DZone has posted an interview with Sacha Labourey, CTO of Red Hat Middlware, in which he discusses the upcoming JBoss AS 5 and some of the new and updated JBoss enterprise services. He mentions JBoss DNA and the importance and benefits of having a unified repository, starting with changes in JBoss AS 5:
“We have completely decoupled the metadata management from the application server. It’s something we call the profile service, and this profile service, as you can imagine, is fully pluggable. It could be simply a set of files, it can be a database, it can be a JCR repository. And the idea here is to end up with a unified way to store metadata for one node or a cluster or a farm of JBoss instances, and very quickly provision new instances.”
Having a unified repository not only provides a better way to manage configuration information, but it also integrates access to other systems and other information that are needed by the middleware and the business components:
“I think, in the future, it’s going to be increasingly important to further split some of the notions, which today are still linked way too much as part of a monolithic entity. I think, metadata is something that will be very important. What I call metadata, you know, it’s a non-fancy name to describe everything that is being done in the various repositories out there.
When I look at the way that you configure an operating system, or the way you populate an LDAP tree, the way you get access to the topology of your network, everything you need to manage; when I look at the configuration of an application server on ESB, or when I look at the various steps which need to go in an application before being validated and being able to go to production, all of that is just metadata, whatever fancy name you want to put on that.
Being able to extract all of that information as part of a unified metadata repository, I think is going to be a great step forward to enable the kind of provisioning we will need in the next years. Today, I think, we go through way too many ad hoc and manual processes to get there. We’re not going to get the kind of economy of scale by doing so. We need to radically go to another level.”
This gets to the heart of why a unified repository is needed, and why we’re trying to crack that nut with JBoss DNA. There are too many places where metadata exists to use one-off and ad hoc ways to get at that information. And since that information changes all the time, you can’t suck it into a monolythic repository – you have to provide real-time access, which is exactly what we’re doing with JBoss DNA federation: use JCR to access to the wealth of metadata and content from all kinds of systems. But more on that in a future post.
I’ve just touched on the aspects of Sacha’s interview that related to JBoss DNA. If you have some time, watch the interview to get the whole JBoss middleware picture.