Microservices are specifically re-architected for life in the cloud
Microservices are part of the global shift to Cloud. The term is used to describe the practice of breaking up an application into a series of smaller, more specialised parts, each of which communicate with one another across common interfaces such as APIs and REST interfaces like HTTP. We asked Marius Schipper, R&D monitoring & AV analysis for Rohde Schwarz to give us his view on the place of microservices in the bigger picture.
Microservices could just as easily be called ‘cloud-native software’ since they are specifically re-architected for life in the cloud. However, much of current cloud usage in the TV industry is what is dubbed ‘lift-and-shift’. This is when developers which previously married software with dedicated hardware simply port their existing software into a datacentre, without any software redesign.
BroadcastBridge: What is the place of microservices in the broadcast media and entertainment industry?
Marius Schipper: The move to virtualization has already started and the firsts steps were lift-and-shift approaches with virtual machines. Microservices are the next logical step. Currently peripheral but definitely state-of-the-art in future to act agile in fast changing environments. Rohde & Schwarz don’t necessarily consider microservices being the one and only answer to all the current questions in broadcast. In highly dynamic applications, such as event-based monitoring, we feel it is an important ingredient.
How do you sell the idea of a microservices-based cloud to a CTO/CFO?
First, I wouldn’t consider a microservice-architecture the sole answer to today’s necessities in broadcast. A microservice architecture clearly adds a lot of benefit to environments, where it is all about agility and time to market. A cloud solution based on microservice architecture allows scale and continuously development through continuous deployment. This is critical to keep up with the deployment speed of OTT ecosystems and to be able to react to new market trends more easily when compared to a static or even hardware-based setup.
How might a broadcaster begin switching to microservices from legacy hardware/software stacks?
Migrating to cloud infrastructures based on microservice technologies is a huge effort for broadcasters as they normally don’t have sufficient technical knowledge to do this off the cuff. Operational concepts and technical knowhow are both very different to what you normally see in broadcast operations, which has evolved over decades. A good approach is therefore not to migrate at once but to identify small operational silos which can be migrated without a bigger impact on overall operations. The migration of these silos should be used to build up expertise and learn the new philosophies step by step.
Can you give us a couple of concrete examples of a potentially advantageous microservices based application?
Microservice philosophy is structuring the software in small, independent functional units, resulting in faster implementation of features and maintenance. Their instances fit well into containers, allowing a service to quickly scale up on demand peaks compared to virtual machines. Redundancy costs spend to ensure high availability can be controlled precisely per importance of each microservice. Users can individually choose their update rate feature-specific, if the software provider takes the opportunity to run prior versions in parallel to the current ones.
Marius Schipper, R&D monitoring & AV analysis for Rohde Schwarz