Engineering the Future of Software
18-19 October 2016: Training
19-21 October 2016: Tutorials & Conference
London, UK

Designing infrastructure like microservices

Kief Morris (ThoughtWorks)
14:15–15:05 Thursday, 20/10/2016
Location: Windsor Suite Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.50, 2 ratings)

Prerequisite knowledge

  • A conceptual understanding of IT infrastructure and automation
  • A general understanding of Puppet, Chef, Terraform, AWS, and Docker and where they fit into a system architecture

What you'll learn

  • Learn how to design infrastructure capabilities so they can be evolved and managed effectively


Modern IT infrastructure is a complex software system comprised of virtualized resources managed through automation software. The field is still maturing, and new tools (container orchestration, unikernels, etc.), practices, and approaches (e.g., immutable infrastructure) continue to emerge. At the same time, many of the issues and forces affecting software design are being seen in the infrastructure world, which means many of the architectural principles and patterns are relevant as well.

Too many organizations approach infrastructure as a monolithic concern, seeking to build a single, comprehensive platform, which typically results in huge, costly projects that fail to address the needs of the users or the organization. Organizations that succeed do so by applying many of the same principles behind microservices architecture: small, focused capabilities that can be delivered independently.

Kief Morris explores some examples of implementing infrastructure capabilities using a microservice philosophy. Kief covers structuring infrastructure and environments using automated platforms and tooling such as cloud and infrastructure as code; organizational aspects, such as the DevOps team question; and aligning ownership of platforms and applications between different teams.

Photo of Kief Morris

Kief Morris


Kief Morris is cloud practice lead at ThoughtWorks and the author of the upcoming O’Reilly book Infrastructure as Code. Kief works with organizations to understand how to take advantage of the cloud, infrastructure automation, DevOps, and continuous delivery to become more effective at delivering IT services. Originally from Tennessee, Kief has been based in London since the dot-com days.