Welcome!

AJAX & REA Authors: Sebastian Kruk, RealWire News Distribution, Harald Zeitlhofer

Related Topics: SOA & WOA, Java, .NET

SOA & WOA: 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.


Cloud Expo Latest Stories
The 16th International Cloud Expo announces that its Call for Papers is now open. 16th International Cloud Expo, to be held June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps 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!
14th International Cloud Expo, held on June 10–12, 2014 at the Javits Center in New York City, featured three content-packed days with a rich array of sessions about the business and technical value of cloud computing, Internet of Things, Big Data, and DevOps led by exceptional speakers from every sector of the IT ecosystem. The Cloud Expo series is the fastest-growing Enterprise IT event in the past 10 years, devoted to every aspect of delivering massively scalable enterprise IT as a service.
Hardware will never be more valuable than on the day it hits your loading dock. Each day new servers are not deployed to production the business is losing money. While Moore’s Law is typically cited to explain the exponential density growth of chips, a critical consequence of this is rapid depreciation of servers. The hardware for clustered systems (e.g., Hadoop, OpenStack) tends to be significant capital expenses. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mason Katz, CTO and co-founder of StackIQ, to discuss how infrastructure teams should be aware of the capitalization and depreciation model of these expenses to fully understand when and where automation is critical.
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e., the largest single medical system in the United States.
In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Hinkle, Senior Director, Open Source Solutions at Citrix Systems Inc., will provide overview of the open source software that can be used to deploy and manage a cloud computing environment. He will include information on storage, networking(e.g., OpenDaylight) and compute virtualization (Xen, KVM, LXC) and the orchestration(Apache CloudStack, OpenStack) of the three to build their own cloud services. Speaker Bio: Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Source Solutions, at Citrix Systems Inc. He joined Citrix as a result of their July 2011 acquisition of Cloud.com where he was their Vice President of Community. He is currently responsible for Citrix open source efforts around the open source cloud computing platform, Apache CloudStack and the Xen Hypervisor. Previously he was the VP of Community at Zenoss Inc., a producer of the open source application, server, and network management software, where he grew the Zenoss Core project to over 10...
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful device is smaller than a one dollar coin, and frees up otherwise dead space on your motherboard. To meet the requirements of tomorrow’s cloud hardware, Innodisk invested internal R&D resources to develop our SATA III series of products. The SATA III SATADOM boasts 500/180MBs R/W Speeds respectively, or double R/W Speed of SATA II products.
As more applications and services move "to the cloud" (public or on-premise) cloud environments are increasingly adopting and building out traditional enterprise features. This in turn is enabling and encouraging cloud adoption from enterprise users. In many ways the definition is blurring as features like continuous operation, geo-distribution or on-demand capacity become the norm. NuoDB is involved in both building enterprise software and using enterprise cloud capabilities. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Proctor, CTO at NuoDB, Inc., will discuss the experiences from building, deploying and using enterprise services and suggest some ways to approach moving enterprise applications into a cloud model.
Until recently, many organizations required specialized departments to perform mapping and geospatial analysis, and they used Esri on-premise solutions for that work. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dave Peters, author of the Esri Press book Building a GIS, System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers, will discuss how Esri has successfully included the cloud as a fully integrated SaaS expansion of the ArcGIS mapping platform. Organizations that have incorporated Esri cloud-based applications and content within their business models are reaping huge benefits by directly leveraging cloud-based mapping and analysis capabilities within their existing enterprise investments. The ArcGIS mapping platform includes cloud-based content management and information resources to more widely, efficiently, and affordably deliver real-time actionable information and analysis capabilities to your organization.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mac Devine, Distinguished Engineer at IBM, will discuss bringing these three elements together via Systems of Discover.
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Derek Tumulak, Vice President of Product Management at Vormetric, will discuss how to address data security in cloud and Big Data environments so that your organization isn’t next week’s data breach headline.
The cloud is everywhere and growing, and with it SaaS has become an accepted means for software delivery. SaaS is more than just a technology, it is a thriving business model estimated to be worth around $53 billion dollars by 2015, according to IDC. The question is – how do you build and scale a profitable SaaS business model? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Jason Cumberland, Vice President, SaaS Solutions at Dimension Data, will give the audience an understanding of common mistakes businesses make when transitioning to SaaS; how to avoid them; and how to build a profitable and scalable SaaS business.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia, the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between personal and professional social, mobile and cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dramatically improve productivity, reduce collaboration costs, and increase the overall enterprise value by bringing collaboration and infrastructure solutions to the cloud.
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations.
Enterprises require the performance, agility and on-demand access of the public cloud, and the management, security and compatibility of the private cloud. The solution? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Simone Brunozzi, VP and Chief Technologist(global role) for VMware, will explore how to unlock the power of the hybrid cloud and the steps to get there. He'll discuss the challenges that conventional approaches to both public and private cloud computing, and outline the tough decisions that must be made to accelerate the journey to the hybrid cloud. As part of the transition, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service model will enable enterprise IT to build services beyond their data center while owning what gets moved, when to move it, and for how long. IT can then move forward on what matters most to the organization that it supports – availability, agility and efficiency.