similar at first glance. The truth is that microservices architecture and continuous delivery are paradigm shifts for management as well as technologists but the end result more than supports the effort to transition.

“At some point, status quo won’t be possible for many companies and adoption of these concepts will become necessary….to support 23,000 deployments a day Amazon has to eliminate or automate most if not all approvals for deployments to production and that scares many managers at conservative companies.”



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