Introducing the Symphony Foundation & Community Blog

In case anyone didn’t notice, for the last three posts, I shamelessly “borrowed” my personal blog to provide updates on the early stages of the Symphony Software Foundation, the non profit company that I have the honor to head.

We have accomplished a lot in the last 7 months, including launching a Community Blog (, for all Symphony Software Foundation and Community Members to follow updates on our Community, Events & Projects.

And From now on, I am going bring this blog to what it’s supposed be, a personal blog.

Building our Community bottom up. Thanks for a great Member Meeting!

An recap of our energizing First Members Meeting

A view from the Symphony offices. The reflection in the window kind of adds an air of mystery and intrigue, no?

I wanted to start by thanking everyone for creating so much excitement and traction following our first ever Members Meeting, which took place on May 17th, 2016 at the Conrad Hotel in New York City.

A few A/V hiccups notwithstanding, the meeting went extremely well, with informative presentations and open collaboration throughout the day. There were more than fifty people and 15 organizations represented in attendance, along with over a dozen speakers.  Many of you expressed interest in the material presented during the event, so check out our speakers presentations on Slideshare.

We welcome all members of the Community to dive into the content, and to provide feedback and ideas as we increase both in numbers and in reach.  Once again thank you to all those who participated, the speakers and to Community Members providing feedback and helping us build this Open revolution in Financial Services. 

The purpose of the first meeting was to come together as a group, introduce ourselves, and review the Symphony Software Foundation’s current state and roadmap.  It was also used as a forum to elect members of the Symphony Software Foundation’s ESCo, which we’ll highlight shortly.  Key updates were provided on the status of the organization & governance, product & technology, and community & ecosystem.

For more detailed information, please feel free to review my presentation below, which also outlines the goals and initiatives for Q3 and Q4 of 2016: these include, among other things, completing existing and new inflight contributions, broadening the technology for full open-source readiness, and expanding Membership.

Speaking of Membership, both,  OpenFin and BondLab (Foundation prospective Members) were particularly well-received as prospects at the meeting, which bodes quite well for their candidacy. More to come on that front soon…

Congratulations to Our Newest ESCo Leads

As mentioned, at the meeting Members voted on new ESCo Members leads. First off, I want to thank the 5 Candidates who stepped up, it was a really competitive election.

New ESCo Member Leads
Our newest ESCo Member leads, Johan Forsell of FactSet (left), and Frank Tarsillo of Markit (right).

On behalf of the Symphony Software Foundation Membership and Community, please join us in congratulating the newest leads of the Symphony Software Foundation ESCo,  James Turck of Credit Suisse, pictured on the left, and Frank Tarsillo of Markit, on the right. I am personally  very pleased to have a represetnation from a Founding Member and one from a Community Member, in the spirit of an optimal representation of our Community.

We look forward to their guidance and contributions in the upcoming months and the two years to follow.  For more information about the ESCo, visit our ESCo space.

For a bright Open Source Future on the Symphony Platform 

If you find the time to review the agenda or any of the presentations, you will quickly learn that a lot was covered at the meeting, from code contributions to open source product lifecycle management.

What was most pervasive throughout the presentations and the many discussions, however, was a communal sense of importance and excitement in regards to bringing open source  within Financial Services.

Open source software is no longer a theoretical “nice-to-have”,  but an essential investment that yields a return on investment in a myriad of ways, whether through sweat equity, time and cost savings, collaborative contributions, new product developments, or sheer innovation.

As vanguards within this industry we recognize that change management will be challenging, but we believe that it will not be an uphill battle but merely a matter of time and with your help, I can safely say that that time is now!

We have the opportunity to bring Open Source in Financial Services from the front door, and if you sometimes struggle to see how we are going to do it, well, I think the Mahatma Gandhi had a good way to look at this. Check the video below and I’ll see you at the next Foundation event!

The Symphony Software Foundation is Growing – Join the Community!

It’s been two months since I last posted, and I have a lot of exciting news to share with you.

First off, going forward, my team at the Foundation and I intend to post more frequently; we’ve been quite submerged in our foundational work, but now it’s time to focus on you, our Community.

To that end, despite our incipiency, we’ve seen excellent growth in active Community participation to Working Groups.   Currently, we have, in total, 44 active Members from 17 different organizations actively participating in our 2 Working GroupsCheck Desktop Wrapper / API and Financial Objects Standardization.  And next week, at our First Members Meetingwe plan to start two more, around Symphony Security and Use cases / API.

Additionally, we have received a number of initial code contributions, including the first accepted contribution, from FactSet, with four more contributions in the pipeline, set to be opened in the upcoming weeks:

Kudos to these organizations to put forward 10 Committers who will start contributing at in our OSS repository (currently empty, but not for much longer!) On this note, if you have an idea for a Symphony add-on, just open a CONTRIB issue and we can develop it together in the Open!

Our first Members meeting is on May 17th.  The agenda is packed as there will be a number of presentations and updates from existing and prospective Members, including an important vote for Engineering Steering Committee (“ESCo”) Member Leads.  The ESCo is responsible for the active maintenance and management of all Projects under the Foundation. To learn more about the ESCo and what it does, visit our ESCo space.  We’d like to thank the five Member Lead candidates, from Citi, Credit Suisse, Dow Jones, FactSet and Markit, who stepped up to the challenge to help elevate our efforts.  We wish them luck in Tuesday’s election!

During the Meeting we’ll also have introductory presentations from new prospective Members wanting to join the Foundation, including Mazy Dar from OpenFin. Very much looking forward to it!

We’ve reached near-capacity, so if are from a Member organization and you’re interested in attending, please register with us ASAP!  Or join one of our channels to receive a follow-up to the meeting as well as other news and updates.

In attendance at the meeting will be the newest member of our team, Maurizio (maoo) Pillitu, who starts tomorrow as Director of Release Management & DevOps. We’re thrilled to have him onboard, as his role will be critical to the community’s development, as Maurizio will become over the next few weeks increasingly active in providing a seamless Symphony developer experience in the Foundation. Check out his Github Profile or connect with him on Symphony!

Lastly, if you’re interested in learning more about the Foundation, check out our brief presentation on who we are and what we do and if your organization is interested in applying for membership on, download our prospectus.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Call For Contribution
Join the Symphony Software Foundation Community!

About three months ago I announced that I had joined the Symphony Software Foundation as Executive Director. After my first 90 days on the job, I wanted to give everyone the first public update on the progress of the Foundation.

We are moving fast to execute on our vision to foster an Open Ecosystem on the Symphony platform, shepherding the wave of innovation the world of FinServ and FinTech are experiencing, through collaborative Working Groups and Open Source Governance.

I have received an overwhelming number of requests to join the Community and become a Member of the Foundation.

So I want to start by thanking everyone who participated to this early momentum, including Working Groups‘ participants from our Members and our first proposed contributors!

As I said, lots happened in the last three months – check out the Foundation February 2016 Update for more details. But the bottom line is that I am happy to announce that the Symphony Software Foundation is now fully operational and the key channels of Community interaction are in place.

How can you get involved in the Symphony Community? Three suggestions:

I want you to Open Source!
Join the Symphony Software Foundation!

One conclusive thought regarding the availability of of the code: Since you are here, I am sure you are itching to get your hands on the Symphony Software source code. We are indeed working hard and closely with Symphony to ensure the Foundation is ready to Open Source the code and to provide Foundation contributors an Open development experience on the Symphony API. Stay tuned.

So join the Community and help build the Symphony Open developer experience and of course you’ll be among the first to get access to the Symphony Foundation codebase!

Thank you Alfresco, a 2015 to remember. Welcome Symphony, for an unforgettable 2016

2015 has been full of changes. I love those years where life take major turns and it’s those years that, albeit overwhelming in nature, make life worth living.

Not only I married my wonderful wife Christine, in a dreamy location in my home country in Italy, not only I now have a dog, the first pet in my life (yes a pet picture on this blog!),  but as most of you should know by now, I left Alfresco at the beginning of December 2015.

As you might imagine, it’s been a bittersweet choice, after almost 9 years working on the product, as Partner, SE, Principal Consultant, Global Manager and finally Senior Product Manager for the part of the product I cared the most about, the Developer Platform.
I can’t wait to see 5.1 out in the wild, as a culmination of all the efforts and investments that I & we (people like Ole, Maurizio, Samuel, Martin, Bindu and so many others in the Alfresco ecosystem) have put in the fidelity of the APIs and the general simplification of the developer experience.

There would be too many people to thank for these 9 years, and I’ll probably dedicate a separate post for that. Nevertheless you know who you are, and I deeply thank you for the trust, patience and opportunities you gave me. It’s been an honor. I will continue to be part of the Alfresco Community, in quality of Founder of the Alfresco SDK and continue to cheer for the team, as I think Alfresco is going to continue disrupting the market of ECM and BPM.  Go team Alfresco, I’ll be cheering from the sidelines!

As 2015 and Alfresco are now things of the past, I am proud and honored to announce that I have accepted the position of Executive Director for the Symphony Software Foundation. I will be soon relocating to Palo Alto, California to build a strong and open source ecosystem around the Symphony communications software.

The challenge is big, and equally worthy and exciting: create an open source ecosystem & open API strategy, where major financial services in the world can collaborate and contribute in a standard way, fostering fast innovation, so much needed in the FinTech world.  Some background herehere and here.

All of this, under the laws of open source governance, proven to be successful by examples like OpenStack, CloudFoundry and Open Daylight.

I am digging in this new challenge and I’ll be talking to many peers in the industry and from my open source network over the next months. I will need everyone’s suggestions and advise, so please reach out to me at gabriele at apache org or gab at symphony dot foundation. Also, getting a free account on Symphony and check often are great first steps to follow closely and provide input on the community we’re building.

Thanks everyone for the support and love you showed in 2015. Now onto a memorable 2016, to step even further out of our comfort zones! 🙂


How Alfresco is powering the ECM industry transformation and move to a cloud powered digital Enterprise – Introducing the Alfresco SPK
ECM in the Cloud

The move to cloud is happening, and to be fair ECM has been one of the most lagging businesses to finally take the leap and seriously look into the new delivery models (XaaS) the cloud opens up.

Metrics are off the roof, all the indicators part of the global intel we gather from customers, partners and prospects point in one direction: the future of ECM, like any other enterprise information system, is rapidly moving to cloud, and AWS is driving the space.

SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and company are growingly looked at as major IT optimization factors and concerns over data security are being fast overcome. And this is happening much more rapidly that you’d think and that was predicted just 12/24 months ago. Even in large organization, typically in “closed” vertical, often lagging from technology advancement standpoint.

At Alfresco, we are heavily investing in providing a seamless unified content platform which will ubiquitously enable the deployment of your ECM solutions on premise or on cloud (private, public, hybrid), leveraging natively cloud scale and availability features to power mission critical massive content repositories.

But what’s driving this transformation? In other words, from a customer standpoint, what the key drivers that are increasingly driving customers to choose cloud as a primary ECM deployment vehicle?

Scale (and elasticity) is definitely a key driver. You might have recently read about our joint effort with Amazon that ingested, processed and served 1B documents on an Alfresco instance running on AWS (EC2 + Aurora). As you can appreciate in the technical details of this benchmark, Aurora as a super-scalable database and the flexibility of growing up to 20 Solr shards + 10 Alfresco instances were the key winning factors, validating the choice of basing this benchmark on a flexible and scalable infrastructure like AWS and be able to leverage native features like availability and auto-scaling.

But the most compelling reason remains optimization of the IT processes and the mirage of handing off  maintenance of thicker and thicker layers of the stack to 3rd party providers. While this is not exactly big news (see this post from 2 years ago), especially with the flourishing plethora of DevOps tools to automate provisioning (Chef, Puppet, Ansible, Salt, etc.), orchestration (Kubernetes, Terraform, etc) and more in general the whole Dev -> Ops workflow with immutable containers (Docker, Unikernels, etc), organizations are quickly realizing the end to end benefits of a cloud strategy that starts from the bottom layers of the stacks to rapidly become pervasive and drive to the outsourcing of shared services, application layer, even application development itself and some of the back office processes.

At Alfresco, we are very aware of this movement and real life customer requirements springing off the DevOps movement, and so we have focused our efforts to provide an answer to our customers, partners and community members trying to deploying even growing and arbitrarily complex architectures seamlessly in Cloud and On premise, with native support for virtualized environments and containers.

As an initial deliverable and project to follow, less than 2 weeks ago at the Alfresco Day Roma, we have launched a community preview of the Alfresco SPK (Software Provisioning Kit), a toolbelt for the Alfresco admins and DevOps (much like the alfresco-sdk for Developers), which constitutes a common layer to easily provision Alfresco instances and stacks, either from scratch or starting from pre-existing images, based on pre-existing and commonly used DevOps technology like chef, Vagrant, Packer and virtual image formats (AMIs and Docker to start with). I want to give kudos to our DevOps department and especially Maurizio to have patiently worked with me to convey our internal DevOps experience into a customer facing tool. The SPK is hosted on Github and it’s a 100% community open source effort, so we welcome your feedback!

The SPK constitutes the first key building block to enable a set of very real customer use cases:

  1. First and foremost, provide a modern way of consuming Alfresco software, in the form of immutable pre-baked instance templates (see OOTB) which can be configured by the customer and composed in arbitrarily complex stacks (OOTB or customer define) that can then be ran in your favorite cloud and orchestration system (currently AWS and Cloud formation)
  2. Allow more advanced customer DevOps departments to consume Alfresco software and build images from scratch, to produce stacks that can be then packaged in the virtual format of choice (AMI to start with, Docker later)
  3. Enable the immutable container driven (e.g. via Docker) extended Developer workflow, to allow building of reliable and repeatable stacks locally and remotely, and enable Alfresco to take part to modern processes of continuous delivery and leverage cloud scalability / failover capabilities natively

Maurizio has put together a thorough presentation for the Alfresco Day which describes all the features and current state of the SDK.  You can find it below and we welcome your feedback.

NOTE: While it can work with Alfresco Enterprise, the Alfresco SPK is currently in Community Preview, which means it is NOT supported by Alfresco.

So currently we are looking for feedback and validation, rather recommending than leveraging this tool in production (use at your own risk!).

We are working on a more solid timeline for an EA (Early Adopter) and the GA (General Availability), so stay tuned!

Take your Alfresco productivity to the next level with the Alfresco SDK 2.1.0

As a first tangible result (first relase out!) in my new role in Alfresco Product Management and of the renewed investment Alfresco is putting in the developer platform, developer services and communications, no more than 5 months later than the 2.0.0 release, I am pleased to announce that the Alfresco SDK 2.1.0 is now released and available in Maven Central.

Many thanks go to Martin, for bringing new life to the Alfresco Developer Platform team and to Ole for stepping above and beyond his Developer Evangelist role and help tie up the release. Kudos also to Community members like Bindu who helped with testing and feedback.

This release works for Community and Enterprise (fully supported by Alfresco) and it shows strong signs of our cross-department (Dev, Product, Docs, Support) effort on a much more seamless and productive developer experience for our beloved ecosystem out there.

Here are the full release notes, but let me give you a couple of highlights:

  1. First off, building on the SDK 2.0.0 Spring Loaded approach, we have completed the effort for a full hot reloading experience, both for Alfresco and Share. Until more fixes go in product, we have introduced for this purpose a couple of plugin goals in the alfresco-maven-plugin, which are automatically invoked (or you can manually do that) to refresh webscripts on Alfresco and Share. If you are using your Eclipse, this should happen automatically on save, for IDEA you might night a bit of manual configuration. See RAD (Rapid Application Development) documentation for details.
  2. The SDK now supports Solr4 in the All-in-One archetype: this was the top-most requested issue in 2.0.0, so I am glad we got that out!
  3. In an effort to deliver higher and higher quality extension, we have introduced support for functional and regression testing, leveraging the Selenium based share-po library, which we use internally at Alfresco to perform black box testing. For details, here’s the issue and command details on how to regression test your customizations.
  4. Thanks to Martin and the Docs team  have fully re-written and improved documentation for the SDK 2.1.0  and we also started properly versioning docs for all SDK supported versions (e.g. see 2.0.0 docs)
  5. The SDK is an officially supported Alfresco product as of 1.1.1, but the SDK 2.1.0 marks an important step towards a much more predictable, supported, sustainable development support on the SDK. From now on, you can check the Product Support Status to verify the support status of the SDK and also, if you are an Enterprise customer, engage with Developer Support to get Dev savvy engineering help you on Development matters

I do hope you guys enjoy the new SDK and I am eager to collect feedback, via comments to this post, forums or you can reach out to me or Ole, as well as raise issues in the SDK project.

Handing my baby, the SDK, off :)

One more service announcement: as followers of this blog, you know I have always used this channel to announce SDK news and releases. While I’ll keep posting on SDK usage tips and more in general on my visions on the Alfresco Developer Platform directions, I think it’s time to hand off the baby and in line with the full Alfresco (“the company”) support for the SDK, move all communications to the Alfresco Developer Blog.

In particular, our Developer Evangelist is going to play a key role in keeping you updated and collecting feedback on our development experience.

So stay tuned on our Dev Blog, as Ole will soon post a more comprehensive update on this release.

Is Open Source the right model in the Cloud Rush era?

I finally found the time to share the slides for the ApacheCon talk I gave a couple of weeks ago in Austin, Tx.

The topic is pretty ambitious and quite business oriented, although the most technical in my audience will still appreciate the details around how Open Source technologies are powering the Cloud world, and how the DevOps movement is entrenched in strong open source cultural roots.

I hope you’ll take the time to read the preso below and I’d love to hear your feedback below, since I imagine there would be some heated disagreement 🙂

But if you are too lazy even for checking the slides below, here’s the 3 key take-aways from that preso:

1. It’s not Open Source vs. Cloud, it’s Open Source + Cloud, in the way that there would not be Cloud without the economies of scale provided by Open Source and that most SaaS companies are increasingly seeing the value of Open Source contributions (Google, Linkedin, Facebook and the likes are by no chance the biggest contributors)

2. Open Source has won, and it’s no more a positive differentiation (positive incentive) but more like a de facto standard for writing code (especially at infrastructure level), so it’s a negative differentiation (negative incentive) not to be Open Source (e.g. Govmts around the world use increasingly open source first policies in their software provisioning processes). In a way, Open Source is a commodity.

3. There will not be another RedHat, i.e. a $1B company only based on support and services of pure Open Source software. Sure, Hortonworks and the likes can still make a few hundred millions, but the growing technical and market expertise (due to the commoditization) around Open Source will reduce their chances to do a pure open source services play. Furthermore, we see more and more examples of the winning pattern being running a SaaS service and contribute (at least most of) code to the Open Source: this allows you to scale in the cloud and leverage the profitable SaaS business model, while de-risking investments and creating de facto standards by contributing and  leveraging the Open Source ecosystem.

Alfresco SDK 2.0.0 is (finally) out! Merry XMas Alfresco Devs :)

Christmas according to JoyOfTech

I could not possibly hold onto this anymore. After about 3 months of very caring testing of the Community, nurturing, launches, 4 betas and 2 Release Candidates, it’s with extreme pleasure that I can finally announce the so much awaited (and hopefully the best to date) Christmas present for all Alfresco developers out there: the Alfresco SDK 2.0.0 is now released and available in Maven Central!

Here all the details for this release:

Apart from some major internal refactoring to simplify POMs, maximize OOTB cross IDE (tested with Eclipse Luna and IDEA) compatibility and improve performances, key features for this release include (but are not limited to):

  • All Alfresco SDK 2.0.0-beta-4 features, including hot Java code reloading, native IDE integration, a Share AMP archetype and  remote JUnit testing,
  • Simplification of Enterprise development, with the introduction of a -Penterprise profile to simply configure your build to work against Alfresco Enterprise 5.0.
  • Embedded h2 database support, deprecating the external project alfresco-h2-support … thank Carlo for filling this gap for way too long already!

I really do hope this is a welcomed and so much needed addition to the Alfresco Development ecosystem and just the first step in my new Product Management career towards an ever improving developer experience on top of the coolest ECM framework out there!

Looking forward to your feedback here in the comments or even better as issues or contributions to the Alfresco SDK Github project.

Happy Holidays, now off to some well deserved rest since next year is going to be full of exciting challenges!

Joining Alfresco Product Management – talk to me!!!

And since cats are out of the bag (check out last week’s Alfresco Office Hours with the Alfresco Product Management team), I figured it was about time to make the news official here.

I am delighted and excited to announce that, effective as of November 15th, I have accepted the role of Senior Product Manager, Core Platform / API.  This comes as part of a larger investment and restructuring of the Alfresco Product Management organization.

In this role I will be product managing the core of Alfresco (Repository, Solr, and all the core ECM building blocks) and the private (that we use internally for apps development) / public APIs to interact against the content repository.

I feel the need to hugely thank Alfresco for this great opportunity and personally thanking Thomas for the chance he gave me to make a strategic impact for the company I love.

Now, truth to be told, I’m a little scared as this is a major responsibility. But it’s a positive, motivating fear which will help me keep the bar high and hopefully deliver great work in this position.

Read more Joining Alfresco Product Management – talk to me!!!