Lifting the veil on Meta’s microservice architecture: Analyses of topology and request workflows


Darby Huye, Tufts University, Meta; Yuri Shkuro, Meta; Raja R. Sambasivan, Tufts University


The microservice architecture is a novel paradigm for building and operating distributed applications in many organizations. This paradigm changes many aspects of how distributed applications are built, managed, and operated in contrast to monolithic applications. It introduces new challenges to solve and requires changing assumptions about previously well-known ones. But, today, the characteristics of large-scale microservice architectures are invisible outside their organizations, depressing opportunities for research. Recent studies provide only partial glimpses and represent only single design points. This paper enriches our understanding of large-scale microservices by characterizing Meta’s microservice architecture. It focuses on previously unreported (or underreported) aspects important to developing and researching tools that use the microservice topology or traces of request workflows. We find that the topology is extremely heterogeneous, is in constant flux, and includes software entities that do not cleanly fit in the microservice architecture. Request workflows are highly dynamic, but local properties can be predicted using service and endpoint names. We quantify the impact of obfuscating factors in microservice measurement and conclude with implications for tools and future-work opportunities.

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This content is available to:

@inproceedings {288809,
author = {Darby Huye and Yuri Shkuro and Raja R. Sambasivan},
title = {Lifting the veil on {Meta{\textquoteright}s} microservice architecture: Analyses of topology and request workflows},
booktitle = {2023 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX ATC 23)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-35-9},
address = {Boston, MA},
pages = {419--432},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jul

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