The secret life of Microservices
For a computer literate, when somebody refers to microservices, it would immediately trigger in his or her mind the topic aimed to be reviewed in that discussion. However, as team structures these days are formed by people coming with different backgrounds and IT expertise, trying to explain what microservices are, might turn into a tricky task. So, when I was asked to consider talking about microservices and their architecture from the perspective of being one of the core components of Otalio’s software solution, making a user-friendly blog out of it to reach a broader audience left me wonder for hours what’s the best way to describe them.
As one of my hobbies is reading medical related books (Note: insert here link to team members BIO’s from website), my immediate reaction was thinking that microservices are our software cells, similar to the ones of our body. The DK Human Anatomy guide says: ‘It is hard to comprehend what 75 trillion cells looks like, but observing yourself in a mirror would be a good start.’ That’s pretty straight forward when it comes to what cells do, and frankly, it’ll be pretty much the same when referring to Otalio’s next generation of software solution: ‘It is hard to comprehend the vast area that microservices relate to in the cruise industry, but observing our software applications behaviour would be a good start’.
In the same way cells decompose to serve the dedicated functions of a human being such as brain activity, muscle functionality or reproduction, microservices decompose applications into single-function modules with well-defined interfaces which are independently deployed. Otalio’s microservice single-function applications spread across areas such as Guest Services, Point of sales, Diningroom Management, Safety and Ship Security, Package and Promotions, as well as Crew Services. They are all independently worked on by small teams of dedicated engineers, who own the entire lifecycle of the service.
Delivering the information across those independent microservices resembles yet again with the way cells’ material is being transported into our system. Some cells secrete signalling molecules to communicate with the rest of the body. Otalio’s microservices use an event driven mechanism to communicate in between them. A unique feature of this communication is being able to subscribe to such events published on the shared Kafka platform, allowing each microservice to consume the information and store its own representation locally in a reliable and scalable fashion. Every microservice can consume and produce data into the event platform, allowing other services to subscribe to the information provided there.
It could happen that one of the microservice crashes down. Like the cell mitosis process, providing the same DNA to its ‘daughter cell’ without disrupting the rest of our body’s conduct, a microservice could be replaced without disrupting the rest of the software’s behaviour, therefore ensuring no downtime for your ship operation.
To conclude, we could say that cells have an amazing diversity however their genetic formula is the blueprint of all life. Similarly, microservices provide different functionalities within our software, but their Core Configuration provides a basis for all functional modules within Otalio system.
Otalio GmbH is attending Seatrade worldwide event at Miami Beach Convention Centre, between April 8th and 11th. Visit us at Booth # 2001