A Go framework for distributed systems development

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Go Micro License Docs

Go Micro is a framework for distributed systems development.


Go Micro provides the core requirements for distributed systems development including RPC and Event driven communication. The Go Micro philosophy is sane defaults with a pluggable architecture. We provide defaults to get you started quickly but everything can be easily swapped out.


Go Micro abstracts away the details of distributed systems. Here are the main features.

  • Authentication - Auth is built in as a first class citizen. Authentication and authorization enable secure zero trust networking by providing every service an identity and certificates. This additionally includes rule based access control.

  • Dynamic Config - Load and hot reload dynamic config from anywhere. The config interface provides a way to load application level config from any source such as env vars, file, etcd. You can merge the sources and even define fallbacks.

  • Data Storage - A simple data store interface to read, write and delete records. It includes support for memory, file and CockroachDB by default. State and persistence becomes a core requirement beyond prototyping and Micro looks to build that into the framework.

  • Service Discovery - Automatic service registration and name resolution. Service discovery is at the core of micro service development. When service A needs to speak to service B it needs the location of that service. The default discovery mechanism is multicast DNS (mdns), a zeroconf system.

  • Load Balancing - Client side load balancing built on service discovery. Once we have the addresses of any number of instances of a service we now need a way to decide which node to route to. We use random hashed load balancing to provide even distribution across the services and retry a different node if there’s a problem.

  • Message Encoding - Dynamic message encoding based on content-type. The client and server will use codecs along with content-type to seamlessly encode and decode Go types for you. Any variety of messages could be encoded and sent from different clients. The client and server handle this by default. This includes protobuf and json by default.

  • RPC Communication - Synchronous request/response with support for bidirectional streaming. We provide an abstraction for synchronous communication. A request made to a service will be automatically resolved, load balanced, dialled and streamed.

  • Async Messaging - PubSub is built in as a first class citizen for asynchronous communication and event driven architectures. Event notifications are a core pattern in micro service development. The default messaging system is a HTTP event message broker.

  • Synchronization - Distributed systems are often built in an eventually consistent manner. Support for distributed locking and leadership are built in as a Sync interface. When using an eventually consistent database or scheduling use the Sync interface.

  • Pluggable Interfaces - Go Micro makes use of Go interfaces for each distributed system abstraction. Because of this these interfaces are pluggable and allows Go Micro to be runtime agnostic. You can plugin any underlying technology. Find external third party (non stdlib) plugins in github.com/asim/go-plugins.


Polyform Noncommercial.

For a commercial license see github.com/sponsors/asim or file an issue.


See go-micro.dev/docs/v3


Why has the license changed from Apache 2.0 to Polyform Noncommercial

Go Micro has largely been a solo maintained effort for the entirety of its lifetime. It has enabled the creation of a company called Micro Services, Inc. which now focuses on Micro as a Service and has consolidated any interfaces here into a service library in that project. For the most part, Go Micro was unfunded and in some ways under appreciated. In version 3.0, going back to something of a personal project of more than 6 years I have made the hard decision to relicense as a noncommercial project. For any commercial applications I am looking for github sponsorship so that I can then use those funds for maintenance and support efforts.

Where are all the plugins?

The plugins now live in github.com/asim/go-plugins. This was to reduce the overall size and scope of Go Micro to purely a set of interfaces and standard library implementations. Go Plugins is Apache 2.0 licensed but relies on Go Micro interfaces and so again can only be used in noncommercial setting without a commercial license.

What’s the new direction of Go Micro?

Go Micro will now purely focus on being interfaces and standard library implementations. It will continue to define abstractions for distributed systems but will only do so without external dependencies. All those external dependencies will live in Go Plugins. In this manner the hope is Go Micro can be picked up with minimal overhead for all sorts of new applications that have a low memory or low resource footprint. The assumption is there are places which would like to use distributed systems just as embedded systems or web assembly, unikernels, and related targets that would benefit from a framework that defined these as primitives for such use.

Where is the top level Service definition?

The top level service definition has been moved to the service package. Go Micro exploded in terms of the interfaces it offered. While originally it was a small library, this increase in packages has meant the top level can’t really provide full scope for everything. It’s unclear at this time whether the top level definition should return.

Where are the default initialised interfaces?

The defaults are gone. This proved to be a bad design pattern which meant one definition of an interface needed to live along side it. Over time it became quite complex and switching out meant you had a pre-initialised implementation there with a lot of cleanup that wasn’t possible. So removing it feels as though a cleaner approach to interface design and modularisation of packages.

Where is the cmd package, flag parsing etc?

These are also gone. The complexity of this code was quite honestly horrible. The command package had to make assumptions about how to load plugins because every package depends on other package. As a whole system this became impossible to maintain and even in Micro we’ll be looking to scrap it for simpler initialisation. The flag parsing, plugin loading, etc is all gone in favour of users self defining it. What we find is most plugins require more initialisiation than what we can provide as hard coded values. For this reason we may look into github.com/google/wire as a better alternative.

How do Go Micro and Micro now differ?

Micro is a platform for cloud native development. A complete experience that includes a server, framework and multi-language clients. Beyond that it also include environments, multi-tenancy and many more features which push it towards being a hosted Micro as a Service offering. It is a complete platform.

Go Micro is more of a pluggable standard library for distributed systems development and now once again a purely personal project maintained by me and perhaps others who still find use for it commercially or noncommercially. It’s of sentimental value and something I’d like to carry on for personal projects such as things related to IoT, embedded systems, web assembly, etc.

I used Go Micro to build microservices. What should I do now?

You should quite honestly go look at Micro and then consider the hosted offering at m3o.com which starts as a purely free Dev environment in the cloud. Micro continues to address many of the concerns and requirements you had if not more. It is likely you managed metrics, tracing, logging and much other boilerplate that needed to be plugged in. Micro will now take this complete platform story approach and help you in that journey e.g you’re probably running managed kubernetes on a major cloud provider with many other things. We’re doing that for you instead as a company and platform team.

I want to use Go Micro version 2.0 for my company. Can I still do that?

Yes. Go Micro 2.0 is still Apache 2.0 licensed which means you can still freely use it for everything you were using before. If you’re a new user you can do the same. These things are using go modules so you’re import path is simply github.com/micro/go-micro/v2 as it was before. Because GitHub handles redirects this should not break. Please continue to use it if you like, but my own support for 2.0 is now end of life. I will be focusing on some side hacking on 3.0 as I find time.