How to Make Implementing Cloud-Native Applications Easier

From the first programming languages, to advanced programming paradigms, to the development of virtualization and cloud infrastructure, the history of computer science is the history of the evolution of abstractions that hide complexity and empower the creation of ever more sophisticated applications.

The development of reliable, scalable applications for the cloud seems to be far harder than it ought to be.

In recent years, containers and container orchestrators like Kubernetes have proved to be an important abstraction that dramatically simplifies the development of reliable, scalable distributed systems. Though containers and container orchestration are just now entering the mainstream, they are…

Mastering the Actor Model

The development of reliable, scalable applications for cloud environments is far harder than it ought to be. Here we describe a proven architecture that creates a multi-cloud application framework to meet the tougher challenges of managing distributed data across multi-cloud clusters — reliability and automatic failover, high performance and auto-scaling, and near real-time data consistency. This is the first of six parts that describe how to build multi-cloud applications with minimal frustration and error. If that is interesting, read on.

In recent years, containers and container orchestrators like Kubernetes have dramatically simplified the development of multi-cloud, reliable, scalable, distributed systems…

Photo courtesy of Angel Street Studio

Software Engineering is the application of a systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to the design, development, operation, and maintenance of software.

We who make our living building and maintaining software are very much in demand, are paid well, and are expected to demonstrate the competence and skill of professionals. Sadly, not all of us are the professionals we could be. Learning programming languages does not, by itself, make one a software engineer. It is only a start. Writing code is a small part of creating, deploying, supporting, and maintaining software. As our profession transitions through the latest major paradigm shift —…

Database per Service?

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How valid or useful is the “database per service” microservices architectural pattern? Given the pattern’s crippling impact on managing distributed data with microservices, that is a question worth answering.

The database per service pattern results from a misunderstanding or misapplication of principles described by Werner Vogels, CTO at Amazon. Vogels is a very smart guy and one of the creators of cloud computing as we know it today. When Vogels began building the software that helped make Amazon into the giant it is today, he articulated a set of principles upon which that software was designed. Among those principles are:

The Answer Is… It Depends

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How do you know whether microservices make sense for your organization? If you are trying to figure that out, please read on.

What Are Microservices?

Microservices are not magic, but they are an approach to breaking up an application into usable components that can be connected together to form systems. They are called microservices because their components tend to be smaller than the traditional Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) services popular for more than a decade. An individual microservice:

  • Implements a single task within a domain bounded context. This is a fundamental characteristic of a microservice and promotes a high level of granularity and separation…

Making Microservices Work in the Cloud

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“The term Microservice Architecture has sprung up over the last few years to describe a particular way of designing software applications as suites of independently deployable services. While there is no precise definition of this architectural style, there are certain common characteristics around organization, around business capability, automated deployment, intelligence in the endpoints, and decentralized control of languages and data.” James Lewis and Martin Fowler


For years, services have been a favored technique when building Web applications. Web apps are frequently built with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript GUI front-ends running on Web browsers that interact with Web servers to…

Being a good software engineer takes work

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Software is a magical thing. With it you can build anything your imagination can conceive. Just like a sculptor, a painter, a boatbuilder, a cabinet maker, or the people who built the the Brooklyn Bridge— to make real the thing of your your imagination you have to understand and have a feel for the material with which you are working. For the professional artist, boatbuilder, cabinet maker and civil engineer that takes training, discipline, and experience. The software developer should be no different.

My father graduated as a mechanical engineer from Brown University. When I began my civilian career (after…

If They Take Away Our Guns

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. — 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

I believe in the importance of the 2nd Amendment — but I also believe that Wayne LaPierre’s scorched-earth, no compromises, take-no-prisoners approach to the NRA’s defense of the 2nd Amendment is compromising public and political support for it.

My Southern mother taught me to safely handle and shoot a .22 LR bolt action rifle when I was in elementary school. Though I’ve since…

When I Was Twenty-Two …

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

When I was twenty-two, America gave me one of the most precious gifts I have received in my almost 75 years of life. In many ways, it was the gift that enabled me to receive all the other amazing gifts that have come to me since — a wonderful wife and family, caring and steadfast friends, a long and fulfilling career, and sufficient good health to take joy in them all.

At the time I received this priceless gift, it seemed hardly a gift at all. I almost didn’t accept it. After all, I was young and foolish. What did…

The Republican Knee-Jerk Response to COVID-19 Relief

America is about to see a storm of criticism of the COVID-19 relief bill recently passed by Congress and signed by President Biden. The Republicans and Fox pundits will scream about “socialism”, the demise of capitalism, the destruction of our way of life, and the pending economic disaster to be brought about by deficit spending — none of which can be supported by any provable facts. The recovery from the Great Recession was short-circuited by Republican fear mongering that led to the radical Tea Party taking over the House of Representatives in the 2010 Election.

Dick Dowdell

I’m a US Army veteran of the Vietnam War, have a wonderful wife and family, am a working software engineer, and a committed citizen.

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