Microservice architectures improve the ability of IT organizations to more rapidly deliver business critical services to their customers, but this improved agility often comes at the cost of added complexity. This complexity is manifested by the increasing scale-out and ephemeral nature of this application architecture pattern. The transformation from monolithic applications to microservices means that in many cases, the complexity which resided on the “inside” of the application shifts towards the “outside” of the microservice as IT organizations now need to account for additional infrastructure components needed to support the microservice plus there are the additional communications pathways that will occur within the microservice ecosystem. In terms of the microservice lifecycle, data collected by companies such as New Relic confirms the trend towards increasingly short-lived microservices (with many running for less than one minute).
What is often lost in the discussion of microservices is the need to re-examine how an IT organization will be able to manage this new environment for the issues just raised can often “break” existing tooling. Let’s just look at one outcome – the missing or invisible container. Tools which perform coarse-grained data collection may not be able to observe a microservice for its entire lifecycle could occur in-between data collection operations. That’s why IT organizations may need to reconsider their existing monitoring tool portfolio to ensure that they have the necessary degree of fine-grained observability required for an increasingly dynamic environment. Returning to the “inner” versus “outer” architecture ramifications, IT organizations will also need tools that can not only store large amount of information, but also enable the rapid identification of patterns of microservice behavior that may not be obvious to the human operator.
VMware understands these issues and thus this was the impetus for our investment in Wavefront. We’ll continue to focus on transforming the manageability of an increasingly complex environment so that IT organizations can focus their energies on transforming their business.