Microservice Networks


Visualizing Microservice Architectures with Buoyant

Buoyant’s microservice routing and monitoring software product makes architectures more reliable, performant and flexible. Their team has scaled systems at Twitter, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, and numerous other companies. Buoyant worked with the Bocoup Data Visualization team to design and prototype visualizations for their new software networking dashboard tool for their clients to understand and monitor the underlying networks and routing patterns behind service-based architectures.


Today’s web applications are no longer single monolithic applications. Instead, we rely on distributed microservices that communicate with each other constantly. Buoyant’s product enables engineering teams and system administrators to focus on their application, not the infrastructure that supports it.

The Buoyant team approached the Bocoup Data Visualization team to design and prototype visualizations for a new interactive dashboard tool. Buoyant’s existing software collects data about communication between services. With the new dashboard tool, Buoyant wanted to be able to represent the topology of the service network visually to help its customers understand and inspect their network meaningfully, and evaluate the overall health of their networked services.


Buoyant and Bocoup joined forces to explore the best visual metaphors to use with their data. Together we:

  • Explored and analyzed network traffic data to identify and extract potential patterns of interest
  • Conducted user-research with internal stakeholders at Buoyant to better understand Buoyant’s client needs and expectations of the Buoyant product
  • Prototyped several different interactive approaches to find the best way to visualize and interact with microservice networks to understand and evaluate their health


Through our collaboration, we delivered a working production-grade prototype for several different portions of Buoyant’s dashboard, incorporating smart data filtering and cross-linking as a core principal of our design and implementation. Our approach will enable Buoyant’s clients to explore their microservice network at a high level and through intentional drill-downs while providing a solid foundation for the Buoyant team to further explore and build on top of.

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