Azure Ambassador Design Pattern

Azure Ambassador Design Pattern

It creates helper services that send network requests on behalf of a consumer service or application. An ambassador service can be thought of as an out-of-process proxy that is co-located with the client.

This pattern can be useful for offloading common client connectivity tasks such as monitoring, logging, routing, security (such as TLS), and resiliency patterns in a language agnostic way. It is often used with legacy applications, or other applications that are difficult to modify, in order to extend their networking capabilities. It can also enable a specialized team to implement those features.

Challenge

Resilient cloud-based applications require features such as circuit breaking, routing, metering and monitoring, and the ability to make network-related configuration updates. It may be difficult or impossible to update legacy applications or existing code libraries to add these features, because the code is no longer maintained or can’t be easily modified by the development team. Network calls may also require substantial configuration for connection, authentication, and authorization. If these calls are used across multiple applications, built using multiple languages and frameworks, the calls must be configured for each of these instances. In addition, network and security functionality may need to be managed by a central team within your organization. With a large code base, it can be risky for that team to update application code they aren’t familiar with.

Solution

Put client frameworks and libraries into an external process that acts as a proxy between your application and external services. Deploy the proxy on the same host environment as your application to allow control over routing, resiliency, security features, and to avoid any host-related access restrictions. You can also use the ambassador pattern to standardize and extend instrumentation. The proxy can monitor performance metrics such as latency or resource usage, and this monitoring happens in the same host environment as the application.

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