The Software Architects' Newsletter
March 2021
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Welcome to the InfoQ Software Architects’ Newsletter! Each month, we bring you essential news and experience from industry peers on emerging patterns and technologies.

This month we focus on the topic of "Cloud Computing for the Enterprise". The use of cloud platform/function as a service (PaaS and FaaS) is becoming increasingly popular with new related architectural patterns emerging.

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Vamp Announces Results of State of Cloud-Native Release Orchestration 2021 Survey, a company providing a release automation platform, recently published the State of Cloud-Native Release Orchestration 2021 survey results. Results show that Kubernetes and microservices are popular, and high-risk release strategies are still being used.

A total of 253 participants were interviewed to understand challenges, trends, and opportunities for improvement to release and test software in production. 72% of participants said they use Kubernetes in production, and 81% of participants said they are using microservices in production. 34% of the participants mentioned using AWS as their cloud provider, with hybrid cloud and Microsoft Azure used by 15% and 14% of participants, respectively.

Clare Liguori on Automating Safe and “Hands-Off” Deployments at AWS

In this podcast, Clare Liguori, Principal Software Engineer at Amazon Web Services, sat down with InfoQ podcast co-host Daniel Bryant and discussed: the implementation of continuous delivery of public cloud software at AWS; the use of automation and deploying to multiple test environments; and the benefits of canary releasing.

Every change that goes out to production at Amazon is code reviewed, and pipelines enforce this. With automated "full CD" there are no human interactions after a change has been reviewed and pushed into the source code repository before it gets deployed to production.

Kubernetes Is Not Your Platform, It's Just the Foundation

In this recent article, Manuel Pais, InfoQ editor and co-author of Team Topologies, discussed that Kubernetes itself is not a platform: it is only the foundational element of an ecosystem not only of tools, and services but also offering support as part of a compelling internal product.

Platform teams should provide useful abstractions of Kubernetes complexities to reduce cognitive load on stream teams. A team-focused Kubernetes adoption requires an assessment of cognitive load and tradeoffs, clear platform and service definitions, and defined team interactions.

Pais also recently sat down with fellow InfoQ editor, Raf Gemmail, and took part in a related Q&A, "Manuel Pais on Team Topologies during COVID-19".

Serverless Functions for Microservices? Probably Yes, but Stay Flexible to Change

Enrico Piccinin argued that serverless functions can be a great deployment model for (micro)services since they offer the fastest path to production, the lowest entry cost, and high elasticity. When speed to reach production with a new service is important, when we want to minimize upfront investments, and when load curves are unknown, serverless functions are the deployment model to choose.

But things can change over time, loads can become predictable and stable, and if this happens then serverless functions can turn out to be much more expensive than traditional deployment models based on dedicated resources.


Case Study

Experts Discuss Top Kubernetes Trends and Production Challenges

The lead headline in the recent Cloud Native Computing (CNCF) survey states that the “use of containers in production has increased by 300% since 2016.” With this hyper-growth there comes challenges that users are grappling with, not only individually but also as a community.

InfoQ recently caught up with several Kubernetes experts to discuss the top trends and most important challenges that users of the platform are facing. Highlights of the full-length Q&A can be found below.

The experts agreed that the popularity of Kubernetes continues to explode, but with this growth comes challenges and gaps, from the cultural shift required to technology trends and advancements.

The software development lifecycle (SDLC) on Kubernetes and microservices-based applications are still evolving and this is where there might be a significant evolution in the next few years.

The adoption of DevOps practices on Kubernetes platforms is relatively more mature than the associated SDLC. However, with emerging patterns like GitOps, this is also an anticipated area of growth as well.

As the next wave of microservices and more stateful applications are deployed on Kubernetes-based platforms, there is a need for more visibility for operations and also tools for self-defense and self-healing against malicious applications (intentional or inadvertent).

For users running Kubernetes in production, homegrown tools based around the Kubernetes Operator pattern for example have emerged and will continue to evolve to address the tooling gaps.

This content is an excerpt from a recent InfoQ article from Rags Srinivas, "Experts Discuss Top Kubernetes Trends and Production Challenges".

To get notifications when InfoQ publishes content on these topics, follow "cloud computing", "cloud architecture", and "cloud-native" on InfoQ.

Missed a newsletter? You can find all of the previous issues on InfoQ.

This edition of The Software Architects' Newsletter is brought to you by:


Six Levels of Cloud Maturity

There are six basic maturity levels that organizations go through during their cloud adoption process:

  • Level 1—Experimenting: What is the cloud?
  • Level 2—Securing the cloud: Can we trust the cloud?
  • Level 3—Enabling servers and SaaS: Lift-and-shift, confirmation the cloud works pretty well.
  • Level 4—Enabling value-added services: Dynamic cloud becomes a practice.
  • Level 5—Enabling unique services: Dynamic cloud is deeply ingrained in the culture.
  • Level 6—Mandating cloud usage: Why do we need our own data centers?
To be successful in moving to the cloud, organizations must realize that this continuum of cloud maturity exists and understand the implications for their actions and processes. Moving from one level of maturity to the next isn’t always easy, it isn’t always fast, and the specific details differ for every organization.

Upcoming Events

Events by InfoQ for Software Engineers and Architects

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InfoQ Live - April 27: What Does the Future Hold for Java.

What is getting ready in OpenJDK 16 and 17? What are the new features that have made it or might make it into Java through Project Valhalla? We’ll also delve into some of the new features including Records, Local Variable Type Inference, and performance improvements. Join us at InfoQ Live this April 27. Grab your ticket for only $19.95.


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