VP Innovation at Axway, Co-founder at Vordel

Mark O'Neill

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When organizations make the choice to put a digital platform in place, a discussion on MicroServices is never far behind

Solving the Digital Business Puzzle Using APIs and Microservices - Axway and Forrester

When organizations make the choice to put a digital platform in place, a discussion on MicroServices is never far behind. By putting a MicroServices layer in place, an organization creates the springboard to launch into the digital future, whether that involves apps, rich Web clients, or IoT devices such as in-store beacons. Individual MicroServices, or orchestrated groups of MicroServices, serve as the foundation for this innovation. The data being passed to and from MicroServices also serves as the basis for behavioral analytics and Big Data, allowing organizations to tailor their digital services based on their users. But what are MicroServices and how are they used?

To answer this question, I'm pleased to say that next week we're running a webinar with Randy Heffner from Forrester, who is an expert on how APIs and MicroServices are used to deliver digital business.

Randy Heffner is VP & Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. He's a leading expert on designing business applications and software architectures that are secure and resilient in the face of continuous business and technology change, Randy has for the past 30-plus years, and across multiple industry sectors, led solution architects in using technology to delight customers and to continuously improve business outcomes. He is the author of some excellent papers on API Design and usage.

You can catch the webinar next Tuesday, September 22, at 11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern by registering here. We already have a large number of people signed up, and it promises to be a lively session with a lot of Q&A.

For people in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, we're re-running the session on Thursday October 8 at 9am UK/Ireland, 10am Paris/Madrid/Berlin, 4pm Singapore & Chinese Standard Time. You can sign up for this October 8 session here.

What's old is new again

In many ways, MicroServices are not new, since they bring established principles to bear on integration. Martin Fowler has written extensively on Microservices, including componentization and services - topics which will be familiar to any architect deploying infrastructure over the last 15+ years. He writes about the centrality of events in a Microservices architecture, where MicroServices can subscribe to events from other Microservices. This event model brings to mind established best practice integration patterns. At Axway, we've also seen this trend with our customers, who leverage the inbuilt message queue in our API Gateway for such a publish/subscribe pattern between their services.

MicroServices also borrow from the worlds of SOA, DevOps, and Operations. Martin Fowler famously speculated that MicroServices may be "service orientation done right". We see how MicroServices leverage SOA principles of separation of concerns, encapsulation, and loose coupling. From the world of DevOps they bring agility advantages including distributed development, automated testing, and continuous delivery. From the Operations world they bring the advantages of independently deployable components, load distribution, and parallel processing.

MicroService Aggregation

One way in which MicroServices diverge from SOA is in their implementation technologies. SOA was associated with a raft of WS-* standards. There was also, in the words of Martin Fowler, "the tendency to hide complexity away in ESB's". Digital platforms are designed to avoid these pitfalls, by using REST and MicroService aggregation instead of an ESB. This is often described as "smart endpoints and dumb pipes"

Another aspect of MicroServices management is Operational Intelligence. The data flowing to MicrosSrvices, and being produced and consumed by their event model, can provide valuable behavioral analytics. This Operational Intelligence allows organizations to anticipate future trends and be agile to their customers' needs. The data also allows bottlenecks to be detected and addressed.

I look forward to some great insight from Randy Heffner on the webinar - sign up and see you then!

More Stories By Mark O'Neill

Mark O'Neill is VP Innovation at Axway - API and Identity. Previously he was CTO and co-founder at Vordel, which was acquired by Axway. A regular speaker at industry conferences and a contributor to SOA World Magazine and Cloud Computing Journal, Mark holds a degree in mathematics and psychology from Trinity College Dublin and graduate qualifications in neural network programming from Oxford University.