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Pull, don’t push: Architectures for monitoring and configuration in a microservices era

Applications today are increasingly being designed using a share-nothing, microservices architecture that is resilient to the failure of individual components, even when built atop cloud infrastructure that can suffer infrequent-but-massive outages. Yet we still see many supporting tools for application monitoring, observability, configuration management and release management using a centralized “orchestration” approach that depends on pushing changes to unreliable distributed systems.

In this talk we’ll give you a primer about promise theory and the autonomous actor model that underlies the design of products like Sensu and Habitat, why it leads to not only higher overall system reliability but human comprehension for easier operations. We’ll argue that you should consider designing all of your applications and supporting systems in this way. We may even show a demo or two to illustrate how inverting the design radically changes the notion of “application release orchestration”, so that you can retain orchestration-type semantics even with an eventually-consistent system design.

Fletcher Nichol

Principal Software Engineer, Habitat, Chef Software Inc.

Fletcher Nichol is a software developer from Edmonton, Canada who has worked in jobs ranging from systems administrator to web application developer. He is active in many automation and testing projects such as Chef, Test Kitchen and is a core developer of Habitat. Fletcher works with Chef Software Inc, an automation company.

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