Eric D. Schabell: Integration Key to Customer Experience - Container Platform Essentials

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Integration Key to Customer Experience - Container Platform Essentials

omnichannel customer experience
Part 5 - container platform details
In my previous article from this series we looked in to details that determine how your integration becomes the key to transforming your customer experience.

It started with laying out the process of how I've approached the use case by researching successful customer portfolio solutions as the basis for a generic architecture. Now it's time to cover various architecture details.

This article has reached the core elements in the architecture (container platform and microservices), which are crucial to the generic architectural overview.

Architectural details

omnichannel customer experienceAs mentioned before, the architectural details covered here are base on real customer integration solutions using open source technologies. The elements presented here are then the generic common architectural elements that I've identified and collected in a generic architecture. It's my intent to provide an architecture that provides guidance and not deep technical details.

This section covers the visual representations as presented, but it's expected that they'll be evolving visually over time. There are many ways to represent each element in this architecture, but I've chosen icons, text and colours that I hope are going to make it all easy to absorb. Feel free to post comments at the bottom of this post, or contact me directly with your feedback.

Now let's take a look at the details in this architecture and outline the elements uncovered in my research.

Container platform

Central to all the research conducted was the use of a container platform for some if not all the microservices and applications associated with the omnichannel solution.
omnichannel customer experience

Without a doubt the flexibility and consistency provided by a container platform enhances delivery of solutions by the researched development teams. The operations teams became efficient with container deployments, management and monitoring standardized across multicloud infrastructures.

Within the container platform the first elements are related to the microservices intended to facilitate front end applications interactions with the rest of the integration services. Specific groups of microservices are touched on that service the externally deployed applications:
  • front end microservices (providing access to internal integration microservices)
  • process facade microservices (providing access to automated integration processes)
  • other integration applications (providing access to aggregated microservices or other internal applications)
  • single-sign-on or SSO plugins proliferate for security across the microservices and container platform
The deeper access to internal microservices are the next details we'll examine, touching on integration and data microservices.

Core microservices

This section of the architecture highlights a few containerized services and the core microservices.

The process facade microservices expose core process integration functionality that is part of the depicted process servers elements. Most deployments host two for availability and leverage the container platform's load balancing features.
omnichannel customer experience

The integration microservices and integration data microservices provide access to most anything in the organization. Imagine mainframes, other third-party helpdesk desktop applications, third-party cloud platform service integration, or whatever your imagination can come up with. Data integration can be container native storage, third-party products, or traditional storage components found in any architecture.

An SSO server element is shown to complete the story of what's backing the connectivity from microservices to the authentication and authorization back-end system(s) that one encounters in an organization.

The final items shown here are special instances of storage labeled real-time data storage, which were part of a solution researched that included integration services requiring special performance storage in containers to stream video to external applications. Interesting enough to include here, though one would expect it in the storage services.
These details are not all-knowing, but should give you the guidance you'd need to get started in your own architectural situations.

What's next

This overview covers the container platform elements that make up our architecture for the omnichannel customer experience use case. 

An overview of the series on omnichannel customer experience portfolio architecture can be found here:
  1. An introduction
  2. Generic common architectural elements
  3. External application details
  4. API management details
  5. Container platform essentials
  6. Storage services
  7. Example process integration
  8. Example mobile integration
  9. Example service integration
Catch up on any articles you missed by following one of the links above.

Next in this series, taking a look at the details for storage services in an architecture for omnichannel customer experience.