Monday, September 29, 2014

ProActive Workflows & Scheduling 6.0 is out!

The last few weeks have been quite busy at Activeeon! We are now very happy to deliver the result of our hard work, the new release of ProActive Workflows & Scheduling!

Getting started page

This is a major release that represents a long year of efforts. We labelled it as 6.0 and upgraded all components to this version. We previously had components that were using different version numbers, like the Scheduler in version 3.4 and ProActive in version 5.4. It was creating some confusion so we just simplified that.

So what’s in it?

As the name says, ProActive Workflows & Scheduling contains all the components that enable the creation of workflows and their execution. It embeds:
  • ProActive Programming: the low level library for ProActive Active Objects
  • ProActive Scheduling: the Scheduler and Resource Manager, server components that provide the execution of workflows and aggregation of resources to run them
  • ProActive REST: the REST API and its server, that exposes ProActive Scheduling functionalities over HTTP
  • ProActive Web Portals: the Scheduler and Resource Manager web applications
  • Agents for Linux and Windows

And last but not least ProActive Workflow Studio, the web application to create, edit and submit workflows. ProActive Workflow Studio now replaces the old Studio, an Eclipse RCP based application.

ProActive Workflow Studio

All the server components are embedded in the distribution of ProActive Workflows & Scheduling and started by default. It means you don’t have to bother with what to choose, what to install. Just download the distribution, unzip it and run it!

How do you run it?

We wanted to simplify a lot the usage of ProActive. To reach this goal, we improved the distribution to be self-contained. To run it is very easy too. We provide native scripts in the bin/ folder, so on Linux for instance just run:

$> ./bin/proactive-server

On Windows, navigate to the bin/ folder and double click proactive-server.bat.

You can notice that we simplified the native scripts and chose simpler names:
  • proactive-server: starts the server components
  • proactive-client: starts the command line client, to interact with ProActive Workflows & Scheduling via a console and to automate actions
  • proactive-node: starts a ProActive node, with the -r option you can specify the Resource Manager to connect to

The structure of the distribution archive has been simplified:
  • addons: where to place your custom Java tasks or policies
  • bin: native scripts to the server, client and node
  • config: all configuration files, with subfolders for each component
  • data: runtime data for the server part, by default it will contain the databases files, the default dataspaces, monitoring statistics, … Want to start with a fresh installation? Just delete this folder.
  • dist: the files used to run ProActive Workflows & Scheduling, mostly JARs and WARs
  • jre: the Java Runtime Environment that we now embed, no more installation of Java required, nor configuration of JAVA_HOME
  • logs: where log files are stored
  • samples: some workflows and scripts to help you get started
  • tools: native scripts to run tools such as dataspace server, create credentials,...

A release with “good defaults”

To make it easier to use, we simplified the configuration files, used good defaults where possible. For instance PNP is now the default protocol, because it is the most reliable and most performant protocol in most of the cases. Nodes will use the password method when executing runAsMe tasks, because it is simple to setup. The command line will use default credentials so you don’t bother with typing a fake password when testing the product (on a real installation, we strongly recommend that you change the default private key!). These are all examples of small improvements we made to enhance the user experience.

Still finding it hard to use? 

Checkout our new documentation, it is much nicer to read. The old documentation was a bit fragmented, you had to look in different places to find the answer to your question. Now we have two guides, one for the end-user, the person creating and running workflows and one for the administrator, the person responsible for the infrastructure, adding nodes and monitoring them.

To build the documentation, we replaced DocBook with Asciidoctor. It should now be much easier to write documentation and to update it. Let us know if there is missing information.

One more thing

Well we barely scratched the surface and there is many more things to say about this new release. Expect more blog posts to come that will present the new ProActive Workflow Studio and the technologies we used to build it, the Java API based on the REST API, the automatic update for ProActive nodes,...

In the mean time, you are welcome to download and test this new release of ProActive Workflows & Scheduling. We will be very happy to get your feedback!