A Recap of the Ascendle and Microsoft Microservices Architecture Seminar

On June 7, 2019 Ascendle and Microsoft co-hosted a Microservices Architecture Seminar to discuss the logic, the logistics and the business case of using microservices architecture. Our esteemed presenters and panelists used their business acumen, technical prowess, and techy-humor to share best practices and an extensive list of microservices architecture resources.

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If you are not familiar with microservices architecture, get a primer from one of our previous blog posts: Deriving Business Value from Microservices Architecture

Microservices Architecture Seminar Panelists

PRESENTERS & PANELISTS

DAVE TODARO (Moderator)  LinkedIn, Ascendle Twitter
Founder & CEO – Ascendle
Author of The Epic Guide to Agile; 35 years designing & building mission-critical software applications in a predictable, repeatable, and consistent fashion.

VADIM KACHEROV (Presenter & Panelist)  LinkedInTwitter
Technology Solution Architect – Microsoft
Expert in all phases of software development, microservices architecture & cloud solutions; creates & proves-out bleeding edge solutions across various industries.

BILL WILDER (Panelist) LinkedInTwitter
Chief Technology Officer – Finomial
Technology leader with broad cloud experience from tiny startups to large enterprises; author of Cloud Architecture Patterns; founder of oldest Azure focused community in world – Boston Azure.

MELISSA JURKOIC (Panelist)  LinkedInTwitter
Senior Solutions Architect, Enterprise Solutions – Amadeus
Transforms business strategy into tangible outcomes in the hospitality industry, robust technical background; mentor and champion to women in tech. 

SCOTT CRONSHAW (Panelist) LinkedIn
Application Architect, Enterprise Platform Services – Amadeus
Architects global solutions for the hospitality industry; promoting and advancing the benefits of microservices architecture; 25 years as a Software Engineer & Architect. 

Highlights and List of Resources

Vadim Kacherov navigated the attendees through the logic of using microservices architecture, and simplified the concept by providing real-life examples and comparisons to monolithic architecture. He walked us through the value microservices brings through the use of technology heterogeneity, optimized scaling, resilience, composability, independent deployment and distributed deployment. Vadim emphasized that creating a growth-mindset in your culture is critical to testing and succeeding with the use of new technologies and solutions.

Bill Wilder took a tactical approach to answering questions, drawing on his recent experience of applying microservices architecture in an agile environment, using Azure. Bill emphasized the necessity and power of having a microservices architecture strategy prior to diving in; all panelists strongly agreed. He and Melissa riffed on the idea that none of your clients see value in the mere use of microservices. It would be like bragging to them, “We have a first class monolith!”. 

  • Resources Bill shared
    • The Tailwind Traders example/reference application for coming up to speed on building out microservices using Kubernetes (the example is generally useful, though happens to be written for Microsoft Azure):
    • Boston-area events to learn more about Azure (not always related to microservices):
      • North Boston Azure meets in Burlington (at the Microsoft office – the same location as the Ascendle event) – with next event on Thu June 28 

Melissa Jurkoic works closely with clients to understand business needs and pain-points and prioritize development work based on business value. She said using microservices architecture allows you to evolve in your business without as many negative effects to your technical ecosystem. Melissa warned that, when considering business value, the speed microservices architecture may provide your team may not always translate well to your client, or your sales team. Quick product releases may create a bottleneck of training needs, so consider releasing to your market at a slower pace than your team’s speed of producing shippable increments.

Scott Cronshaw has his hands in the development and refinement of microservices architecture as a core part of his work. He said it’s unfortunate the word ‘micro’ is in the term and prefers to refer to microservices architecture as “Properly Designed Services”, because when would you not want to build a service that is independently scalable, deployable and versionable, is able to preclude direct access to its data from outside parties, and is isolated from changes to separate, unrelated services. Scott clarified that your testing solutions should not change when using microservices architecture, but a great benefit is that when using containerization you never have the “my machine” problem. 

Additional Resources:

  • Book Peopleware  – suggested by several people at the seminar 
  • Cloud NH a meetup group in Southern New Hampshire

Some of the challenges of implementing a microservices architecture were shared by the panelists. Vadim said, in general, operational and architectural complexity do increase, making orchestration, management and monitoring mandatory. Scott added that care should be taken when designing cross cutting concerns such as authorization and logging. Melissa and Scott both agreed that microservices is a mindset change and more of a people challenge, as engineers are good at adopting new technologies. Melissa also stressed the importance of having the correct tools to help give non technical people, like customer support, insight into what is going on in the system. In summary, do your research upfront, create a strategic microservices plan, and ,personalize your messaging for stakeholders so all parties get value from the transition to microservices architecture.

Final Recap

The seminar was an initiation into microservices architecture for some, while others left with practical next steps for improving their existing architecture. If your company is struggling with the adoption of microservices architecture, or need help understanding the value it could bring to your products, get in touch!

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