The Journey from Offline to Online Conformance Checking for Microservice Applications

Ricardo Andrade has successfully defended his master thesis “Real-Time Conformance Checking for Microservice Applications“. This thesis was done in the context of the ArchViews project together with Thales. The academic supervisor was ESI colleague and TU/e professor Johan Lukkien and the daily supervision at ESI was done by myself and Ben Pronk.

The thesis addresses the shift from monolithic architectures to microservice architectures in order to manage the complexities and dependencies that emerge as systems grow and incorporate new features. A significant gap identified in the management of microservice applications is the lack of effective conformance checking techniques that can verify whether the execution of microservices aligns with their specification. To address this, the thesis proposes an innovative solution by developing an online conformance checker specifically designed for microservice applications. The project begins with the creation of an offline conformance checker that evaluates conformance using execution traces and sequence diagrams. The work then progresses to an online conformance checker, significantly improving performance and delivering conformance results within approximately 30 seconds per trace. This rapid response time meets the requirement for swift identification and correction of non-conforming sequences, thereby offering a practical and effective tool for managing microservice applications.

Ricardo presented his work very well using beautifully prepared slides. He confidently answered questions from the audience and the examination committee and left the session with a good grade. Ricardo is now moving on from his studies to start his career at CGI. We wish him the best of luck in his future career.

Master’s Student Marijn Vollaard Shines with Study on Hardware Dimensioning for Microservice Applications in Cyber-Physical Systems

Our master’s student, Marijn Vollaard, has achieved a significant milestone by completing and presenting his literature study titled “Hardware Dimensioning for Microservice Applications in Cyber-Physical Systems: Current Directions and Challenges” The study addresses the challenge of dimensioning the number of compute nodes required to meet the performance demands of microservice-based applications in cyber-physical systems. It thoroughly reviews an extensive body of literature on application and system profiling, performance prediction, and design-space exploration to establish the current state of knowledge in this field. The survey culminates in a discussion about how the surveyed literature applies to microservice applications, the cyber-physical systems context, and the problem of hardware dimensioning. Overall, this is a nice piece of work with a lot of references presented in a systematic way. Congratulations to Marijn for his great effort!”

Master Thesis Tackles Architectural Anti-patterns in Microservice Applications

Today, we are delighted to announce the successful defense of the outstanding master’s thesis titled “Architectural Anti-Pattern Identification and Mitigation in Microservice Applications Based on Telemetry” by our master student, Amund Lunke Rohne from the University of Amsterdam. This master’s project was a collaborative effort involving TNO-ESI and Thales.

The thesis addresses the problem that microservices offer benefits like scalability and separation of concerns, but also introduce many complex service dependencies. The decomposition of microservice applications can impact system performance and maintainability and can lead to architectural anti-patterns over time. While simple anti-patterns can be detected using analysis of service dependencies, there is a lack of formal mathematical definitions which prevents more complex anti-patterns from being automatically detected by tools. The thesis introduces a novel model called Granular Hardware Utilization-Based Service Dependency Graph (GHUBS), a fine-grained model that captures the interactions dependencies between services at the level of individual requests. The GHUBS model can be manually specified in early design phases to validate a microservice decomposition, or automatically created using telemetry data from a running application. Mathematical formalizations are introduced for four common architectural anti-patterns and methods for automatically detecting them using the GHUBS model is presented. A method for recommending how to mitigate the identified anti-patterns based on the service dependencies in the GHUBS model, as well as resource utilization metrics for the services, is also presented. The approach is implemented in a tool called Televisor and validated through case studies on open-source microservice benchmarking applications, revealing instances of these anti-patterns.

We thank Amund for his work and a fruitful collaboration, and wish him the best of luck in his future career.

TNO-ESI Cloud Continuum Workshop Connects Researchers and Promotes Collaboration in the Netherlands

The TNO-ESI Cloud Continuum workshop, an informal hybrid event that attracted just over twenty participants, took place at ESI on February 21. The goals of this workshop were to: 1) connect applied and academic researchers in the area of cloud continuum in the Netherlands, 2) disseminate research results from ongoing research projects, and 3) identify possibilities for collaboration. Benny Akesson, the organizer of the event, opened the workshop by presenting some drivers for cloud adoption/integration in the high-tech industry, as well as the work done by ESI in the ArchViews and TRANSACT projects related to performance observability. This was followed by four invited speakers from Eindhoven University of Technology and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The topics of the presentations ranged from reference architectures for the cloud continuum, root-cause analysis in the continuum, modelling and calibration of cyber-physical systems deployed in the continuum, to performance variability of cloud/edge systems. All in all, it was a nice and successful event that showcased parts of the body of work currently going on in this exciting area. Thank you Matthijs Jansen, Jeroen Voeten, Mahtab Modaber, and Panagiotis Giannakopoulos for your presentations.