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Around IT In 256 Seconds

#24: Service discovery

In the old days an application consisted of a monolithic backend and a database. Once they were deployed their location never changed. So the only piece of configuration was the address of the database almost hardcoded into the monolith. These days an application is split into hundreds of microservices talking to each other. Probably too many services, probably talking too much. But that’s a different story. Anyway, the environment became much more dynamic. Services come and go, orchestration frameworks are deploying them on different machines all the time. TCP/IP ports are random, instances are scaled up and down frequently. Sometimes automatically. New hosts are provisioned, old ones are shut down. Whole data centers are added. Under such circumstances we can no longer hard-code anything. When one service wants to talk to the other, it must somehow figure out where that service currently lives. It needs a mechanism to dynamically discover that service in an ever-changing environment.

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