What are Microservices?
In the last few years, the concept of Microservices, or Microservices Architecture (MSA), has materialized as a term to encompass an IT architecture service of developing a single software application in small, autonomous clusters of comprehensive services. But specifically, what are microservices? They are micro application services that run on their own and communicate via lightweight channels making it easier for developers to build, test, scale, and strengthen the software.
To a certain extent, Microservices Architecture is the organic evolution of Service Oriented Architectures (SOA). Both software architecture principles offer pros and cons, but nowadays, the balance is tilting towards Microservices as the preferred paradigm for architects and developers.
With the bold growth of the Agile methodology and idiosyncrasy in recent years, businesses are moving towards dynamic, highly-functional, and effective methods to design software architecture principles that tailor to their industry’s fast-paced needs.
The Microservices Architecture helps businesses gain momentum because it is suited for modern cloud environments, which oftentimes require a short development and delivery lifecycle. The current market demands quickly accessible, cloud-based solutions that are scalable, adaptable, and modular.
The microservices framework structure enables the constant delivery of multifaceted applications while growing its technology stack.
While there’s no definitive structure to the Microservices Architecture, there are a number of key characteristics that are the foundation for the system and build Microservices patterns.
These characteristics include:
Multiple components. As defined, a microservice is comprised of several elements that when combined, form a complex and large application. In essence, it’s a service component architecture. By leveraging services as components instead of libraries, it makes it easier to deploy, change, re-configure, and re-deploy services without having to jeopardize the performance of the entire application. Multiple components are the essence of a successful Microservices Architecture because it ties the knot around the idea of creating compact services simultaneously, that are independent of each other, which is significant cost and time effective.
Capability-oriented. Microservices are designed with business capabilities and competencies in mind. Thus, the teams involved in the software application are cross-functional working towards a common goal. These cross-functional teams are accountable for results based on individual development skills such as user experience, databases, project management, and more. Ultimately, cross-functional teams are capable of delivering code faster because of the inherent authority for decision-making purposes. In essence, cross-functional teams work in a highly collaborative environment that operates independently.
Smart endpoints and dumb pipes. For communication purposes, the Microservices Architecture relies on smart endpoints and dumb pipes. Applications have a stark contrast between trying to be as disengaged as possible while, at the same time being fully interconnected. Effective communication is vital when trying to achieve this balanced combination of qualities. First, smart endpoints process information and apply logic to generate an appropriate response. These activities are orchestrated via simple protocols such as HTTPS or REST microservices. Second, dumb pipes are the channels that transmit information via a lightweight message bus that acts solely as a message router.
Decentralized. Microservice Architecture favors well-distributed governance and data management due to its volume of modules and technologies. This partitioning approach encourages developers to build tools that can easily be used by other team members or future users to solve problems. Microservices enable each service component to handle its unique database.
Fail Tolerant. As hard as we try, failures can’t be completely avoided. Taking this irrevocable truth into account, Microservices Architecture and the applications that consume them are designed under the assumption that services are bound to fail at some point. The Microservices Architecture allows services to function properly even though one or several nearby services fail. Internally, services should be designed to expect failures from elements they depend on.
Evolutionary. Like all evolutionary systems, Microservices Architecture is flexible and adaptable enough to accept changes, new modules, additional services, and updates without hiccups. As unpredictable requirements arise, the system is pliable to revamp its web service architecture with ease.
To prove our point, there are multiple prominent Microservices examples from several industry titans who have shifted their technology towards the Microservices Architecture. Some of these microservices examples include the likes of Netflix, Amazon, eBay, and more. This transition tags along with each company’s strategy of handling a large volume of complex requests while providing swift service via a web service architecture.
As mentioned, there is no definitive structure for Microservices Architecture but the key characteristics bind the entire framework together to provide a powerful solution.
In addition to this, there is no conclusive or ideal language for Microservices. While some developers claim Java is the best language for Microservices, the greatest emphasis should be placed on using the right tool for the right task.
There are multiple languages, along with Java microservices examples, that emphasize how important it is to tailor an individual microservices’ implementation to its job, which is another benefit of the IT architecture service.
Microservices vs APIs
In the debate of Microservices vs APIs, Microservices is the architecture while Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are focused on exposing Microservices to the outside world.
In detail, microservices are an IT architecture service in which you break down an application in small, independent components. APIs cover the protocols and tools to interact with the software.
Why is the Microservices Architecture valuable?
The Microservices Architecture framework offers a comprehensive set of advantages of microservices that help developers be more productive and speed up the deployment process of bespoke software applications.
Since the components in the application are not dependent on each other or on the same coding language, developers have free range to work with the technology stack of their choice and in the desired timeframe. This results in lower costs and less flaws during development.
The advantages of microservices are:
Simplicity. The nature of the Microservices Architecture framework makes it easy to build a software application as a suite of small services which are independently deployable. This independence enables developers to deploy services without affecting the entire system. Decoupled services make it easier to deploy new versions of services as necessary and with speed. The straightforwardness of Microservices also makes it easier to scale development and eliminate any long-term commitment to a technology stack since developers can easily select new technology stacks without compromising stability.
Modularity. While all the benefits of microservices pose a significant gain in software development, this benefit, in particular, shines brightly. Modularity helps deconstruct and re-configure each service of the software application, which makes it easier to understand, easier to isolate defects as necessary without affecting other services, and easier to test.
Compatibility. As a result of modularity, Microservices can be built to be compatible with multiple applications. The reusability of Microservices makes them more effective and reduces costs significantly, which has become a key characteristic that developers look for when using the Microservices Architecture framework.
Flexibility. This benefit of microservices describes how easy it is to change on the fly and minimize the threat of risk. In a traditional framework, each change to the software application can compromise the results of the entire system. With the Microservices Architecture, these changes can be made separately, which only affects the desired service instead of the entire software application.
Drawbacks of Microservices Architecture
The Microservices Architecture doesn’t come without its drawbacks, which is why developers must identify their needs and style of work before selecting a software architecture framework.
When it comes to Microservices, it is a common misconception that complexity ceases to exist, when in reality, it only shifts.
These are some of the most common drawbacks in a Microservices Architecture system:
- Because it’s a distributed system, there are a lot of interactive players that developers must deal with, which only adds more layers of complexity.
- In production, there’s a higher operational complexity due to the volume of services involved.
- Given its nature, there is an expected strain on resources due to the many micro applications and highly-detailed services.
- Continuous updates to services can be challenging to handle given the volume of Microservices involved. This microservices versioning poses a risk to design as it can be difficult to handle compatibility.
- If there’s a high volume of technologies, languages, and frameworks used, it can be confusing to maintain services, while keeping a level of standardized consistency.
How can Svitla help with your Microservices Architecture needs?
At Svitla, we pride ourselves in offering quality solutions for our customers.
To better illustrate how we can help your business with consulting and a Microservice solution, take a look at our recent case study for Hospitality solutions project, which serves as a fantastic microservices example of how the end customer obtained a more effective architecture that suited their needs.
Our team of experts evaluated the company’s business needs thoroughly and delivered valuable solutions to the customer, including creating a Microservices Architecture, building an integrated and easy-to-maintain app with a robust and powerful interface, migrating and optimizing current databases to the new architecture, and more.
We deliver exceptional value to all our clients by offering a talented pool of resources that can help you improve your business.
Want to know more about how Svitla Systems can help you implement a Microservices Architecture framework into your line of work and take your business to the next level? Contact the Svitla team of experts – we’re here for you!
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