Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Service Discovery Overview

When building microservices, you have to naturally distribute your application around a network. It is almost always the case that you are building in a cloud environment, and often using immutable infrastructure. Ironically, this means that your virtual machines or containers are created and destroyed much more often than normal, as this immutable nature means that you don’t maintain them.

These properties together mean that your services need to be reconfigured with the location of the other services they need to connect to. This reconfiguration needs to be able to happen on the fly, so that when a new service instance is created, the rest of the network can automatically find it and start to communication with it. This process is called Service Discovery.

This concept is one of the key underpinnings of a Microservice architecture. Attempting to create Microservices without a service discovery system will lead to pain and misery as you will, in effect, be working as a manual replacement.

As well as the standalone solutions presented here, most platforms, whether full PaaS or the more minimal container managers, have some form of Service Discovery.

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