Frederic Majer, Martin Nussbaumer and Patrick Freudenstein Operational Challenges and Solutions for Mashups – An Experience Report
Frederic held the last presentation of this year’s MEM 2009. He starts by explaining how mashups often do not really mature. Operation and maintenance is a challenge and is often simply not considered which prevents mashup to turn into real and often-used applications. He explains how he will this paper describe general operational challenges from a provider’s perspective and present dedicated models and processes focusing on providing sufficient service level agreements.
He introduces the CampusMap mashup which helps people finding their way on the university campus. This example is now concretely deployed and thus Frederic can talk about their experience with its deployment. One of the main issue was that several stakeholders are participating (sometimes not consciously) to the final mashup. API providers, system administrators, that Frederic calls “operators” etc. all need to do their job the right way in order for the mashup to keep running.
He explains that a small change by one of the operators, who did not know the existence of the mashup, lead to CampusMap not working anymore. He explains that from an organizational point of view the operators, whenever possible, should be aware and committed to contribute. On the technical side a service level agreement should be agreed upon by at least all the internal operators (i.e. the university IT and general staff in this case).
He described a method to get to this service level agreement. For instance a mashup primary owner should be defined. He also suggest the use of automatic and dedicated monitoring environments controlling that the mashup runs in a correct manner and report when this in not the case. He also suggest pre-testing all external (and internal) service calls in order to see if these comply with the service level agreement. For instance if a service is just too slow on a regular basis it should not be used in the production mashup.
A nice question from the audience was, do you think there is a contradiction between the idea of having SLAs and the supposed “lightweight-ness” of mashups. Frederic explains that it IS a contradiction but in case of the CampusMap mashup it turned out that the mashup was so often used that it needed to get an SLA to ensure quality towards the customers.