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The New Stack Update

ISSUE 198: Redis: The Database for Microservices 

Talk Talk Talk

You cannot develop a successful cloud native application without paying attention to the characteristics of the network.”

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Vijoy Pandey, CTO and VP of the Cloud, Cisco.
Add It Up
QA Engineers Look to Decrease Time Manually Testing APIs

Surveys published in December 2019 by Kong and Postman shed new light on the challenges of creating and managing an application programming interface (API) as opposed to just consuming APIs. The effort needed to provide an API is significant, with 63% of the over 10,000 people surveyed for the “2019 Postman State of the API Report” spending at least 10 hours a week working on APIs. The figure goes to 74% among the backend engineers surveyed, with 35% saying they actually spend more than 20 hours a week working on APIs. Only 17% of frontend developers spend 20-plus hours on APIs, which shows that APIs are a key component of the backend.

Half (52%) of the time being spent on APIs is for development and design. Since Postman is a platform for API development, the people responding to its survey are more likely than the larger IT community to be focused on this topic. Manual testing and debugging was the only area in which respondents wish they could reduce the time spent on API-related activities. The issue is most notable among quality assurance (QA) engineers. Currently, they spend 40% of API-related time doing manual testing, but want that to drop to 24%. QA engineers imagine that their time would be better spent by allocating 48% of their API efforts to automated tests. Beyond the QA team, it appears that time savings from automated testing will not be re-invested into performance, but instead on API design.

What's Happening

Maxine, the fictional character in Gene Kim’s latest book “The Unicorn Project,” likely shares your plight as a developer. She should also be of interest to any DevOps stakeholder including, of course, the business leaders. In this edition of The New Stack Makers podcast, Kim, who is also co-author of the seminal and now classic DevOps guide “The Phoenix Project,” discusses Maxine’s daily struggles and — without disclosing spoilers — successes, and how they reflect developers’ lives today.

Gene Kim - "The Unicorn Project"

Redis: The Database for Microservices

Long gone are the days when the enterprise could adopt a single database management system to permanently store its data. Cloud native computing demands a database system that is more agile and responsive to changing requirements. 

Last week in The New Stack, Redis’ Kyle J. Davis and Loris Cro discussed why Red is a good fit for cloud native technologies, in an excerpt from their new book, “Redis Microservices for Dummies.” 

“Ideally, the service data would be completely isolated from other data layers, allowing for uncoupled scaling and cross-service contention for slow resources. Since services are specifically designed to fill a single role (in terms of business processes), the state they store is inherently non-relational and well suited to NoSQL data models,” they write.

Designed in the NoSQL era, Redis is designed to store active data that will change and move often, with an indefinite structure with no concept of relations. A Redis database has a small footprint and can serve massive throughput even with minimal resources. In many cases, Redis can act as a cache, where data does not need to be stored in the primary database, which would take more time to fetch or to write. It can also act as a frontend for external APIs, which also can be time consuming. 

All of these features make Redis a great choice for those designing microservice architectures — Redis databases can back a wide range of different microservices, each with their own individual data store, minimizing connection timing and latency overhead. If you are thinking about developing a microservices architecture, be sure to check out this post, or download the book itself.

Q&A: Ben Sigelman on the Emergence of “Deep Systems” in Microservices

As the rise of microservices has translated into mind-bogglingly multilayered structures, there’s been a corresponding need to understand, track and monitor how these discrete, distributed elements interact with one another within these increasingly “deep systems.” To get a better grasp of the emergence and impact of “deep systems,” we caught up with Ben Sigelman, CEO and co-founder of LightStep, who spoke about observability solutions for deep, multilayered systems.

Network Automation and the Lack of Innovation in the Management Plane

With software-defined networking, there has been a focus on offering new flexibility for the networking control plane, but what about the management plane, the interface where users are given control over managing the networks? In this contributed post, Chris Wade, CTO of the network software provider Itential, discusses moving away from the current widely-used command lines interfaces, and towards REST calls and JSON data structures, which could set the stage for supporting dynamic, real-time network management applications.

ChubaoFS: The Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s Speedy New Distributed File System

The file system part of the cloud native stack has been a bit of a hot seat, with different users trying out Ceph, Gluster, HDFS, and MooseFS for the role. Now comes a new contender: the ChubaoFS, which was just contributed to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation by Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com. By storing the file metadata within main memory itself, ChubaoFS can rapidly respond to the dynamic changes within cloud native workloads.

Party On
"All Over the Globe: Our Favorite Parties of 2019" (All photos by Norris Deajon)

GitLab Commit (Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, New York): The New Stack’s Alex Williams had a ball with GitLab’s Melissa Smolensky and Aricka Flowers.

KubeCon+CloudNativeCon North America 2019 (San Diego, California): Liz Rice of Aqua Security and Michelle Noorali of Microsoft and some four-legged friends from the San Diego Humane Society.

Pivotal's SpringOne Platform (Austin, Texas): Anand Rao (L) and Usha Ramachandran.

Cloud Foundry Summit EU (The Hague, The Netherlands): The Volkswagon Crew: Jesus Anton Serrano, Benjamin Aderhold, Timo Drotleff and Roman Wolf.

Kubecon + CloudNativeCon + Open Source Summit China 2019 (The Bund in Shanghai, China): Tencent’s Dora Li, Junping Du and Dingwen WU.

KubeCon+CloudNativeCon EU 2019 (K8s "Boothday" Party in Barcelona, Spain): Marianna Diachuk of SynergyOne, Anastasia Teslenki of Inch Kiev, and Roksolana Diachuk of Ciklum.

KubeCon+CludNativeCon Europe (Poble Espanyol, Barcelona): Supergiant's Mark Brandon (left) and Kateryna Nazina bring the sparkle. 

The New Stack Makers podcast is available on:
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Technologists building and managing new stack architectures join us for short conversations at conferences out on the tech conference circuit. These are the people defining how applications are developed and managed at scale.
Pre-register to get the Cloud Native Storage ebook in October.

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In this 48-page ebook, developers and DevOps professionals will learn:

  • Best practices and patterns for handling state in cloud native applications.
  • The storage attributes and data needs you should consider up front.
  • Storage options for containerized applications running in a microservices architecture on Kubernetes.
  • How operations roles change as developers gain the ability to provision storage.
  • And more.
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