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Open Access Publications from the University of California

[SoK] Identifying Mismatches Between Microservice Testbeds and Industrial Perceptions of Microservices


Industrial microservice architectures vary so wildly in their characteristics, such as size or communication method, that comparing systems is difficult and often leads to confusion and misinterpretation. In contrast, the academic testbeds used to conduct microservices research employ a very constrained set of design choices. This lack of systemization in these key design choices when developing microservice architectures has led to uncertainty over how to use experiments from testbeds to inform practical deployments and indeed whether this should be done at all. We conduct semi-structured interviews with industry participants to understand the representativeness of existing testbeds’ design choices. Surprising results included the presence of cycles in industry deployments, as well as a lack of clarity about the presence of hierarchies. We then systematize the possible design choices we learned about from the interviews, and identify important mismatches between our interview results and testbeds’ designs that will inform future, more representative testbeds.

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