Lego Power – How to build repeatable Microservices based Infrastructure

This is my 3rd Part in a series of posts covering Microservices based Infrastructure (see Part 1 that introduced Microservices here & Part2 that focuses on the infrastructure aspects here). 

As I mentioned before there are 3 main trends in the infrastructure space (we refer to invisible infostructure – read here) :

  • Hybrid
  • 3rd Platform (incl DevOps, Mobility, Microservices, IoT etc)
  • Software based

Microservices is seen as the next step after SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) and today I wanted to detail what Microservices means to Infrastructure.

Microservices require infrastructure services that are able to comply with the key service related requirements as outlined before (see part 1 and part 2). This means that a person (or a microservice) who requires infrastructure services, should be able to construct and consume infrastructure capabilities following the lego block principle by using a “simple” shopping list and following an utility based principle.

Infrastructure services should have standard building blocks (like server, storage and network) as well as additional components that are constructed from these building blocks (like web server, pre-production environment etc). Each standard building blocks and the additional components should be able to cater for different SLAs and KPIs without modifications. For instance :

  • a Web Server

    • a simple web server compliant with Bronze SLA or
    • a web server complaint with Platinum SLA
  • a Data Storage solution that

    • is optimised for standard database storage or
    • can provide maximum capacity or
    • is highly available and highly performant
  • a full application environment

    • to develop the application further
    • to perform full load and performance testing or
    • to run critical training for end user

On key component of this “shopping list lego based approach” are the service level characteristics. Each client environment is different, however each client will have a certain set of service levels – from Platinum (99.999%)  to Bronze (99.5%), and of course a whole set of different non-functional requirements, that will shape the underlying infrastructure. Examples are

  • Scalability: Ensure the solution supports the current and projected business volumes.
  • Reliability: Ensure the solution provides an appropriate level of robustness in support of business processes.
  • Manageability: Ensure the solution can be managed and maintained efficiently and effectively.
  • Availability : Ensure the solution provides the required levels of service.

Both Service Level Characteristic, from Platinum to Bronze, and the non-functional requirements can be translated into very specific infrastructure related requirements and with which standard Lego based infrastructure components can be defined.

Each pre-assembled infra logo block will be supplied with standard / pre-defined “behaviours” and each infra lego blocks will be able to cater for certain availability, stability, performance and security related requirements – so called service characteristics. As mentioned above there are 4 main characteristics: platinum to bronze: 

Note that this grouping and the detailed business service characteristics are examples only. Each client environment is different and for some a Gold Business Service (or IT Application) might have a 6h RTO and a 45min RPO.

In a microservices world infrastructure services have to be consumed in a repeatable, automatic and simple fashion. Non-functional requirements are key consideration when building / constructing infrastructure services and as the building and construction of these services have to be completed in seconds, a pre-designed blueprint approach is needed to create service level aware infrastructure building blocks:

The diagram above is an example only and only refers to compute, storage and networking. For microservices to function there are other infra lego blocks covering standard server hosting, data centre facilities, storage, LAN, WAN, backup, archive, restore, application server, middleware server, database server, infrastructure server as well as security related packs covering intrusion detection, intrusion prevention, service authentication and service authorisation.

This will allow us to construct data centre services based on different service levels, applied in different context and policy areas using standard “Lego” based building block approach.

In the next part I will provide a bit more detail in the blueprints that are applied to create various different infrastructure capabilities. 

Key behind all this is that Infrastructure  is changing to become Lego based – to create and construct infrastructure services in such a way that any stakeholder can consume and orchestrate.

Thanks for Reading. 

About the Author: Gunnar Menzel has been an IT professional for over 25 years and is the VP and Chief Architect Officer for Capgemini’s Infrastructure Business. Gunnar is also currently the President for the Open Data Centre Alliance. His main focus is business- enabling technology innovation.

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