How Can Microservices Benefit Your Business?
And When They're an Absolute Must for You.
And When They're an Absolute Must for You.
13 min read
Are you puzzled by choosing an architecture for your future software? Or does your existing system fall behind the competition, making you ponder how to improve productivity?
In either case, you're in the right place. Today we'll tell you about microservices. You'll learn the architecture's benefits, challenges of implementation as well as when to choose it to maximize the outcomes. Interested? Read on.
Microservices architecture is a method of developing software using single-function modules that fit together for a final project output or product.
The point is to be as modular as possible, allowing every application to be composed of different microservices. Each one performs a single function and can be independently developed and deployed. This cuts down on time to market because teams can update, change, or add different functionalities without needing to modify the entire project.
For years, traditional software development used a monolithic architecture. This is an application or project built as a single and indivisible unit, usually from the ground up. It is simple in construction with a client, server, and database that are all unified into a single structure.
The downside of a monolith is that whenever a change needs to be made, it requires disrupting or shutting down the application so the entire codebase can be modified. Everything is integrated into a single piece, so if one section has a flaw, the whole project needs to be addressed. For large systems this may be the issue, because taking the application down, making adjustments and then relaunching it demands time. Even if you update a monolith on the go, you will still have to transfer operations to a backup one, which will demand more resources from you. Whereas with a microservices system you can just work on a target piece without affecting the rest of the app.
Another big concern of a monolith is the application support. With time, the amount of code in a system grows, and the logic becomes much more complicated. This drastically slows down further development as it is quite hard to work with the so-called “spaghetti code”.
The main benefit of a monolithic architecture is that it allows for a much simpler method to develop and deploy. There is no need for multiple team management or cross-cutting concerns because the entire project is encapsulated in a single structure.
The primary difference between a service-oriented architecture, or SOA, and microservices is that the former is more focused on distributed and separately maintained resources, whereas the latter are more about the modularization of an application.
SOA is also different from microservices in that its components provide services to other components via a unified communication protocol usually over a network. This helps software, located across this network, to operate smoother by distributing resources. It can be moving data from one component to another or to coordination services like payment validation, user creation, or log-in credentials.
At the same time, this communication method creates a single point of failure for the entire application, unlike with microservices, where communication is mainly carried out via lightweight, language-agnostic APIs.
There are many reasons to use a microservice architecture in your next project or software application development. These include:
By segmenting all the granular parts of an application into separate modules, you isolate processes and sections so they can be rebuilt, distributed, and managed without touching the rest of the application. It is a huge benefit for large systems, monolithic updating of which can be a nightmare. This is why microservices find their prime usage in enterprise systems. Among them is such an entertainment giant as Netflix, that has integrated a microservice architecture to be easily scalable whenever there is a spike or slowdown in customer subscriptions. This provided them with exceptional freedom, where if there is an issue with one movie, a team can fix it without stopping the entire service.
The smaller the individual pieces of the project are, the easier it is to understand their specific roles and attributes. This leads to quicker developers onboarding and product market readiness during the development phase. Besides, the programmers don’t have to learn the entire app’s business logic, just the part that their microservices carry out. Such an approach significantly boosts up onboarding which saves you money.
Building microservices allows you to divide the work among independent teams, so each one of them can develop at its comfortable pace. This removes a significant bottleneck of developing monolithic systems when ready to deploy teams have to wait for laggards to update the whole system. Optimized time usage contributes to reduced development time.
Since each module in microservices is independent, there is no limitation to a certain predefined stack. Thus, the teams are not obliged to use the technologies that may somehow limit their modules’ functionality. Instead, for each module they can choose the respective technology that will perform the required functions in the best way.
Microservices’ design is perfect for unfolding CI/CD processes that greatly simplify testing new ideas. Independency allows to easily deploy, assess or forgo these ideas if they prove worthless. Such fertile soil nudges experimentation, streamlines code update and helps to faster introduce new features.
This is one of the premier advantages of microservice architecture. It allows independent scaling of each module to correspond to the altering load. As a result, developers are able to more precisely determine infrastructure needs, calculate the cost of a feature and keep the app live during sudden increases in demand. It also adds to a quick response time to the market and increases an application's competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace.
Dividing software into small, well-defined microservices enables teams to reuse the same code for multiple purposes. A service written for a specific function can then be recycled as the building block for another module or application feature. This way, developers are able to create an added value for the application by simply reusing what is already present instead of starting from scratch.
Microservice architecture has an inherent durability because it doesn’t have a single point of failure. In a monolith, all the infrastructure resources are allocated for the entire system. Thus, if some part of it starts consuming more resources than usual, it may eventually shut down the entire application.
Whereas in microservices, you set a different amount of resources for each service. This way, you can balance your infrastructure’s capabilities towards more demanding services and give the remaining ones the least necessary amount to run. This will not only help the system better handle the load but also optimize resource usage, reducing costs.
However, even if a service exceeds allocated limits, it will only shut down without affecting any other ones. For a customer it means that only a part of the functionality (respective to the microservice) will be down, the rest of the software will continue to operate.
Like all architectures, microservices have their share of issues to overcome in order to make the most out of the system. These include:
Increased System Development Difficulty
A large number of different modules along with approaches to and patterns of their development increase the infrastructure’s complexity. Running it does take a decent amount of bureaucracy and management. You need to have a strong communication between the teams to ensure everyone is moving in the common direction.
Preserving Data Integrity
Microservice architecture calls out additional requirements to working with a database. To improve consistency, one should minimize the number of services working with a single DB, best creating a pattern of “one service - one database”. This increases both the complexity of building the infrastructure and skill requirements for the team.
Teams or Leadership Special Competencies
Microservices use specific patterns and testing approaches and emphasize DevOps. At least specialists in higher positions need to have a command of them to properly guide teams. Otherwise, you run the risk of a breakdown in the integration of separate modules.
These include a command of special microservices-only patterns, testing approaches, orchestrators, CI/CD and basics of DevOps (at least on paper). There are also additional tech stack elements, like SpringCloud for Java. At least specialists in higher positions need to know them to design a proper microservices application.
Hampered Monitoring & Testing
The monitoring of a microservices system requires additional resources to correctly oversee a multitude of services and log their interactions. Besides, the QA of such systems requires testing not only services themselves but their interactions as well. It makes end-to-end testing of microservices comparatively more complex than that of a monolith.
Abiding Contracts Between Microservices
Different modules interact via certain contracts that describe the ways and protocols of data transfer. These contracts are subject to change during development so the teams should ensure all of them change synchronously to avoid a breakdown.
Increased Difficulty of Operations
The query’s route in a microservices system is more complex since it moves through a chain of services. This provokes the need to use special tools like Zipkin Sleuth for query tracking and Circuit Breaker for increasing fault tolerance. It also makes it more difficult to work out the system's availability.
More Complex Security Establishment
Security functions in a monolith are typically embedded inside of it or into a separate authentication service. With microservices, this functionality is implemented on the infrastructure level to create a single point of authentication for each service. This makes a security system more flexible as well as a whole application more resistant to DDoS attacks. But, it requires more effort to implement such a solution.
Hampered Application Maintenance
Since a microservices application is much more complex by structure than a monolithic one, its maintenance demands more resources on the infrastructural and DevOps sides.
Leveraging microservice architecture is more than just combining a series of modular sections into a core application. It is also about cultivating the appropriate workflow with strong and transparent communication. The one that prepares for inevitable failures, future scalability and the integration of innovative features. Here are the two areas to pay attention to:
Conway's law states that firms tend to develop the systems that mirror their organizational style. This is why if you want to make a technically independent system with microservices, you should give your teams more independence as well. This implies eliminating the centerpiece of organizational management, if there is one, and empowering teams with fuller responsibility for their respective modules and outcomes.
CI/CD & DevOps
As mentioned before — microservices architecture is an ideal ground for unfolding these practices. And they are not (so much more than) just nice to have features. Since the best use cases for microservices are large enterprise systems, establishing solid CI/CD and DevOps practices for them is the only way to ensure comfortable development. Otherwise, you risk facing a chaotic submittance of dozens of pieces that can turn microservices adoption into a nightmare.
In general, a monolithic architecture is better for smaller and simpler projects, while larger, more complex enterprise-scale projects are where microservices flourish. When making a choice for the architecture, consider the following aspects:
Getting a firm grasp of microservices is easier when you work with an experienced team that has completed numerous software and digital projects using this architecture. That is precisely what our experts at SENLA offer to each client. We can leverage the power of microservices for everything from web development to embedded systems in your enterprise application.
We are a full-stack web development company that works with organizations of all sizes, from startups and SMEs to large-scale enterprises. Our development teams will walk you through the development process with continuous project support and transparency that does not sacrifice the speed to market. Reach out to us today, and let’s build something new together!
We've accomplished 300+ projects, most of which included microservices development.
A plethora of completed projects allowed us to accumulate insider knowledge of microservices development in many domains.
Our developers are seasoned by the tasks of any complexity and are hardly matched in the market. Learn more about who is a senior developer at SENLA.
Can I implement microservices with my existing tech stack?
Absolutely! Microservices are extremely flexible in regards to technologies. You can create them solely with what you have at stake, without the need to hire additional resources.
Do I need to shut down my system while transfering in to microservices?
No way! Your application remains operating while we simultaneously create a new system on microservices and then smoothly shift functionality there. Don't lose a second of your priceless operation time!
What if I face problems after the system is launched?
We provide a lifetime warranty to all our products. You can be sure, of anythings suddenly goes wrong - we've got your back!
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