Ortelius Configuration Versioning

Version a Microservices Attributes and Track Container Content

Know What’s in Your Container

Versioning container content is a new approach specific to Kubernetes.  Have you thought about what your future looks like when you’re managing hundreds of containers and microservices that make up a single version of your software solution?  Let’s just say, you’re going to need more than an Excel spreadsheet.

Containers and microservices are game changers in terms of how we develop and deliver software. In the past, we have relied on a monolithic approach, with everything moving at the same time in an orchestrated dance that was never guaranteed to work just right.  With microservices, we are deconstructing that dance into individual steps, allowing for its unique parts to be independently deployed. While solving many problems, this approach also creates its own set of issues.  The primary problem is how to visualize what those individual Services create overtime in terms of the whole base application and subsequent application versions.  This is the purpose of versioning container content.

What is a Microservice?

Let’s start from the top. What is a microservice and how do we decompose a monolithic application into Services?  I like how Chris Richardson of CloudFoundry fame defines a Service:

  • A service should implement a small set of strongly related functions;
  • Services that change together should be packaged together;
  • The Service can be changed without affecting clients;
  • And, each team that owns one or more services must be autonomous. A team must be able to develop and deploy their services with minimal collaboration with other teams.   

With microservices, we let go of the concept of a monolithic software application or linear pipeline.  We instead have a non-linear configuration of different points of Services that represents the application. It’s still there, but just represented by many parts.  For managing deployment configurations, we need to understand what is in the ‘microservices soup’ in terms of usage and configurations in order to wee the whole picture, or what we can call the Kubernetes‘monolithic equivalent.’  This is the purpose of versioning container content.

Versioning  Container Content

For these and other reasons, there’s a conversation happening about tracking and versioning container content, or often called ‘GitOps.’  Most of the focus is on using version control to manage the scripts defining a Kubernetes Pod or Cluster.  Another discussion is needed about how to do versioning around the content of the containers, tracking history, and updates over time.  Knowing where a Service is, who is calling it, as well as the version and relationships is critical. In other words, we need a ‘single source of truth.’

Ortelius, A Single Source of Truth

Ortelius  was designed to be the ‘single source of truth’ for microservice configuration mapping. Ortelius performs version control of the microservices running in your containers and tracks them to the applications that are using them.  Ortelius’s versioning reports on what microservice is in a container, who is using it, and the microservices relationship to the larger applications. Oretlius performs version control of the microservices running in your containers and performs continuous updates.

Ortelius versions and deploys database updates, environment variables, Kubernetes configurations, infrastructure components, application artifacts, and other critical parts of your software release.  By versioning these individual parts, Ortelius can perform iterative updates, rollbacks, roll forward or jump versions to any state.   It was designed with microservices in mind but can also support agile teams working in legacy architectures with safe, iterative releases.


In Conclusion

Microservices are changing the way we develop, build, and deploy software.  While solving many problems, microservices are also creating new challenges around tracking and versioning the use of Services in large Kubernetes clusters.  New methods of managing microservice configurations are required to track what is in the ‘Microservice Soup.’ Ortelius is one such solution. Its  design creates a single source of truth of all your component configurations. It includes a back-end version control engine that tracks the changes and history of all deployment configuration. It also has features specific to organizing, cataloging and sharing microservices across diverse team.