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Open source air traffic controller for container platforms

Very Awesome Microservices Platform

Geertjan Wielenga

If you ask Olaf Molenveld, CEO and co-founder of Amsterdam-based Magnetic.io, about containers and microservices, he will say they are a perfect match. Although complications do exist, Very Awesome Microservices Platform (VAMP) aims to iron them out.

“Containers and microservices: the perfect combination, a match made in heaven,” enthuses Olaf Molenveld, CEO and co-founder of Magnetic.io/VAMP in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. By combining the two, the best of both worlds is in your hands—fast deployment, simple microservice orchestration, testing, and scaling. For example, no need for administrators to provision nodes, simply change a configuration file or post to a RESTful API and you’ve scaled up a sevice from 1 to 10 instances.

As always, though, complexities remain. “Innovation is stimulated by reducing risks,” argues Molenveld. While containerization enables continuous delivery pipelines by providing identical environments, a new range of problems is introduced when microservice architectures enter the scene. The Very Awesome Microservices Platform (VAMP) is Magnetic.io’s open source air traffic controller for container platforms.

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VAMP aims to take the pain out of running complex and critical (micro)service based architectures by providing a platform-agnostic microservices DSL, together with features for A-B testing, canary releasing, auto-scaling, as well as an integrated metrics and event engine and dashboards.

From E-Commerce to Microservice/Container Management

“Initially, the idea was to provide an e-commerce platform for organizations, using a container and a microservices architecture,” Molenveld says. Around 2014, Magnetic.io started producing this e-commerce platform around microservices and containers. It proved to be scalable and had a range of built-in ideas for platform orchestration that were attractive to vendors that weren’t necessarily interested in the e-commerce platform itself.

In particular, the built-in support for canary releases and auto-scaling struck a chord. Even more in particular, it turns out to be tricky to set up coherent infrastructures around canary releasing, that is, the process of slowly rolling out changes to subsets of users, before rolling it out to the entire infrastructure. VAMP not only comes with techniques and dashboards for managing canary releases, it even has a tutorial showing how to set them up.

With Or Without Microservices

At meetups and other developer events, Molenveld was asked whether VAMP itself was available as a project and where it could be bought. And so VAMP, as an independent product, was established and partners can use VAMP to develop their own microservices- and container-based solutions on top of VAMP. Molenveld and his team began specifically to focus narrowly on VAMP itself. Even organizations without an interest in microservices find VAMP an interesting technology, enabling them to get a solid picture of the state of their containerized monolithic applications, while enabling them to upgrade their software without downtimes.

Unique among comparable products is that VAMP is vendor-neutral, with drivers having been built against technologies such as Mesos/Marathon, Docker, and Kubernetes, with APIs for others to make similar tools. VAMP’s sweet spot is on higher level features, such as auto-scaling and canary testing, rather than machine-level provisioning-type features. A small team of developers works on VAMP, in Amsterdam, together with a range of partners around the world. Work is being done on closed-source commercial modules, focused on more graphic dashboards, standalone tools, and canary-analytics engines.

Author

Geertjan Wielenga

Geertjan Wielenga is a principal product manager at Oracle, focused on a range of open source technologies, in particular Oracle JET and NetBeans IDE.


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