Microservices have become quite popular these days. It is a topic of interest for many businesses, offering faster and agile development of service-based applications.
Without any doubt, microservices offer significant benefits. But they also have their own set of complications and developers need to be aware of these while deploying microservices.
Traditionally developers built large enterprise applications and the size of each monolithic application grew with changing business needs and increasing functionality demands. However, over a longer time period it became difficult to keep a good modular structure causing conflicting changes resulting in problems and outages. Even a small change to the application required the monolithic application to be rebuilt and redeployed.
Scalability remains an issue with such large enterprise applications. This is where Microservices help.
Microservices is a software architecture which breaks down the monolithic application into smaller and simpler components each of which can be built and deployed independently managed by individual groups within the organization.
Microservices – Key Features & Benefits
- Singular Focus/Domain driven: Microservices are built targeting a specific problem domain, responsible for a single functionality and do it quite well.
- Scalability: Using microservices, scalability becomes easier and it can be driven at a granular level allowing efficient system optimization and organization. Resources are optimally used and deployed based on the needs of a smaller component.
- Loosely coupled: In microservices architecture, services are mostly self-sufficient with limited dependence or references to other services.
- Independent team assignment: Microservices are built and deployed by independent teams with specific capabilities. This model helps in scaling and fulfilling availability requirements of business critical services.
Microservices – Costs Involved
Microservices can result in higher costs and may not be the best fit for every application. While individual services may be easier to understand and manage, the application as a whole has significantly more moving parts.
For example, if not developed & deployed correctly, microservices may end up creating incompatible APIs rendering services less useful.
So while microservices-based architectures can do wonders to improve the availability of your application, done poorly they can reduce your overall application availability and quality.
Microservices Architecture used rightly
Microservices architecture is a good fit for large enterprise applications. Monolithic architectures work well for nimble lightweight applications but create problems when used for complex applications. The microservices architecture is well suited for evolving and complex applications allowing scaling the application easily without creating a complex system at a macroscopic level. Each time a new microservice is added, keep track of the complexity increase and ensure that it is warranted. It is important to examine the entire application system regularly to ensure that the interconnected set of microservices is working reliably.
Microservices are simpler, developers work on focused capabilities improving productivity and systems can be scaled quickly rather than in large monolithic blobs. These remain some of its biggest benefits.
As expected, there has been an increased adoption of microservices. Deployment by established businesses like Amazon, eBay and others has reposed enough confidence that the Microservices architecture is here to stay.
But as with any new strategy you are looking to implement, you need to take into consideration the potential return on investment (ROI) versus risks. The path to getting started with microservices is dependent on the specific application requirements and your organizational readiness.