Jeff Allison: An Executive Briefing on Microservices

Jeff Allison offered an executive briefing on microservices at the SF Bay ACM Meetup on Wed-Aug-19. Here is the video, slides, and notes on the talk.

Jeff Allison: An Executive Briefing on Microservices
Productivity Implications and Testing Challenges

Slides in PDF format: SFBayACM200819AllisonMicroservices

Abstract from talk description

Microservices based architectures are increasingly popular as a way of managing the scalability of large software systems. There are implications for organizational structure, product architecture, development methodology, test strategy, and design and simulation tools. Intended for managers and executives considering the implications of adopting a microservices architecture for a major software system.

if you start with microservices as a goal in mind and do not focus on restructuring your organization as well, you will likely end up with a distributed monolith. After you reach a certain complexity of the system under test, the test suite needs to be split into different levels of abstraction to manage the test complexity.

Key Take-aways

  • Factors that determine crossover point for switching to microservices from a software monolith from developer productivity and application scaling perspectives.
  • Options and trade-offs for testing microservices using real and virtual resources
  • Planning your migration and getting started.

Outline from slide deck

Key points and take-aways from slide deck

  • Not all applications need to use a Microservices architecture.
  • Many ways to start :
    • Monolithic first then Microservices
    • Add new Features as Microservices to Monolithic
    • Replace components of a Monolithic with a Microservice
  • Need to invest in people, tools and process
    • Hire expertise
    • Training
    • New tools and infrastructure
    • Structure of Organization
  • Need to plan carefully and set expectations internally
    • Budget
    • ROI

Next steps from slide deck

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  3. Change Agent Mastermind : useful for senior technical people and first and second managers who are developing new capabilities that will enable new products.

Background on Jeff Allison (from talk description)

Jeff Allison has 30 years of experience in the high technology computing and networking industries. He has held various roles in Hardware Engineering, Marketing and Engineering management. He has a proven track record of developing high power cross functional teams to solve complex engineering issues and drive methodology changes throughout the organization.

Jeff graduated from the University of Wales in ’84 with a degree in Engineering. His first position was working for Racal-Redac in the Engineering Design Automation (EDA) industry as a programmer. He soon moved into more marketing development and customer-facing roles. In this capacity, he spent many years on-site with customers helping them transition to a new paradigm for product development. During this time, Jeff helped many customers navigate and the rapid growth and later consolidation in the EDA industry.

In 1992, Jeff joined Cisco as an engineering manager at a time of dynamic growth in the company and the networking industry. Jeff was instrumental in helping Cisco satisfy customer requirements and differentiate from the competition by automating and optimizing Cisco’s hardware development methodology.

He spent the next 20 years focused on customer satisfaction, product quality, development methodology. He led several initiatives that effected significant improvements to design productivity and quality. Over time he was granted organizational and product line responsibility, eventually reaching the position of VP of Engineering for Cisco’s high-end routing platforms.

As a VP of engineering, Jeff developed trusted business relationships with many major customers. He helped Cisco act as a strategic partner to major telecommunications and Internet service providers. Reflecting on his career at Cisco, he noted that as a manager, his focus was on product features, functions, and capabilities. As an executive, his focus was on providing value for the customer’s business.

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