A marketer learns symphony – Kubernetes and microservices
I never thought i would say this – microservices and containers are a beguiling subject. After spending some time on decentralised finance and its promises, the next leg of research i was doing at work moved into the software architecture area.
How to compose services and solutions pinpointed to micro needs of end customers in financial services? Isn’t that what the fin techs promise? How does a megalith of banking software bite its teeth on this promise and keep its bite (roar)?
Banking software today is all about the number of microservices or processes it can be decomposed or composed into. Examples: They help your bank check your creds faster when you opt for a loan or when an e-commerce website needs to track shopping cart abandonment related to Abercombie and Fitch apparel alone, or buggy payment interfaces that refuse to talk to each other.
Bringing in mega cultural and org-wide shifts, software development teams are now tiny, self-contained units who have gone beyond monoliths and Goliaths to small but mighty bits of innovation.
Actually, they’ve been around for a decade – Netflix and Amazon run on these tiny, self-assured fellows, apparently. Hark back to the time when one spoke of virtualisation, and HP existed in all its glamor. Container technology made its debut around the same time. You could package apps in virtual machines that were still clunky and time-consuming to operate.
Dockers were the next evolutionary leg that soon opened up container tech to the masses. However, orchestrating at scale was still hard and dockers didn’t do it. Kubernetes from Google arrived. In a year since launch, they went through a rite of passage on a www PokemonGo launch that tested and stretched their innards. The pods, their permutations and containers now talk to each other, allowing apps to be accessed on iPads or desktops or any test environment, countering all the challenges faced by developers in hitherto deploying software. These featherweight, gossamer beauties are what can be called the faces that launch a thousand ships. They spin up capacity at unimaginable scale, leading to banks like Monzo whose entire back-end runs on 1,500 *API-backed, microservices. So what, you say? Well, it brings in agility, baby. The kind you need from your bank when you are quarantined at home and looking to buy insurance, and brain fog doesnt allow you to concentrate for more than a minute. (And, then WiFi at home drops and you have to switch to completing the form on your mobile phone but can’t fill the darn thing all over again).
When backed by automated testing and agile development methods, microservices and their containerised wagons can change deployment frequencies from once a quarter to once a day. (for eg, Amazon makes 130,000 such changes each day) and improve failure rates, removing a single point of failure scenario.
*APIs – lets applications connect, communicate with each other in a sane and secure manner.