JSON Activity Streams and the Other Consumerization of IT

The JSON Activity Stream specification could allow the (other and oh so soon forgotten side of) consumerization of IT to make its way into the data center.

Remember when I posited that the Next-Generation Management of Data Centers Should be Modeled on Social Networking and introduced the concept of “Infrabook” – a somewhat silly-but-serious-at-the-time idea that infrastructure should get “social”?

The recent publication of JSON Activity Streams – in addition to being very exciting from an infrastructure architecture perspective – may be exactly what is needed to bring this concept to life.


Infrastructure already knows how to “speak” a variety of management languages such as SNMP and even XML, so why not adopt a simple HTTP + JSON approach to share real-time updates and notifications in the data center regarding the operational status of the infrastructure as well as the applications its designed to deliver?


For those not familiar with Activity Streams (or JSON, for that matter) let’s take a quick look at it through a fresh lens.

JSON – Javascript Object Notation – is an unstructured  data format that is (more and more) commonly used to exchange data between applications using REST APIs as well as between the client (typically a browser) and an application. It’s actually a lot like XML, minus all the really hairy nesting and schematic constraints imposed on XML. While at first used primarily to enable real-time updating of clients a la AJAX, it is more and more frequently being used on the server side of architectures and thus as a means of integration, as well. It’s fairly simple to parse and manipulate and unlike its XML predecessor is far more human-readable. JSON primarily uses a name-value mechanism for serializing data and any old-skool object-oriented programmer will see similarities in its serialization with other, past and present object-oriented serialization techniques.

A simple example of a JSON message might be:

Published Jun 15, 2011
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