Cloud communications with a publish/subscribe (pub/sub) architecture

September 23 2019

One of the key features of an enterprise system architecture is the ability to utilize message queues to communicate between disparate systems. In the cloud we should be able to accomplish the same thing. There are a number of services available to accomplish this objective in each of the four major clouds.

Many developers referto the publish/subscriber pattern, or "pub/sub" to describe message queues. I often refer to this as a bus or bus pattern. The model that I use is sometimes called Lightweight Messaging Architecture, or LMA.

A message queue allows a publisher to publish a message and one or more subscribers. It generally bridges the gap between programs that run on different operating systems or data structures.  When used properly it can help to scale out a system and prevent message loss. Unfortunately, it also tends to add latency to the system.

Using an LMA has a lot of advantages over traditional direct-to-service architectures, as follows:

  • The bus can be placed in the internet (dmz) zone with a public IP to eliminate all open inbound ports. Let's face it, hacking becomes much more difficult when all inbound ports are closed or blocked.
  • The security footprint exposes only one public IP address for the entire system, which simplifies monitoring or intrusion detection
  • The bus will generally persist its data in a manner that allows another bus to act as a backup or redundant system. This simplifies backup and disaster recovery.
  • A bus helps create a hybrid network without direct connections
  • All of the major clouds have a message queue service available, or you can create your own if you wish

Single message formats simplify your architecture

About Tracy Rooks

Tracy Rooks was born in Florida and is a graduate of the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He was passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountants examination and worked for such prestigious firms as Price Waterhouse in Jacksonville, Florida and Coopers and Lybrand in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Tracy has owned several successful IT solutions startups including T Squared Software which he merged into 11Binary in 2014. Tracy currently holds the position of Chief Cloud Architect with this organization.

Tracy has built software for some of the largest and smallest companies in the world including Northrup Grumman, Winter Haven Hospital, Home Shopping Network, Jabil Circuit, Petco, Promis Solutions, TKE and MGM Resorts. In the past several years Tracy has championed and programmed a Microservices Lightweight Messaging Architecture including a Universal Data Storage component capable of handling Petabytes of data, a Universal Logic Layer capable of designing  business rules and algorithms for big data situations and finally a Universal Analytics and AI platform for predictive analytics. These tools do not require software engineers and may be used my trained business analysts.

Tracy likes to fish in the St. Johns River near his home in the historic district of Sanford, Florida near Orlando. He often travels to visit his son and grandchildren in Las Vegas and Nashville.

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