5 Open Source Tools For Building in a Microservice Applications (Comparison and Review)

While some business leaders still shy away from open source tools, others are recognizing the benefits of cheaper, more flexible technology with accountability built in. Microservice development and management is one place where open source technology shines.

Open Source Microservice Tools

Before you can start developing microservices, you need to find the right tools. That means applications, services, and platforms to help you build, deploy, manage, and monitor everything that goes into your microservices. Many of the best tools for developing and managing microservices are open source.

Here are the top five.

1. OpenShift – Container Platform

OpenShift Container Platform

OpenShift is a container application platform, a supported application of Kubernetes using Docker containers. Kubernetes is a powerful tool for building, managing, and maintaining microservices. OpenShift extends Kubernetes’ capabilities by adding features like multi-tenancy, collaboration, monitoring, and more. It uses Kubernetes’ orchestration and automation capabilities and allows access to the Docker ecosystem through Polyglot. It also allows you to dynamically provision storage and has enhanced container platform multitenancy.

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2. Mesosphere – Container Platform

Mesosphere Container Platform for Microservice Apps

Mesosphere DC/OS (Data Center Operating System) is a cluster manager, operating system, and container platform built around the open source distributed systems kernel Apache Mesos. It is also the first distributed operating system built on top of containerization technology. This gives Mesosphere DC/OS an advantage over other platforms when it comes to containerization, which is key to microservices. Mesosphere includes resource isolators that, among other tasks, manage GPU to allow stateless microservices to collocate. DC/OS uses its unusual architecture to separate jobs and services from their systems, increasing flexibility, portability, and fault tolerance.

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3. Docker – Container Platform and Container Orchestration

Docker Container Platform

Docker is currently the most popular containerization platform and the only provider that works for all applications across the hybrid cloud. Docker makes it easy to create, ship, and deploy lightweight application containers, which are ideal for housing microservices. The containers keep the microservices separate from the operating system so all the changes required to manage and update the microservices don’t affect the whole system. Docker specializes in keeping its containers extremely lightweight, which means that multiple containers can be run on the same server or virtual machine.

Docker’s swarm mode, also called Docker Swarm, is the container orchestration system native to Docker. If you install Docker, you have Docker Swarm. The “swarm” in Docker Swarm refers to a group of machines all running Docker and joined into a cluster. Docker commands are now executed across the cluster by a swarm manager. Swarm managers have multiple options for how to run containers that provide different benefits. Like with Kubernetes, Docker Swarm makes it easier to manage the containers storing microservices.  Once you set the optimal state for a service, Docker Swarm can automatically try to keep you there. Docker Swarm can’t handle the large loads that Kubernetes can, but it has a gentler learning curve and is easier to use.

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4. Kubernetes – Container Orchestration

Kubernetes Container Platform for Microservice Apps

Kubernetes is a container orchestration system and handles the automation of scaling, deployment, and management. It works by grouping containers into logical units, which makes them easier to manage. This also makes it easier to manage microservices housed in these containers. From there, Kubernetes can be used to build an ecosystem of components and tools around the microservices. Kubernetes began as an internal system for Google and has the same design that lets Google run all its containers, meaning that Kubernetes can scale up enormously without putting strain on the operations team.

Need help with Kubernetes? Engage our Kubernetes consulting services

5. Instana – Application Performance Management

Instana APM for Microservice Apps

Instana Dynamic APM is an application performance management system for dynamic applications, i.e. applications that are constantly changing. Both container orchestration and the rapid evolution that microservices undergo create the kind of changeable environment that Instana APM is designed to manage. Among other features, Instana keeps code aligned as application architecture changes and automatically correlates data and microservice structure to deliver root cause identification, both very useful for anyone working with microservices. In a more unusual move, Instana provides its users with an A.I. assistant that can learn and help manage service quality and performance.