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 training at Healthesystems in Tampa, FL

Earlier this year, I taught three microservices training classes at Healthesystems. They are a Tampa, FL based company that is migrating their large, complex monolithic application to a microservices architecture.  They have invested heavily in bringing outside expertise to help with the modernization of their application and my training classes were part of that.

At SpringOne Platform, I chatted with Sam Alexander, the Enterprise Architect at Healthesystems, and Mark Sinclair, a solutions architect, about how the developers at Healthesystems benefited from the training.

I really enjoyed my time at Healthesystems. They are smart people embarking on an exciting project. If you live in the Tampa area please take a look at their open positions.

 

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Microservices training and good food in Lisle, IL

Last week, I spent 4 days in Lisle, IL teaching a condensed version of my hands on 5 day microservices class. You are probably wondering where and what is Lisle, IL? That was my reaction when the client told me the training location. Lisle is a village west of Chicago with a surprisingly large number of corporate offices.

As you would imagine, the days were teaching and most of the evenings were spent working as well. However, I  was able to find time to have some unexpectedly good food. Twice, I had great dinners in the Hilton Hotel’s restaurant. Another night I had some excellent Korean BBQ pork and sushi at Tanaka Sushi. On the last night I had some delicious German food – Liver Dumpling Soup and Schnitzel at the Bavarian Lodge:

And, on the way home I had my usual Cochinita Pibil Torta with Habanero Salsa at Rick Bayless’s Tortas Frontera restaurant next to gate B11.

Overall, it was a good trip. The class went well: microservices were developed and deployed on Docker. And, I ate some great food.

 

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There are no silver bullets

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post for O’Reilly describing my motivations for creating the microservices pattern language. It begins with:

Back in 1986, Fred Brooks, author of The Mythical Man-Month, said that in software engineering, there are no silver bullets. In other words, there are no techniques or technologies that if you adopted would give you a 10X boost in productivity. Yet 30 years later, developers are still arguing passionately about their favorite silver bullets, absolutely convinced that their favorite technology will give them a massive boost in productivity.

This is something to remember next time you listen to a presentation or read an article (especially a manifesto!) that only describes the benefits of a technology.

Every technology has drawbacks and limitations, which are often overlooked by its advocates.

To learn why patterns are a more objective (the benefit) albeit less exciting way (the downside) to describe a technology read the blog post.

 

 

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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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