Self Promotion: Web Video Interview

As part of a Java Technology India Group event called “Java week 2011” – I was asked to participate in an interview with the experts series. The resulting video interview is linked above. If you want to see a bit more about the entire event, check out the main page.

I need to thank my co-worker Lee for bringing in his camera and also asking the questions on the video.  We did it late on a Friday in one take, so it is very casual.

Here is the list of questions asked:

  • Q. Thank you for granting us this interview. Please introduce yourself and let us know a little about your background and the work you are currently involved in.
  • Q. What has impressed you in monitoring developments in Java technology?
  • Q. What is IBM’s stake and investment in Java Technologies ?
  • Q. What are the technology focus areas for IBM in Java?
  • Q. Do you see any challenges with Java scaling up in leveraging multi-core systems ?
  • Q. While Java (and the JVM) approaches memory management as an internal matter, there are efforts towards moving parts of memory outside Java heap – for instance, look at GigaSpaces, Terracota (and their eCache) etc. What are your thoughts on how this is going to shape up? More specifically, will the Garbage Collection technology become optimal for specific use-cases like caching for instance?
  • Q.  Lately, there is an appliance based delivery of Java (Azul). That approach has compelling technical claims – be it ‘pauseless garbage collection’ or the simplicity in attaining elasticity (Zing). Can you compare and contrast in terms of the overall cost, usability and scalabilty of IBM’s approach versus the appliance based approach?
  • Q.  Any advice for our readers and young developers who aspire to pursue their career in Java ?

My favorite part of the interview is at the 10min mark, where the final question is asked.  If you manage to make it through all 11:20 of the video and feel I didn’t give enough of answer to any of the questions, feel free to comment and I’ll reply with expanded detail.

Installing IBM Support Assistant on Ubuntu

The IBM Support Assistant (ISA) is free (cost) software from IBM that helps with problem determination for IBM software. From my point of view it is most useful for being a gateway to some of the tools for looking into Java problems. Two of particular note are the Health Center and Garbage Collector and Memory Visualizer – great tools for checking into Java performance.

The software is available for Linux, but in RPM format. It is quite easy to transform an RPM file for use with a Debian based system such as Ubuntu. I’m running Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx (LTS).

  1. Install Alien
    sudo apt-get install alien
  2. Convert the RPM into a deb package (including scripts)
    sudo alien -d --scripts support-assistant-
  3. Install resulting deb package
    sudo dpkg -i support-assistant_4.1.2.00-20101124_i386.deb

As far as I can tell, a Java runtime is included in the download. My system already had Java installed, and as these are tools for analyzing Java you will probably want Java installed. I’d suggest you get a copy of the IBM JDK 6, but I’m a bit biased. (you may get a chuckle out of the fact that getting the IBM JDK on Ubuntu will require you to do some additional installation tricks).

Once installed you just have the workbench. To get the tools you’ll need to add them. The first launch should guide you through this process. If not, you can get there via the Workbench menus:

It may take some digging here as there are lots of options, but you want the “IBM Monitoring and Diagnostic Tools for Java – Health Center” and “IBM Monitoring and Diagnostic Tools for Java – Garbage Collection and Memory Visualizer” which should be in the “JVM Based Tools” category.