Major benefits of microservices
Microservices are an architectural approach to building applications.
As an architectural framework, microservices are distributed and loosely coupled so that when one team introduces some changes the entire application won’t be affected. The advantage of using microservices is that development teams can quickly create new application components to meet changing business needs.
The growing adoption of microservices can be explained by the fact that in certain situations, this approach allows the development of multiple services at the same time, which increases the productivity of the team. In addition, each service can be tested separately. Apps powered by microservices run faster and more efficiently than applications of other types.
Thus, with the use of independent services and with little or no coupling, the possibility of adapting languages, tools, and frameworks increases. And the risk of failure decreases because if there is a problem in one part of the system, the other parts continue working.
What are microservices?
As we’ve already noted microservices, also known as the microservice architecture, is an architectural style that structures a solution as a collection of loosely coupled services.
The microservice architecture enables continuous delivery and deployment of large and complex applications. It also allows an organization to evolve its technology stack.
Essentially, this set of services is deployed as a complete application in its own way, and all these services work together to make up the entire application. All microservices follow these patterns: they are organized around business features, they are loosely coupled, they are independently deployable, and they are testable. Namely, thanks to being loosely coupled, microservices can be independently built, deployed, and scaled.
When should you use microservices?
It is important to understand how and when to use the microservice architecture. Factors such as business complexity, team structure, and task distribution are relevant points that must be considered. Otherwise, the chance of using the microservice architecture and failing grows considerably.
Here are some cases when you should use the microservice architecture:
- When there is a need to scale an individual component or implement it quickly.
- When you need to rewrite legacy systems in other languages.
- When the monolith performance at the system and business levels went bad.
- When the application is big enough to be broken into microservices.
When not to use microservices?
Please, have a look at the following cases when it is better not to use the microservice architecture:
- When the system is not very complex
It is crucial to make sure that it will be really feasible to create microservices for each part of the system.
- When the team is small and doesn’t have enough experience
Building a microservice structure requires a large team that is prepared to perform this task with the necessary level of quality. To maintain and develop this model, it is required to have enough time and skills.
- When you’re not sure whether you need to implement the microservice architecture.
The reason for using the microservice architecture should be very clear. Before starting, it is necessary to be aware of the difficulties that will be encountered during the implementation. You should have a well-prepared environment.
Major advantages of using microservices
Agility: More agile development and deployment processes thanks to the possibility to work on each service separately.
Loose coupling: As the services are unique, there is little coupling. This facilitates the entire process of maintenance, monitoring, and implementation.
Flexible scalability: Every part of the system can be scaled independently. Thanks to this characteristic, you can also benefit from saving your expenditure on infrastructure maintenance.
Flexibility for deploying heterogeneous technologies: Thanks to the fact that coupling is loose and services are independent, we can have multiple technologies communicating with each other. This gives you the freedom to use different languages for each situation.
Challenges for using microservices
If your organization intends to move to the microservice architecture, please, keep in mind that you will need to change not only applications but also the way people work.
The organizational and cultural changes can be, in part, considered as challenges, because each team will have its own pace of change implementation and will be responsible for a unique service, with its own set of customers. These may not be typical concerns for developers, but they will be critical to the success of the microservice architecture.
Compilation: It is necessary to spend some time identifying the dependencies between the services. You need to be aware that completing the development of one service may lead to the necessity to build others because of these dependencies. You also need to consider how microservices affect data.
Testing: Integration testing, like end-to-end testing, can be more difficult and important than ever before. A failure in one part of the architecture can cause another one later, depending on how the services are designed to support each other.
Version Control: When upgrading to newer versions, keep in mind that backward compatibility may be broken. It is possible to solve this problem using conditional logic, but this can quickly become another challenge. Alternatively, you can go live with several versions active for different customers, but this solution is more complex in terms of maintenance and management.
Deployment: To make deployment easier, first of all, you need to invest heavily in automation as microservices are rather difficult for manual deployment. Think about the way and order in which the services will be implemented.
Logging: With distributed systems, you need to have centralized logs to unify everything. Otherwise, it is impossible to fully manage them.
Monitoring: It is critical to have a centralized overview of the system to identify sources of problems.
Debugging: Remote debugging via your local integrated development environment (IDE) is not an option and does not work with dozens or hundreds of services. Unfortunately, at the moment there is no single solution that will provide you with a convenient way to debug your apps.
Connectivity: Think about service discovery, either centralized or integrated.
In general, when adopting the concept of microservices within the development team of a startup or company, it is good to remember that the team will gain agility. But it is necessary to ensure such conditions when the organizational culture will be able to adapt to the novelty.
After all, the described method had a specific pace of development and implementation. So, the adoption of microservices can bring some initial difficulties, but with the right approach, you will be able to overcome them.