Friday, January 27, 2012

Java SE for Embedded and Plug Computers

Wednesday night I attended the WJUG meeting on Java SE for Embedded devices.  The presentation was given by Jim Connors of Oracle and previously Sun prior to the buyout.  Jim showed the power of Java SE for embedded devices how there is very little to change in the development process.

During his presentation he showed a hockey scoreboard implementation that he built.  The scoreboard was using a JavaFX front end on his Windows laptop.  He showed that with a similar implementation using jcurses he could show the scoreboard through putty.  The data regarding penalties, time, and period were all managed by the application running from a full-sized laptop.

He showed there was an important distinction between the Java SE platform and Java SE for Embedded.  First off, the size of the embedded jre was reduced by nearly half.  This was to accomodate the size constraints of the flash drive with the device.  Secondly, there are specific builds for each embedded based device.  The download site for Java SE Embedded has several to choose from and may have the binaries for most devices available on the market.

The embedded space will likely grow into a larger market.  It seems reasonable that Developers and IT shops alike should start to take notice.  The advantages of this platform are low cost and low power consumption.  Both making it an easy adoption for any hosting environment.  Jim had two Global Scale devices on hand.  They have two devices that are priced at $99.

In wrapping up the presentation, he showed a web farm with six nodes.  The first node was the load balancer running Apache Tomcat with mod_proxy.  The last five nodes were responsible for handling the traffic.  The advantage of this implementation is the cost.  These machines may not be that powerful today, but there is growing demand for smaller more powerful and ecological embedded type devices.  Did I mention that these devices only run on 5W of power.  Slap an external hard drive on this machine and suddenly you have a lower powered server that can handle a reasonable amount of traffic.

Check out Jim's blog of tomcat micro cluster to see it in action.  It's very cool and as Jim put it, inspired by the old days of google and their first rack mount systems.

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