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Microservices: A Mere Hype or the Future of Software Development?

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Microservices: A Mere Hype or the Future of Software Development?

Say hello to microservices. If you haven’t heard about microservices yet, then take this as a wakeup call.

· Microservices Zone ·
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Name any hyper-successful, innovative brand, be it Amazon, Uber, Netflix or Airbnb, and you’ll notice one thing in common — each of them broke free from the shackles of the monolithic architectural style. None of their business models could have scaled or succeeded at speed with monolith’s complex deployment and management. So, what did these brands do differently? 

Say hello to microservices. If you haven’t heard about microservices yet, then take this as a wakeup call.

Many believe microservices to be a big hype, the popularity of which will fade away in due course. But the experiences of numerous teams who have tried and tested microservices say otherwise. 

While it is another one of those buzzwords doing the rounds in the software development circles, all that buzz isn’t without reason. 

Microservices delivers real value in the development and management of large and complex enterprise software. In a world that demands a faster go-to-market and continuous delivery, this architectural style has lots to offer.

That said, a word of caution here. Not every new technology needs to be deployed at every organization. The first and foremost step for assessing your technology needs remain: Does this have something to offer my business? If yes, go ahead, and if not, that is fine too. This blog could help you assess your need for microservices, and if you feel like it will add value to your operations, the blog also outlines best practices in deploying it.

What Is Microservices?

If you try reading about microservices online, you’ll see most bloggers and tech experts suggest that this architectural style has no one definition. But we also know that it is definitions that drive our shared understanding of any subject, which is why I’m putting together what I believe is the simplest way to explain microservices:

Microservices simply breaks down a monolithic application into several modules. Each of these autonomous modules can then be independently managed, scaled or improved without affecting the entire application.

Microservices isn’t a quick-fix or even easy to deploy. Yet, it has gained fast popularity, given its capability to help organizations adapt to the fast-evolving market and growing customer needs. 

Unlike the monolithic architectural style, microservices makes it possible to make changes to one part of the application without having to upgrade or redeploy the entire suite. Each module has firm boundaries, can be written using a different programming language and can independently be managed by different teams.

The benefits of the microservices approach ranks over the monolithic style. Microservices delivers:

  • Faster response time
  • Enhanced scalability
  • Ease of identifying and resolving problems
  • A language-agnostic environment
  • Improved security and compliance
  • And, ultimately, greater business agility

Everything said, the decision to start building software through microservices or shift from a monolithic to a microservices approach is a strategic business decision. It is not a plug-and-play model of development and will require extensive planning, implementation and monitoring. 

I’m listing below some crucial best practices you must consider in going the microservices way.

1. Align Modules to Business Capabilities

Let your business capabilities form the basis for your microservices architecture. Start by identifying your business capabilities and dividing your services based on the same. These services, while independent, should also be loosely connected. Then move on to developing a software component for each of these services. A systemized approach of this nature will give a well-charted direction for your microservices architecture.

2. Make the Best of REST

Having APIs that honor the flexibility of microservices architecture is important. REST APIs are an ideal choice while considering this. It simplifies the link between modules and eliminates the dependency on more tedious SK frameworks as HTTP calls suffice.

3. Embrace Automation

Automation is synonymous with simplification. Marrying your microservices style with automation is necessary to simplify the complexities of development and operations. Explore the tools that are available to automate various parts of your microservices orchestration and make conscious choices to streamline processes further.

4. Maintain Separate Data Management Systems

The data management system is a much-debated aspect of microservice architecture. While many believe it is better to continue with a unified data management system, a lot of others disagree. Of course, both have their pros and cons, but to maximize the benefits of going the microservice architecture way in the first place, separate data management systems are ideal. This simply ensures that any modification to one does not impact the others.

5. Don’t Forget to Monitor and Trace

When continuous delivery is the focus, keeping out even a minor glitch or fallout that can stall or delay processes is critical. Investing in tools that enable monitoring and tracing from end-to-end is, therefore, key. Use these applications to keep an eye on matrices like API calls, traffic, end-user triggers etc. 

You must have 360-degree visibility and control over the development. For instance, different teams must know how to trace the behavior of microservices and take necessary action when they don’t behave as expected. Or, to be in the know of how end-user triggers are collected and aggregated. 

6. Categorize Module Owners

Create teams that own a service end-to-end. This approach will ensure that the team isn’t just focused on completing a project but on how the service can be improved to meet the shifting needs of the customers. This would also mean that this team would be cross-functional, bringing together skill sets that can together take ownership of a service.

Conclusion

Will microservices dominate the future?

According to a study by IDC, it is estimated that “90% of all new apps will feature a microservices architecture to improve the ability to design, debug, update, and leverage third-party code.”

For the majority of firms, microservices will open up an exciting future of possibilities in application development and maintenance. However, microservices may not necessarily replace monolithic architecture.

For small and less complex applications, monolithic will continue to be a better choice. For the larger and more complex software applications or ones that may scale to be more complex, the microservices architecture will become the more preferred choice.

Topics:
application architecture, it architecture, microservice architecture, microservice best practices, microservice design, microservices, software

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