Communication Between Microservices: Why You Need Messaging

Deploying microservices in a distributed environment can present a number of challenges, chief among them being the challenge of getting chatty microservices to communicate effectively. The more you scale your system (load and connections) within and across different environments, the harder this challenge can get, especially if you’ve started with a REST-based communication pattern. Using messaging to enable communication between microservices, however, can help you overcome these challenges and provide several key benefits.

The 5 key benefits of messaging when deploying microservices:

  1. Simple, scalable connectivity
  2. Simple, high availability
  3. Simple producer/consumer scalability
  4. The enablement of publish/subscribe, message filtering, routing and fanout
  5. Message rate and consumer availability decoupling

You may be wondering how REST/HTTP-based communication stacks up against messaging in enabling these benefits. In short, REST is an alternative to messaging and can deliver benefits 1-3 (above), but it doesn’t enable benefits 4 and 5.

Let’s take up each benefit in turn, and we’ll cover the REST vs.… Read the rest

Message Exchange Patterns for Event-Driven Microservices

Whether organizations turn to microservices to solve issues with existing applications or build greenfield applications, creating applications that consist of many single purpose microservices introduces the need for those individual services to interact in real-time to provide value to the end user.

Today REST is most commonly used for these interactions, and it works fine for some situations, but as discussed in my previous blog post there are many advantages to using messaging instead, not the least of which is the ability to use a wide range of synchronous and asynchronous message exchange patterns.

Note: I explored this topic on a deeper level in my latest guide:

These patterns, such as publish/subscribe, request/reply, one-way notification and multi-request/single-response have been a staple of enterprise architecture for many years, and they are ideal for microservices since they are inherently distributed. To prove this point, lets look at  problem.

A Real-World Example: Meet Sol-Beer

The problem I have chosen to solve is near and dear to my heart (as I hope it is to yours!).… Read the rest

Why the Internet of Things Needs Messaging

The number of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) surpassed the number of smartphones and personal computers some time ago, and will overtake the number of people on the planet this year.  Gartner estimates that over 20 billion devices will be connected to IoT by 2020, growing at about 30 percent annually.

Most IoT projects involve only a few hundred or thousand connected devices, but even a seemingly simple application can require hundreds of thousands of connections between devices and generate millions of information updates a second depending on the frequency of updates from those devices.

An IoT architecture with many devices, intermediary nodes (where aggregation and processing may occur) and back-end systems like applications and analytics engines was once an extreme example of distributed computing, but is the new norm.


With so many nodes as part of a single application, you can be sure that something will always be wrong somewhere – devices will need repair, the aggregating nodes will break or reach capacity, or some datacenter asset will be offline. … Read the rest

Estimating the Staggering Scale of a Smart City

With smart city initiatives, governments and utilities aim to reduce costs and resource consumption, more effectively engage with citizens and generally improve quality of life in their city.

With this in mind, consider the efforts of Manheim Germany, a city on the leading edge of smart city energy management. They use broadband over power technology to send continuous status updates between homes, businesses and the systems the power company uses to manage the supply and distribution of electricity. It’s kind of like smart grid meets smart home in one system. This data helps them allocate power where and when it is needed and also implement demand-based pricing and tariffs. The system is bidirectional so, for example, if you wanted to do a load of laundry your smart house could let you know it will be 20% cheaper if you wait a couple hours when tariffs are expected to be lower.… Read the rest

The World’s First Real-Time Mixed Reality Ski Race

A race pitting a professional skier against two “virtual reality” game console players was broadcast live earlier this month at the Wearable Technologies Conference in Munich, Germany. It was billed by its creators (IT Innovation Center) as the world’s first real-time mixed reality ski race.

Each console skier could see the other two in their virtual reality display and the live skier had an augmented reality headset that projected his virtual competitors as well as virtual start, finish and course markers on top of the World Cup course he was skiing. The key to making this kind of thing possible is establishing a low latency data connection to continuously move status information between the two remote virtual reality skiers (in Greece and Munich) and the live skier (in Austria).

This is yet another excellent example of what our connected future will look like. Check out the video,
it’s pretty cool.… Read the rest

Ground control to major storm…

Today, we announced a new customer relationship with communications and information technology giant Harris Corporation detailing that they have selected Solace to power the on-the-ground portion of a satellite weather system jointly developed by NASA (the space guys) and NOAA (the weather guys).

This is part of a project called GOES-R (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R-Series). Here is its stated mission as described on the GOES-R website:

The advanced spacecraft and instrument technology used on the GOES-R series will result in more timely and accurate weather forecasts. It will improve support for the detection and observations of meteorological phenomena and directly affect public safety, protection of property, and ultimately, economic health and development.

GOES-R provides essential information related to air quality, coastal and marine monitoring, fire monitoring, hurricane forecasts, precipitation and floods, land cover observations, volcanoes, lightning detection, severe thunderstorms, tornado warnings and more. If you’re interested in learning more about this project and the advances it will deliver, I highly recommend checking out the GOES-R site.… Read the rest

Hardware vs. software solutions – the parasite drag analogy

Stephen Hoogasian is a former US Air Force pilot with extensive experience in application of C2 information systems.  He has reviewed the utility of hardware routers such as Solace’s application within the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense. Mr. Hoogasian flew aircraft including the U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft and T-38 jet shown here.

What is the potential benefit of using hardware-based solutions vs. a software solution to solve the problem of routing information? Speed—the maximum speed at which a system can process a given volume of information. That’s where the difference shows dramatically.

As an aviator, I cast the problem set into a vein I was more familiar with—that of aerodynamics. In aviation, induced drag (the drag due to lift generation) tends to be greater at lower speeds because a high angle of attack is required to maintain lift. As speed increases this induced drag becomes much less, but parasitic drag increases because the fluid (air) is flowing faster around protruding objects.… Read the rest

Lindsay Lohan, Sigmund Freud and back office acceleration

I read a news story yesterday about nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, who claims that the internet has made us a less serious and deep thinking people. The thrust of the claim by the Peruvian-born winner of this year’s prize for literature is that the internet is driving everyone to a shorter attention span focused on entertainment, at the expense of advancing deeper and more philosophical topics that drive the evolution of culture.

Fast forward a day and I was pleased to see A-Team Group publish a thoughtful article on how FPGAs and hardware, which have long been accepted in the front office, are making headway in risk management and order processing. This is inline with our own observation that projects and budgets in the mid- and back-office are getting increased priority.

If you draw a parallel between his point and capital markets IT, high-frequency trading has been the Lindsay Lohan of Wall Street tech for the last few years — when it comes to driving traffic to your publication/site, focusing on high frequency trading is a favorite tactic among editors and analysts.… Read the rest

Web services and messaging — better together

In the late 70s, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups struck advertising gold with a memorable campaign in which people accidentally blended chocolate and peanut butter only to discover that they were “two great tastes that taste great together!”

Blogging about web services and cloud computing may not be as much fun as writing a commercial for a tasty treat, but today’s announcement that Solace has partnered with Layer7 Technologies reminded me of that same idea: two things that are independently useful, and even better together.

When companies extend to the web using either web services or cloud computing there is generally a division between the management of security and policies for these outward-facing services and the interactions with in-house application components that comprise the service. It’s not a new problem, but many firms are still struggling with the implementation of large projects, and throwing racks of servers and armies of people at the problem to achieve necessary performance, reliability and scalability.… Read the rest

Avoiding the potential carnage of high-speed trading

When it comes to car crashes, running into a wall twice as fast causes a lot more than double the damage. The same principle applies to trading systems: as the market accelerates and financial firms execute trades at breakneck pace, the potential impact of problems with their IT infrastructure increases exponentially.

So when it comes to keeping track of the behavior of their trading systems, looking in the rear view mirror doesn’t cut it. Firms need to be on top of any problems that affect their trading operations, whether they’re in the acquisition and flow of market data, the automated execution of trades, or the pre and post-trade risk management that keeps things in balance.

For Solace customers engaged in high-speed trading, one of our major advantages is the highly-granular real-time operational visibility we give system administrators. Our solution uses takes advantage of the parallel nature of hardware to provide real-time per-client statistics that software-based systems can’t without impacting performance, and many of which can’t be collected at all in multicast environments.… Read the rest