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Cloud First Applications

Why?

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Micro services

Containers

Containers are about application packaging and delivery.

We often talk about containers being a light weight VM, which they are. However, I think the real value of the container (which is why docker is synonymous with container), is a software packaging and delivery mechanism.The sole reason Docker containers got more attention than its competition is because of this software delivery approach.

The power of the Dockerfile and image repository.

Containers as execution hosts - vs Virtual and Physical Machines

(Yes there is other container tech, for example here)

Container Orchestration

Kubertnetes

Everything else

  • Docker Swarm
  • Service Bus
  • Methos

Front Door - AWS API Gateway

The AWS SaaS for front door is API Gateway, and it provides several capabilities.

  • Scalable & Efficient – Serverless auto scale pay for usage.
  • Self-Service & Highly Usable – Allow you to define, revise, deploy, and monitor APIs including SDK generation for iOS and Android.
  • Reliable – Custom error handling and error responses.
  • Secure – AWS and IAM AuthN/AuthZ.
  • Performant – Globally accessible (via CloudFront) low latency access, with data transfer to the backend over the AWS network.
  • Cost-Effective – pay-as-you-go pricing.

Caching + Throttling

Can apply simple caching, and throttling to protect legacy TPS systems.

Logging/Monitoring/Alarming

Can log everything to cloud watch to enable api access debugging and auto-scale alarms

Routing + API Transformation

Define a client callable REST api and map it to arbitrary backend services including paramater and representation re-mapping. Can use this implement stages and version upgrades.

Websocket transformation

Can translate websocket calls to backend calls (REST, Lambda, or any other API transformation). Today it’s limited to routing ‘connect’, ‘disconnect’, ‘push’, ‘get, but as we do protocols over WebSockets like WAMP API gateway could do a stronger mismatch.

Networking

Now adays the majority of networking is done over HTTP. Here are the aspects of it.

Connections, data refresh and data transfer

Client to server communication has three aspects, connection establishment notifications data transer.

Connection Establishment - Client or Service

99.9% of the time you want clients to initiate connections because clients are often unaccessible due to NATs and Firewalls.

Data Refresh - Polling vs Event Driven - Web Sockets

Can be either polling or event driven. Polling has the client requesting data periodically and is the simplest method to implement, however it suffers from latency. The alternative is having the server give data to the client when it is available.

Websockets allow you to simply implement server initiated push notifications to clients. The client establishes a long pole connction, and server writes to it when available, allowing the client to listen.

Data Transfer - REST vs WebSocket

This isn’t an apples to apples comparison. But the ideas are usually compared with these concepts.

REST is a frequently used request/response protocol with easy API semantic and many years of supporting goops (caches, routing, api semantics, debugging tools, etc).

WebSockets are frequently used when push notification or high data volumes are required, essential raw socket access ( sockets were the default network access from user mode and represented a TCP connection before the web ate teh world). Websockets do not define a common interface, so it’s up to the app developer to define these and as a result there are few tools to support this.

I suspect a common pattern will be using WebSockets for a server initiated push notification requesting the client to call for current state.

I also suspect an eco system will emerge around WebSockets providing protocols and tools. For example WOMP is a standard for APIs and PubSub over WebSocket.

Planes - Control, Data, and Management

Latency is real

Turns out speed of light matters, and cities are really far apart. Seattle has awesome networking, but even still Seattle to India still takes 260ms, that’s a lot of latency.

Communication buses: Envoy

Envoy makes communication application transparent. From their intro:

Envoy is an L7 proxy and communication bus designed for large modern service oriented architectures. The project was born out of the belief that the network should be transparent to applications. When network and application problems do occur it should be easy to determine the source of the problem. Achieving the previously stated goal is incredibly difficult. Envoy attempts to do so by providing the following high level features:

Communication Bus

Communction Mesh

Out of process architecture: Envoy is a self contained process that is designed to run alongside every application server. All of the Envoys form a transparent communication mesh in which each application sends and receives messages to and from localhost and is unaware of the network topology. The out of process architecture has two substantial benefits over the traditional library approach to service to service communication. 1) Langauge independance - everyone talks to localhost 2) Auto upgrade - since proxy service is injected into the containers.

L7 Proxy L7 Proxy Similar to Nginx or HA Proxy, or AWS ELB, terminate the https and redirect to the apps.

New patterns

Side cars

Package functionality into a seperately injected application: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/architecture/patterns/sidecar

Functions as a Service FaaS

Introduction

FaaS Orchestration

Triggers

Security

Logging

Debugging

Data Systems

Huge topic, see Data Systems.

Challenges

Conways law - Four complier teams implies a four pass complier

Conway’s law is an aphorism in IT that posits the idea that “organizations which design systems are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations.” This idea can be traced back to a programmer named Melvin Conway who developed this principle in the late 1960s.

Other Resources