A complete guide to understanding microservices architecture

guide to microservices architecture

Most of us have played with Lego bricks. The building block toys have signature bricks with interlocking studs on the top and tubes on the bottom. From simple build to complex structures, Lego offers the ease of multiple iterations to design what you want. 

Much like Lego blocks, in microservices, the architectural application framework comprising many loosely coupled and independently deployable small services, functions. Microservices architecture frees you from traditional monolithic application structures. By splitting your application into several micro components with different logical functions, you can focus on the granular details of each. Many enterprises today use a combination of applications like REST and DevOps to run their processes. Microservices help to tie them together for a loosely built yet whole application. They typically have:

  • a separate codebase that supports Polyglot programming – different technologies, frameworks, and libraries
  • have own data management model
  • can be deployed and managed independently by the developer team 
  • can be updated without affecting the entire application architecture
  • can communicate with each other using APIs 

What is the driving force behind microservices?

In recent years, the use of microservices or microservices architecture has grown manifold. In a survey by trade publication Tech Republic, 73% of the respondents said they have already integrated their processes with microservices.  And the majority of those who have not integrated are considering the architecture. The microservices approach lets you control the pace and scale of change in application. 

Organizations have already started migrating to the framework. Almost a third of the respondents in a survey by learning platform O’Reilly said that their organizations are migrating a majority (50%) of the systems using microservices.

How microservices benefit the organization

Often, you’ll find the software developers and business heads in disagreement with the framework of the application. While developers focus on architectural elegance and framework, business unit heads see them as fancy without real implications. 

Microservices, on the other hand, is one of the architectures viewed by both sides favorably. Adding or replacing features in applications often takes place too often in the changing business environment. This approach allows you to create applications from hundreds of independent services which can be updated on their own. 

As microservice applications are on the cloud, they can be built, run, and managed in a similar way as public, private, hybrid, and even multi-cloud environments. 

  • Multiple technology stacks

The relational databases seen often in the conventional architecture support the complete application. The codebase requires a common technology stack and data model. Developers find this approach restraining as they are bound by the architecture. Even if there is a better application for some components they are unable to use them.   

A microservice architecture overcomes these problems. The communication through APIs streamlines the calls. Client calls are routed through the API gateway, which then calls on the distinct services.  

  • Independent deployment

Smaller components of the application make deployment faster and easier. You no longer need to change the whole codebase to add a feature in the application. It provides flexibility to the organizations implementing microservice as they can realize different teams to work on the same application. Each small team can handle a single or more components based on their specialized knowledge. 

The multiple teams and independent work structure reduces time to deploy as well as ensures the best technology stack is deployed for the job. 

  • Cost-effective

As the services are independent of each other with their own data model and database, any upgrades or tweaks over time can be done without disturbing the other components. This makes microservices cost-effective for organizations operating in today’s changing business environment. 

  • Scalability 

The flexible model of the microservice architecture allows scalability without complications of changing the technology stack or database. Considering the need, changes can be made at the precise junction to incorporate the requirements.  

  • Implementation

The critical success factors for any organization adopting new technologies are its implementation, and impact and management in real-time. According to a survey by O’Reilly, a majority of organizations (54%) migrating or implementing microservice described their experience as most successful. The majority of the successful adopters, the survey found, own the complete software lifecycle—build, test, deploy, and maintain. 

As with any other technology, there are both good and not-so-good aspects to consider. To get a complete picture, let’s take a look at them. 

Main challenges of the microservices architecture

  • Management

This is both the good and the bad part of the architecture. Since the services are created by multiple teams at multiple places using multiple frameworks, it may make the management and deployment of the architecture complex. 

  • Network latency

The multiple service model approach is dependent on good interservice communication. If the chain is too long then it can cause latency or congestion in the network sometimes.  

  • Development 

There are twin challenges here. First is coding an appropriate program that can work with other services, a totally different approach than writing for monolithic applications. The second begins once the writing part of the application is over.  Testing each service and factoring in distinct pros and cons of each of the applications and their boundaries and database can be tricky. 

  • Issue resolution

The monitoring and resolution of issues can be tedious with vast logging data spread across services.  Sometimes the data is also inconsistent. 

  • Updates 

The update of each service is easy but when you require to make more than one change at the same time it will require more resources and careful consideration of compatibility. 

Despite the challenges the benefits of microservice outweigh. Most organizations, as stated above, experience success with the modular approach. If you are considering migration or implementation to a microservice system then you can learn from your predecessors. 

Tips to get started with Microservices 

  • Align services with your business capabilities

Make the best use of the already existing and functional system of your organization. As a starting point, identify the service that goes along with your business capabilities. For instance, a logistics organization may require transportation management, shipment tracking, and delivery management, among others.  

  • Adopt a decentralized approach

Since your whole system is based on a decentralized model, it’s best to adopt a decentralized building approach for the application. Each team can build their respective services, without sharing codes and data structure. 

  • Model API with domain

Try not to mix the implementation with API communication. Your APIs should model the domain of the application. You should take careful steps to evade implementation details of services from the client.  A misstep can cause you to share details more than needed for API communication, which can reduce the flexibility of the microservice approach of deploying independent service. 

  • Avoid shared data storage

Data should be stored distinctly for each service to avoid any control issues that can crop up at a later stage. When another service uses the same data, it is called directly from the database in the traditional model. But in a microservice framework, this can lead to several issues. While making any alteration later, you may find it difficult to make the change and the flexibility will be lost. 

  • Stick to loose coupling of services

Always follow the main principle of microservices. The moment you couple the services tight, a change in one will mandate fixing the others too. Services that belong to similar business functions may change together. It is best to package them loosely.

Final Thoughts

Bringing in any change or migrating to a new system has many considerations. Before you move ahead, be mindful of your team’s strengths and weaknesses in adopting new technology. You may need to evaluate the skill-set of the current team or a vendor who provides such services. It is always advised to go with experienced vendors, who have hands-on experience with the specific technology and deployment using many enabling technologies. 

Many users today report success with microservices implementation using Containers than others. Microservices architecture is not just for large enterprises. Medium and small organizations too can adopt the technology for greater agility. Operating in the cloud environment that offers the benefits of cloud to the full. The real impact from microservice is the package of small, independent, and scalable services with cost efficiency from on-demand, pay-per-use infrastructure. 

Take the first step, call on +91-7778842856 (INDIA) / +1-303-997-3139 (USA) or write to sales@ecosmob.com for a one-on-one consultation on the microservice architecture with our expert software developers.

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