The faster the idea is embodied in a new project, the more likely it is to occupy a niche, gain user loyalty and, as a result, become more successful than competitors. Microservice-based architecture helps to speed up development and make it more flexible and manageable.
Together with NEKLO web application development experts, we analyze microservices platforms, the pros and cons of this type of architecture, and also consider scenarios for the companies to implement them.
What Are Microservices?
Microservices-based architecture is a way of web app development that involves building modules that are independent of each other. Each part of the application is responsible for a specific task and can be changed or extended without additions to others. At the same time, services interact with each other using messaging.
Simply put, microservice architecture is a division into modules following business requests. The set of technologies is individual, and most often includes storage, user interface, and external links. Each of the services can be developed in different languages using different libraries.
The opposite of a microservice platform is the monolithic architecture that integrates various system components on a single platform. All parts of the application in this case are unified, the functions are managed in one place.
For the first time the term “microservices” appeared in the mid-2000s, but the concept itself was developed in 2011, at a seminar for software architects in Venice. After that, various publications on developing microservices began to appear, and in their reports on the implementation of microservices, experts from Amazon, Twitter, and Netflix spoke about it. Thus, the Netflix company uses over 700 microservices for each specific task – the entire service consists of them. For example, one element stores information about the series that a particular user has watched. The other is responsible for the monthly payment for using the service. The third – studies preferences and viewing history to offer a series relevant to a particular user’s tastes.
Related: Complete Guide to the Best Software Development Methodologies
Benefits of Microservice Architecture
The standard development project model used by most companies implies that after creation and implementation, the product is transferred to support specialists, and the development team is disbanded.
In the case of building microservices, the scheme of work changes: the same development team that created the system is engaged in the support and development of the product. The advantage for business is that the specialists responsible for using the application communicate with users more often which means they will be able to fine-tune the functionality and make changes if necessary.
Among the many microservice architecture benefits, the following stand out:
- High fault tolerance. If any part of the monolith system breaks, the whole application will break. It’s different with microservices: not all services (not critical, like authorization) can work, but the application will remain available to the users;
- Flexibility. When developing each service, you are free to choose the tools that best suit the specific business logic in that service. For example, choose the optimal database and convenient tools for working with it. Microservice architecture also allows you to try some new technology on a separate service without rewriting the entire application;
- Simplicity. Development and further support of small software products are easier and faster than in the case of large projects. Since each service is responsible for one function, it is not necessary to redesign the entire algorithm to make some kind of change. Also, it is possible to quickly and easily carry out updates with a microservice architecture – this will not affect the overall operation of the system;
- Scalability. The development and implementation of services occur gradually, and their order depends on the current business requirements.
Related: Why Are More Businesses Outsourcing Software Developers?
Why Microservices Become a Challenge?
Despite such a large number of important microservices advantages, this development method has some possible difficulties that should be considered.
- If the interaction in services that perform several tasks is local, then it becomes necessary to automate modules and interact over the network;
- The lack of standardization of service interaction, which can occur with a microservice approach, can lead to errors or debugging difficulties when negotiating exchange formats between modules;
- Difficulties in maintaining a balance between fault tolerance and load may also occur;
- Different views within the team of microservice DevOps experts can cause debates and loss of performance during these periods.
Monolithic vs Microservices: How To Switch With No Risks?
The process of dividing an entire application into separate components is quite complex. No one will give you time to break down the monolith and then design microservices – this is against the normal business requirements. The separation should be invisible to users and take place in several stages when the monolith works, and the data gradually migrates to microservices.
There are no academic approaches to “destroy a monolith”. It all depends on the features of the system and the task at hand. However, if you want to develop microservices for at least a part of your app, here is the scenario you can follow:
Step 1. Formulate tasks
Each microservice is responsible for a narrow function that covers a specific user need. Formulate these business objectives: analyze the current ones and develop new ones based on the process problems. Next, determine by what means it is best to solve each problem and choose the tools for it.
Step 2. Assemble a development team
The areas of responsibility of the teams must be delimited, that is, each of them has its development environment. Thanks to this, each group of IT specialists concentrates on the operation of their application. Access to data should be distributed. Since each team is responsible for the entire life cycle of its product only, it is they who choose the programming language and implementation methodology.
Step 3. Create tools for the interaction of microservices
The project needs an environment for communication, so it is necessary to organize a client optimized for REST calls, with the ability to use all programming languages. Additionally, a regularly updated configuration will be required, which is localized for each application – with its help, microservices will “understand” how to transfer data to each other.
Application development (including testing time) takes 2-3 weeks, so it is better to give preference to the Agile model rather than Waterfall.
Related: App Development Cost Breakdown: How Much Does It Cost to Design an App
Step 4. Quickly release with DevOps
The microservice approach fits perfectly into the DevOps paradigm. Their general principles are well-established communication between adjacent teams and fast release.
A microservice should be thought of as a mini-product that “fits” into a container. It undergoes automated and load testing, and if the quality criteria are met, application integration begins. At the same time, containers are managed using the orchestration system.
When splitting an application into microservices, developers often make the same mistakes. For example, they forget about the transition period, and sometimes the microservices are not yet ready, and the monolith has already become problematic to use. Or they don’t care about maintenance services. Let’s say, without metrics, it will be very difficult to figure out what exactly is broken. And you will have to spend time to find the problem since requests will be sent to different nodes.
Many people rush headlong into implementing a microservice approach, ignoring such things, which causes serious problems later. Separating is more difficult than combining, and only well-written and designed modules are subject to such architectural refactoring.
Despite all the advantages of microservice architecture, the choice of development model depends on the organizational structure of your company. For example, if you have only one team with five developers, then a monolithic model can become a relevant solution. And if you have six teams that work on the same platform, then microservice architecture will be the perfect choice.
Need expert or technology assistance in developing a solution on microservices or transforming the current technology stack? NEKLO experts are ready to help! Just fill in the form on our website – and we will either build a web app from scratch for you or help to enrich the existing solution with microservices.