At your microservices and service mesh: An infrastructure built for a new standard - TmaxSoft
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At your microservices and service mesh: An infrastructure built for a new standard

As the one-year anniversary of the pandemic declaration has come and gone, it is getting more difficult to remember what business was like before March 11, 2020. Although we miss the human interaction of office work; some things should be left in the past. Even though vaccinations have created a light at the end of the tunnel, what it illuminates will not be like the past. The top 7 tech trends for 2021 not only reflect the journey to the light but also what lies beyond it.

In short, the 7 tech trends are the way forward for business. In tandem, they are what you can use to thrive in a post-pandemic world. However, you can’t do this with an infrastructure that is decades old. In this series of blogs, we have been showing you how modernization in the cloud is the foundation for adopting the 7 trends. We have already tackled customer experience (CX), data integration, digital culture, digital innovation, the composable enterprise, and automation. This blog looks at the final trend, microservices and service mesh.

Angels in the architecture: Microservices

Microservices have been around since 2009 at least. Recently, as more tech giants have publicized their moves to microservices, they have really taken off. This is because they resolve a lot of the problems of monolithic application architectures, which develop performance issues when they are scaled and are hard to change quickly. So, what are microservices exactly?

Microservices.io has this definition: “an architectural style that structures an application as a collection of services.” Software functionality is isolated into multiple independent modules that are individually responsible for specific standalone tasks. The modules communicate with one another via simple, universally accessible application programming interfaces (APIs). As a result, one team’s changes won’t break an entire app, unlike in monolithic application architectures. Microservices can be deployed in virtual machines or containers; however, containers are becoming the microservices deployment method of choice.

Amazon is a microservices pioneer. It wanted a more robust application that could handle new features and functions quickly. So, it moved from a monolith to a fully distributed, decentralized services architecture. Another pioneer is Netflix, who has built one of the most well-known examples of a modern microservices architecture – one that features an API gateway that handles about two billion API edge requests a day, all supported by over 500 microservices.

Communication breakdown: Service mesh

As the Netflix example shows, in the microservices world, an application can consist of hundreds of services. Each service could have thousands of instances. If the container deployment method is being used, a container orchestrator like Kubernetes is constantly changing the instances. This creates incredibly complex service-to-service communication, which is essential to microservices during runtime.

To ensure end-to-end performance, reliability, and security, organizations are increasingly turning to a service mesh, which adds observability, security, and reliability features to applications by inserting them at the platform layer rather than the application layer. As a result, the application doesn’t need to implement these features, or even be aware of the service mesh.

Lyft is an example of company that uses a service mesh it developed itself. Lyft’s Envoy, one of the earliest service meshes, enables services to communicate with one another through a proxy that is outside the application. It supports L3/L4 filter architecture like a TCP/IP proxy, HTTP/2 based L7 filter architecture, service discovery and active/passive health checking, load balancing, authentication and authorization, and observability. Microsoft, HP, Walmart, and Nordstrom use another service mesh called Linkerd. Cash App, eBay, Giphy, and Intuit use Istio, Google’s and IBM’s joint mesh service.

Microservices, service mesh, and modern cloud infrastructures

Microservices, service mesh, containers, and Kubernetes all enable you to offer differentiated digital services to your customers or consumers. Gartner predicts that these technical advancements will be in place in 70% of organizations by 2022. They are a key aspect of digital transformation, and they can also help you make other tech trends, such as customer experience and automation, a reality.

What should not go unnoticed is these modern application structures were not built for the infrastructures of yesteryear. Although microservices and containers can run on virtual machines, they are more efficient, scalable, and powerful in the cloud. Plus, Kubernetes and service meshes need the cloud. Therefore, an on-premises data center that houses an aging mainframe, legacy applications, and a rigid database with high licensing costs is going to severely inhibit their use.

Instead, you should migrate your mainframe and legacy applications to a cloud infrastructure designed for microservices, service mesh, and more. To do this, you need a legacy modernization platform. With a legacy modernization platform, you move your applications to a cloud-based environment with no reformatting, code changes or user impact. Once in this environment, you can modernize your apps and by breaking them into faster, responsive, agile microservices, and set up your service mesh. To enable your service mesh to help your microservice applications share data with one another, you should also consider a modern RDBMS that runs in the cloud.

Ready to break free from monoliths?

Two TmaxSoft products, OpenFrame and Tibero, can provide the legacy modernization platform and RDBMS you need to make microservices and service mesh part of your digital transformation strategy. Both solutions make it easy to transition your application architectures to the cloud. Learn more about modernizing your legacy applications and moving away from on-premises architectures by reading our eBook on proven modernization strategies.

Kelly McClure is the Vice President of Global Marketing for TmaxSoft. Her 20-year marketing career spans both Fortune 1000 companies and fast growth technology startups. Kelly is responsible for leading TmaxSoft’s marketing strategy. She is experienced in aligning marketing and sales, building relevant content and messaging and developing integrated lead generation campaigns. Before joining TmaxSoft, Kelly served as the Vice President of Marketing for 10th Magnitude and held senior marketing roles with DataStax, BMC Software and Micro Focus. Kelly has a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and an MBA from Loyola University Chicago.