Details are slim since neither Juniper or Typesafe will say what — if any — technology Scala and Akka will replace — there are current Juniper job postings seeking programmers with Java, C and C++ experience. Nor did the companies detail what products Scala and Akka will be used for. Still, the endorsement by a big network hardware company is worth noting.
In a statement, Will Eatherton, VP of engineering for Juniper’s core routing business, said that the Typesafe Stack — including Scala and Akka bring a “fresh approach to software development.” Using those tools, he added, Juniper developers will be able to “quickly and reliably create distributed software based on Akka middleware that can scale to take advantage of modern multi-core processors.”
That statement gets to what makes Scala special. The language makes it easier to write code for multiple processor cores and Akka eases creation of distributed applications that run across many servers.
Typesafe recruits new CEO from VMware
To boost Scala’s profile, Typesafe earlier this month brought aboard a new CEO in Mark Brewer, former VP of business operations for VMware’s Cloud Application Platform. Brewer also joined the board, joining Martin Odersky, Typesafe Chairman and Chief Architect , Bill Kaiser, and François Stieger.
Brewer said while at Springsource and then at VMware, (he joined VMware when it acquired Springsource three years ago) he kept an eye on Scala’s and Akka’s progress and was intrigued by what he saw.
“Akka is really the best lightweight, distributed platform for running Java or Scala apps — it runs across cloud in a very light fashion — we couldn’t do that at VMware. And we started to see adoption in the enterprise — not just in web property companies,” he said. “LinkedIn(s lnkd) and Twitter use Scala for its performance but now we’re seeing Scala and Akka in use at more traditional enterprises,” Brewer told me in a recent interview.
Booming demand for Scala and Akka
He points to significant growth in the past 12 months with downloads of Scala more than doubling from 28,000 to 60,000 and Akka downloads quadrupling from 4000 to 20,000 in that period.
And, while he does not see the Scala/Akka tandem competing with VMware’s software development stable now given that many Spring projects can work with Scala projects, that will change:
“We’re not competitive today but most definitely in the future we’ll compete with VMware,” he said.