Welcome!

Machine Learning Authors: Pat Romanski, William Schmarzo, Progress Blog, Liz McMillan, Mat Mathews

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Microservices Expo, @CloudExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Article

The Two Faces of #Microservices | @CloudExpo @JPMorgenthal #AI #DevOps

Microservices (μServices) are a fascinating evolution of the Distributed Object Computing (DOC) paradigm

Microservices (μServices) are a fascinating evolution of the Distributed Object Computing (DOC) paradigm. Initial design of DOC attempted to solve the problem of simplifying developing complex distributed applications by applying object-oriented design principles to disparate components operating across networked infrastructure. In this model, DOC “hid” the complexity of making this work from the developer regardless of the deployment architecture through the use of complex frameworks, such as Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) and Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM).

Eventually, these approaches waned in popularity as the distribution frameworks were clumsy and the separation of responsibilities between developer and operations did not meet with the promised goals. That is, developers still needed to understand too much about how the entire application behaved in a distributed mode to troubleshoot application problems and the implementation was too developer-centric to allow operations to be able to fulfill this role.

One aspect of this early architecture that did succeed, however, was the concept of the Remote Procedure Call (RPC). The RPC represented a way to call functionality inside of another applications across a network using the programming language function call constructs such as passing parameters and receiving a result. With the emergence of declarative syntaxes, such as XML, and then JSON, marshalling—the packaging of the data to and from the RPC—became simpler and the need for specialized brokers were replaced with generic transports, such as HTTP and asynchronous messaging. This gave rise to the era of Web Services and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).

To make a long story short, Web Services were extremely popular, SOA, required too much investment in software infrastructure to be realized on a massive scale. Web Services was eventually rebranded Application Programming Interface (API)—there is really no difference architecturally between a Web Service and an API—and JSON became the primary marshalling scheme for Web-based APIs.

Apologies for the long-winded history lesson, but it is important to understand μServices in context. As you can see from this history the more we moved away from the principles of object-oriented toward a more straightforward client/server paradigm there was a rise in adoption. The primary reason for this is that architecture takes time, satisfies needs of longer-term goals, and requires skilled individuals that can often be expensive. With the growing need for immediacy driven by the expanding digital universe, these are characteristics that many business leaders believed were luxuries where speed was essential.

Needless to say, there was an immediate benefit of rapid growth of new business capabilities and insight into petabytes of data that was previously untouchable. Version 1.0 was a smashing success. Then came the need for 2.0. Uh-oh! In the race to get something fast, what was ignored was sustainability of the software. Inherent technical debt fast became the inhibitor to deriving 2.0 enhancements at the same speed as 1.0 was developed. For example, instead of envisioning that three applications all implemented similar logic and developing that once as a configurable component, it was developed three times each specific to a single application.

Having realized the value of architecture and object-oriented design that was dropped in favor of speed, the vacuum created was for a way to use the speedy implementation mechanics while still being able to take advantage of object-oriented design paradigm. The answer is μServices.

While Martin Fowler and others have done a great job explaining the “what” and “how” of μServices, for me the big realization was in the “why” (described herein). Without the “why” it’s too easy to get entangled in the differentiation between this and the aforementioned Web Services. For me, the “why” provided ample guidelines for describing the difference between a μServices, an API and a SOA service.

For simplicity I’ll review the tenets of OO here and describe their applicability to μServices:

  • Information hiding – the internal representation of data is not exposed externally, only through behaviors on the object
  • Polymorphic – a consumer can treat a subtype of an object identically to the parent. In this particular case, μServices that implements a particular interface can be consumed in the identical fashion
  • Inheritance – the ability for one object to inherit from another and override one or more behaviors. In the case of μServices, we can create a new service that delegates some or all behavior to another service.

The interesting thing about these tenets as a basis for μServices, and subsequently the basis for the title of this article, is that answering the mail on this does not necessitate complete redevelopment. Indeed, in many cases, existing functionality can be refactored from the 1.0 software and packaged up using container technology delivering the exact same benefit as having developed the 2.0 version from scratch as a μService.

Let’s revisit our earlier dilemma that similar logic was developed three different times into three different applications. For purposes of this blog, let’s assume that is a tax calculation and was written once each for US, Canada and Europe. Each of these has a table implemented in a database. It would not take much work to take these different implementations, put them into a single  μService with a single REST interface using a GET operation with the region and providing the necessary inputs on the query string. That new μService could then be packaged up inside a Docker container with its own Nginx (Web Server) and MySQL database with required tax tables for each region. In fact this entire process could probably be accomplished, tested and deployed in the span of a week. Now, we can create four new applications that all leverage the same tax calculation logic without writing it four more times.

This works great as long as the tax tables don’t change or we don’t want to add a new region. In that case, additional development would be required and the container would need to be re-created, tested and re-deployed.

Alternatively, we could develop a reusable tax service and deploy this new μService in a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Assumedly, we could extend this service with new regions and changes to tax tables without impacting any other region, having to regression test the entire tax service, or take the μService out of service during the redeployment period. Moreover, the new region would be available simply by modifying the routing rules for the REST URL to accept the new region.

The diagram below illustrates these two different options. The .WAR file represents the deployable tax calculator. As you can see one or more containers would need to be either patched or re-created to deploy new functionality in the Deployment Architecture model, whereas we could continue to deploy multiple .WAR files in the PaaS Architecture, which would handle routing off the same URL-based interface giving appearance of being a single application.

Thus, the two faces of μServices are those create through deployment and those created through design and development. As a lifelong software architect, I recognize the pragmatism in getting to market faster using the deployment architecture, but highly-recommend redesign and development for greater sustainability and longevity.

If you found this article useful, please leave a comment.

More Stories By JP Morgenthal

JP Morgenthal is a veteran IT solutions executive and Distinguished Engineer with CSC. He has been delivering IT services to business leaders for the past 30 years and is a recognized thought-leader in applying emerging technology for business growth and innovation. JP's strengths center around transformation and modernization leveraging next generation platforms and technologies. He has held technical executive roles in multiple businesses including: CTO, Chief Architect and Founder/CEO. Areas of expertise for JP include strategy, architecture, application development, infrastructure and operations, cloud computing, DevOps, and integration. JP is a published author with four trade publications with his most recent being “Cloud Computing: Assessing the Risks”. JP holds both a Masters and Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from Hofstra University.

@CloudExpo Stories
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We're focused on how to get some of the attributes that you would expect from an Amazon, Azure, Google, and doing that on-prem. We believe today that you can actually get those types of things done with certain architectures available in the market today," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Enterprises are moving to the cloud faster than most of us in security expected. CIOs are going from 0 to 100 in cloud adoption and leaving security teams in the dust. Once cloud is part of an enterprise stack, it’s unclear who has responsibility for the protection of applications, services, and data. When cloud breaches occur, whether active compromise or a publicly accessible database, the blame must fall on both service providers and users. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben Johnson, C...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"The reason Tier 1 companies are coming to us is we're able to narrow the gap where custom applications need to be built. They provide a lot of services, like IBM has Watson, and they provide a lot of hardware but how do you bring it all together? Bringing it all together they have to build custom applications and that's the niche that we are able to help them with," explained Peter Jung, Product Leader at Pulzze Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2,...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Data scientists must access high-performance computing resources across a wide-area network. To achieve cloud-based HPC visualization, researchers must transfer datasets and visualization results efficiently. HPC clusters now compute GPU-accelerated visualization in the cloud cluster. To efficiently display results remotely, a high-performance, low-latency protocol transfers the display from the cluster to a remote desktop. Further, tools to easily mount remote datasets and efficiently transfer...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
"We work around really protecting the confidentiality of information, and by doing so we've developed implementations of encryption through a patented process that is known as superencipherment," explained Richard Blech, CEO of Secure Channels Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...