Introducing Lightbend technologies

Lightbend technologies offer a proven platform for building the next generation of cloud-native systems. They enable development and management of Reactive applications that are responsive and scalable under heavy load and maintain resilience in spite of the uncertainties inherent in the modern ecosystem. Applications built with Lightbend technologies can be deployed in the cloud, on-prem, or in a hybrid environment.

Lightbend technologies include a full spectrum of development, deployment, and observability tools. You can use the programming model best suited to your use case, such as microservices, big data at speed (streaming applications), and stateful functions as services in a serverless environment. Lightbend technologies include:

  • Akka Platform—​tools and frameworks for developing and managing Reactive microservices and building streaming components from the ground up.

  • Cloudflow—​built on Akka, but with higher-level interfaces, provides tools for developing, deploying, and managing streaming applications that use streaming engines such as Akka Streams, Apache Spark™, Akka Streams, and Apache Flink™. Cloudflow is available with a Lightbend Subscription.

  • Cloudstate—​also based on Akka, is a specification, protocol, and reference implementation for distributed state management in Serverless computing. Soon, it will be available as a cloud service.

Lightbend Platform Overview

We at Lightbend are committed to helping you build and maintain the infrastructure that drives your business, whether you take advantage of our cloud offerings or subscription-based products and services. Lightbend subscriptions include warranties and certifications and world-class support. Optional training and professional services are available to prepare your teams for success.

Read on to learn more about:

The Reactive advantage

Reactive microservices are all about building stateful systems that remain responsive under almost all conditions and make optimal use of computing resources. The Akka Platform includes Play, Akka, and Lagom, which enable you to build and operate Reactive microservices in the most robust manner possible.

Platforms such as Kubernetes support scaling and recovery from failures at the infrastructure level, but leave complex problems such as managing state to applications. Reactive microservices scale state up and down effortlessly across a cluster. This means they can handle many concurrent requests with large volumes of data, while remaining resilient in the face of failures.

For example, in the retail world, sales revenue depends on the system remaining highly responsive—even under the heavy load of Black Friday, a flash sale, or during unexpected failures. Lightbend Platform users have successfully met this challenge. Their Reactive systems ensure that fresh data is available at all times so that customers can continue to add products to their carts and finalize their purchases in spite of spikes in load and intermittent connectivity issues.

Cloudflow and Cloudstate are built on Akka, so they bring these Reactive characteristics to streaming data pipelines and stateful serverless functions, respectively. Read why Reactive matters for cloud-native stateful applications.

Lightbend solutions to common challenges

Experience helping our customers create applications with extreme requirements has shown us where the most common challenges occur when creating Reactive microservice and streaming systems. The following outline some of those challenges and the solutions Lightbend Platform includes for addressing them:

  • Integration between new and legacy systems can consume costly development resources that could be more productively engaged adding business value.

    • Akka Platform includes a variety of tools that simplify integration using HTTP, gRPC, real-time streaming with Akka Streams, Alpakka connectors, and message broker integrations with Kafka.

    • Cloudflow handles the low-level boilerplate necessary to connect and manage multiple data streams, allowing you to focus on capturing the business value for existing data streams by applying analytics and machine learning models.

    • Cloudstate offers stateful serverless functions that you can use with a variety of programming languages, providing a way to interact with legacy systems.

  • Distributed systems require special data handling to ensure consistency. Kubernetes handles scalability and failover, but leaves the problem of rehydrating state to applications. This is more complicated when spanning clusters, regions, or data centers.

    • Akka Platform microservice tools manage distributed data out of the box and Akka’s Multi-Data Center Persistence simplifies reconciliation of highly distributed data sets. See Akka Persistence Enhancements for more information.

    • Cloudstate provides a framework for handling state in the serverless model.

  • The “lift and shift” approach for moving to the cloud has proven to be ineffective for scaling applications and reducing operational costs.

    Applications built with Lightbend technology take full advantage of cloud-native infrastructure such as Kubernetes-based platforms, allowing them to be deployed either on-premises or in the cloud without modification. Akka Platform’s Akka Resilience Enhancements provide the most operationally robust platform for Reactive microservices in cloud, hybrid, and on-premises deployments.

  • Observing, managing, and troubleshooting distributed and streaming applications requires new techniques.

    Lightbend’s comprehensive suite of observability features include Lightbend Telemetry, which provides deep instrumentation for applications built with Play, Akka and Lagom. Telemetry integrates with open source solutions such as Prometheus and Elasticsearch, as well as with monitoring vendors such as New Relic and DataDog. Lightbend Console is a dashboard that works with Prometheus to provide monitoring and intelligence insights for Akka Platform applications.

    Lightbend Console

  • Kubernetes, the cloud native container-orchestration platform of choice for distributed applications, requires knowledgeable configuration.

    Cloudflow leverages Kubernetes for the reliable deployment of streaming applications. It helps you containerize, configure, test and deploy your applications with Kubernetes-based platforms. It simplifies the provisioning and operations of critical services including Apache Kafka, Spark, and Flink within your clusters.

  • In event-driven systems, the incoming volume of events can overwhelm other parts of the system, especially legacy components.

    The Reactive Streams protocol allows microservices to be constructed in such a way that the flow of events is safely managed between components with markedly different processing speeds. Using Kafka as a persistent message broker provides an even greater level of decoupling and resilience between microservices. Akka Streams provides an implementation of Reactive Streams.

  • In distributed systems failures will occur. It is difficult, if not impossible to build in recovery logic for every possible situation.

    Akka Platform gives you options for dealing with situations where part of the network becomes unreachable, splitting a cluster of stateful entities. These options are complemented by enhanced failure recovery with the Kubernetes Lease mechanism. While it is still important to choose the best way to provide persistence and to plan ahead for failures, with Lightbend technologies, you can focus on your business goals rather than on building the core infrastructure for distributed data management. See Akka Resilience for more information.

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Published: 2020-12-22