Resilience can be enhanced by using a microservices approach to application creation and speed your time to market, but breaking applications down into specific services offers complications.
What are Microservices?
The microservices architecture (Microservices Architecture) is a software development method that consists of building an application as a set of small services with well-defined and independent operations.
Each microservice runs its own process and is responsible for implementing full business functionality. It can be programmed in different languages and use different data storage technologies. When making a deployment, each service is done independently.
Why do they make your business more efficient?
Microservices were designed to solve the inherent problem of the monolithic design. Simply put, “microservices” describes a process by which applications are segmented into a series of smaller, loosely coupled parts or services.
The key benefits include:
- The complexity is reduced as each microservice becomes a mini-application that is much simpler and easier to understand.
- Development cycles are sped up as the development team focuses solely on services, and services can be written once and used by many applications.
- Upgrade cycles are sped up, and risk is reduced, as individual services can be upgraded independent of other services.
- Microservices can run in the cloud in a virtual machine, in a Docker container, or on serverless instances, making it well suited for modern cloud services.
- Microservices are more comfortable to scale, and bottlenecks are faster to identify and resolve.
An excellent example of how microservices have been used successfully can be found on Netflix, a streaming giant. Netflix ran on a monolithic model until 2008 when it suffered an IT outage due to major database corruption. After this, the decision was made to separate the application, moving from monolithic services to multiple independent services to increase scalability, reliability, and availability.
Microservices Architecture and Monolithic Architectures
Traditionally, software design has been carried out with monolithic architecture. The software is structured so that all the functional aspects are coupled and subject to the same program. In this type of system, all the information is hosted on a server, so there is no separation between modules, and the different parts of a program are closely coupled.
This creates a long-term problem since it is a system that is not easily scalable. That is why the microservices architecture appears.
Once the need for companies to make changes to the software and implement them easily and quickly has been detected, microservices are born. The idea was to divide the systems into individual parts, allowing problems to be dealt with and addressed independently without affecting the rest.
Thus, while in a monolithic architecture, the software is developed as a single unit, a microservices architecture works with a set of small services that run autonomously and independently.
Modularity: Being autonomous services, they can be developed and deployed independently. Also, a failure in one service should not affect other services’ ability to continue working as expected.
Scalability: As it is a modular application, each part can be horizontally scaled as needed, increasing the scaling of modules that are more processor intensive.
Versatility: Different technologies and programming languages can be used. This allows each function to be adapted to the most appropriate and profitable technology.
Speed of action: The small size of the microservices allows less expensive development, and the use of “software containers” allows the deployment of the application to be carried out quickly.
Simple and cheap maintenance: By being able to make improvements to a single module and not having to intervene in the entire structure, maintenance is simpler and cheaper than in other architectures.
Agility: You can use typical functionalities (authentication, traceability, etc.) that have already been developed by third parties; the developer does not need to create them again.
High memory consumption: As each microservice has its own resources and databases, they consume more memory and CPU.
Initial time investment: When creating the architecture, it takes more time to fragment the different microservices and implement communication between them.
Management complexity: If there are many microservices, it will be more challenging to control their management and integration. It is necessary to centralize traces and advanced information processing tools that allow an overview of all microservices and orchestrate the system.
Developer Profile: Microservices require experienced developers with a very high level of experience and complete version control, in addition to knowledge on troubleshooting such as network latency or load balancing.
Non-uniformity: Although having a different technological team for each of the services has its advantages, if it is not managed correctly, it will lead to a non-uniform design and application architecture.
Difficulty in performing tests: Because the application components are distributed, global tests are more complicated to achieve.
High implementation cost: A microservices architecture can be costly to implement due to infrastructure costs and distributed testing.
Benefits of MicroServices
Greater resilience: The whole application is modular with microservices and decoupled into services that act as independent organizations. Unlike monolithic architecture in which a code flaw affects more than one service or function, there is only a minimal impact of a flaw using microservices. Even when multiple systems are shut down for maintenance, your users will not notice.
Improved scalability: The main feature of microservices is scalability. Because each service is a different item, you can scale up a single feature or service without scaling the whole program. Business-critical services can be deployed across multiple servers to increase availability and performance without affecting other services’ performance.
The ability to use the correct tool for the correct task: You do not have to tie into a single vendor for microservices. Instead, with the correct mission, you have the versatility of using the correct instrument. You can use your own language, system, or ancillary resources for each program, while still connecting efficiently with the other resources in your application.
Go to production in the shortest time: Because microservices work with loosely coupled services, you do not have to rewrite all of the codebases to add or modify a function. You can make modifications to a single service. You can bring the software and services to market quicker by designing applications in smaller increments that can be reviewed and implemented separately.
Easier debugging and maintenance: Microservices also allow simpler program debugging and testing. Their ability to produce software without errors has been significantly increased, with smaller modules passing through a continuous delivery and testing process.
Improved return on investment ROI with reduced total cost of ownership TCO: Microservices also allow you to optimize resources. With microservices, multiple teams work on separate services, allowing you to deploy more quickly and rotate more easily when you need to. Development time is reduced, and the code on your teams will be more reusable. You will not have to work on costly devices by decoupling services. The increased efficiency of microservices not only reduces infrastructure costs but also minimizes downtime.
Continuous delivery: In contrast to monolithic applications, where specialized departments operate on specific tasks such as UI, database, server-side logic, and infrastructure layers, microservices use cross-functional teams to manage a continuous delivery model for the entire lifecycle of an application. When developers, operations, and test teams work simultaneously on a single service, testing and debugging become easy and instant. Your technology is continuously developed, reviewed, and implemented with this gradual creation approach, and you can use technology from existing libraries instead of reinventing the wheel.
Embracing microservices has helped large companies to be as agile and innovative as start-ups. Some of the most important cases are:
- Netflix: transforming from a monolithic DVD rental application to a microservices architecture that allows you to offer digital streaming services on multiple devices.
- Amazon embraced microservices as part of its transition from an online bookstore to a cloud service provider.
- Twitter is a tool to support the amount of traffic it receives.
The microservices architecture is a very promising way to design and build highly scalable applications in an agile way.
Currently, it is a relatively new architecture, but it is expected that in the future, there will be more tools and frameworks that can support it and take full advantage of its characteristics.
Why choose TechSur to start using microservices?
TechSur brings experience and capabilities in:
- Technological consulting in microservices: From strategy advice to projects, technical assistance, and outsourcing.
- Methodology, processes, and organization consulting, focused on the needs of each client and their implementation context.