PhD Defense of Yuwei WANG – Evolution of Microservice-based Applications: Modelling and Safe Dynamic Updating
October 27 2022
Abstract: Microservice architectures contribute to building complex distributed systems as sets of independent microservices. The decoupling and modularity of distributed microservices facilitates their independent replacement and upgradeability. Since the emergence of agile DevOps and CI/CD, there is a trend towards more frequent and rapid evolutionary changes of the running microservice-based applications in response to various evolution requirements. Applying changes to microservice architectures is performed by an evolution process of moving from the current application version to a new version. The maintenance and evolution costs of these distributed systems increase rapidly with the number of microservices. The objective of this thesis is to address the following issues: How to help engineers to build a unified and efficient version management for microservices and how to trace changes in microservice-based applications? When can microservice-based applications, especially those with long-running activities, be dynamically updated without stopping the execution of the whole system? How should the safe updating be performed to ensure service continuity and maintain system consistency? In response to these questions, this thesis proposes two main contributions. The first contribution is runtime models and an evolution graph for modelling and tracing version management of microservices. These models are built at design time and used at runtime. It helps engineers abstract architectural evolution in order to manage reconfiguration deployments, and it provides the knowledge base to be manipulated by an autonomic manager middleware in various evolution activities. The second contribution is a snapshot-based approach for dynamic software updating (DSU) of microservices. The consistent distributed snapshots of microservice-based applications are constructed to be used for specifying continuity of service, evaluating the safe update conditions and realising the update strategies. The message complexity of the DSU algorithm is not the message complexity of the distributed application, but the complexity of the consistent distributed snapshot algorithm.