Photo of different succulents
Photo of different succulents
Resilient applications (Source: unsplash.com/@yendvu)

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure to talk with Matt Wolach on his “SaaS-Story in the Making” podcast (the videocast is here). Among other topics, we touched on the challenges of today’s cloud operations for architects, operations and security teams and how to make them resilient through real-time observability and control. Below is the transcript, edited for clarity.

Matt: I have some questions for you. Do you want to be in control of your cloud architectures, or have you ever wondered how to make your application resilient? This is SaaS-Story in the Making. I am your host, Matt Wolach…


Toshiro Mifune and Machiko Kyō in ‘Rashomon’ (1950)
Toshiro Mifune and Machiko Kyō in ‘Rashomon’ (1950)
Which side of the story are you on? (Source: CanalPlus)

We’ve all been there. We’ve all gone down the rabbit hole, spending hours searching for that root cause, only to end up with a number of circumstances that contributed to our issue but no good way of doing something about it. There may be too many places to tweak, the fix may be unclear, its effect difficult to predict, or it may be simply out of our control.

Sound familiar? These experiences are becoming more common as we compose ever larger architectures. We connect ever more services, using ever more technologies, across ever more diverse environments-multi-cloud, hybrid, edge, on premises…


Illustration of air traffic
Illustration of air traffic
Controlling air traffic behaviors (Source: nats.aero)

From Applications to Services

Back in the day, an “application” was a well-structured, comprehensible affair. It was self-contained software deployed on target hardware to implement the desired functionality. That code was an “application” because it-quite literally-allowed the hardware to be applied to a real-world problem.

We’ve lived with this “application as application-of-hardware” model ever since, even after the specifics of hardware ceased to matter and we started to provision infrastructure through APIs. The “ops equation” has always been: capacity plus healthy infrastructure and up-to-date software equals a happy system.

This application model is gone. While creating and running applications used to be difficult, time-consuming…


Photograph of Bertaux orrery (by user Rama, licensed under CC3.0)
Photograph of Bertaux orrery (by user Rama, licensed under CC3.0)
Complex and dynamic system in a crystal ball (Source: Wikimedia)

By more measures than one would like, 2020 was a transformative year. Whereas we may have entered it with the question, “How do we do Digital Transformation?” (and maybe “What is it in the first place?”), we’re now living it, and the question has become, “How can we keep up the momentum now that it is a reality?”

As a result, 2021 will be all about maintaining that fast-paced, forward motion that we achieved this past year. Here are our five predictions for how this will manifest across the complex world of today’s cloud-native environments.

1. The End of the Application: Microservices Will Turn Into a Landscape of Services

Containers and microservices have allowed…


Still of F1 Tuscan Grand Prix crash 2020
Still of F1 Tuscan Grand Prix crash 2020
Mugello, Sunday September 13, 2020: What just happened there? (Source: F1 TV)

On the Glasnostic blog, we often talk about how the complex cloud-native environments we run today are prone to disruptive interaction patterns that can bring the business down. While this is certainly important to talk about, mere words do not do justice to the depth of the operational crisis we’re facing. Examples are much better suited to reminding us that failures can occur at any company, at any time. And as companies adopt more and more microservices, the extent, severity and rate of disruption will only increase.

With or without a “black swan” like COVID-19, infrastructure and operational issues with…


Animation frame of daycare center with kids playing peacefully
Animation frame of daycare center with kids playing peacefully
Interaction behaviors under control at Sunnyside Daycare (Source: Pixar)

Building resilient systems and running them reliably is hard, especially in cloud-native environments, where everything is ephemeral and very few assumptions can be made over longer stretches of time.

It used to be easier. Applications used to be self-contained, two- or three-tier architectures that could be provisioned with infrastructure and maintained over time with reasonable predictability, even once developers started to decompose them into microservices.

Enterprises today, however, are running service architectures that are vastly more complex than they were ten or even five years ago. Today’s architectures are highly interconnected landscapes of services that change continually and can evolve…


Close-up photo of an orchestral score
Close-up photo of an orchestral score
X and Y axes in Boulez’ Notations for Orchestra

With today’s increasingly complex and evolving cloud architectures, monitoring and observability attract significant attention but are at times still poorly understood. When should I rely on monitoring and when on observability? What should I monitor, and what should I “observe”? What even is the difference between monitoring and observability?

Typical definitions view monitoring as tracking key metrics, while observability is seen as its more powerful cousin that lets users “slice and dice” metrics and ask arbitrary questions. Also, there is an awareness that observability involves large amounts of data having many dimensions. But beyond that basic understanding, there is little…


Aerial view of highway junction.
Aerial view of highway junction.
Source: unsplash.com/@justjohnl

BlogEarlier this month, I had the pleasure of talking to Jeffrey Meyerson of the “Software Engineering Daily” podcast about Glasnostic and the importance of bringing traffic control to microservices. In this episode, we touched on a wide range of topics, including:

  • The State of the Art for Traffic Management
  • Why, How and When to Use Glasnostic
  • How to Handle Failure In Complex Environments
  • Glasnostic as a “Bump in the Wire”
  • How are you different from Service Mesh?
  • Adapting Policies with Glasnostic
  • Dev and Ops Views of Running Software
  • Integration with Traditional Monitoring Tools
  • Glasnostic and Security
  • How to Avoid Cascading…

Illustration of an AWS GWLB setup with Glasnostic
Illustration of an AWS GWLB setup with Glasnostic
Ingress and egress at Shibuya Crossing (Source: YouTube)

We’ve been hard at work over the past months to ready our real-time traffic control for AWS’s new service, AWS Gateway Load Balancer (GWLB), and I am excited to announce today the general availability of Glasnostic as an appliance on this new and exciting service. By deploying Glasnostic as an appliance integrated with GWLB, customers with complex and dynamic microservice environments can now, with a single click, avail themselves of Glasnostic’s capability to detect, respond to and proactively manage their unpredictable and disruptive traffic patterns-automatically, in any environment and in real-time. …


Apollo lunar landing module blueprint and in-flight photo
Apollo lunar landing module blueprint and in-flight photo
(Source: nasa.gov)

Recently I was a guest on Alan Shimel’s “Digital Anarchist” show over at TechStrong TV, where we talked about the conflicting dev and ops concerns of DevOps, why architecture is largely obsolete in today’s cloud world and why Mission Control is the future of DevOps. Below is a transcript of the episode, edited for clarity.

Alan: Hey, everyone, thanks for joining us on this segment of TechStrong TV. I’ve got a new company to introduce to you and their founder, Tobias Kunze. Tobias, welcome to TechStrong TV!

Tobias: Thanks for having me, it’s a pleasure.

Alan: So, the name of…

Tobias Kunze

Co-founder & CEO of Glasnostic, bringing traffic control to microservices. Co-founded Makara, the company that became Red Hat OpenShift.

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