Microservices Day London (live blog)

By: NodeCrunch Live

Welcome to the Microservices Day London live blog!

Follow along, or catch up, with all the action from today’s proceedings at the Barbican Centre. And remember to pop over to our live stream to view the proceedings as they happen.

Microservices Day is a one-day, single-track, non-profit event that focuses on the business benefits of utilizing microservices. In attendance are chief digital officers, chief technical officers, chief information officers, VPs of engineering and senior tech decision makers.

The focus of the day? To learn how leading enterprises are leveraging digital transformation to achieve rapid delivery and be inspired, not intimidated, by the unicorns.

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And that brings today’s live-blog coverage to and end. Thanks to everyone who attended, shared, sponsored or followed from home.

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And that concludes the conference part of the day. Stand by for some photos from the post-conference drinks before we sign off for the day :)

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When asked to define microservices in one line.

Just a few of the answers thrown out by the panel:

“Microservices are what is keeping all these people here and not from the bar.”
“Massive applications built by a few people around a pizza.”
“A return to sanity.”
“Small chunks of network available code that do one thing well.”
“Like services but smaller.”

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Last question to the panel is what they learned about microservices from today’s event.

Joe mentions digital signing.
Jason says he’s blown away by how the insanity of microservices has become sanity.
Peter also finds it brilliant that more and more firms are actually using microservices.
Adrian add that we must be weary to not do asynchronous things with synchronous technology.
And Keith like the feedback and guidance from actual data and use-cases from implementing microservices.

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Last crowd question is about decentralising decision making and pushing decisions down the tree to the engineers, esp for Gilt who used scala and node.

Adrian, says that initially it was really hard for decision makers not to enforce top-down decisions. But what happened is that teams voluntarily chose scala.

NodeCrunch Live May 10, 20164:07 pm

Another crowd question re: avoiding the “heart attack” with dropping staging servers and moving towards testing in production.

A point is made by the panel about some teams not being able to test live, especially those who need to write data. Aiming to figure out what testing environments each unit needs, avoids ‘bloody’ arguments on the topic.

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When asked about how best to handle a cluster of microservices going down, the collective response is that Amazon’s handling of this is usually far better than they can do themselves. Some panelists do still have datacenter of their own, just incase they need it.

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NodeCrunch Live May 10, 20163:56 pm

First audience question is about what alternatives exist to Docker for container and service architecture.
Adrian makes a point that although the notion of a service in a container in container in an instance is a bit perverse, but they’re very happy with how Docker works for them.
Peter mentions that they still use VMs so ring up containers differently.
Jason also notes that with scheduling, that changes the way you’d deploy containers.
Keith makes a point that many companies go all-in with cloud, that they get “locked in”.

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Christian confirms that there is a case to be made for bettering security in constantly changing environments. Jason makes a case for digitally signatures between microservices and short-lived containers to lower risks. Keith also mentions that RedHat’s offering in the space to better secure containers.

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The second topic for the panel is SECURITY. The topic hasn’t been touched much on today, but Joe wants to know how we can implement security into microservices (and if we should).

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Another method to dealing with the internal politics is separating the ‘change-agent’ teams from the rest of the organisation.

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NodeCrunch Live May 10, 20163:41 pm

The first panel question is on how to deal with the internal politics around changing the dev/engineering setup. Coaching and stakeholder buy-in needed to avoid failure in the space.

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Interestingly Christian’s team uses NO staging environment either. Saving costs on infrastructure, and implementing things like feature toggles and canary releases instead.

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And Christian also mentions that

“Monitoring is the new testing.”

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Christian also mentions Immutable Servers, a topic that’s been very popular with all of the speakers today.

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Christian says

“We’re now experiencing ‘Infrastructure as Code’… where the same delivery pipeline that delivers code also delivers infrastructure changes.”

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NodeCrunch Live May 10, 20163:27 pm

With regards to ownership, Christian has found great results by implementing a “you build it, you run it” philosophy. Initially engineers were worried about being on-call, but knowing that you’ve built to good services, you have little or no issues to fix.

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Through a collaborative culture, Christian’s teams are less siloed, and everyone is now ‘an engineer’ as oppose to other titles.

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Christian’s talk recaps on a lot of the points brought up throughout the day. Such as organising autonomous teams around business capabilities to aid scaling of development/engineering.

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Christian:

“The site still runs on the existing setup, so we call it the ‘cash stack’.”

Whilst they move everything across turning existing functionality into slightly larger microservices.

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NodeCrunch Live May 10, 20163:18 pm

One of the first questions the new CEO of autoscout24 was:

Do we attract talent?

This was one of the core reasons for their shift from .NET. Decided instead to change everything.

Changing from .net/windows to JVM/Linux.
From monolith to microservices.
Data center to AWS.
DevOps to collaboration
and more.

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The next talk is called “Autobahn in the Cloud” by Christian Deger

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Delicious treats, strong coffee and interesting chatter at the last break of the day.

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After three more fascinating use cases and technical talks, we’re now breaking for a short coffee/tea break to refuel.

When we return, there will be one last talk (“Autobahn in the cloud”) and the final panel discussion about the lessons learned from the field”.

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The team at Zalando developed their own data platform called SAIKI.
The platform collects all the event data from their services and makes it available to the BI team via a REST API.

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The talent pool wanted to use the latest and coolest tech and tools. When management said no, they left.

In order to curb this talent drain, they implemented autonomy for dev teams.

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NodeCrunch Live May 10, 20162:12 pm

Originally the site was running on PHP and MySQL, they performed a reboot to using ‘macro’ services and moving data over to postgresql.

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Up next are Fabian and Valentine sharing their lessons and experiences learned from the last year of digging deeper into data integration in a microservices-based environment.

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NodeCrunch Live May 10, 20162:04 pm

In summary, Anne concludes that

Containers have already won the war over bare metal and VMs. It lowers the maintenance and costs!

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This kind of microscaling technology is already being used by Google and Netflix to cut costs lost on autoscaling.

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In order to find out if it’s possible to launch instances of containers in seconds, they tested it. Anne is currently showing a short demo of a simulation.

Their tests proved that it’s possible to have plausibly real-time instantiation of containers.

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Worth noting that the auditorium is still packed and has been since the very first talk. So much value and lessons are being shared by every one of the speakers!

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NodeCrunch Live May 10, 20161:53 pm

According to Anne, companies can throw out the notion of autoscaling (bringing in additional resources ahead of time to handle demand) by relying on microscaling with containers (which can scale in real-time).

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Anne also notes that:

“Both the pains and gains of VMs are accrued to the Ops teams alone.”

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NodeCrunch Live May 10, 20161:44 pm

Up now is Anne Currie who’s using subtle references to Game Of Thrones to compare bare metal to virtual machines and then Microservices containers.

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Clifton concludes saying:

“Focus on your process and your people first. Even if you’re tech’s bad, you’ve got the right setup to address it.”

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tes’ approach is to use loosely coupled services that have single responsibilities.

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Clifton’s team prefers feature toggles over feature branches. Unreleased code makes him nervous.

This also encourages smaller releases more often, and further stops the fear-based culture.

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NodeCrunch Live May 10, 20161:23 pm

Their (tes’s) entire infrastructure is versioned in Github and doesn’t allow changes by hand. This makes changes auditable, allows automated rollbacks and removes down-time.

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The second change was to implement immutable infrastructure, making all changes to infrastructure go through blue/green deployments, whilst also supporting the flipping of resources.

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Clifton also used the ‘project manager’ role as a sort of support or concierge role to help the dev team out, as oppose to a micro management role.

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One of the first steps as CTO was to almost remove all the team members with ‘manager’ in their title. Showed board that he was cost-focussed, but also gave the engineers more freedom to work.

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Now they’ve closed down their legacy servers and moved everything onto AWS. They’ve also removed the fear-based culture from the tech team.

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Clifton was given 18 months to replatform and transition tes into a business that was successful due its digital setup.

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NodeCrunch Live May 10, 20161:12 pm

When Clifton joined tes, there were many issues with their tech and infrastructure, including the tech and culture.

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Coming back from lunch we’ll have Clifton Cunningham‘s “Micro-transformation” talk, followed by Anne Currie talking about “Microservices and Containers. How much faster than a VM?!”. Her talk is followed by Fabian and Valentine sharing their lessons in “Data integration in the world of microservices”.`

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Great food, and even greater conversations out in the greenery.

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Now for a tasty 1 hour lunch break.

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Most importantly, the industry trends:
Folks moving their containers to the cloud, and moving away from centralised IT, and an acceptance that external teams and partners can deliver solutions faster.
People want more and more agility.
More microservices are being enabled, and accepting that SOA is dead.
Time and time again, infrastructure efficiency is being discussed.
As well as Operational Efficiency.

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RHT are investing in the underlying technologies behind containers, orchestration, making RHEL free for devs, .Net core and software collections (like Node, MongoDB, php, python, c++, gcc, gdb).

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Great comments and discussions via Twitter. Official hashtag is msdaylondon.

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Keith notes that:

“Containers allow Devs and Ops to speak a ‘common language’.”

NodeCrunch Live May 10, 201611:42 am

Fascinating that with just a 15% saving on hypervisors, Google saved millions of dollars across their data centres. Which is why they invested into containers very early on.

NodeCrunch Live May 10, 201611:39 am

According to tweets, Keith is right on the money:

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“Microservices fixes the problem with the differences between the Ops and Dev teams, providing each with security, but allowing them to move and deploy faster.”

Paraphrased from Keith’s talk


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Keith’s talk will not be a sales pitch or vendor talk, but will instead focus on his observations of what’s happening in the microservices world.

NodeCrunch Live May 10, 201611:32 am

Up now is Keith Lynch from RedHat, who are not only an operating system anymore.

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Jason concludes that

“microservices don’t come free and infrastructure is a unit of compute.”

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Jason:

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to invest in good logging and analytics across your services.”

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With their first phase so focussed on nailing the cultural mind-shift, their next phase is focussing on decoupling the Microlith.
Jason comments that it’s:

“fun, but not easy!”

NodeCrunch Live May 10, 201611:13 am

Jason notes that the cultural mind-shift is everything, sharing that at Lifion:

“Devops is not a team. Everyone is Devops.”

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Lifion is 11 months old, with 90+ services (mostly docker), run on a distributed model with each environment running about 1000 instances.

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Coming up before lunch is Jason Melo’s talk “Microliths: how to avoid traps in your stack and your culture” and Keith Lynch’s “Containers as an enabler for microservices and what it means for our industry” talk.

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And we’re back from the break, refreshed, refeuled and ready for more fascinating talks.

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With the first three fascinating talks still being parsed by our minds, it’s now time for a quick break to refuel.

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NodeCrunch Live May 10, 201610:27 am

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NodeCrunch Live May 10, 20169:59 am

Next speaker is Richard Rodger talking about “Solving service discovery: how Node.js microservices can find each other without a registry”.

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Next up is Adrian Trenaman with his talk “Fighting the Good Fight at the Hot Gates of Micro-Services”.

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Next up is Adrian Trenaman with his talk “Fighting the Good Fight at the Hot Gates of Micro-Services”.

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A few notable tweets so far:

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There is a live feed of all the talks too, check that out over here.

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Opening talk by Fred George on “How to enable organisations to go faster”.

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Event kicking off in a few minutes. But not to worry, there’s tasty brekkie available.

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Event is prepped and the day’s first attendees are starting to arrive.

  • https://franciskim.co Francis Kim

    Many photos, wow.
    Great atmosphere though :)