Allard Buijze – “For a system to be reactive, there is a great number of non-functional aspects to deal with.”

Allard Buijze is Founder and CTO of AxonIQ. Starting at the age of 6, he has developed a great passion for programming and has guided both large and small organizations in building performant and scalable applications. Now, he is on a mission to make implementations of large scale systems easier, using the concepts of Domain Driven Design, Command-Query Responsiblity Segregation and Event Driven Architectures. He created Axon Framework as an experiment initially, but when both large and organizations started using Axon as a solution to their complexity problems, AxonIQ was born.

What is your background and what sparked your interest in distributed systems?

I started programming at the age of 6, on the Commodore 64. After high-school, I decided to pursue a career in software development and got my first professional experience in several jobs while attending university. That’s where some of the gaps between theory and practice started to become apparent. In the years after, I was amazed by the sheer amount of accidental complexity in systems, especially as they evolve. On my search for better ways, I started to study and practice Domain Driven Design, and later also CQRS. In 2009, in an attempt to implement some commonly needed building blocks for CQRS, I “accidentally” created a framework that people started using in production: Axon Framework. In the years thereafter, with the growing popularity of microservices, Axon provided structure and guidance to many in the development of distributed systems.

Reactive is a new buzzword for many traditional developers. What is your prediction for its importance in application development over the next couple of years?

I think I need to separate Reactive Systems from the Reactive Programming to answer this one. Regarding Reactive Systems, there is a set of sensible commonly applicable practices that will clearly show their benefit as the systems we need to build become more complex. The importance of these principles will undoubtedly grow in the years to come. Reactive Programming is a relatively new style of programming for most of us. While there are clear benefits, I don’t see many developers reap those benefits to the largest extent possible just yet. For that, more APIs will need to consider these practices (similar to the efforts done on R2DBC) and they will need to find their place within software architecture practices.

What is the biggest challenge companies deploying Reactive systems are facing?

Conceptually, I doubt that many will disagree with the Reactive Principles. However, the devil is in the (implementation) details. For a system to be reactive, there is a great number of non-functional aspects to deal with. There isn’t a commonly accepted method, yet, for implementing these non-functional aspects. While different supportive technologies have emerged, such as Akka/Lagom, Vlingo, and Axon, many developers are still overwhelmed by how they are expected to think differently about building systems. Great progress has been made on the infrastructure level, but the practices applied in applications still have a lot of catching up to do.

What is the best solution to this challenge?

Education and standardization. More developers need to be taught how to apply these practices, supported by stories from the field. While tools and frameworks can provide guidance, they cannot replace the need for conceptual understanding of what happens “under the covers”. For this to be successful, seemingly “competing” technologies need to find their commonalities and make those explicit. That’s why I was very happy to team up with Jonas Boner and many others to write the Reactive Principles document. This is the most effective way to make the concepts more accessible to larger audiences.

What is your most ambitious professional dream that you hope to achieve one day?

Right now, we are working hard to make the concepts of CQRS and Event Sourcing more accessible to developers, by helping them overcome the “downsides” of these concepts. My dream is to provide the tools and practices that allow developers and architects to choose to apply these practices purely based on the advantages they may bring to their system, knowing that the risks and knowledge gaps are covered.

Who should attend your talk at Reactive Summit and what will they learn?

My talk is primarily focused on Architects and Developers that have, or plan to, embark on a journey of building a distributed system. Especially the event-driven kind. Using a mixture of lessons and laughs, we will explore what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s so promising about this architectural style. While looking at what’s possible in the future, we’ll focus on what’s important for the short term. “Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground”.

Francesco Cesarini: “Keep your eyes open for emerging, non mainstream tech”

Francesco Cesarini is the founder of Erlang Solutions. He has used Erlang on a daily basis since 1995, starting as an intern at Ericsson’s computer science laboratory, the birthplace of Erlang.

He is also the co-author of ‘Erlang Programming’ and ‘Designing for Scalability with Erlang/OTP’ both published by O’Reilly and lectures at Oxford University. You can follow his ramblings (mainly on Erlang and Elixir) on twitter.

What is your background and what sparked your interest in distributed systems?

I started computer science at Uppsala University in Sweden, and got into distributed systems early on at Ericsson, working on fixed and mobile broadband solutions. In the telecom space, you needed to ensure there were no single points of failure. That meant at least two computers (three if you ask Leslie Lamport), which by default, result in a distributed system.

Reactive is a new buzzword for many traditional developers. What is your prediction for its importance in application development over the next couple of years?

With systems having to be scalable and resilient, they will by default have the properties described in the reactive manifesto, even if they will not necessarily be called reactive. And thanks to programming models, systems which do not have to scale or be resilient will have these features built in, but hidden from the developer.

What is the biggest challenge companies deploying Reactive systems are facing?

Fighting legacy code and old paradigms and outdated technology.

What is the best solution to this challenge?

Use the right tool for the job rather than the tool at hand. Keep your eyes open for emerging, non mainstream tech, and remember that most problems have already been solved, we are just not aware of these inventions, as they were probably ahead of their time.

What is your most ambitious professional dream that you hope to achieve one day?

Become an organic vegetable farmer and make my own wine.

Who should attend your talk at Reactive Summit and what will they learn?

Anyone who wants to understand how, in technology, we’ve always made two steps forward and one step back, and wants to understand the frustration of an Erlang developer in seeing wheels being reinvented, but not being made round. Based on lessons learnt in the last twenty years, from Erlang and the Kubernetes space, Veronica and I will offer our view of the future.

Do not miss Francesco Cesarini’s and Verónica López‘s keynote  “The Future of Programming” at virtual Reactive Summit on November 10. Book your ticket now!

Clement Escoffier: “Reactive will be a necessary trend”

Clement had several professional lives, from academic positions to management. Currently, he’s working for Red Hat as Vert.x core developer. He has been involved in projects and products touching many domains and technologies such as OSGi, mobile app development, continuous delivery, DevOps… His main interests include processes, methods, tools that make the development of software more efficient and also more fun. He is also a Java Champion and an active contributor to many open-source projects such as Apache Felix, iPOJO, Wisdom Framework, and obviously, Vert.x.

What is your background and what sparked your interest in distributed systems?

I have a Ph.D. in software engineering, and after that, I spent a couple of years on the academic side. Even after years in the industry, my heart is still on the academic side.

Distributed systems have always been an interesting subject of study, but I’ve tried to avoid working on distributed systems for years. When you are a student starting your software study, and it was the very beginning of the Internet, distributed systems look amazing. But, after a few classes learning ISO, ARP, RMI, and so on, you are quickly disappointed. It does not look like the extraordinary landscape you imagined.

Fortunately, step by step, the curiosity sparked again, and I’ve spent most of my professional career working on middleware and distributed systems.

Reactive is a new buzzword for many traditional developers. What is your prediction for its importance in application development over the next couple of years?

I wouldn’t say it’s new. It’s a buzzword, and probably one of the less understood buzzwords. Want to make something look cooler than it is: put reactive in front of it.

There is a lot of explanation to explain Reactive’s primary goals and why it does matter today.

We are now living in a Kubernetes/Container era. Microservices and serverless are slowly becoming prominent architectural styles. Data streaming systems, that have always been there, start to expand their niche.

Reactive has a lot of essential characteristics to build such systems. So, Reactive will be a necessary trend for the next five years, but maybe under a form that is not there yet. 

What is the biggest challenge companies deploying Reactive systems are facing?

I would not say it’s a single challenge. There are at least two. First, the development model and the shift in understanding asynchrony is probably the most challenging. It’s not a technical issue; it’s a mind shift. It is a barrier for many developers. When you read a book, you read sentence after sentence. Asynchrony changes this, and that confuses many people. Fortunately, there is a lot of effort made to solve this issue.

The second issue is the operation side. Building a resilient and elastic system is fantastic. Understanding what happens at runtime, observing to understand the system’s decisions, integrating the infrastructure layer and the application layers; these are the issues we are currently facing. That’s challenging and exciting at the same time!

What is the best solution to this challenge?

For several years, we have worked on multiple solutions. We have integrated most of them in Quarkus. It offers both imperative and reactive support; it’s designed for container and Kubernetes and provides observability support.

By no means is this work complete! But, the feedback is very encouraging. 

What is your most ambitious professional dream that you hope to achieve one day?

Reactive systems lead to autonomous systems in some ways. Systems able to automatically react to situations to always ensure the best service and reduce costs. We may soon see the integration of reactive and autonomic computing concepts, which could change the way we build software. We already start to see such touchpoints. Kubernetes operators, for example, are a first step in this direction, KNative serving is another one. Exciting times ahead! 

Who should attend your talk at Reactive Summit and what will they learn?

Everybody that is involved in the construction of distributed / Cloud / Kubernetes applications. We are all struggling to build better distributed systems. It’s an immense challenge for everyone. Reactive Summit is the place where you will see new approaches and feedback. 

Do not miss Clement and his talk “Reactive Programming with Quarkus – A Reactive Mutiny!” at virtual Reactive Summit on November 10. Book your ticket now!

Bernd Ruecker: “There is quite some value in going for reactive, asynchronous or event-driven architectures”

Bernd is an author of “Practical Process Automation” and co-author of “Real-Life BPMN”. He is a regular speaker at conferences around the world and a frequent contributor to several technology publications. He focuses on new process automation paradigms that fit into modern architectures around distributed systems, microservices, domain-driven design, event-driven architecture, and reactive systems.     

What is your background and what sparked your interest in distributed systems?

I am a software developer at heart. I worked in a lot of process automation projects in a lot of big companies. I contributed to various open-source workflow engines for more than 15 years and I’m the Co-Founder and Chief Technologist of Camunda – an open-source process automation vendor.

More and more customers distribute their systems, so I got intrigued by the challenges that come with that.

Reactive is a new buzzword for many traditional developers. What is your prediction for its importance in application development over the next couple of years?

I think there is quite some value in going for reactive, asynchronous or event-driven architectures to be able to handle the increasing complexity of todays systems. So I think almost every bigger system will have some degree of reactiveness.

 What is the biggest challenge companies deploying Reactive systems are facing?

Most developers are not very experienced with reactive systems, asynchronous communication or event-driven architecture. In fact, even a solid understanding of the challenges of distributed systems is missing for many people. This is a huge problem and quickly leads to brittle architectures.

What is the best solution to this challenge?

Learning – and speaking about learnings 🙂

 What is your most ambitious professional dream that you hope to achieve one day?

Getting workflow engine technology (or at least a solid understanding what it does and when it is useful) to almost every developer on the planet. I am on it 😉

Who should attend your talk at Reactive Summit and what will they learn?

Some interactions require state, for example as part of a so-called Saga, a long running business transaction, that is split into multiple small technical ones.  The challenge is to keep state in a way that allows your overall system and its components to stay reactive.

Every developer that has to occasionally deal with sequences of tasks will benefit from learning about Sagas and different ways to implement them, which is what I will talk about.

Do not miss Bernd and his talk “Orchestration, Conversations and the Saga Pattern: How State Helps you to Stay Reactive” at virtual Reactive Summit on November 10. Book your ticket now!

Paweł Mikler at Reactive Summit: “Functional programming will be leading the new era of enterprise software”

Software Engineer, turned Entrepreneur & Principal Business Consultant who has worked in the space of IT, technology partnerships development, international sales and software consultancy for more than 10 years, Paweł Mikler has recently found his home at Scalac where he develops global partnerships and expands the reach Scalac’s portfolio of strategic clients.

Scalac is a proud supporter and a Silver Sponsor at Reactive Summit, and Paweł Mikler and Łukasz Kuczera from Scalac can be found in the expo space during the conference. We spoke to Paweł in advance of his trip to Montreal to learn more about the company and how it can help Reactive Summit attendees.  

Ryland Degnan at Reactive Summit: “We’re due to reach a point in the near future where thinking reactively becomes just as natural as thinking imperatively.”

A co-founder and CTO of Netifi, where he is working to lay the groundwork for the next generation of cloud-native applications, Ryland Degnan was a member of the Netflix Edge Platform team that created RSocket, Hystrix and RxJava.

With more than 12 years of building scalable distributed systems at organizations like Netflix, Skydeck, and Cisco under his belt, Ryland is speaking at Reactive Summit in Montreal about Reactive Microservices using RSocket – an open-source network protocol developed in collaboration with Netflix, Facebook, and Pivotal that was designed to handle complex networks of microservices.

Colin Breck at Reactive Summit: “I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.”

Colin Breck does not need much introduction. With two decades of experience in developing fast-data infrastructures for the monitoring and control of industrial applications, Colin is currently with Tesla working on distributed systems for the monitoring, aggregation, and control of distributed, renewable-energy assets.

At Reactive Summit in Montreal, Colin is doing a talk “From Fast-Data to a Key Operational Technology for the Enterprise” on October 24th. We’re barely containing our excitement for Colin’s talk, so we asked him a few questions about his professional journey, the challenges companies deploying Reactive face and the solution to these challenges.

 

Patrick Altaie at Reactive Summit: “Reactive has good development practices that we should all embrace”

Senior Consultant at Icon Solutions, Patrick Altaie is working on IPF – Icon Solutions’ flagship real-time payments processing platform that is built using Reactive concepts and leading open-source frameworks, including Akka.

In advance of Patrick’s talk “Clustering and Distributed Data: The Winning Combination?” at Reactive Summit in Montreal, we asked him about his Reactive journey, why legacy-heavy companies are struggling to adopt Reactive and what one can learn from his talk.

Lilit Yenokyan at Reactive Summit: “Scaling is the biggest challenge”

Director of Engineering at Pivotus Ventures, Lilit Yenokyan leads teams responsible for software delivery pipeline, testing and infrastructure, with the focus on testing Reactive microservices performance. And that’s exactly what Lilit will be talking about at Reactive Summit in Montreal.

In advance of her talk “Reactive Performance Testing”, we spoke to Lilit about her Reactive journey, the biggest challenges companies deploying Reactive face and the solution to the challenge.

Sushila Sahay at Reactive Summit: “My goal is to amplify the voices of the underrepresented groups.”

A Vice President, Customer Operations & HR at Lightbend, Sushila Sahay is a Peruvian born Canadian of Indian heritage with a passion for business, technology, and human connection. Striving to have a positive impact on everyone with whom she interacts, she has spent over 25 years with tech companies and forged a successful career leading global teams and initiatives for Silicon Valley startups. Currently she leads all Customer and Employee Success teams globally, as VP, Customer Operations and HR at Lightbend, Inc. A classically trained singer, she holds an MBA with Honors in Strategic Management from the University of Alberta.

At Reactive Summit in Montreal, Sushila is hosting a panel discussion “Diversity and Inclusion: Bring the Thunder” with Naomi Davidson (CEO at Trybe), Mona Eldam (Managing Director/Global Head of Transactional Data team at Morgan Stanley), Tara Hernandez (Senior Engineering Manager at Google), and Hywel Evans (Senior Director, Global Solutions Architect at Lightbend) sharing personal stories along with research knowledge to provide insight into how to create an inclusive environment in day to day work.

In advance of this highly anticipated panel discussion, we spoke to Sushila about what diversity and inclusion mean to her personally, how Lightbend makes Reactive Summit an inclusive space and what companies can do to propel their diversity and inclusion effort.