Top organizations like Netflix, Amazon, Uber, Google, and even small organizations are usually at the forefront while adopting new technologies or, in some cases, create new technologies. Most of them find Microservices as an excellent solution for existing monolithic application problems like – not being able to keep up with the constant technical changes, application downtime, and more. Some of the benefits are improved scalability, better business agility, faster cycle time, and many more. leading to increased top-line and bottom-line.
This article discusses the importance, implementation, development, and deployment details of the Microservices.
Table of Contents:
What is Microservice?
Microservices/Microservice architecture is a unique way of building software and is an evolutionary variant of SOA. It emphasizes developing single modules with definitive interfaces and operations. It is loosely coupled which means a large application could be easily broken down into smaller services. Each of those services will have its responsibilities and can be easily integrated. These features have gained Microservices huge popularity across Agile and DevOps environments.
Why do You Need it?
For years organizations were following monolithic architecture for building their applications. A Monolithic architecture provides a single code base for all the software modules. Such architectures were initially useful in Software Development Lifecycle however things started to fall apart with the increase in the number of applications coupled with the rise in adoption of Agile / Continuous Delivery practices wherein Agility aka time to respond is the key. While monolithic applications are easy to develop, deploy and manage since it is a centralized process, they fail to cope up with increasing demands from the business to change, application resiliency issues leading to higher downtime.
Thus arose an urgent demand to reduce the complexities of monolithic architecture and led the way for Microservices to be adopted.
Microservices are proving to be a superb solution for solving monolithic architecture’s problems. Some of the ways it is solving those issues are:
- It focuses on a single service and works on specific issues with relevant dependencies.
- All the individual small modules are self-serviced. The functionalities of these small modules are independent of each other. However, they can be easily integrated whenever required.
- It is great for the teams who deal with frequent code changes and requires fast time to market.
- It makes code management a lot easier process.
- The small, divided services thus shorten deployment, testing, and updating time without impacting the entire application.
- It is easy to scale with less CPU memory and other computational resources.
Why Should You Look Out for it?
As discussed, Microservices are individual sets of fully functional processes. They are easy to maintain, test, and enhances code legibility these and even more suitable factors have made Microservices an attractive option for organizations looking to accelerate their value delivery. Some of the operational benefits that microservice architecture provides are:
- You can create many independent services even based on different technologies. That will give you the freedom to maintain those based on your preferences. The best part is working with different technologies does not create any integration problems.
- The Microservice architecture can be modified anytime as per the requirements.
- The risk of failure reduces by a large extent. As everything is decentralized and does not depend on a single central codebase.
- They are easy to extend, develop and deploy at their own pace without affecting the main system.
- The computational cost gets optimized.
- Continuous Delivery becomes more achievable due to strong collaboration techniques.
- You are free to choose data storage types as per your services.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Opting for it
It is important to note that - Just because microservice architecture is a great solution for monolithic architecture problems that does not mean it might be the right fit for everything. To decode the need for Microservice, your need to answer the following questions:
- Is your team ready to accept frequent changes?
- Are they ok with working on self-serviced software components?
- Are your developers finding it hard to manage a centralized code base?
- Is your team aware of how the dependencies are maintained between the Microservices?
- Is your team well equipped to keep threats and vulnerabilities in check?
Once you have answers to the above questions then you will have a good idea whether this is your cup of tea.
When Should You Use It?
If you notice your developers are putting a lot of effort into coding, that might be a sign to opt for Microservice architecture.
Few more signs are:
- You have software components whose development time is at a different pace.
- If the modules need to go into production with their repository.
- If the loads are different for most software components.
- If the software modules frequently interact with external dependencies.
- You are open to the latest technology stack.
Jumping from Monoliths to Microservices
Legacy IT infrastructure is one of the factors for slowing down your value generation engine. The following tips may help you with transitioning from monolithic to Microservice architecture:
- Training your developers with the basics of Microservices or opting for a solution architect – based on your budget.
- You need to understand the application’s boundaries, constraints, and dependencies.
- Focus on finding the error/bug sources then fix those and then fix the whole system.
The possible steps are:
- Have a thorough understanding of existing monolithic architecture, its function, and services.
- Divide the big application into small loosely coupled modules. Each small application should be able to operate within itself to complete a smaller goal. Also, the small applications must interact to form a functional single application.
- Then select relevant microservice architecture management and integration tools to manage multiple services.
Programming Languages for Building Microservices
Every organization has its preferred coding language probably because of the history, investments already made, and/or the availability of the skills to complete its business objectives. Jumping to another programming language for better implementation might be a challenging task and may not always yield the desired results. Hence one should first have a thorough understanding of the languages’ ROI. Transition to different programming languages should be a smooth and stepwise process to avoid any overwhelming situation.
This section covers some of the popular programming languages that are used to build Microservices. Some of them are:
It is still one of the most popular programming languages among the developer community. As Java has excellent programming reusability, libraries, and various frameworks for implementing Microservice architecture.
Some of the popular Java Frameworks are:
- Spring Boot: It is one of the most diverse frameworks that is known for Inversion of Control, Aspect-oriented programming, Dependency Injection, and more. They are well perceived for delivering excellent security and data analysis.
- Jersy: Jersy is an open-source Java framework that is known for supporting JAX-RS APIs, routing, and clear documentation.
- Swagger: It is used to document and test APIs with a well-defined development portal.
- DropWizard: This framework is used to implement RESTful web services. It has useful in-built Java libraries for task completion and helps with faster application development.
GoLang / Go is known for concurrency and faster productivity. Concurrency is one of the important Microservice requirements and Go does its job smoothly in that context. Some of its popular frameworks are:
- Go Micro: They are used to build Microservices and are an RPC framework that is useful for – message encoding, load balancing, PRC client.
- Go Kit: They are useful for programming dependencies, declarative composition, domain-driven design and are mostly imported as a binary package.
- Gizmo: They are mostly used for component configurations, and maybe server implementations.
Python is known for its large repository of in-built libraries. One needs to simply import those libraries to use them without any snag. It is well known for building APIs following RESTful protocols and is one of the best ways to implement microservice architecture.
- Django, a Python framework, is known for its fast, excellent prototyping and implementation features, and provides better compatibility with PHP.
There are a lot of programming language options out there. It is recommended to decide based on – project compatibility, training, and technical agility.
The suggested steps for deploying are:
- Select platforms to enable the microservice architecture. For example, connecting it with REST API to implement rules, commands, and routines.
- Create independent loosely coupled software components that can be integrated using communication protocols. That includes protocols like - HTTP, TCP, and so on.
- Try to opt for the decentralized data center to avoid full dependency on a single server/codebase. If possible, avoid routing all requests on a single database.
- Decide how codes will be monitored for optimal speed. For example, using SSL for security and REST API for communication.
- Continuously check to fix the bugs and opt for a CI / CD Pipeline to automate the deployment process.
Microservices Pros and Cons
Running through the Pros and Cons of Microservices architecture may help you decide if it is the right choice.
You can easily develop and deploy them independently.
It can become difficult to test.
It can be developed by any number of team members.
Multiple services can cause integration issues.
It is possible to build multiple services using different languages.
Developers may have to work more on network latency, fault tolerance due to the architecture complexity.
It is easy to integrate with tools like Jenkins, Hudson.
It can lead to effort duplication.
It is easy to pick up.
Integration and management of whole services can turn out to be complicated.
Open doors to use the latest technology.
It might take an extra effort from the developers to implement communication between the services.
Codes can be organized as per business requirements.
In case of any change in the services, only that service would require redeployment and modification.
Fault isolation is easier and does not affect the whole system at once.
Scaling and integration with third-party services are easier.
You can easily jump from one technology stack to another.
Microservices is one of the popular architectural patterns that help with the adoption of the DevOps mindset. However, as the landscape expands it becomes difficult for developers to manage. They might have to spend a lot of time in log handling, deployment, integration, testing, and other related activities. Maybe in the future, Microservice architecture can be divided into two parts:
- Serverless Architecture:
Serverless architecture is closely related to Microservices however they are different from each other. Serverless Architecture is meant for running an application whereas Microservices helps in designing an application. Microservices are mostly active even when they are not required and Serverless are event and request driven. This means Serverless architecture runs when an event triggers or a request to a particular application is made. We can run Microservices on Serverless architecture that would mean limiting them to run only when they are required. It might also help to deal with service latency time, versioning.
- Microservices as PaaS:
Microservices as PaaS might be possible due to technologies like Docker, or Containers. These tools can be integrated with frameworks for logging, monitoring, load balancing, versioning, and so on.
It can be noted that since containers are evolving, and cloud technology is ramping up these two combinations might bring wonders in the future.
The suitability of Microservices depends on the project scale. Usually, they are preferable for scaling large projects but then again it depends on the project requirements. It is a nice way to modernize legacy systems. It helps with – cost reductions, enhances collaboration, integrations, data consistencies.
Maintaining and developing microservices might be easier to a few but further complexities arise due to unmanageable modules- because of difficulties in managing networks. These can be solved by selecting a relevant container, docker, DevOps practices, and so on.
The crux of deriving amazing benefits from Microservices is to properly manage and maintain them on time. Our team does the same and they are happy to help you with the nuts and bolts of Microservices.