Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Roger Strukhoff

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Linux Containers, Python

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Post

PaaS and #Microservices Part 3 By @bcferrycoder | @ DevOpsSummit #DevOps #PaaS

PaaS is at the forefront of this evolution & is now considered by many to be an essential component in the microservices toolset

This is part of the ever-expanding "Microservices and PaaS" blog series covering the rapidly evolving use of microservices in modern cloud software projects. Parts I and II introduced microservices concepts and discussed patterns and practices being spearheaded by microservices pioneers, notably Netflix, who were represented at a recent microservices meetup that was the genesis of this series.

Part III presented a list of challenges and pitfalls that adopters of microservices face. This list is formidable and somewhat daunting; pointing out the significant changes in mindset, organizational structure, and overall development practices needing to take place prior to plunging into microservices.

Fortunately, tooling and other supporting technologies are evolving almost as fast as the microservices practices are themselves. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is at the forefront of this evolution and is now considered by many, for good reason, to be an essential component in the microservices toolset.

What follows, is a summary of a number of features provided by PaaS offerings that greatly simplify microservices development.

1. Polyglot Languages, Frameworks, and Persistence Layers
One significant benefit of microservices is that they don't tie a team or an organization to a single development language or framework. Each service can be built using the language and framework suitable for the task, for the data, or for the team.

But each language stack must be downloaded, installed, configured, and provisioned separately. Requiring each developer or team to manually do this introduces considerable complexity and disrupts the overall development flow. PaaS completely eliminates any manual steps needed to provision the development stack, whether Java on Spring, Ruby on Rails, or Python on Django. These, and more, are instantly available when the microservice is deployed.

Similarly, microservices should use the persistence layer that makes sense for the job. Relational (MySQL), NoSQL (MongoDB), and caching (Redis) databases each have their own advantages, and a PaaS allows each to be instantly provisioned and wired to the microservice without requiring human intervention.

2. Consistent Testing Environments
Testing microservices is tricky, and practices to do so effectively are just now emerging. Regardless of the current state of testing, it's safe to say that if there are inconsistencies between the environments where microservices are developed, tested, and deployed to production, chaos will ensue. It is crucial that each of these environments is identical. Subtle differences will result in inconsistent test results and will wreak havoc.

A PaaS provides a predictable and consistent environment in every place a microservice is deployed, such as development, staging, QA, and production. Furthermore, a microcloud such as one provided by Stackato, where the full cloud stack runs on a laptop or desktop, extends this homogeneity making it available to all developers and team members at all times.

3. Logging
As I've discussed earlier, dealing with logs in complex cloud applications is a pain. This is particularly true in microservices-based applications where each microservice instance generates its own logs.

PaaS goes a long way to reduce this pain by providing automated log aggregation mechanisms where multiple logs from multiple microservice instances can be aggregated automatically and redirected to any number of log aggregation services. The PaaS takes care of making sure logging "just works" and ensures that all logs from all applications can be easily directed to a centralized destination like Loggly or Splunk, or just as easily directed to a home-grown PaaS-hosted log application.

4. Monitoring
Like logging, monitoring is essential to the successful operation of a microservices-based application. But the days of hand-rolling monitoring solutions are over. With short-lived microservice instances rapidly starting, stopping, and moving around the network, it's paramount that any monitoring solution be completely automated, with no human intervention required.

A PaaS will typically offer built-in monitoring to track common metrics, such as CPU load or memory use. In addition to providing these capabilities, Stackato also allows simple integration with specialized external monitoring tools and services such as Nagios and New Relic, and exposes the ability to manage and control the deployed microservices in response to monitoring events via its easily automatable REST interface.

5. Auto-scaling
Cloud applications must scale to accommodate variable usage loads. A microservices architecture allows separation of components so that the individual microservices that are causing a bottleneck can be scaled separately without having to scale out the entire application. This is a powerful approach, but scaling out multiple microservices is more complex than scaling out a single application instance.

Autoscaling is another area where PaaS shines. A specific microservice can be scaled automatically in response to metrics provided by internal or external instrumentation, responding to load events as they occur, without human intervention. The complexities of autoscaling, and the burden of dealing with these complexities, disappear when using a PaaS.

6. Service Discovery
Patterns for service discovery, naming, and routing to microservices are at their infancy. PaaS offerings like Stackato provide basic building blocks for accomplishing this, such as allowing service locations (URIs) and credentials to be injected into the application environment, as well as providing a means to publish and access these externally.

7. Instant Rollback and Versioning
As discussed in Part I of this blog series, the use of Immutable Service Patterns, where multiple service versions are deployed side by side, is a useful technique to enable continuous deployment and delivery of microservices in a way that allows new features to be rolled out safely.

A related practice is to use the built-in versioning and rollback mechanisms provided with a PaaS, where after deploying a new service version, it can be instantly rolled back to any previous version if a problem arises. For example, Stackato will keep track of every version of a microservice or application that gets deployed, and exposes both user interface and API to instantly rollback and roll-forward between these versions. The UI requires manual intervention, while the API allows this process to be easily automated in response to monitored events.

8. Availability and Failure Resilience
A failure in a monolithic application often brings the entire system to its knees. In contrast, a microservices system is composed of multiple independent loosely-coupled microservices. It can be designed so that the failure of one microservice will not significantly impact the rest of the system. It can continue to run in a degraded mode where the broken service (and perhaps the associated user interface) is disabled, but the rest of the application remains functional.

Obviously it's preferable that all services remain operational at all times, and some services might be essential for the operation of the system. This requires a high-availability (HA) environment to guarantee that multiple microservice instances run across availability zones in order to survive the effects of catastrophic failure.

HA is an art and science in itself, but PaaS goes a long way to shield the complexity of HA from the developer. For example, Stackato allows the creation of multiple availability zones which can span racks or data centers, and can guarantee that one or more microservice instance is always running in each of these zones. Providing a common and simple availability platform goes a long way towards freeing the development team to focus on the application and not on the plumbing.

9. Get out of the Weeds
There are countless other areas in microservices where plumbing is required, and dealing with this plumbing hampers the overall development flow by adding complexity and cost. Examples include:

  • Routing network traffic to application instances
  • Load balancing
  • Multi-node cluster configuration and management
  • Interfacing with the infrastructure layer (IaaS)
  • Service naming and URI mapping

PaaS takes care of these plumbing details so the development team doesn't need to get mired in the weeds.

10. On Demand / Self Service
A significant benefit of PaaS is its "self-service" nature, allowing the provisioning of resources on-demand without the need to submit a service ticket, or involve other humans in any way. This speeds development, streamlines the overall development flow, and allows free experimentation where developers can spin up clusters and services without being encumbered by process. This self-service capability is essential for a microservices-oriented development organization.

PaaS Fits Microservices
As Adrian Cockroft made abundently clear in his microservices presentation, PaaS is a crucial piece of the overall microservices story, for the reasons listed above and others. PaaS not only standardizes environments and significantly reduces complexity, but it also provides a foundation for the major organizational changes required to move to a microservices approach.

Very few development organizations have the means and resources that Netflix had at their disposal to push through a company-wide initiative to overhaul their entire software architecture, organization, and mindset to a microservices approach. As Donnie Berkholz pointed out in last week's fireside chat with Bernard Golden, changing the org-chart is itself a huge undertaking, and this won't happen until the tooling is in place to lower the barriers for devops.

The tooling Donnie is referring to is evolving as PaaS, which provides a powerful and self-service means for targeted teams to successfully deliver microservices. Stackato, the world-class enterprise PaaS from ActiveState, is a prime example of a PaaS offering that streamlines microservices development.

The post Microservices and PaaS appeared first on ActiveState.

More Stories By John Wetherill

Originally from Canada, John has spent much of his career designing and building software at a handful of startups, at Sun Microsystems, NeXT Inc., and more recently in the smart grid and energy space. His biggest passion is for developer tools, or more generally any tool, language, process, or system that improves developer productivity and quality of life. Without question, Stackato is one such tool and the reason why he is here. No stranger to technology evangelism, John spent several years in the late 1990's on Sun's Technology Evangelism Team spreading the Java Gospel across the globe and focusing on the prolific number of Java technologies. Now John is now returning to his roots, as a technology evangelist working for a Canadian company, albeit remotely from Santa Cruz.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, 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.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...