François Royer
François Royer Cloud, data and AI architect for small and large organizations in retail, logistics, aerospace & defence.

Key learnings from muCon 2019, or why serverless and microservices are essential to your enterprise IT strategy

The 2019 edition of muCon is over, and what a fantastic set of speakers, combined with a great crowd and perfect organization! Skillsmatter, who hosted the event, really knows how to pull a show. I was fortunate to be a part of it as a volunteer, and despite having to rise early (my shift starting at 7 am on day 1 and day 2), it was flawless all the way.

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Why is muCon important?

If you haven't attended muCon in the past, this is why you should consider it for the next edition... Serverless and microservices are taking the IT world by storm, for a multitude of reasons (some vendor-driven, some required by business evolution).

By branding itself the "DDD, serverless and microservices conference", muCon states that Domain Driven Design is essential in tackling business complexity, breaking it down in the small chunks required by cloud applications and systems. We heard lots and lots about "Bounded contexts", a key tool to define the limits and interfaces of a microservice, not from technical capabilities but from business activities.

In a nutshell, DDD offers the ability to make of sense of complex business systems, legacy or green field, and deploy them at an extremely granular level in a capital efficient way. And muCon is all about evolving in the "problem space", instead of remaining stuck in the "solution space". As a result, the DDD crowd is reluctant to talk too much about frameworks and implementation specific aspects: I found almost all talks to be about methodologies, key findings and examples of applying DDD tools to complex domains (such as healthcare, a big deal in the UK now with NHS).

What were the key takeaways?

It is hard to summarize such a large event (three tracks over three days), but three things really struck.

  • Serverless is becoming a mainstream commodity - and microservices and DDD are THE way to think and organize business subsystems. They allow business and finance to really understand capital flow through IT subsystems, and avoid paying for idle capacity.
  • DevOps is dead - long live DevOps! This is a controversial statement, but if your DevOps team is devoted to process optimization and not evolutionary design then all initiatives of your IT are doomed to fail. This, illustrated by Simon Wardley's keynote the last day, was really an eye opener.
  • Event Storming, designed by Alberto Brandolini, has become a de facto tool to align business and developers, and most participants were doing it or considering applying it to their own problems. We were lucky to attend an Event Storming and Example Mapping workshop by Bruno Boucard and Thomas Pierrain, and it was fascinating to see how several teams could diverge then converge onto a complex business domain (a ticket reservation system in that case).

Finally, the presentation of Wardley Maps to define your IT strategy, understand your cost to serve and where to invest was absolutely enlightening ... but this is a subject for another post!