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Automating complex business processes is just that…complex. But the related benefits of workload automation are so profound, the industry has evolved to introduce innovative orchestration frameworks and tools to make the seemingly impossible possible for development teams.

When a complicated business process is being automated, it can involve several microservices working together simultaneously. When components are separate applications in a distributed architecture, managing service interactions becomes quite the challenge. This is where microservice orchestration and choreography come in, each presenting their own benefits and challenges for teams to understand.

What is microservice orchestration? 

Individual microservices are small, independently deployable software components that work together to form complex applications. Microservice orchestration is the process of managing multiple microservices through a central service orchestrator to ensure they perform the desired business function. 

A critical aspect of building and deploying microservices-based applications, microservice orchestration can include tasks like service discovery, load balancing, fault tolerance, scalability, and monitoring. The service orchestrator is the brain of the operation, providing business logic and assigning tasks. 

In microservice orchestration, each individual microservice is only concerned with its assigned task, and not the overall system workflow.  

What is choreography? 

In the context of microservices, choreography refers to a style of communication between services, where each service is responsible for coordinating its own interactions with other services.

This differs from service orchestration microservices, where a central component–a service orchestrator–manages the interactions between services. In choreography, each service interacts directly with the other services using standardized protocols and standards.

Microservice Orchestration vs Choreography 

In microservice orchestration, a central service orchestrator manages interactions between services. This orchestrator is responsible for coordinating the flow of data between services, handling service discovery, and managing service scaling and failover.

The service orchestrator acts as the central point of control for the system and can enforce consistency and reliability across microservices. This orchestration approach is designed for managing complex interactions between services and ensuring predictable system behavior.

While this process simplifies microservices management, it can also introduce a single point of failure through the centralized service orchestrator. Because orchestration has to consider end-to-end dependencies between microservices, it can be difficult to modify or remove a defective service.

Choreography can allow for greater autonomy and flexibility among microservices, because service is responsible for its own behavior and can react to environment changes without relying on a central service orchestrator. A more decentralized architecture can be beneficial for scalability and fault tolerance.

However, choreography also introduces challenges. As the number of services in a system grows, managing the interactions between them becomes more complex and difficult to track. Ensuring reliability and consistency with choreography is difficult.

When comparing service orchestration vs choreography, it’s important to consider system requirements and the pros and cons of centralization and decentralization. 

Microservice Orchestration Frameworks

Orchestration Framework Architecture

This framework includes the service orchestrator that accepts tasks and assigns him to the microservices for execution.

Use cases for service orchestration microservices would include launching a new product. The service orchestrator creates a task queue for the microservices to complete; the microservices pick up the tasks and report on progress. If the process gets interrupted at any stage, it can be resumed using data stored in the orchestrator. 

Netflix Conductor 

With the Netflix Conductor orchestration framework, business process and activity parameters are described in JSON files. Developers have to write unique strings in the microservice code to be addressed by the service orchestrator. Business logic can be set up for each individual activity. 

Camunda Zeebe 

Camunda is a BPMN orchestration engine that can be used for business process automation. A large advantage of using Camunda Zeebe is the dedicated graphics editor and XML file data storage. 

Best Practices for Orchestrating Microservices 

There are numerous best practices for making the process of microservices orchestration more manageable: 

  1. Use a containerization platform like Docker or Kubernetes to simplify deployment in a consistent environment. 
  2. Use a service registry like Eureka or Consul to track available microservices and their locations to simplify service discovery and more easily manage dependencies. 
  3. Perform health checks to ensure microservice performance and fast failure detection. 
  4. Use a load balancer like NGINX or HAProxy to distribute traffic evenly across multiple instances of a microservice. This improves reliability by preventing overload.  
  5. Use circuit breakers like Istio or Hystrix to prevent cascading system failures. 
  6. Use event-driven architectures like Kafka or RabbitMQ to decouple microservices and achieve asynchronous communication to improve scalability. 
  7. Monitor and log each microservice to track performance and provide insight into overall system health. 

Microservices Orchestration Tools 

There are numerous tools and frameworks available for microservice orchestration including Kubernetes, Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Docker Swarm, Amazon ECS, and Apache Mesos. These tools provide a range of features to manage and automate deployment, scaling, and management of microservices in a distributed environment.

Business Process Automation Tools 

Managing automated workflows and dependencies across containerized IT environments can be challenging without the right tools. Redwood’s IT automation tools focus on business needs and enable teams to automate repetitive tasks with reusable business process steps, sequences, calendars, and more.

Execute routine tasks in real time with event-driven architecture, and seamlessly coordinate disparate operating systems, API adapters, and open source applications. Streamline DevOps by automating workflows and microservices with native SOA APIs and formats, and prevent timeouts with Redwood’s 99.995% uptime guarantee.  Redwood’s cloud-native scalability offers better resiliency by eliminating the hassle of hosting, deploying, and maintaining an automation platform. 

Container Orchestration Tools 

Running a virtual machine requires taking over an entire operating system. Container technology bundles the OS and all elements needed to run underlying microservices, like code, runtime, system tools, and system libraries.

In addition to enabling faster deployment times, the isolation offered by containers make them ideal for microservices architecture. But while microservices containers offer increased functionality, they also have more moving parts to configure and orchestrate.

Container orchestration tools talk to the host operating system and manage how multiple containers are created, upgraded, and made available. Powerful API capabilities make container orchestration great for the continuous integration and continuous development stages in DevOps workflows. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 3 components of a microservice?

The three components of a microservice include service, API, and data storage:

  1. Service: A microservice is a self-contained, independent service that performs a specific business function. Each microservice has a well-defined scope and its own data storage, business logic, and UI.
  2. API: Microservices communicate with each other using APIs, or protocols that define how different software components interact with each other. Microservices typically expose a RESTful API, which is simple, lightweight, and scalable.
  3. Data storage: Each microservice has its own data storage, which could be a relational database, a NoSQL database, or other storage solution that fits the service's requirements. Managing data independently allows for greater autonomy and scalability, as each microservice can scale based on its own resource needs.

Learn how Redwood helps teams achieve automation in their DevOps lifecycle.

What are the advantages of microservices over monolithic applications?

The main advantages offered by microserves that are lacking in monolithic applications include scalability, resiliency, ability to use different programming language and orchestration frameworks, maintainability, and continuous delivery.

Microservices are easier to maintain than monolithic applications because each service is smaller and more focused, making it easier to understand and work with the code and fix bugs.

Achieve better application management across the entire lifecycle with Redwood.