All posts by Mark Stuivenberg

Cloud Spanner and Application Development

I recently attended the Google Cloud Next Amsterdam, a one day conference covering services by Google Cloud Platform (GCP) According to Gartner, Google takes the third spot in the public cloud space with Amazon Web Services and Azure taking first and second place respectively. Amongst the plethora of GCP offerings (technological highlights) I was interested in Cloud Spanner one of the newer PaaS offerings which could prove interesting to Uniface’s supported RDBMS list. As it is also of interest how it applies to Application Development.

Cloud Spanner is a fully managed relational database which can scale globally, Google claims that Cloud Spanner is able to scale to thousands of servers and able to handle the biggest transactional workloads. Cloud Spanner joins the ranks of CockroachDB, Clustrix, VoltDB, MemSQL, NuoDB and Trafodion where are coined ‘NewSQL’ databases. NewSQL databases are databases which still offer the traditional Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation and Durability (ACID) with the massive scalability often associated with NoSQL databases.

Cloud Spanner

Being a distributed database, Cloud Spanner can distribute your data over the nodes that you have decided to use in your setup, Google calls this splitting. Data may be split by rows or by load for example if Spanner detects that there are a certain number of rows used more frequently it’s able to split these rows over multiple nodes.

Cloud Spanner offers a standard variety of SQL datatypes, BOOL, INT64, FLOAT64, String, BYTES, DATE, TIMESTAMP and ARRAYS. Various client libraries are already available and come in Java, Python, Go, NodeJS, Ruby and PHP flavours.

Cloud Spanner looks like a game changing distributed database and I’m sure that at Uniface we will be taking it for a test drive to demonstrate its capabilities.

Next to all this there were also exciting news on other areas like App Maker.

Picking up on the latest and greatest on Microsoft’s Azure Platform

I recently attended Microsoft’s tech summit, held at Amsterdam’s RAI convention centre. For those of you who know me, my computing background is on the other side of the spectrum with predominantly UNIX and Linux derivatives. This was my first Microsoft event ever so it was with great anticipation and somewhat uncertainness that I attended the keynote.

From the word go it was clear that Microsoft is heavily vested in Cloud Technologies with customer stories from the Dutch Railway (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) who use Azure’s Big Data platform to predict when train components are about to fail, before failing and causing unnecessary disruptions. Abel Wang proceeded to guide us through a demo using Azure which would predict crime hotspots in certain areas around Seattle. Very impressive all of it.

The main reason however for attending the conference was to pick up on the latest and greatest on Microsoft’s Azure Platform. Microsoft Azure holds second place in the Cloud provider arena but, did experience the biggest growth compared to other players over the last year. Here at Uniface we already use Azure daily, the goal was to see if there were ways to better utilise Azure’s IaaS and PaaS offerings.

From all the Azure and Application Development sessions I learned a lot more about Azure’s PaaS offerings. In the ‘Protect your business with Azure’ session it was evident that Microsoft is fully committed to security and availability. By far, one of the most interesting sessions was ‘Building Serverless Applications with Azure Functions’ in fact. The session demonstrated how simple it is to run a basic event driven application without vesting any time in infrastructure or PaaS offerings.

All in all, the Tech Summit was a great success, I learnt a lot and will be applying the knowledge on workloads we execute in Azure.