Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Plutora Blog, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Microservices Expo

Microservices Expo: Article

Large Scale B2B via Web Services

Scaling mission-critical Web service for hundreds of partners

Over the past few years Web services have grown from a conceptual draft based on the ideal of cross-platform programmatic interoperability to a formal specification and a vision of grand-scale distributed system architectures. Today we are putting that vision to work and designing systems with service-oriented architectures that are critical to our businesses. Amazon.com has been one of the forerunners in the adoption and promotion of Web services. Consistently striving to remain on the forefront of technology, Amazon has thoroughly embraced Web services - so much so in fact, that you can tie some serious revenue numbers directly to the external use of Amazon's Web services. For the remainder of this article I will outline for you just one of the avenues Amazon has taken to leverage Web services to generate new business.

Most of us are familiar with Amazon.com and have come to notice that other companies offer many of the products sold on Amazon; it isn't uncommon at all to browse direct product offerings from dozens of merchants such as Bombay and Sharper Image on Amazon.com. In fact third-party sellers play a critical role for Amazon in terms of breadth and depth in product offering, but how does the product information of these third-party sellers get there? Also, how are business-critical order, inventory, and price data exchanged reliably and in a timely manner for hundreds of merchants utilizing various platforms and technologies?

The answer: Amazon has developed a highly scalable SOA platform that leverages industry-standard technologies and incorporates the ability to conduct secure transactions, thus effectively allowing third-party sellers to fully control product listings directly on Amazon.com. A true service-oriented architecture allows merchants the ability to put their products in front of millions of Amazon customers; in return Amazon captures a commission on the sale and everyone is happy. The challenge of building a platform to handle hundreds of business partners with millions of transactions took some serious considerations into account.

Knowing that business partners would be utilizing various technologies to programmatically exchange data required not only a standard for the data format but also a security standard for the data transmission as well. By relying on XML schemas to define the structure of the documents to be exchanged (HTTPS as the transport protocol, and SwA [SOAP with Attachments] as the communication protocol), those key transport issues are addressed. Amazon publishes to its third-party sellers the XSD specification to each message Amazon sends and receives. A third-party seller has only to implement the XSD, extract their product data, transform it per the XSD, and post it to Amazon with a SOAP message over HTTPS.

Another design consideration involved the assumption that business partners would have a myriad of system designs that if addressed individually would require custom data definitions, connectors, and message exchange choreography for each partner. This forced the idea that the Amazon platform must be agnostic with regard to partner systems; nothing better lends itself to being agnostic than a service-oriented architecture. In some cases the disparity in partner systems can be so extreme that a system component such as fulfillment, which is critical to business operations, can be owned by a separate company at a different physical location. By encapsulating services in the Amazon interface the partner has significant flexibility in their integration design and can easily incorporate disparate systems.

Because real dollars are impacted with every message exchange, all message exchanges had to be secured and guaranteed. All exchanges utilize HTTPS and require three credentials for validation against an existing account. In order to ensure business-critical documents such as order reports are exchanged successfully an exchange acknowledgement has been incorporated. As displayed in the diagram below, the first operation is a service request for existing document IDs. The return value if null delays for 15 minutes and then requests again. If the return is positive it will contain an array of document IDs. At this point we step into the scope of a document exchange. By calling the getDocument service and passing a document ID, the return result will be the physical document represented by the ID, in this case an order report. Now the document provider (Amazon) knows a request has been made by the requestor (merchant partner) and has responded appropriately by sending the document, but does not know if the document has reached the requestor successfully. The requestor now needs to ensure the successful receipt of the document and perform the final operation of acknowledging to the provider that the document has been received successfully. Subsequently the provider can transfer the document ID from the "outbound" queue to the "sent" queue. In all, this design ensures the state of a document is managed by the requestor who is responsible for follow up operations - in this case fulfillment of the order.

By implementing the system designs in Figure 3, Amazon has been able to successfully integrate product offerings from hundreds of merchants - from small domestic companies to large multinational corporations, Amazon's single platform scales to support them all.

More Stories By Allan Wessels

Allan Wessels has over nine years of diverse experience in software development, from software engineering to project management, with stops at Sony Pictures, Microsoft, and most recently, Amazon.com.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
The most often asked question post-DevOps introduction is: “How do I get started?” There’s plenty of information on why DevOps is valid and important, but many managers still struggle with simple basics for how to initiate a DevOps program in their business. They struggle with issues related to current organizational inertia, the lack of experience on Continuous Integration/Delivery, understanding where DevOps will affect revenue and budget, etc. In their session at DevOps Summit, JP Morgenthal...
In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Simone Brunozzi, VP and Chief Technologist of Cloud Services at VMware, reviewed the changes that the cloud computing industry has gone through over the last five years and shared insights into what the next five will bring. He also chronicled the challenges enterprise companies are facing as they move to the public cloud. He delved into the "Hybrid Cloud" space and explained why every CIO should consider ‘hybrid cloud' as part of their future strategy to achie...
The last decade was about virtual machines, but the next one is about containers. Containers enable a service to run on any host at any time. Traditional tools are starting to show cracks because they were not designed for this level of application portability. Now is the time to look at new ways to deploy and manage applications at scale. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Jake Moshenko, Product Manager at CoreOS, examined how CoreOS + Quay.io fit into the development lifecycle from pushing gi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Harbinger Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Harbinger Systems is a global company providing software technology services. Since 1990, Harbinger has developed a strong customer base worldwide. Its customers include software product companies ranging from hi-tech start-ups in Silicon Valley to leading product companies in the US a...
Containers are revolutionizing the way we deploy and maintain our infrastructures, but monitoring and troubleshooting in a containerized environment can still be painful and impractical. Understanding even basic resource usage is difficult – let alone tracking network connections or malicious activity. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gianluca Borello, Sr. Software Engineer at Sysdig, will cover the current state of the art for container monitoring and visibility, including pros / cons and liv...
This week we're attending SYS-CON Event's DevOps Summit in New York City. It's a great conference and energy behind DevOps is enormous. Thousands of attendees from every company you can imagine are focused on automation, the challenges of DevOps, and how to bring greater agility to software delivery. But, even with the energy behind DevOps there's something missing from the movement. For all the talk of deployment automation, continuous integration, and cloud infrastructure I'm still not se...
DevOps Summit, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development...
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at th...
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises ar...
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding bu...
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the ...
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and Containers together help companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, reviewed the current landscape of...
Data center models are changing. A variety of technical trends and business demands are forcing that change, most of them centered on the explosive growth of applications. That means, in turn, that the requirements for application delivery are changing. Certainly application delivery needs to be agile, not waterfall. It needs to deliver services in hours, not weeks or months. It needs to be more cost efficient. And more than anything else, it needs to be really, dc infra axisreally, super focus...
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect t...
Sharding has become a popular means of achieving scalability in application architectures in which read/write data separation is not only possible, but desirable to achieve new heights of concurrency. The premise is that by splitting up read and write duties, it is possible to get better overall performance at the cost of a slight delay in consistency. That is, it takes a bit of time to replicate changes initiated by a "write" to the read-only master database. It's eventually consistent, and it'...
"Plutora provides release and testing environment capabilities to the enterprise," explained Dalibor Siroky, Director and Co-founder of Plutora, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Overgrown applications have given way to modular applications, driven by the need to break larger problems into smaller problems. Similarly large monolithic development processes have been forced to be broken into smaller agile development cycles. Looking at trends in software development, microservices architectures meet the same demands. Additional benefits of microservices architectures are compartmentalization and a limited impact of service failure versus a complete software malfunction. ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Arch...
IT data is typically silo'd by the various tools in place. Unifying all the log, metric and event data in one analytics platform stops finger pointing and provides the end-to-end correlation. Logs, metrics and custom event data can be joined to tell the holistic story of your software and operations. For example, users can correlate code deploys to system performance to application error codes. In his session at DevOps Summit, Michael Demmer, VP of Engineering at Jut, will discuss how this can...
Manufacturing has widely adopted standardized and automated processes to create designs, build them, and maintain them through their life cycle. However, many modern manufacturing systems go beyond mechanized workflows to introduce empowered workers, flexible collaboration, and rapid iteration. Such behaviors also characterize open source software development and are at the heart of DevOps culture, processes, and tooling.