Microservices Without Orchestrators – Running ContainerPilot with Kafka and Zookeeper

“Orchestration is big business.” That’s what Michael McFall, CTO of Las Vegas-based CloudMode, says. Michael spoke to our Docker Las Vegas group Wednesday night, demonstrating a different kind of microservices implementation – one that required no orchestrators. Using statically configured services like Kafka and Zookeeper – plus Joyent’s ContainerPilot – Michael showcased an environment where every container was “aware and responsible for orchestration,” creating an architecture of microservices without orchestrators, and eliminating the need for expensive-to-implement solutions like Mesos and Kubernetes.

“If you’ve got 30, 40, 50 containers, you don’t need a Kubernetes,” Michael said. “You don’t need a Docker Swarm… Orchestration is not a necessary thing for an SMB.”

Instead, Michael demonstrated a “better solution”: a Dockerized Apache Kafka installation that uses Joyent’s ContainerPilot for scheduling. His solution – available at https://github.com/vescel – was developed with small-to-medium-sized environments in mind. It leverages the strengths of Kafka and Zookeeper while circumventing the weaknesses of both. And it makes microservices accessible, even for small companies.

Still, with Docker Swarm now an integral part of Docker (beginning in v1.12), and other orchestrators available as open source tools, Michael’s solution invited discussion and debate among Docker Las Vegas attendees. As Michael himself said, his opinion that, “orchestration is not necessary for an SMB,” is simply an opinion, and “it’s vulnerable to attack.”

InfoSiftr’s Justin Steele brought the meeting to a close, reminding the group that, “all this stuff is open, all this stuff is free,” and that part of the beauty of the Docker ecosystem is that you can “do with it what you will.”

“What are you doing now?” Justin asked. “What are you used to doing? Keep doing that, and make it modular enough that you can make a path forward.”

Justin said that Michael’s solution – along with Docker Swarm, Joyent’s Triton, or Google’s Kubernetes – are all great answers to the orchestration question, depending on your needs and environment.

“If it makes your life better, let’s do it,” Justin said.

Follow this link for the complete slide deck from Michael McFall’s presentation: CONTAINERPILOT DOCKER



About the Author: