Tech & Work World
How Microservices Fixes the Slow Train Problem
I write little columns for the internal Pivotal newsletter we have sometimes. Here’s one that’s about to go out.
The ideas of “dependencies” and “coupling” are important touch points for understanding and conveying the software delivery benefits of a microservices approach to architecture.
“Coupling” between services means that changes to one service have a big impact on another service. Coupling is considered bad in software architecture. Among other reasons, strong coupling usually means that each service can only be released as “fast” as the slowest changing service. For example, you might have an identity service and a reservation lookup service. Let’s say the reservation service can be updated weekly – the team working on it is fast! But, the identity service releases takes six months. Thus, the reservation service is forced to deliver on a six-month schedule.
Among other things, microservices remove the release cadence dependency. The goal is to allow each service to evolve as fast as makes sense for the business. Of course, there are some “new problems” to address:
- Ensuring backward API compatibility is a good idea. If we remove or change parts of identity services’ API and don’t change the reservation system, things break. Thus, it’s good to slowly remove functionality (or never do that!) with lots of testing, with the ability to rollback changes if/when things go haywire in production.
- Services should be able to isolate failures in order to “quarantine” errors in other services. If there’s an error in the identity service in production, we’d like the reservation service to gracefully fail. Operations patterns like the circuit breaker included in Spring Cloud, help manage these types of operational complexities.
Another benefit of decoupling services comes from shorter release cycles. The longer you wait to release code, the more code you’ll bundle into a release. Six months worth of code, across multiple services is a lot. When errors occur in production – and they will! – finding bugs in this ball of yarn will be much harder than finding the bad code in, say, a week’s worth of code.
Think of it as train tracks. If five tracks all converge at one point, a problem on one of the tracks can cause confusion and delay for the other trains’ schedules—they’re strongly coupled. If each of the five tracks operates on its own schedule without having to converge, then of course there is no cascading schedule problem.
New Pivotal Cloud Foundry Release – a $100m/year business
Pivotal Cloud Foundry 1.6 – there’s a new version of the product I work on (well, not coding, but you know, in my capacity of whatever it is I do). Check out my quick summary of what’s in it and, from the dormant analyst in me, an attempt to write-up the customer momentum we have.
I notice that most coverage of Pivotal doesn’t really focus on the business side of things, which is going excellent – like, we make real money and all that! Other than being nifty, I like that aspect because it means people (“customers”) find our work actually valuable enough to pay for.
If you’re interested in more “market talk,” check out the podcast I did with James Watters on the topic, GM of the business.
And, here’s some more coverage of Pivotal Cloud Foundry 1.6
- Pivotal Cloud Foundry Supports Docker Images, Not the Docker Ecosystem
- Pivotal Extends Reach of Cloud Foundry PaaS Environment
- Pivotal’s Latest Cloud Foundry Release, With Help From Netflix, Should Drive Enterprise PaaS Business To VARs
Shameless Self Promotion
- I have a webinar on dealing with legacy IT in your cloud native strategy. That is, “I get that doing new apps in the cloud native style is Jim-dandy, but what about all this existing stuff I have to deal with?” You can read my original write-up on this topic, or register for the webinar on Dec 1st.
- Speaking of webinars, the recording of my first “don’t fuck up your cloud strategy” webinar series is out, you can view it without even lead-gen’ing yourself, dear readers: Greenfield cloud projects, webinar recording
- “A podcast where all we do is eat food,” Software Defined Talk #49 is out. Among the usual corny talk we discuss Atlassian’s upcoming IPO and what it means for the industry. See also episode #48, recorded live-to-tape at DevOpsDays Silicon Valley.
- AutomaCon 2015: Nordstrom’s Infrastructure as Code Journey – good stuff coming out the retail sector recently.
- 8 surprising facts about real Docker adoption – Datadog – Run on 6% of the hosts DataDog monitors, n=7,000. “At companies that adopt Docker, containers have an average lifespan of 3 days, while across all companies, traditional and cloud-based VMs have an average lifespan of 12 days.”
- The Future of News Is Not An Article – Just need that part about how you get he money.
- The Power, Patterns, and Pains of Microservices – The Power, Patterns, and Pains of Microservices – DZone Java
- Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly: 7 Leadership Tips For A Corporate Turnaround – these things are usually cheesy, but this one is a-OK.
- The Power of People in Digital Banking Transformation – “Banks don’t need a head of digital—that’s the CEO.”
- Enterprise Software Co Atlassian Files IPO On Sales Of $320M, Net Income Of $6.8M In 2015
- Del Monte Foods set up a brand new, cloud-only infrastructure in less than a year – ‘Weaver also pointed out how traditional day-to-day responsibility and efforts related to deploying, maintaining and upgrading the IT infrastructure to support an on-premises deployment “literally disappears.”‘
- IBM Design profile in NY Times – “The recruiting pitch made by Mr. Gilbert and his colleagues has been essentially twofold: First, you can make a difference in socially important fields because IBM’s technology plays a crucial role in health care, energy, transportation, water and even agriculture. Second, you can be part of a groundbreaking effort to apply design thinking in business.”
- Bechdel test – “…asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. The requirement that the two women must be named is sometimes added.”
- Legacy Application Strangulation : Case Studies – one of the more interesting take-aways is that you’re looking at 1-2 years to complete, if not more. Slow and steady.
- No One Has Time to Tell You How to Do Your Job – Good one.
- Citrix to spin off GoTo, focus on enterprise, cut 1,000 jobs – Strategy wise, Citrix is a fascinating company. We’ll see what happens.
Fun & IRL
I that steak at Roast in Detroit. I think it might be the best steak I’ve ever had. Would eat again, many times.
FRONTSIDE.IO – HIRE THEM! Do you need some developer talent? When you have a web project that needs the “A Team,” call The Frontside. They’ve spent years honing their tools and techniques that give their clients cutting-edge web applications without losing a night’s sleep. Learn more at http://frontside.io/cote
(Will post link to recording once it’s up, or sign-up to see it on Dec 1st!)
After discussing a new podcasting network based on annoying listeners as much as possible (one word: walnuts), we discuss the latest in OSS FUD, what Atlassian’s IPO will mean for related tech companies, and Chef’s product portfolio expansion into two new areas.
SPONSOR: check out Coté’s three part webinar on getting your cloud strategy right: the cloud native journey. It’s divided into greenfield projects, legacy projects, and tackling IT department transformation. Don’t screw up your cloud strategy, let your competition do that instead. Check out the series at https://cote.io/pivotal.
- If you like video, see this episodes’ video recording.
- New podcast network, in our minds
- Using wiki for corporate pages
- Atlassian’s fixin to IPO – “average customer generates revenue of $5594 per year”; “grown their customer base from 11,000 customers in 2010 to more than 48,000 today”; “While the median SaaS company spends between 50-100% of their annual revenue of sales and marketing, Atlassian has spent between 12 and 21% of their revenue on customer acquisition in the last three years.”; “Atlassian’s net income as a percentage of revenue has been positive the last three years: 7.2%, 8.8% and 2.1%.”
- “Time to Harden the SDLC” which leads to “10 reasons why OSS is bad for you”
- Chef added 2 new products, Compliance and Delivery – we detail them.
- DockerCon EU – haven’t caught up, will have to check it next week? Here’s the panel Coté was on at last year’s DockerCon EU – it was fun! And, if you want a real deep cut, our episode covering last year’s DockerCon.
- Yelp’s PaaSTA – slowly, “PaaS” is becoming a non-bad word.
- DevOpsDays Detroit. That Matt Stratton guy is a class act. Also, check out the Cloud Anti-patterns talk from Malika, @cloudfoundryart – you can see if this week at DevOpsDays Ohio as well.
BONUS LINKS! Not covered in episode
- New bare metal provisioning project from EMC – Looks good from the outside, I’ll beat the phrase “undifferentiated heavy lifting” into the ground.
- Techpocalypse is coming. Two questions remain: When and who? – More money is going into startups than is coming out
Thanks for coming out the DevOpsDays Detroit!
Here’s the goodies:
- First be sure to check out Mallika Iyer’s talk on Nov 11th, at 12:10: “Cloud Anti-Patterns: Micro services, Containers and Large Scale Search gone wrong.”
- Register for the Safari give-away: http://goo.gl/forms/Sd044lTPYa
- Get a free copy of Matt Stine’s book on cloud architectures and development, Migrating to Cloud-Native Application Architectures.
- You can also get two free months of our PaaS, Pivotal Web Services to test out what it’d be like to develop and run your software on Pivotal Cloud Foundry.
- Finally, you can see past DevOpsDays talks we’ve given and plenty of podcasts and blog posts on DevOps.
And, while you’re here, feel free to come by the table and talk with us. We have rockets and three dimensional versions of Matt Stine’s book, all free for the taking.
The recording of my webinar on greenfield cloud projects is up. It’s based on the first part of my series on getting a good cloud strategy in place and executing it. There’s two more webinars coming up, on working with legacy applications and IT department transformation.
Here’s the slides if you want those.
No one really knows what the deal with “private cloud” is. There seems to be a coffin, but as we discuss, it’s unclear how far we are from the final nail. We also discuss HP splitting, HP shutting down their private cloud, a slew of small acquisitions, and Matt Ray’s take on the recent OpenStack Summit in Tokyo.
SPONSOR: Take our awesome, multi-cloud PaaS for a test-ride. Get two free months of Pivotal Web Services. Whether you want to deploy on-premises, in a dedicated public cloud, or just keep using our PaaS, Pivotal Cloud Foundry has everything you need for doing cloud-native applications. Go to cote.io/pivotal for the sign-up code!
- If you like video, see this episodes’ video recording.
- HP now split.
- HP’s finally out of the public cloud game – “we will sunset our HP Helion Public Cloud offering on January 31, 2016” Coté: wow?
- I don’t think anyone expects new entrants into the public cloud market, right? Seems locked with AWS, Azure, MSFT. All others are “managed cloud”/enterprise cloud gambits. Oracle not doing so – Don’t forget IBM!
- IBM buys (Austin-based) Gravitant.
- Solarwinds gets bought
- Idera buys Embarcadero – all your Delphi are belong to us.
- Wall Street valuations – how do they work
- Oracle OpenWorld and the Downton Abby of cloud.
- PCF 1.6
- Japanese electronics
- OpenStack Summit, Tokyo
- Brandon: Vox The Weed’s Podcast
- Matt: El-P and Killer Mike weighing in on Hulk Hogan, God, Fatherhood and more, Meow the Jewels is finally here.
- Coté: Pappadeaux in DFW Terminal A – no potties, but damn-fine ambiance, service, and food.
“One of the things that as I’m looking across government is that we all think that in every agency we have such unique, special situations, and yet, every single time you go to another agency, they have that same unique, special situation,” she said. “Really opening that conversation and saying, we’re not all that unique and we are facing common elements and common practices and challenges… those are the things that we’re really trying to change the mindset of.”