Daily Tech Digest - October 02, 2021

Microservices are Dead — Long Live Miniservices

We tend to think about “microservices” as small, very logic-focused services that deal with, usually, one responsibility. However, if we look at Martin Fowler’s definition of Microservices — and you know, he’s a very smart guy, so we usually like to know what he thinks — you’ll notice we’re missing a very small, yet key, trait about microservices: decoupled. Let’s take a closer look at what we’re calling “microservice”. This term gets thrown around so much these days that is getting to a point where it’s exactly like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it. Truth be told, from 99% of the interviews I take as a manager, when I ask about microservices I get responses about REST APIs. And no, they’re not necessarily the same thing. And by definition, REST APIs alone can’t be microservices, even if you split them up into multiple smaller ones, each taking care of a single responsibility. They can’t, because by definition for you to be able to use a REST API directly, you need to know about it.

Google’s State of DevOps 2021 Report: What SREs Need to Know

SREs may not think of cloud strategy as a core part of their job responsibility. That’s a task that more commonly falls to cloud architects. But simply encouraging their organizations to leverage more reliable cloud architectures can be one way to improve reliability, according to the State of DevOps report. While enhanced reliability is not the only reason why more and more organizations are now expanding into multi-cloud and hybrid cloud architectures, increased availability was the second most common reason for adopting one of these strategies among the professionals whom Google surveyed. The report also noted that organizations with multi-cloud or hybrid cloud architectures were 1.6 times more likely to meet or exceed their performance goals. The takeaway here for SREs is that, although having more clouds to manage creates new reliability challenges in some respects, the data clearly shows that multi-cloud and hybrid cloud lead to better reliability outcomes in the long run. It’s time to let go of your single cloud.

Change management and adaptation for Enterprise Architecture Practitioner

By asking questions like, “Are these applications still relevant?” or “Is this system working?” or “How I can I make this system better?” Assess how you can make a difference to add value and propel your organization to become an industry leader. The complex environment, fueled by continued advances in technology, hinders the ability of the organization to realize value. The enterprise architecture solution will likely not deliver immediate returns (Gong & Janssen, 2021). Kotusev (2018) noted that a rigid approach to enterprise architecture implementation is the worst strategy. Persistent evaluation and adaptation of the EA solution are necessary to signal the need for adaption. It is appropriate to have parts of the EA strategy remain purposively generalized (Alwadain, 2020; Marcinkowski & Gawin, 2019). For example, a flexible EA solution can quickly transition to a SaaS (software as a solution) that delivers more value than on-premises operations. Cooiman (2021) noted that considering operations that directly support and influence portfolios, programs, projects, and business functions, such as supply chain management and payroll. 

The Togaf® Standard Cited As GovTech Solution By The World Bank Group

As the report notes, previous surveys have not captured the full scope of work happening in GovTech in a reliable way. The Open Group has, as its mission, a long-standing focus on the open flow of information – Boundaryless Information Flow™. Transparent information-sharing makes connected systems worth more than the sum of their parts and makes innovation easier to spread. Likewise, the GTMI’s clear view of where progress is being made in government digitalization is something which will, I think, help to accelerate the modernization of public sector services globally. Indeed, much of the report’s key insights are concerned with ensuring that GovTech infrastructure is interconnected and interoperable. Often, it finds, countries have discrete digitalized workflows such as a back-office solution or an online service portal, but are yet to knit these workflows together. Likewise, while digital workflows open the door to two-way information flow with citizens, making services more efficient and responsive, this has seen only limited global rollout.

Working with Metadata Management Frameworks

Get an MMF Baseline: Even if no formal MMF exists in an organization, an implicit one does. Technical documents mapping data architecture, the knowledgeable business analyst who others turn to understand reporting data, and data-entry procedures provide context around an organization’s data and pieces of its MMF. Getting a baseline about what people, processes, and technology already exist and how they inform the organization’s Metadata Management framework just makes sense. Using a “qualified and knowledgeable data professional (and other skilled talents) to administer and interpret data readiness assessments” along with Data Maturity models like those put forth by Gartner, or the Capability Maturity Model of Integration (CMMI), gives a good MMF starting place. Be Clear About What an MMF Will Achieve: Be clear why an organization needs to manage metadata and implement a Metadata Management framework. Metadata Management helps reduce training costs, provides better data usage across data systems, and simplifies communication.

European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI): the European way to get most out of blockchain

EBSI is designed with a number of core principles in mind: working towards the public good; transparent governance; data compatibility; open-source software; and, compliance with relevant EU regulations such as the GDPR and eIDAS. EBSI would provide a common, shared and open public infrastructure aimed at providing and supporting a secure and interoperable ecosystem that will enable the development, launch and operation of EU-wide cross-border digital services in the public sector. The infrastructure will reflect European values data sovereignty and green credentials in mind and tackle global issues – such as climate change and supply chain corruption. EBSI would thereby deliver public services with high requirements of scalability and throughput, interoperability, robustness, and continuity of the service and with the highest standards of security and privacy that will allow public administrations and their ecosystems to verify information and make services trustworthy. This infrastructure should be deployed within a period of 3 years.

Focus on three areas for a holistic data governance approach for self-service analytics

The right tooling will help you put your governance framework into practice, providing the necessary guardrails and data visibility that your teams need to boost trust and confidence in their data analysis. Perhaps the most fundamental tool for data governance—certainly the greatest help for us here at Tableau—is our integrated data catalog. This enables employees to see data details like definitions and formulas, lineage and ownership information, as well as important data quality notifications, from certification status to events, like if a data source refresh failed and the information isn’t up to date. A data catalog boosts the visibility of valuable metadata right in people’s workstreams, whether that metadata lives in Tableau or is brought in from an external metadata management system via an API. This also helps IT with impact analysis and change management, to understand who and which assets are affected downstream when changes are made to a table.

Private distributed ledger technology or public blockchain?

A centralized DLT is not immutable. The ledger can be rewritten arbitrarily by the one (or more) who controls it or due to a cyberattack. Because of its open and competitive nature (mining, staking, etc.), any blockchain can achieve immutability and hence its records will be credible. Thousands of independent nodes can ensure an unprecedented level of resistance to any sort of attack. Usually, it comes next after the discussion about immutability. How to correct a mistake? What if you need to change your smart contract? What if you lost your private key? There is nothing you can do retroactively — alteration in the blockchain is impossible. What’s done is done. In this regard, the DLT is usually the opposite of an alternative to blockchain. You will hear that DLTs can be designed so that those who control the network verify transactions on entry and therefore, non-compliant transactions are not allowed to pass through. But it would be a fallacy to think that censorship in the network will ultimately exclude all mistakes and unwanted transactions. There will always be a chance for a mistake.

Can blockchain technology fill the trust gap for your business?

The extensive documentation, verified by third party brokers, that has underpinned trading and commercial agreements in the past is at odds with digital ways of working. The same steps of these processes need to be maintained, but conducted through digital interfaces that are more open and more complex.Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) can fill this gap. Distributed ledger describes the approach of creating equal decentralized copies of transactions, instead of storing them in one central place (ie a database for digital, or a document for analogue). What makes DLT so exciting and relevant is that it was conceived and developed for this decentralized digital world where trust is at a premium. Instead of being built on existing relationships, trust can be anchored in encrypted processes (the so-called consensus algorithms), which control the transactions. It's not simply a case of storing the information safely that creates trust, it's also how it's collected. DLT can determine the conditions under which nodes of the decentralized infrastructure capture and record new transactions and when they do not.

Achieving New Levels of Resilience Through Use of Cloud-Based Software and Agile Ways of Working

In general, agile teams work with robust methods and practices across different groups and their ecosystem. Tools-driven approach and automated engineering enable building a continuous and connected ecosystem where captured feedback and user behavior are analyzed and actioned. Automated engineering helps in making and delivering a better customer experience for the users. Digital-first does not work in silos; it builds products and platforms to connect and create an ecosystem. Traditionally, we dealt with effort, counts, rollback, monthly release, etc.; under the guise of agile, KPIs were to suit the management communication pattern and reporting. Modern-day engineering focuses on the outcome. Failure is noticed and fixed rapidly, but how quickly and relative improvements are the real questions. In this ecosystem, the end customer sees the change immediately. The measurement of success of the ecosystem has several performance indicators like MTTX, lead time /cycle time, deployment rates, etc., on the development side. 

Quote for the day:

"We get our power from the people we lead, not from our stars and our bars." -- J. Stanford

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