Adrian Cockcroft Presents: Shrinking Microservices to Functions

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Adrian Cockcroft, VP Cloud Architecture Strategy at AWS

In this video from microXchg 2017, Adrian Cockcroft from AWS presents: Shrinking Microservices to Functions.

“We’ve seen the same service oriented architecture principles track advancements in technology from the coarse grain services of SOA a decade ago, through microservices that are usually scoped to a more fine grain single area of responsibility, and now functions as a service, serverless architectures where each function is a separately deployed and invoked unit. Large teams would work for months between releases of SOA components. Small teams down to a single developer would release microservices perhaps on a daily basis. One developer may release many functions many times a day. We’ll look at the challenges and opportunities that arise as the components of applications get smaller, more ephemeral, and evolve more rapidly.”

In this fascinating talk, Cockcroft describes how hardware networking has reshaped how services like Machine Learning are being developed rapidly in the cloud with AWS Lamda. His recent blogpost brings it all into focus:

Lambda based applications are constructed from individual event driven functions that are almost entirely business logic, and there’s much less boilerplate and platform code to manage. It’s early days, but this appears to be driving another radical change. Small teams of developers are building production ready applications from scratch in just a few days. They are using short simple functions and events to glue together robust API driven data stores and services. The finished applications are already highly available and scalable, high utilization, low cost and fast to deploy. As an analogy, think how long it would take to make a model house starting with a ball of clay, compared to a pile of Lego bricks. Given enough time you could make almost anything from the clay, it’s expressive, creative, and there’s even an anti-pattern for monolithic applications called the “big ball of mud”. The Lego bricks fit together to make a constrained, blocky model house, that is also very easy to extend and modify, in a tiny fraction of the time. In addition, there are other bricks somewhat like Lego bricks, but they aren’t popular enough to matter, and any kind of standard brick based system will be much faster than custom formed clay.

Adrian Cockcroft is VP Cloud Architecture Strategy at AWS. Adrian Cockcroft has had a long career working at the leading edge of technology. He’s always been fascinated by what comes next, and he writes and speaks extensively on a range of subjects. For AWS he’s particularly interested in working closely with customers around their use and creation of open source projects, and will continue to engage with developers and executives via conferences and summits around the world.

At Battery, he advised the firm and its portfolio companies about technology issues and also assisted with deal sourcing and due diligence, becoming well known as a thought leader in cloud, DevOps and microservices architectures.

Before joining Battery, Adrian helped lead Netflix’s migration to a large scale, highly available public-cloud architecture and the open sourcing of the cloud-native NetflixOSS platform. Prior to that at Netflix he managed a team working on personalization algorithms and service-oriented refactoring.

Adrian was a founding member of eBay Research Labs, developing advanced mobile applications and even building his own homebrew phone, years before iPhone and Android launched. As a distinguished engineer at Sun Microsystems he wrote the best-selling “Sun Performance and Tuning” book and was chief architect for High Performance Technical Computing.

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