While we tout the benefits of a microservices architecture at The New Stack, it is easy to forget that the design style is not always the best choiceView in browser »
The New Stack Update

ISSUE 199: The Power of the Monolith

Talk Talk Talk

Modern infrastructure and methodologies are like a jet airplane that allows us to move fast, but pilots cannot fly something as complex as an airplane without a cockpit full of dials and gauges.”

Splunk distinguished architect Arijit Mukherji
Add It Up
Spending on Custom/Bespoke Software Increases Without Putting Pressure on IT Budgets
As a percentage of IT budgets, software development and maintenance declined from 27% in 2018 to 19% in 2019, with almost no change expected in 2020 according to the Society of Information Management’s (SIM) annual survey of senior IT executives. At the same time, spending on cloud services has risen to 16% of the average IT budget and is expected to grow more this year. Hardware as a percentage of IT spending dropped significantly in the middle of the last decade, but those declines are moderating. It appears that companies are finding budget savings by 1) paring back on commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS) used for both business applications and infrastructure management, and 2) reducing spending on employees focused on day-to-day software maintenance and management.
What's Happening

A shift in attention paid to constant delivery (CD) was one of the major trends to have emerged in 2019. This is especially true for those organizations that adopted cloud native platforms and experienced a steep learning curve for Kubernetes platform deployments and management.

In this latest episode of The New Stack Makers podcast, CloudBees CEO Sacha Labourey discussed the resulting complexities of CD and software delivery management in 2020, as well as the role Jenkins X and CloudBees are expected to play in what should be an especially exciting year for at-scale development.

For many organizations, 2019 was a pivotal year due to the snowball effect of Kubernetes adoption, as both opportunities — and complexities — emerged.

CloudBees’ CEO on What At-Scale Development Should Look Like in 2020

The Power of the Monolith

Years ago, we used to work for a tech editor who, commenting on the ever-changing nature of IT, would joke how he would start a trend about the “latest trend” in the field, “The Monolith.”

While we tout the benefits of a microservices architecture at The New Stack, it is easy to forget that the design style is not always the best choice. These days it is taken as fact that the easiest way to manage a complex application is to break it down into separate components so they can be worked on independently. Holding a whole release to fix a single bug or add a new feature is crazy.

And yet somehow the monolithic approach is the best approach in some cases.

For example, we can look towards one of the most widely-used tools for building microservice architectures, the Istio service mesh, which itself is moving away from a microservice architecture in favor of a more monolithic build, pointed out Christian Posta, field CTO at, in a blog post

Expected to ship next month, Istio 1.5 will have functionality that was previously embedded in microservices, be moved back into core program. This was done for a number of reasons, user experience being one of them. When upgrading Istio, for instance, the end-user now can update a single binary, rather than a collection of them. The monolithic architecture also helps standardize security, Posta argued. 

Istio will still be composed of many modules — each managed by a separate team — but they will be released and managed as a single release, much like Linux.

“Despite best intentions, it may be the right choice to go back to a monolith once you’ve started with microservices,” Posta writes. It’s okay “to go back to a monolith if your assumptions or the context around your decisions have changed.”

For those already on board with Istio, StackRox’s Principal DevOps Engineer Karen Bruner discusses a few of the highlights of the current version of Istio, v 1.14, in a contributed post for The New Stack. They include centralized tooling for service mesh management, AutomaticTLS, and a new authorization policy. They were developed to make Istio easier to use and manage, no matter the underlying architecture. 

Knative’s Independent Future Outside a Foundation

Many were expecting the Google-led open source project Knative, a serverless extension to Kubernetes, to be donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. But Google decided to keep the technology, with over 50 contributors, independent instead. Many in the cloud native community are questioning this decision. “If you want to create a platform for the whole industry akin to the world wide web, then you need your technologies to be in a neutral home,” Alexis Richardson said.

Check Out Podman, Red Hat’s daemon-less Docker Alternative

Podman is a new, open source container engine that works seamlessly with containers as well as pods (groups of containers deployed together on the same host). Unlike Docker, Podman is a unique take on the container engine, as it doesn’t actually depend on a daemon, but instead launches containers and pods as child processes.

Kubernetes Performance Trouble Spots: Airbnb’s Take

Now that organizations are starting to rely on Kubernetes and containers in general, performance becomes a major focus point for admins, particularly for public-facing high-use services such as Airbnb. Engineers from the company shared some lessons learned on this topic at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2019.

The New Stack Makers podcast is available on: — Pocket CastsStitcher — Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotifyTuneIn

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

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