Need help with microservices?

These days I’m focussed on microservices.

I provide consulting services and training classes that help you get started with microservices.

I am the founder of Eventuate, Inc, a startup that is building a microservices application platform.

Contact me if you want to learn more or need help with developing microservice-based applications.

Here is some of my latest articles and presentations:

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Microservices + Events + Docker = Perfect Trio

Eventuate.IO

At the recent DockerCon 2016 conference, our founder and Docker Captain Chris Richardson, gave a talk on Microservices, event sourcing and Docker. His talk was one of the top 10 talks at the conference!

Slides

Here are the slides:

Video

Here is the video:

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Upcoming microservices public training classes

Over the next couple of months I am teaching a couple of public, 1 day  microservices training classes:

This is what the class covers:

A monolithic architecture is a great choice for small applications. However, a better approach for large, complex applications is to use a microservice architecture, which structures the application as a set of services. Each service can be developed, deployed and scaled independently. The microservice architecture enables teams that develop large, complex applications to be agile. In this tutorial, you will learn about the motivations for using microservice architecture. We discuss the benefits and drawbacks of microservices. You will learn how to solve some of the key technical challenges with using the microservice architecture, including inter-service communication and distributed data management. We will discuss strategies for refactoring a monolithic application to microservices.

And here is a testimonial from a recent client of my private, onsite 2 day microservices workshop:

This class was fantastic. Chris communicates complex concepts clearly. His sense of humor and calm nature are real strengths and he really helped my team build confidence. It was refreshing to learn about microservices architecture from someone who not only understood the decisions & tradeoffs we will need to manage but has the ability and experience to present pros and cons in a balanced way.
Dave King, CTO – NAV

 

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My new O’Reilly training video: Event-Driven Microservices

I am super excited about my new training video that has just been published by O’Reilly: Event-Driven Microservices – a Pattern Language for Deployment, Communication, and Refactoring. The 4 hour 46 minute video presents a balanced view of the benefits and drawbacks of microservices. It outlines the motivations driving the adoption of the microservice architecture; compares and contrasts it to monolithic architecture; describes solutions to key problems such as inter-service communication and distributed data management including event sourcing and CQRS; and presents strategies for refactoring a monolithic application into a set of microservices.

The video complements my in-person training classes, which include a 2 day, on site microservices workshop that is a great way for a team to get up to speed with microservices. As one recent customer said:

This class was fantastic. Chris communicates complex concepts clearly. His sense of humor and calm nature are real strengths and he really helped my team build confidence. It was refreshing to learn about microservices architecture from someone who not only understood the decisions & tradeoffs we will need to manage but has the ability and experience to present pros and cons in a balanced way.
Dave King, CTO – NAV

Another training option is the  one day microservices class that I am teaching in Oakland, CA on April 28th. There are still spots available so take a look.

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Thoughts on “if you can’t build a well-structured monolith, what makes you think microservices is the answer?”

A couple of weeks ago at the DevNexus conference Simon Brown gave a keynote (slides) titled the “Modular Monolith”.  It was an interesting presentation and he made a number of good points. His final slide asked this excellent question:

If you can’t build a well-structured monolith, what makes you think microservices is the answer?

He had made a similar point on Twitter:

As had other tweets:

 

 

I don’t disagree with the sentiment of Simon’s question. But I think it misses a critical point.

Most teams know how to build a modular system. They want to build a modular system. Most teams usually do. The challenge is maintaining the modularity. A large and/or complex application will often degenerate into a big ball of mud.

The challenge is maintaining modularity

There are several factors that make it difficult to maintain modularity:

  • Current programming languages lack genuinely useful modularity mechanisms. Java visibility rules are insufficient. Perhaps Java 9 modules will finally solve this problem.
  • Monoliths often become too complex for a developer understand. This increases the chance that changes will violate implicit modular boundaries causing the design to degrade.
  • Time pressure. There are no depths to which a developer will not sink (especially under pressure from management) in order to meet a deadline. Who cares about modularity when you need to ship software?!

Microservices can help with modularity

Microservices are certainly not a silver bullet. But one benefit they offer is that your application is functionality decomposed into smaller (not necessarily tiny) services. Each service is much easier to understand. In theory, it is easier to preserve its architecture and modularity.

More importantly, the service API is an impermeable barrier that encapsulates the service implementation. It takes real effort and determination to breach that barrier.  A developer is less likely to make a quick hack to solve a problem the night before a deadline. As a result, it is likely that it will be easier to maintain the modularity of the system.

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Microxchg 2016: A pattern language for microservices

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at the MicroXchg conference in Berlin. It is a small, two track conference that is just about microservices. Lots of great topics. In particular, it was nice to see that the discussion has moved beyond the basics of what is a microservice? Quite a few speakers shared their practical experiences with using to microservices. Notable speakers included James Lewis, Suzanne Kaiser,  and Praveena Fernandes.

I gave a talk on a pattern language for microservices. Here are the slides.

Here is the video.

I also took part in a panel.

Berlin has some good restaurants. I had some great Turkish food at Hassir Mitte.

Learn more

To learn more about microservices:

 

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Microservice chassis pattern

Build your microservices using a microservice chassis, which is a framework that handles cross-cutting concerns

When you build a microservice you must put in place the mechanisms to handle cross-cutting concerns such as logging, externalized configuration, health checks, metrics, service discovery, and circuit breakers. You cannot afford to spend a significant amount of time doing this for each service. Therefore, you should build your microservices using a microservice chassis, which is a framework that handles these cross-cutting concerns.

For a full description of this pattern see Microservice chassis pattern.

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Microservices – more than just infrastructure

Eventuate.IO

Matt Miller of Sequoia recently published a map of the microservices ecosystem.

The ecosystem map is very focussed on infrastructure. It lists many of the usual suspects including Docker, Kafka, Cloud Foundry, Azure, and Chef. It includes some developer frameworks such as Hystrix but unfortunately, the focus on infrastructure means there are some surprising omissions.

Microservices need a chassis

James Watters from Pivotal, for instance, points out that Spring Boot and Spring Cloud are nowhere to be seen:

That is a shame because if you are building microservices you need a microservice chassis, such as Spring Cloud + Spring Boot. A microservice chassis is a framework that enables you…

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