Issues, Challenges and Architectural Orthodoxy

Issues, Challenges and Architectural Orthodoxy

I lead a team of immensely talented engineers maintaining a critical application that is at the nucleus of the organization’s IT map.

I lead a team of immensely talented engineers maintaining a critical application that is at the nucleus of my organization’s IT map. The advantage of being in such a team is the fact that you get to gauge the impact of your changes by looking at the effect it has on other teams and consumers. A major disadvantage, if you have not already guessed, is this same dependency and the pressure it brings along and a very thin margin for error. The application that my team manages used to be a large monolith and had a single source of non-replicable data, with the downstream systems being tightly coupled to this. Breaking this down into a host of microservices was a colossal undertaking. But that would be a story for yet another fewer-meetings day.

Fast forward to a time when we are managing a suite of 60 odd, loosely coupled, context bound microservices. But effortless deployments were still a challenge that we had not fully won over. We were still relying on after-business hours releases, redundant release definitions and complex release cycles. With a super agile team and a massively dynamic workitem backlog, the need to come up with a way to upgrade our deployments was well overdue. Along with the team, I came up with a couple of options and chose to organically revamp the whole system. Putting together the details of this exercise in one place would be gross over-simplification. Here is my first attempt at doing that.

Blue/Green

Why?

We started with simple resource swap deployments. Where new production resources are tested on a set of servers prior to swapping the resources out in production. This process is popularly known as _Blue/Green _deployments. For those who are unfamiliar with this, essentially there are two exact copies of the application’s source code, designated “_Blue_” and “_Green_” respectively (not exactly sure why those two colors). And we started seeing really good results with this approach, pretty early on.

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