Guest Post: Apache Software Foundation on Servers, Innovation and the Cloud

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 29, 2010

The ApacheCon conference--dedicated to all of the influential Apache-backed platforms and applications, ranging from Hadoop to Cassandra--is coming up Nov. 1st through 5th in Atlanta, Georgia, and we've been doing a series of guest posts in conjunction with it. Members of the Apache Software Foundation have weighed in on the foundation's approach to open source projects, and now, Sally Khudairi, a VP at the foundation, has written a guest post focused on servers, innovation and the cloud. Here it is.

ApacheCon 2010 This Week: Servers, Innovation, and Cloud

By Sally Khudairi, VP of Marketing & Publicity for The Apache Software Foundation

The three main themes of this year’s ApacheCon NA are Servers, Innovation and, almost unavoidably in the current climate, The Cloud. It may be tempting to play down the first theme in order to avoid the association of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) with the Apache HTTP Server and nothing else. However, the web server projects are still a central part of the overall Apache community, a hive of innovation and a central part of many cloud infrastructures.

In many organizations, Apache HTTP Server and Tomcat sit silently in the infrastructure stack and just work, but there are less and less organisations where they don’t sit. And despite being infrastructure staples, Apache HTTP Server and Apache Tomcat are far from static technologies. ApacheCon is ‘the’ event to view of all the latest updates and new modules for both servers, including the imminent arrival of a stable version of Tomcat 7.

However, some of the most valuable aspects of the conference come from simply sharing ideas and insight with peers and those at the heart of Apache’s server communities. The show offers a plethora of seminars, hands-on training and bootcamp sessions on both the Apache HTTP Server and Apache Tomcat: from basic introductions and tips and tricks for administrators, through to advanced sessions on enterprise hardening, the latest new modules and some of the most innovative real-world use cases for the servers.

The foundation’s president Jim Jagielski has already provided OStatic readers an excellent analysis of the ASF Cloud Technologies on show in Atlanta. Which leaves us with the theme of innovation.

Innovation is always a focus for the ASF and its community. Outside of the eighty plus top-level projects at the Foundation, the Apache Incubator is responsible for raising the next generation of Apache technologies. The Foundation itself typically refrains from publicising its ‘podlings’, as the incubating projects are termed, preferring to wait until they have developed and proven themselves as viable projects with a sustainable community. However, at ApacheCon the podlings are given a rare chance to shine, show off their wares and attract new community members.

One of the promising Incubator projects at show this year is Chemistry. A guaranteed star of the packed content management track, the project is an implementation of the OASIS approved CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services) standard.

At its most basic, Chemistry opens up structured enterprise content which was previously locked into proprietary data silos and content management systems. This not only allows systems integration and migration in a market previously characterized by heavy vendor lock-in, it also has the potential to enable the development of a whole new generation of innovative applications which use the output of existing content management software as their starting point.

Wookie is another exciting Apache podling at the show, using the W3C Widget standard to open up opportunities in a massive market typified by proprietary lock-in. Wookie not only allows developers to write once and deploy widgets on multiple platforms, but ensures that users across multiple platforms are connected in a single community. The immense potential for integrating Wookie server into mobile platforms, Internet television and myriad future online devices gives the project potential to become a powerful unifying force in the world of online apps and widgets.

This year’s dedicated OSGi track is also not without its own noteworthy incubating star. The OSGi framework itself provides a service platform to enable rapid modular application development from existing java components. Also in the Incubator, Aries aims to provide a natural home for open source implementations of current and future specifications from the OSGi Alliance Enterprise Expert Group (EEG). The impact of OSGi on the speed and scale of future Java development is potentially profound. And by bridging the gaps between the OSGi framework, Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) and other enterprise requirements, Aries looks set to become one of the ASF’s next enterprise darlings.

ApacheCon will offer presentations from a host of other podlings. And for those looking even further into the future, with two days of free bar camp sessions before the show, there will be plenty of people only too happy to tell you about the next potential incubator projects looking for a community. If you are seeking out the next big thing, the Fast Feather track provides a more formal setting with shorter 20 minute presentations. The number of ApacheCon veterans found in these sessions is testament to the fact that this is where many of the ASF’s most interesting projects have made their first public outings.

But innovation is not just about the new, it is equally about new methods and new applications of what already exists. And this, above all, is what ApacheCon offers: a chance to see and talk about how others are using stalwart Apache technologies like Lucene, Hadoop and Commons and to be a part of the discussion on how these technologies could be used in the future.

If you can’t be with us this year, consider ApacheCon 2011 next year. And in the meantime, look for us online at


Sally Khudairi is Member and Vice President of Marketing & Publicity for The Apache Software Foundation, and the Program and Business Track Chair for ApacheCon NA 2010

Active in the Web since 1993, Sally Khudairi is the publicist behind some of the industry's most prominent standards and organizations. The former deputy to Sir Tim Berners-Lee and long-time champion of collaborative innovation, she became involved with The Apache Software Foundation in 1999, and was elected its first female and non-technical member. She is the Program and Business Track Chair for ApacheCon North America 2010. Sally is chief executive of luxury brand communications consultancy HALO Worldwide.