Leveraging the Power of Microservices
A discussion of the benefits of microservices architecture in the application development process and how microservices compare to traditional monoliths.
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In the past one to two years, microservices architecture, aka microservices, has gained tremendous popularity among mobile app developer, as well as business owners. According to a survey conducted by Red Hat, 69% of clients prefer microservices architecture for developing new applications and for re-architecting existing ones.
Also, several large-scale companies such as Netflix, Amazon, PayPal, eBay, Walmart, and Twitter have already migrated to microservices to scale up their business processes, improve their performance, better align to market requirements, and stay profitable in the long run.
Thanks to their scalability, agility, and flexibility, microservices have now become the developers' beloved approach for building large-scale, complex mobile applications!
What Are Microservices?
Ideally, there are three popular software development architectures used by developers:
Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA)
Where the monolithic architecture is the traditional, unified model for designing a software program, on the other hand, a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a distributed software development model where components of an application provide services to other components through a communication protocol over a network.
However, both these patterns present several challenges to developers, like:
Lack of flexibility
Lack of scalability
Disrupted or slow development
Complex service management
Increased machine overhead
High bandwidth consumption
Unsuitability for complex applications
High investment cost
These challenges were the key factors that led to the evolution of microservices!
Unlike monolithic or Service-Oriented Architecture, microservices architecture focuses on creating an application as a collection of several small, autonomous services that are:
highly maintainable and testable.
modeled around a business domain.
loosely coupled .
In microservices architectures, each service is self-contained, independent of each other, performs a specific functionality, and, ultimately, all services work together form a functioning system. The following diagram illustrates the main difference between the traditional monolith and modern microservices.
Key Characteristics of a Microservices Architecture
An application built with a microservices architecture will certainly have some, if not all, of these characteristics, which can be considered the standards of microservices architecture:
The app has multiple components.
Each component performs a single specific function.
Each service has a unique database.
Simple routing keeps the communication between the nodes as lightweight as possible.
A single service failure doesn’t harm the whole app.
This sort of architecture employs an evolutionary approach to meet unforeseen requirements.
Implementation details of one service don't matter to another.
Infrastructure automation is mandatory.
Each component is built, tested, deployed, modified, and scaled independently.
Instead of projects, microservices focus on building products for individual services.
Designed to align with a business's core objectives.
Key Components of a Microservices Architecture
Depending on the complexity and business requirements of an application, a microservices architecture may contain the following components:
API Gateway: It serves as an entry point for the clients.
Microservices: They are divided into multiple small services, each of which performs a specific business functionality like user registration, password reset, etc.
Database: A service can either share the same database or choose to have a completely independent and isolated database.
Inter-Microservices Communication: Services can use different protocols, like REST, or interact with each other via messaging.
Benefits of Microservices Architecture
According to Walmart, migrating to a microservices architecture brought several notable results to the company, like:
Conversions were up by 20%.
Mobile orders were up by 98%.
There was no downtime on special days, like Black Friday.
The computing power was cut by 40%.
The company saved 20-50% on overall product development costs.
Thus, owing to their flexibility and scalability, microservices offer a multitude of benefits to both developers and businesses. We'll dive into these below.
The adoption of microservices architecture makes continuous integration and deployment a breeze. Consequently, you’re able to add new features or services to your app without affecting any existing services or features.
Microservices architecture gives developers the freedom to scale through the application as per their requirements. Unlike in monolithic architectures, you can scale each component simultaneously and independently of other components, and this is the reason why microservices are best suited for complex applications.
As microservices emphasize the modular development around business objectives, they allow you to reuse code across a wide range of business processes. There is no need to develop the entire app from scratch. Instead, you can add custom features on-demand.
Microservices architecture offers the flexibility to write decoupled services in different programming languages and technologies and allows you to make them work together as a single application. Additionally, you have the flexibility to make necessary changes on the fly.
The implementation of a microservices architecture provides better support for agile development. You can quickly develop a new feature as well as discard it if required.
As microservices architecture allows you to develop each app component in parallel, you can release and deploy components independently. Assigning different components to different groups of developers, you can reduce the overall time to market of your application.
Better Fault Isolation
Since all services in a microservices architecture are independent of each other, the failure of one microservice does not affect the functioning of another microservice in the application. The system continues to work even if one service stops functioning.
Language and Platform Freedom
With a microservices architecture, you have the freedom to pick the best operating system, language(s), libraries, frameworks, and runtimes for a particular microservice. In other words, you can leverage different technologies for different services in a microservices architecture.
It is far faster and easier to make changes to one microservice rather than to recode a monolithic application from scratch and then completely reboot its infrastructure.
Higher Developer Productivity
Not only can microservices make developmetn faster, and easier for developers to write and reuse the code, but they can also make testing and debugging a less time-consuming process for testers.
The reusability of code and easy fault isolation makes maintaining the application much simpler for developers. As a result, the overall cost of development reduces drastically in the long run.
When Should You Go for Microservices?
When it comes to usingmicroservices, you can use them either for an existing or new application. However, there are circumstances when using a microservices architecture can prove to be a perfect option. Some real-world use cases of microservices are:
Financial and insurance services.
Video streaming services.
Social media solutions.
Ideally, you should go for microservices if:
Your app is large.
Reusability is important.
Horizontal scaling is needed.
Innovation and speed are vital.
The development of an application is required from scratch.
You want to rebuild (or refactor) a legacy application.
You want to add new functionality to an existing application.
However, you should not choose to use Microservices for:
Mainframe-based apps written in old programming languages.
Apps that are tightly coupled to their database.
Poorly designed apps .
Important Things to Consider Before You Go for Microservices
So if you’re planning to adopt a microservices approach for mobile app development, here are a few considerations to keep in mind:
Level of Independence: You have to decide how independent you want to keep your features and services. There are three levels of independence in microservices:
- Extreme: Each microservice has its own UI and database.
- Semi: Some components are shared between microservices.
- Normal: Microservices are decoupled from each other.
- Code Organization: You need to think about how you would keep your code organized and easily manageable. To keep things in order, you can create a separate folder for each microservice.
- Right Tech Stack for Each Microservice: You have to pick the right technology for the right microservice.
There are several other things you should consider, like
Creating the right strategy.
Before you implement microservices, you need to do a quick, practical analysis of your project. For instance:
Analyze the existing infrastructure.
Make sure that your development team is ready to embrace the technique.
Ask database admins if they are familiar with microservices.
Instead of shifting from monolithic to microservices, you should start with the platform itself. Here's how you can start with:
Create base architectures such as containers, services, and VM (Virtual Machine) templates.
Add API gateways.
As you develop your app, there are many things that you may encounter. Hence, make sure your development team is able to face all the challenges.
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