Substantial Infrastructure Upgrade in Hyperic 4.5 Release

Written by Al Sargent
November 10th, 2010 | 2 Comments | Posted in Hyperic HQ, vFabric

Spring framework and Apache TomcatThe latest release for our award winning web application monitoring and management software, VMware vFabric Hyperic 4.5, is now available for download!

Building on previous releases for the Hyperic 4 family, this release is focused on updating the underlying infrastructure to a modern, lightweight, and modular architecture.  Taking advantage of the deep capabilities of both the Spring java application framework and Apache Tomcat servlet container, the Hyperic development team has improved performance and streamlined development time for future features and provided faster turnaround for bug fixes.

Switch from EJB to Spring 3.0

Originally developed using EJBs, this new Hyperic release upgrades the codebase to the Spring 3.0 Framework. Having direct access to many of the core Spring developers through SpringSource, a division of VMware, and the parent company of Hyperic, the development team recognized that the move to Spring 3.0 Framework would allow them to develop code that is more portable, reusable, testable and maintainable, ultimately providing Hyperic engineers and users with a simpler configuration, improved debugging and boosting overall quality.

As described by Hyperic co-founder and senior product manager, Charles Lee:

“We know from SpringSource surveys that 60% of Spring developers cite faster project completion and application quality as top reasons for using Spring. Our migration supports these assertions. By leveraging the Spring framework we have reduced Hyperic’s codebase by over 7% and dramatically decreased code complexity, which allows for faster startup times and more efficient development. “

In addition to migrating to Spring 3.0, the development team was able to modularize the code base and add Java 5 constructs.

Switch from JBoss to Apache Tomcat

For Hyperic, switching from JBoss to Apache Tomcat, went well beyond just another opportunity to continue to eat their own dog food. Although parent company SpringSource has a significant investment in the Apache Tomcat project, through their own commercial distribution of the software, vFabric tc Server, as well as the number of committers to the open source Apache Tomcat project employed by the company, Hyperic engineers were motivated to make the switch because of a move toward lean software development. Known as a lean and powerful web application server, over 70% of enterprise data centers rely Apache Tomcat for their application server because it is simpler to configure, easier to debug, and lowers code complexity which translates into faster development times—the goal for lean software development.

The Hyperic team first saw significant development time savings on server startup and shutdown. In a case study presented at the SpringOne G2X conference in October, Jennifer Hickey, Hyperic technical lead for the migration, described a clear example of development efficiencies achieved:

“We saw a significant improvement in developer productivity on the Hyperic product after the migration. For example a single developer coding and debugging an application saved 5 minutes of waiting to start up or shut down the application. Considering that developer may restart the application 12 times a day, that saves the developer one hour a day, which is a significant gain in development time.”

Move to Git and Apache Maven

Additional development processes were also updated.  The code repository was moved from subversion to git, and the build process moved from ant to Apache Maven. This lets Hyperic contributors take advantage of git’s distributed architecture, fast performance, and merge/branch capabilities. To download the source from the git code repository go to http://git.springsource.org/hq. Additionally, all of the Hyperic modules needed for development of custom plugins or features can now be downloaded from our maven repository at http://maven.hyperic.org/release.

Support for GemFire, RabbitMQ, and tc Server

The new release adds out-of-the-box support for three of the VMware vFabric platform services, including vFabric GemFire 6.5 distributed caching system, RabbitMQ enterprise messaging system, and the vFabric tc Server Java runtime server version 2.1 that was also released this week. Support for vFabric tc Server existed for previous releases of Hyperic; however, in 4.5 the plugin is now bundled in with all Hyperic distributions, and is no longer a separate download.

To find out more about the updates found in the open source Hyperic HQ 4.5 and the enterprise version vFabric Hyperic 4.5, please see the release notes.

Thanks again to all of our community members and customers that contributed feature ideas and bug reports to this release!

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