What is Conductor?

Conductor is an open-source, Apache 2.0 licensed workflow orchestration framework. You can use Conductor to easily build highly reliable distributed applications using the language of your choice.

Conductor removes the complexities of maintaining and propagating the state of the execution while increasing the robustness of the application by natively supporting retries and error handling scenarios. That way you can focus on coding the business logic of your application instead of the complexities of building the distributed ecosystem.

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Overview

Conductor was built at Netflix to power its legendary growth and was open sourced in 2016. Since then it has seen massive adoption in the industry with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s using it for mission-critical workflows. Its usage spans a wide gamut of use cases such as media encoding, e-commerce order management, CI/CD pipelines, fintech and more.

The founding team of Orkes are the same developers that created Conductor. We are committed to working closely with the active open source community around Conductor and contributing back. We offer an enterprise grade cloud service that abstracts out the operational aspects of Conductor so that developers can focus on leveraging Conductor to make their applications reliable and easily scale to their needs.

Approach

When you use Conductor, you can cleanly decouple the process flows of your application from its implementation. This is done by orchestrating your process flows using configurations separate from its implementation. You can assemble various flows using the same implementation and change it dynamically when required.

Configuring such workflows is easy with Conductor. You can use our SDK configuration builders using languages such as Java or use our UI based editor and it results in a visual graph of your application’s execution paths.

And to make things even easier, Conductor executes common application building components such as HTTP calls, Lambda function invocations and database operations using built in system tasks, minimizing the need for you to write microservices.

Runtime

A workflow can be invoked using REST and gRPC APIs or by publishing an event to a queue that Conductor is listening to. Once invoked, Conductor will drive the execution as defined by scheduling tasks which are allocated to your micro services that are listening to Conductor for performing work. Using the API interfaces or through the Conductor UI, you can check the status of running workflows and quickly zoom in on their status and errors. This cuts down debugging of distributed applications from hours to minutes, especially when there are millions of workflows running every day.

Another key aspect of Conductor is the durability of workflows it executes. You can have workflows that are in a running state for months or even years that need to only occasionally execute tasks (e.g. billing a subscriber at the beginning of each month). Conductor will keep the workflow state exactly where it is waiting even in the event of workers for the tasks going down or are upgraded. This allows developers to upgrade microservices while having workflows in-flight!

Furthermore, with Conductor you can innovate fast without having to manage complex rollouts. If your business logic changes, you can update the workflow definition to a new version and gradually phase that in by having a subset of invocations to use the new version. Conductor will concurrently execute both versions, thereby removing the risk of a large blast radius if anything were to go wrong in the new version.

Use Cases

Thousands of companies rely on Conductor to build and deploy mission-critical applications and execute numerous other use cases, such as:

Order management and fulfillment
Large volume food delivery workflows
CI/CD pipeline orchestration
Data protection workflows
Patient medical records management
Telecom subscriber and billing management
Mobile retail intelligence gathering and analysis
Cloud application ecosystem security scanning
Cloud infrastructure resource provisioning
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