IDG Contributor Network: If it’s microservices vs. megaclouds, who wins?

The Salesforce purchase of MuleSoft sets up a showdown between massive cloud software vendors and microservices, creating a dilemma for digital leaders who are defining their next-gen system strategies.

In one corner, we have microservices
In the world of microservices, an organization’s ecosystem or architecture is a large collection of applications and services built in-house and a “pulverized” collection of services managed by SaaS vendors. Every relevant digital asset is seen as a service that has a interface with an API and an SLA. Applications compose these services into a user interface with multiple touchpoints. When defining their back ends, architects take a pragmatic best-of-breed approach. If the service is already built and available, the team says, “Cool, let’s do it; let’s use it; let’s rent it.”

The level of innovation dictates the choice between rent or build. If a service is a commodity used by most organizations, there is likely to be a SaaS vendor for it. If the service is not there—if it’s something new—a team is put together, and they build it. And, it evolves on its own. In a reflection of Conway’s Law, autonomous teams manage the service in CI/CD mode at a fast pace fueled by change. Typically, this service reuses APIs from others and adds new logic and state. In other words, it manages its own repository of data. It becomes a microsystem of record with logic, and the APIs it provides are eventually woven into an organization’s fabric of services and data.Using rented services means being okay with adapting to whatever function they implement and relinquishing the control of the release cycle, so it’s important that these services address areas of the business that follow industry best practices and that change is minimal. For the parts that implement the specific requirements, a big backlog develops that has to be addressed—fast. It can only be flushed by controlling the CI/CD pipeline. And, so these smart teams keep integrating, building, changing, and delivering.

MuleSoft is in the midst of all this. It calls it the “composable enterprise.” It sees everything as pulverized microservices, and with its integration platform its ambition is (or used to be) to stitch them into something bigger. – Read more