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Maximum Speed With Microservices ✈️

When I was a radar engineer with the RAAF in the early 90’s, I marvelled at a thing they called PAR (or Precision Approach Radar). It was unique because it allowed an air traffic controller to get an aircraft down in really bad weather, within a few inches of the runway centreline. The only visuals the controller had were 2 cathode ray scopes, one for elevation and the other for direction. The former had a glide path line etched on it and the later a heading line. All the controller had to do was to issue instructions to the pilot to keep the aircraft blip on each line. “Up”, “down”, “left” or “right” was enough, and an aircraft could be brought down safely in zero visibility. By the mid 90’s, PAR was replaced by ILS/TLS (or Instrument/Transponder Landing System) and the onus switched from controller to the pilot for getting aircraft position right when landing in bad weather.

We are in the middle of a shift of responsibility too in IT, from centralised to decentralised control – where centralised systems are giving way to the microservices approach. If you are keen on IT architectures then take a look at this explanation from doyen Martin Fowler. Moving from centralised to decentralised means that control becomes more difficult and needs careful consideration in architecture design, as explained in this talk by Bernd Rucker.

Don’t worry though – we are not losing ‘…that lovin feeling’ for centralised systems. They will always be in the mix. But, as Maverick and Goose said in the original movie, we have ‘…a need, a need for speed’ [cheesy high five goes here] – in delivering systems changes. And microservices are one way to achieve this.

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