As you may have read previously on the blog, the MongoDB team is adopting the Go language for a variety of projects. At last month’s New York MongoDB User Group, Sam Helman presented on how MongoDB is using Go for new and existing cloud tools. In Sam’s talk, you’ll learn how MongoDB is using Go for the backup capabilities in MongoDB Management Service and a new continuous integration tool.
Why go with Go? Between the lightweight syntax, the first-class concurrency and the well documented, idiomatic libraries such as mgo, Go is a great choice for writing anything from small scripts to large distributed applications.
Thanks to g33ktalk for recording Sam’s talk.
Open Source Software in Business
Open Source software (OSS) has made significant strides in enterprises. From the New York Stock Exchange to the smallest mom-and-pop store, the Linux operating system is powering today's business servers. Its growing popularity is due in no small part to the fact that thousands of IT professionals around the world recognize that producing and distributing this type of open standard software has tremendous benefits over traditional commercial products. Unlike off-the-shelf software, open source gives users access to the underlying source code of the application that programmers write and how they instruct a computer to perform certain tasks. Commercial software is considered proprietary to the company that produces it. “It works well, saves money, and is more secure. SMB or large enterprise, there's no down-side, says Steven Vaughn-Nichols, a long-time Linux and open source journalist. “OSS tends to be more secure -- its code is open so anyone can find, report and fix the bugs. You have no idea what may or may not be hiding in proprietary code.” OSS also tends to be cheaper than its proprietary brothers, he adds. “Better security and cheaper to boot? What's not to like?” Previously, security and licensing acted as traditional barriers to adoption. Now, OSS is driving change from the bottom up, according to the seventh annual “Future of Open Source Survey,” of more than 800 respondents, sponsored by North Bridge Venture Partners and Black Duck Software. Survey results indicate OSS is experiencing a growing influence in organizations. This is due to a cultural shift supported by executives' openness to work with active and strong communities to influence projects and spur innovation, the study found. Additionally, “open source has reached a depth and maturity where quality, access to code and costs are no longer barriers to adoption. “This trend is reinforced by thousands of developers working to reduce defects in code, improve its security and innovate with new features and enhancements that get closer to what users want - because those users can have a hand in making it so,” the study found. The biggest factor in OSS adoption, respondents said, is quality, a ranking that increased from third place in 2012. Freedom from vendor lock-in dropped to second place this year, from first place in 2012. Lower costs, big data, and systems integration are the top three business problems open source is solving. In terms of sector growth, the study found that government, as well as health care and media/entertainment are moving toward adoption of open source. Technical capabilities and features were cited by 45 percent of respondents as reasons for why they choose OSS over proprietary solutions. Only 12 percent chose commercial vendor support as being an important factor, according to the study. Linux has taken over some verticals, notes Vaughn-Nichols. “Most stock markets’ core servers, for example, now run Linux. It really has been moving everywhere in other businesses.” As for the types of applications, he says it started with edge servers, file and Web servers, and over the years Linux is now being used for a large variety of apps, including CRM. Sears, for example, used open source software to build a private cloud platform. According to published reports, the company opted for OSS because it helped reduce costs and boost flexibility. And Sears and Chevron are using Hadoop, an open source database to analyze large amounts of data. Because the code is reusable, OSS is also being used by MasterCard to build prototypes of mobile apps. This gives developers the ability to create apps quickly, the company said. While the energy industry typically hasn’t shown an interest in OSS and has generally only used Linux application servers, Chevron is using Hadoop to find oil in areas including the Gulf of Mexico. As for smaller businesses, Vaughn-Nichols says many are probably not aware that their Network-Attached Storage (NAS) device and Internet router “are almost certainly running Linux.” The OS is everywhere, he adds. “It's in your pocket with your Android smartphone and it's what powers your Google Web searches. The only place it really isn't is the conventional desktop.” Better quality was the number one factor for open source adoption in business cited by respondents in the Future of Open Source survey. Other factors in order of importance were: freedom from vendor lock-in; flexibility/access to libraries of software, extensions and add-ons; elasticity/ability to scale at little cost or penalty; superior security; pace of innovation; lower costs; and access to source code. Increasingly, open source software is being chosen over proprietary alternatives. Industry observers say it’s a viable choice for businesses because it provides: Control – Unlike commercial software, OSS lets you make decisions about how to run your business. Flexibility – OSS is licensed in a way that lets you modify it yourself or hire a third party to tailor the software to meet the needs of your business. Reliability – OSS typically has fewer bugs and is more reliable than software developed using a standard commercial development process. Cost – There are little to no upfront costs with OSS. Users only pay for the support they need and most importantly, when they need it. Longevity – If a commercial software company goes out of business, you lose all of your support, bug fixes, security patches and possibility of future upgrades. Contrast that to a mission-critical software application a business is using: all it has to do is find a consulting firm, programmer or another third-party provider. “Enterprises see [open source software] as leading innovation, delivering higher quality and driving growth rather than being just a free or low-cost alternative,’’ says Michael Skok, general partner at North Bridge Venture Partners. “Going forward, as broader adoption creates a virtuous cycle of innovation and investment, we can expect more disruption from open source, new business models and many more exciting new projects and companies." Vaughn-Nichols also sees OSS becoming more ubiquitous in business. “It's becoming invisible. People tend to think of software as what they see in front of them. For most people that means Windows or Macs. Behind all of them everything -- and I mean everything -- has been switching over to OSS.”
Australian Start-Up Ynomia Is Building an IoT Platform to Transform the Construction Industry and its Hostile Environments
The trillion dollar construction industry has not yet experienced the same revolution in technology you might have expected. Low levels of R&D and difficult working environments have led to a lack of innovation and fundamental improvements have been slow. But one Australian start-up is changing that by building an Internet of Things (IoT) platform to harness construction and jobsite data in real time. “Productivity in construction is down there with hunting and fishing as one of the least productive industries per capita in the entire world. It's a space that's ripe for people to come in and really help,” explains Rob Postill , CTO at Ynomia. Ynomia has already been closely involved with many prestigious construction projects, including the residential N06 development in London’s famous 2012 Olympic Village. It was also integral to the construction of the Victoria University Tower in Australia. Link to Podcast Episode Here “These projects involve massive outflow of money: think about glass facades on modern buildings, which can represent 20-30 percent of the overall project cost. They are largely produced in China and can take 12 weeks to get here,” says Postill. “Meanwhile, the plasterer, the plumber, the electrician are all waiting for those glass facades to be put on so it is safe for them to work. If you get it wrong, you can go in the deep red very quickly.” To tackle these longstanding challenges, Ynomia aims to address the lack of connectivity, transparency and data management on construction sites, which has traditionally resulted in the inefficient use of critical personnel, equipment and materials; compressed timelines; and unpredictable cash flows. To optimize productivity, Ynomia offers a simple end-to-end technology solution that creates a Connected Jobsite. Helping teams manage materials, tools, and people across the worksite in real time. IOT in a Hostile Environment The deployment of technology in construction is often fraught with risk. As a result, construction sites are still largely run on paper, such as blueprints, diagrams and models as well as the more traditional invoices and filing. At the same time, there is a constant need to track progress and monitor massive volumes of information across the entire supply chain. Engineers, builders, electricians, plumbers, and all the other associated professionals need to know what they need to do, where they need to be, and when they need to start. “The environment is hostile to technology like GPS, computers, and mobile phone reception because you have a lot of Faraday cages and lots of water and dust,” explains Postill. “You can't have somebody wandering around a construction site with a laptop; it'll get trashed pretty quickly." Enter MongoDB Atlas “On a site, you might be talking about materials, then if you add to that plant & equipment, or bins, or tools etc, you're rapidly getting into thousands and thousands of tags, talking all the time, every day,” said Postill. That means thousands of tags now send millions of readings on Ynomia building sites around the world. All these IoT data packets must be stored efficiently and accurately so Ynomia can reassemble the history of what has happened and track tagged inventory, personnel, and vehicles around the site. Many of the tag events are also safety critical so accuracy is a vital component and packets can't be missed. To address these needs Ynomia was looking for a database that was scalable, flexible, resilient and could easily handle a wide variety of fast-changing sensor data captured from multiple devices. The final component Postill was looking for in a database layer was freedom: a database that didn't lock them into a single cloud platform as they were still in the early stages of assessing cloud partners. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation , which Postill had worked with in the past, suggested MongoDB , a general purpose, document-based database built for modern applications. “The most important factor was that the database is event-driven, which I knew would be difficult in the traditional relational model. We deal with millions of tag readings a day, which is a massive wall of data,” said Postill. A Cloud Database Ynomia is using MongoDB Atlas , the global cloud database service, now hosted on Microsoft Azure. Atlas offers best-in-class automation and proven practices that combine availability, scalability, and compliance with the most demanding data security and privacy standards. “When we started we didn't know enough about the problem and we didn't want to be constrained," explained Postill. "MongoDB Atlas gives us a cloud environment that moves with us. It allows us to understand what is happening and make changes to the architecture as we go." Postill says this combination of flexibility and management tooling also allows his developers to focus on business value not undifferentiated code. One example Postill gave was cluster administration: "Cluster administration for a start-up like us is wasted work," he said. "We’re not solving the customer's problem. We're not moving anything on. We’re focusing on the wrong thing. For us to be able to just make that problem go away is huge. Why wouldn’t you?" Atlas also gives Ynomia the option to spin out new clusters seamlessly anywhere in the world. This allows customers to keep data local to their construction site, improving latency and helping solve for regional data regulations. Real Time Analytics The company has also deployed MongoDB Charts, which takes this live data and automatically provides a real time view. Charts is the fastest and easiest way to visualize event data directly from MongoDB in order to act instantly and decisively based on the real-time insights generated by event-driven architecture. It allows Ynomia to share dashboards so all the right people can see what they need to and can collaborate accordingly. “Charts enables us to quickly visualize information without having to build more expensive tools, both internally and externally, to examine our data,” comments Postill. “As a startup, we go through this journey of: what are we doing and how are we doing it? There's a lot of stuff we are finding out along the way on how we slice and re-slice our data using Charts.” A Platform for Future Growth Ynomia is targeting a huge market and is set for ambitious growth in the coming years. How the platform, and its underlying architecture, can continue to scale and evolve will be crucial to enabling that business growth. “We do anything we can to keep things simple,” concluded Postill. “We pick technology partners that save us from spending time we shouldn't spend so we can solve real problems. We pick technologies that roll with the punches and that's MongoDB.” When we started we didn't know enough about the problem and we didn't want to be constrained," explained Postill. "MongoDB Atlas gives us a cloud environment that moves with us. It allows us to understand what is happening and make changes to the architecture as we go. Rob Postill, CTO, Ynomia