Yer Edinburgh Ode to Microservices

1 bIt is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end
~ Ernest Hemmingway


Intro 👒

Attending the Open IoT Europe Summit (Edinburgh) was an amazing experience. I returned from Europe just a couple of days ago. Yep, Edinburgh is an amazing city, filled with kind people: That made the Open IoT Summit extra special, on top of the technical agenda that was packed with exciting presentations, working sessions, and discussions! 🚀

The EdgeX Foundry open-source project—it’s hosted by The Linux Foundation—is going places, so it’s especially gratifying that a substantial chunk of my waking hours go (as a committer on EdgeX) into the fun work of helping change the world of IoT as we know it today 😅 📫 📡 📺 📬 📮 📭 📟 📬 🕙 📭 🚜 🚁 📬 🛁 🚑 📭 🚃 🚝 📬 🎤 🎮 📫 🎰 📬 😎

(Okay, so that is a lot of emoticons right there: Seldom do I get carried away like so, but then again, this is heady stuff and I wanted to get across the essence, if you will, of the variety of IoT experiences in their many hues and shapes; it’s all right, I say, plus nobody has complained so far).

Well, whether it was the IoT Summit or the alluring Edinburgh surroundings—likely a combination of the two—that did it, I was inspired to write up some light verses one evening in Edinburgh when I had an idle hour or two to pass in the comfort of my pleasant hotel room. Today, I added a handful more verses—yo, someone stop Akram from writing even more while you still can, someone, please!—and which I unabashedly offer here 💠

2 bAnd what good would be a blog post that did not have at least an accompanying picture or two? 📷

I jest not, so all you bonnie lassies and laddies, find yer pictures right after the verses that now follow, because this yin*—when you are ready, go to the end for a translation of this and a handful of similar, inimitably Scottish words and phrases—is as good as it gets around here in our (Programming Digressions) digs 👕

Yer Edinburgh Ode to Microservices 🎻

They ask, in all seriousness, this innocent question,
“Will my microservices forever remain performant?”
They might as well, instead, ask this question,
“Will production problems evermore remain dormant?” 🐻

But first—and curiously for some—we now unabashedly switch to (non-alternating) pairs of verses,
So there, ‘cuz the first four lines atop have already warranted much juggles and rehearses! 🎪

Oh, laddie, so you say that some of yer microservices are on fire,
Yo, you should have alerted me right away for something so dire! 🌋

But have no fear, to the rescue will come tracing,
And handily solve the problem yer facing 👺

Do tell me—please do—that you’ve already instrumented yer source code,
If not, all is still not lost, no laddie it isn’t, and yes, that’s me doon the road 🚴

Anyway, hey, hey, hey now! I ain’t calling anyone an eejit** or that they be straying into the land of weed,
Aye, I hear you, lassie: Other, higher-priority matters had beckoned, meanwhile, and “you’re a long time deid”*** 🍁

All I be saying is that when it comes to monitoring systems with many a wee—and occasionally waylaid—moving part,
It would be best if all components communicate in the same, simple ways, lest hopes of tracing them do depart! 🙈

Let’s divine what ails your darling system on which you have plainly showered much care,
Though, as I understand it, for it’s upkeep and instrumentation you did not quite prepare 🐜

All is not lost because—with your lovely workflows in place—you can still do stuff to monitor and estimate,
Aye, mate, surely, to take a message-oriented perspective, you need to monitor yer message-flow rate 💼

There’s nothing quite like getting eyeballs to peer into the workings of your application,
That is, should you wish to avoid sleepless nights and many a similar complication 😴

You see, we expect great things from the exciting microservices revolution,
They are, after all, the next step in the remarkable SOA*** evolution 🐳

Microservices, to be sure, have emerged from the molten-pit kindled by flames of a brave new world,
Arrr, domain-driven design, continuous delivery, and systems at scale, to use but a few bonnie word 🌞

The clamor for scaling, resilience, ease-of-deployment, and composability verily could not be left unaddressed,
And was answered—in the shape of wee bonnie microservices of course!—by a legion of developers, all self-possessed 😎

Aye, but there be no silver bullet, lassie, so mark those words as you merrily go down that road,
Noo***** go on, don’t you be looking at me with them forlornly moist eyes: yes, this was the ode! 👡

Translation Of Scottish Words And Phrases 🐝


* Yin: 

One ⛩

** Eejit:

Idiot 👻

*** “You’re a long time deid”:

The English translation of this one—and I love it so—is “You’re a long time dead“, and if you’re thinking that’s a pretty obvious statement but are still not sure what it means, try this… 💊 (As in, take the blue pill or the red!) “Enjoy life, because once you’re dead you’re going to be that way for a long time!” Not exactly uplifting, but true all the same, wouldn’t you agree? 🙊

**** SOA:

Okay, okay, I know! That (i.e. SOA) is not quite Scottish. I get that, okay? 🙉 Those three letters do, however, serve as an acronym for the venerable Service Oriented Architecture, the precursor, of course—remember, we should ever-so-often revisit the basics—to microservices. Just sayin’ 📬

***** Noo:


4 bNobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough 🔭
~ Richard Feynman

Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people 📚
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

6 bOh, the joy, the joy of writing, a joy so intense, so pure, so all-absorbing and free and all-encompassing, flooding the soul in mystical ecstasy, elevating and sanctifying, infusing beauty in the humblest subjects and a purpose in the most wayward life 💰
~ Anais Nin (in her Diary 2, pg. 8) The Quotable Anais Nin: 365 Quotations with Citations (Sky Blue Press)

7 bO wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world
That has such people in it!

~ William Shakespeare (in The Tempest)

8 bScience and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response 🎭

~ Arthur M. Schlesinger

If you want to talk about Nature, you’re going to talk about something complicated and dirty, and therefore at first approximations, ever increasing in accuracy 📈
~ Richard P. Feynman, in The Quotable Feynman (Princeton University Press)

10 bExplaining Metaphysics to the nation–
I wish he would explain his Explanation
~ Lord Byron (from Don Juan: Dedication

The only service a friend can really render is to keep up your courage by holding up to you a mirror in which you can see a noble image of yourself 🐙 🐙
~ George Bernard Shaw

14 b[Beverly Hills is so exclusive]…even the police have an unlisted telephone number 🙊
~ Morey Amsterdam

15 b

There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds 🏰
~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

16 b

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about 😿
~ Oscar Wilde

11 b

Knowledge he shall unwind
Through victories of the mind,
Till, clambering at the cradle-side,
He dreams himself his mother’s pride,
All knowledge lost in trance
Of sweeter ignorance.’ 

~ W. B. Yeats

17 b‘Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,
And robes the mountain in its azure hue.

~ Thomas Campbell 🏀


  1. – In case anyone noticed, my embedding all photos (yep, every single one taken by yours truly) within postage stamp frames is intentional: It’s in the spirit of the time-honored tradition of sending postcards from abroad.

    – And yes, to elaborate just a bit on the point above, I do take great care in thematically arranging (and selecting, in the first place) the fodder for any given blog post (here in our digs), that being something I have reflected on in the past, like so: A battery of challenges.

    – Oh, and do please excuse the abundance of selfies! I have received feedback (after all, they say that moral reformation begins right in one's household) to lighten the frequency with which selfies make appearances. All the same, and not without sheepishly offering some defense for having done the same (this one last time, anyway), please hear me out, by way of a rhetorical question: Anyone recall the American expression, "Kilroy was here”?

    So this is where I’m going with all that: Selfies are, in an important way (IMHO, anyway), proof positive that one was actually there, wherever selfies may have been taken, are they not?

    – So there. All the same, I cannot help but think back to a memorable observation which appeared in (and I’m thinking back many moons ago, approximately two decades worth of moons), of all the places, in an issue of the subversively visceral and venerable MAD magazine, next to a blithely rubbernecking car driver: “Those who enjoy the scenery while driving usually become a part of it”!

    – Sobering talk? Perhaps. At any rate, I leave it to you and your imagination to draw suitable parallels (and conclusions) between rubbernecking and taking selfies.

  2. Well done, Sir Akram!

    I looked up "deid" and was not surprised to find that it was a Scottish form of the word "dead".

    Your poem is at once insightful and colloquial to your travels, along with links to some of other articles; all of which blow my mind wide open.

    These are no wee bonnie thoughts you share,
    They're rife with meaning and crafted with utmost care!

    Thanks, again, for yet another piece of computer science artwork.

    Best, Lex

  3. Looks like an exciting and full trip! Wonderful pictures and quotes Akram 🙂
    I especially love the Yeats quote ending with
    "All knowledge lost in trance
    Of sweeter ignorance"

    Story of my life for sure!

  4. Bravo Akram – lang may yer lum reek!

    It was great to meet you and share in this experience on the edge in Ediburgh.

    "Microservices, to be sure, have emerged from the molten-pit kindled by flames of a brave new world,…"

    Love it!!

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