|By SmartBear Blog||
|August 30, 2016 07:45 PM EDT||
Orchestrating Microservices: Who's Composing This Symphony, Anyway?
by Les Worley
Before becoming a developer, I was in the high school band. I played several brass instruments - including French horn and cornet - as well as keyboards in the jazz stage band. A musician and a nerd, what can I say?
I even dabbled in writing music for the band. Okay, mostly I wrote arrangements of pop music, so the band could keep the crowd entertained during Friday night football games. What struck me then was that, to write parts for all the instruments - brass, woodwind, percussion, even keyboards - I had to have an overall score to work from. Or at least a sketch of one. Otherwise, I'd end up with a bunch of parts that might sound great on their own, but would never fit together to make someone want to listen or dance to it.
What does writing music have to do with software? The instruments and individual parts are like today's microservices: small methods each performing a discrete function. These are each well practiced (um, tested), so that they can stand on their own. With those pieces, API consumers can construct a larger solution - hopefully a real masterpiece.
Like each instrument and its part, a microservice has to be well constructed and tuned. But until it is combined with all the others, it's just a solo act. Who puts all the pieces together, in the right context and sequence, so your customer ends up with a symphony instead of a discordant mess?
Who determines if calling your API is a hit - or a flop?
The Musician (aka The Developer)
On one hand, a developer is like a musician. A French horn player, for example, coaxes a beautiful F-sharp out of his instrument. But playing a single note won't win any awards.
The agile developer is charged with writing a microservice at a time, to accomplish a narrow, well-define task. Yes, there's usually more than one service to be written within any API. But should that developer be the one to write the test bed that puts them all together, or even build one or more macro-services from them to accomplish a more complex operation?
Many developers can and will do this, to more thoroughly test the "big picture." But given that each microservice is built independent of others, it shouldn't be the developer's place to define how the independent pieces fit together. This would be like asking a woodwind player to write a drum solo or a horn quartet. Band and orchestra members may be excellent players, but you wouldn't ask some of them to write a song.
The Composer (aka The Architect)
Enter the software architect. An architect is like a composer. He or she first has an idea for an API service - whether it is an insight or a way to meet some business requirement. The idea gets fleshed out, broken down into its components. The architect constructs various scenarios for how the components might be used, as proof of the API's and its component microservices' value to prospective customers.
Those scenarios, use cases and interaction diagrams are like a composer's symphony. The notes and chords are the service interfaces, which by themselves make only a single sound. The architect, though, conceives how to put them all together, in the right order and timing, so they flow together naturally, with a pleasing result.
While this metaphor might be wearing a bit thin, the architect is a natural choice to dictate how the individual microservices should and should not be used. After all, they came up with the idea in the first place - the intended inputs and outputs, the allowable sequences, and the expected results.
The Conductor / Arranger (aka The Tester)
A composer isn't the only one that can create music from the raw components. A younger version of myself wrote a few pieces of his own, but more often I arranged my own unique versions, inspired by but different than the works of others. The same is true for every conductor. The same piece played another band and under different direction will sound totally new. Sometimes better, other times not so good.
Conductors and arrangers aren't unlike the testers that verify the APIs before release. Even if the architect has documented examples for "recommended use," APIs need to be tested in real-world surroundings. Testing microservices in unexpected and undocumented contexts can lead to making them behave better in those situations.
Testers also have a unique opportunity to define service orchestration. They often have tools available to them that others do not. Using API virtualization toolsets, for example, a tester can quickly and easily construct use scenarios that deviate from the original "happy path" vision. Think of these scenarios as "theme and variations," as new and unique arrangements of the original.
Whether the results are pleasing or distressing, they can harden the microservice API for the real world, not to mention providing documented examples for real users.
The Audience (aka, The Consumer)
To paraphrase a cliché, beauty is in the ear of the beholder. And in case of microservices, the beholder is your consumer.
Microservices gives the consumer more control over the construction and outcome of his solutions. Yet by giving them more granular control, you can't really be sure they will use them as you envisioned.
You could simply publish the API and hope the end users find it self-explanatory. But on their own, they will surely come up with some very ‘interesting" use cases. When they end up with a frustrating mess, you end up with more support issues. So It's always better to anticipate and test for the unexpected, so you can guide users in the right direction.
In other words, you don't want your audience - your consumers - having to figure out the orchestration on their own. You want to guide them through the most effortless performance possible. After all they're paying to enjoy the show, not to perform in it.
Fine (The End)
When it comes to orchestrating the use of your microservices, almost anyone can play the role. But some players are more natural fits than others.
The software architect, like a composer, has the original idea and knows the big picture behind it. It's natural that he or she should oversee and document "acceptable usage." Many developers are used to doing this in practice, since they often create dummy test harnesses for their APIs. (There are plenty of orchestra members out there that compose the symphony as well as star in it.) But the developer should be focused on crafting a microservice that does its job well, not on orchestrating its final use.
API testers and consumers can both come up with interesting variations and arrangements, quite different from what the architects and developers originally intended. Some of these might go well - like my own arrangement of the Star Wars Theme - but some might drive your your customer to frustration. And the last thing you want is for your audience to leave early and confused.
You can't force your consumers to orchestrate their solutions as you intended, but it's best if you try to anticipate their errant uses. Advanced testing tools, such as API virtualization, put your testers in a unique position to test a variety of "interesting arrangements." When provided as part of user documentation, these scenarios can provide your end users the guidance they need to best orchestrate their own ... masterpieces.
Who usually orchestrates and documents the proper use of your microservice APIs? The developers? The testers? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section.
Developers want to create better apps faster. Static clouds are giving way to scalable systems, with dynamic resource allocation and application monitoring. You won't hear that chant from users on any picket line, but helping developers to create better apps faster is the mission of Lee Atchison, principal cloud architect and advocate at New Relic Inc., based in San Francisco. His singular job is to understand and drive the industry in the areas of cloud architecture, microservices, scalability and availability. In a keynote presentation, he spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at New York's Cloud Expo about how highly available, highly scalable systems can help developers attain the goal of better apps faster.
Apr. 26, 2017 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,440
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on quality and value.
Apr. 26, 2017 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,001
Everyone wants to use containers, but monitoring containers is hard. New ephemeral architecture introduces new challenges in how monitoring tools need to monitor and visualize containers, so your team can make sense of everything. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, David Gildeh, co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, will go through the challenges and show there is light at the end of the tunnel if you use the right tools and understand what you need to be monitoring to successfully use containers in your environments.
Apr. 26, 2017 01:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,969
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet the demands of Digital Transformation – including accelerating application delivery, closing feedback loops, enabling multi-channel delivery, empowering collaborative decisions, improving user experience, and ultimately meeting (and exceeding) business goals.
Apr. 26, 2017 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,309
Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the USA and Europe, we work with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.
Apr. 25, 2017 11:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,308
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Apr. 25, 2017 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,184
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 additional third-party data centers across Europe. Its full-service Unified ICT platform serves international enterprises and many of the world’s leading service providers, as well as governments and universities.
Apr. 25, 2017 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,880
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Apr. 25, 2017 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 667
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no idea how to get a proper answer.
Apr. 25, 2017 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 7,138
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure networks with agility, performance and value.
Apr. 25, 2017 10:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,203
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of DevOps Product and Solutions Marketing at CA Technologies, has been named co-conference chair of DevOps at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Apr. 25, 2017 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,508
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore the ways that Nutanix technologies empower teams to react faster than ever before and connect teams in ways that were either too complex or simply impossible with traditional infrastructures.
Apr. 25, 2017 08:15 PM EDT Reads: 548
Translating agile methodology into real-world best practices within the modern software factory has driven widespread DevOps adoption, yet much work remains to expand workflows and tooling across the enterprise. As models evolve from pockets of experimentation into wholescale organizational reinvention, practitioners find themselves challenged to incorporate the culture and architecture necessary to support DevOps at scale. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of DevOps Solutions at CA Technologies, will discuss how existing adopters are employing unified agile and DevOps techniques to engage functional processes and toolchains that deliver increased software quality, faster time-to-market and measurably improved customer experience.
Apr. 25, 2017 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,782
Join IBM November 2 at 19th Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how to go beyond multi-speed it to bring agility to traditional enterprise applications. Technology innovation is the driving force behind modern business and enterprises must respond by increasing the speed and efficiency of software delivery. The challenge is that existing enterprise applications are expensive to develop and difficult to modernize. This often results in what Gartner calls "Bimodal IT," where business struggle to apply modern tools and practices to traditional monolithic applications. But these existing assets can be modernized and made more efficient without having to be completely overhauled. By leveraging methodologies like DevOps and agile, alongside emerging technologies like cloud-native services and containerization, traditional applications and teams can be ...
Apr. 25, 2017 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,139
Did you know that you can develop for mainframes in Java? Or that the testing and deployment can be automated across mobile to mainframe? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Vaughn Marshall, Sr. Principal Product Owner at CA Technologies, will discuss and demo how increasingly teams are developing with agile methodologies using modern development environments and automating testing and deployments, mobile to mainframe.
Apr. 25, 2017 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,169
In recent years, containers have taken the world by storm. Companies of all sizes and industries have realized the massive benefits of containers, such as unprecedented mobility, higher hardware utilization, and increased flexibility and agility; however, many containers today are non-persistent. Containers without persistence miss out on many benefits, and in many cases simply pass the responsibility of persistence onto other infrastructure, adding additional complexity.
Apr. 25, 2017 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,200
Most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes a lot of work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reduction in cost and increase in speed.
Apr. 25, 2017 05:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,722
SYS-CON Events announced today that Twistlock, the leading provider of cloud container security solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Twistlock is the industry's first enterprise security suite for container security. Twistlock's technology addresses risks on the host and within the application of the container, enabling enterprises to consistently enforce security policies, monitor and audit activity and identify and isolate threats in a container or cluster of containers.
Apr. 25, 2017 05:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,551
While some vendors scramble to create and sell you a fancy solution for monitoring your spanking new Amazon Lambdas, hear how you can do it on the cheap using just built-in Java APIs yourself. By exploiting a little-known fact that Lambdas aren’t exactly single threaded, you can effectively identify hot spots in your serverless code. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, David Martin, Principal Product Owner at CA Technologies, will give a live demonstration and code walkthrough, showing how to overcome the challenges of monitoring S3 and RDS. This presentation will provide an overview of necessary Amazon Lambda concepts and discuss how to integrate the monitoring data with other tools.
Apr. 25, 2017 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 404
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up 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. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.
Apr. 25, 2017 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,036
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker containers gain prominence. He explored these challenges and how to address them, while considering how containers will influence the direction of cloud computing.
Apr. 25, 2017 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,617
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value Stream Mapping for the development and operations tool chain by offering DevOps Tool Chain Integration and Traceability; DevOps Tool Chain Orchestration; and DevOps Insight and Intelligence. CollabNet also offers traditional application lifecycle management, ALM, for the enterprise through its TeamForge product.
Apr. 25, 2017 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 529
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place in November in Silicon Valley, California.
Apr. 25, 2017 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,295
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help global organizations open new revenue streams, increase efficiencies, improve customer experience and ensure rapid time to market in the digital age. Only Hitachi Data Systems powers the digital enterprise by integrating the best information technology and operational technology from across the Hitachi family of companies. We combine this experience with Hitachi expertise in the internet of things to d...
Apr. 25, 2017 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,028
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain.
Apr. 25, 2017 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,558