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Achieve better performance with cloud microservices and apps

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Cloud microservices can be powerful tools, but nothing is perfect. Users have reported performance issues, so how do you fix them? Tom Nolle has the answers.

The cloud and microservices have proven to be incredibly powerful tools for structuring optimal IT responsiveness to business conditions, but some users have also reported unexpected major performance problems. To ensure your use of the cloud for microservices or applications works as expected, know the major sources of performance issues, design and host applications and workflows to reduce your risk, and know what to monitor to spot problems before they become serious.

Cloud performance problems arise from three sources. First, the cloud hosting platform itself may be inadequate for the application, either because it’s under-configured or because it’s shared with other users and overloaded. Second, the network connections used to pass work among components or to address microservices can be generating delay. Finally, the data resources that a component requires may not be located where access is easy and efficient, and so users of the component are slowed down when data is read or written. While none of these sources of performance issues may seem significant, they can add up to a major problem.

The reason is that delay accumulates. A cloud application that uses multiple microservices is essentially a chain of processing points. The user’s perceived response time and quality of experience are set by the sum of the delays encountered along this process chain. In some cases, a single user transaction can spawn dozens of separate activities, all of which have to be complete for the user to receive a response. This is especially true for database access in any form, because a component might access a database hundreds of times to support a single request. If there’s a problem with that, the QoE will quickly decline to far below acceptable levels.

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