While interviewing Imagine Communications CTO Steve Reynolds for today’s NAB Hot Topic feature article, “IP, Virtualization To Drive Workflows At NAB,” the conversation turned to microservices and their role in virtualizing a broadcast function in an on-premise datacenter or in the cloud.
For those unfamiliar with microservices, Reynolds defines them this way: “A microservice is an atomic software component. It is a very simple software component. In general a microservice does one thing.”
One good example of a microservice is an MPEG 2 decoder object. “All it does is decode an MPEG 2 input and puts uncompressed video out the other side,” says Reynolds.
According to Reynolds, Imagine Communications has created about 1,000 of these microservices. In a datacenter or the cloud, microservices can be mixed and matched to achieve a desired workflow. “The essentially are Legos used to build a workflow,” he says.
The advantage of this approach is microservices or even an individual microservice can scale across many processors in a private datacenter or the cloud, he says.
Another approach is to image software that runs on COTS hardware to run on a virtual machine. “But that doesn’t take advantage of going to the cloud,” Reynolds says.
Those words aren’t written without a small bit of trepidation, because like anything else in this industry where there is a pro, there is certain to be a con, and I don’t really care to get in the middle of that.
But knowing there is a difference might give those attending the NAB Show something to talk about other than specs and when they arrived in Las Vegas while visiting the booths of IP vendors.
For those interested in learning more, a blog on the Imagine Communications website discusses the debate between the cloud-enabled vs. cloud-native approaches.