What Are Microservices and Why Use Them?

Microservices Architecture — What Are Microservices?

Microservices are the future of software development. This approach serves as a server-side solution to development where services remain connected but work independently from each other. More developers are using microservices to improve performance, precision, and productivity, and analytical tools provide them with valuable insights about performance and service levels. 

The argument for microservices is getting louder: Different teams can work on services without affecting overall workflows, something that’s not possible with other architectural styles. In this guide, take a deep dive into microservices by learning what they are, what they do, and how they benefit your team. 

Contents

What Are Microservices?

In software development, microservices are an architectural style that structure applications as a collection of loosely connected services, making it easier for developers to build and scale apps. The microservices architectural approach differs from the conventional monolithic style, which treats software development as a single unit

The microservices method breaks down software development into smaller, independent “chunks,” where each chunk executes a particular service or function. Microservices utilize integration, API management, and cloud deployment technologies. 

The need for microservices has come out of necessity. As apps become larger and more complicated, developers need a novel approach to development — one that lets them quickly expand apps as user needs and requirements grow. 

Did you know 63 percent of enterprises are adopting microservices?

Why Use Microservices?

Microservices bring multiple benefits to teams like yours:

  • Scalability
  • Faster development
  • Improved data security
  • Better data governance
  • The opportunity to become “language and technology agnostic”

Scalability

Microservices are much easier to scale than the monolithic method. Developers can scale specific services rather than an app as a whole and execute bespoke tasks and requests together with greater efficiency. There’s less work involved because developers concentrate on individual services rather than the whole app.

Faster Development 

Microservices lead to faster development cycles because developers concentrate on specific services that require deployment or debugging. Speedier development cycles positively impact projects, and developers can get products to market quicker. 

Improved Data Security

Microservices communicate with one another through secure APIs, which might provide development teams with better data security than the monolithic method. Because teams work somewhat in silos (though microservices always remain connected), there’s more accountability for data security because developers handle specific services. As data safety becomes a greater concern in software development, microservices could provide developers with a reliable security solution.  

Better Data Governance

Just like with data security, where teams handle specific services rather than the entire app, microservices allow for greater accountability when complying with data governance frameworks like GDPR and HIPAA. The monolithic method takes more of a holistic approach to data governance, which can cause problems for some teams. With microservices, there’s a more specific approach that benefits compliance workflows. 

Multiple Languages and Technologies 

Because teams work somewhat independently of each other, microservices allow different developers to use different programming languages and technologies without affecting the overall architectural structure of software development. One developer might use Java to code specific app features, for example. Another developer might use Python. This flexibility results in teams that are programming and technology “agnostic.”

Did you know 76 percent of organizations believe microservices fulfill a crucial business agenda?

Microservices in the Cloud (AWS and Azure)

Perhaps the cloud is the most critical component of the microservices architecture. Developers use Docker containers for packaging and deploying microservices in private and hybrid cloud environments (more on this later.) Microservices and cloud environments are a match made in technological heaven, facilitating quick scalability and speed-to-market. Here are some benefits:

  • Microservices run on different servers, but developers can access them from one cloud location.
  • Developers make back-end changes to microservices via the cloud without affecting other microservices. If one microservice fails, the entire app remains unaffected. 
  • Developers create and scale microservices from any location in the world. 

Various platforms automate many of the processes associated with microservices in the cloud. However, there are two developers should consider:  

Once up and running, these systems require little human intervention from developers unless debugging problems occur. 

AWS

Amazon pioneered microservices with service-based architecture many years ago. Now its AWS platform, available to developers worldwide, takes cloud microservices to the next level. Using this system, developers can break down monolithic architecture into individual microservices via three patterns: API-driven, event-driven, and data streaming. The process is much quicker than doing it manually, and development teams can create highly scalable applications for clients.

Azure

Azure is another cloud-based system that makes microservices easier. Developers use patterns like circuit breaking to improve reliability and security for individual services rather than tinkering with the whole app.

Azure lets you create APIs for microservices for both internal and external consumption. Other benefits include authentication, throttling, monitoring, and caching management. Like AWS, Azure is an essential tool for teams that want to improve agile software development. 

Did you know the global cloud microservices market could grow at a rate of 22.5 percent?

Microservices in e-Commerce

Retailers used to rely on the monolithic method when maintaining apps, but this technique presented various problems:

  • Developers had to change the underlying code of databases and front-end platforms for customizations and other tweaks, which took a long time and made some systems unstable. 
  • Monolithic architecture requires services that remain dependent on one another, making it difficult to separate them. This high dependency meant that some developers couldn’t change services because doing so would affect the entire system and lead to downtime and other problems that affected sales and the customer experience.
  • Retailers found it expensive to change applications because of the number of developers these changes required. The monolithic model doesn’t allow teams to work in silos and all changes need to be tested several times before going ‘live.’

Microservices revolutionized e-commerce. Retailers can now use separate services for tasks such as billing, accounts, merchandising, marketing, and campaign management. This approach allows for more integrations and fewer problems. If there’s an issue with the retailer’s payment provider, for example, developers can debug without affecting services like marketing and merchandising. API-based services let microservices communicate with one another but act independently. It’s a much simpler approach that benefits retailers in various niches. 

Microservices Architecture

Microservice architecture sounds a lot more complicated than it is. In simple terms, the architecture comprises small independent services that work closely together but ultimately fulfill a specific purpose. These services solve various software development problems through unique processes.

A good comparison is a football team, where all players share the same objective: To beat the other team. However, each player has an individual role to play, and they fulfill it without impacting any of the other players. Take a quarterback, for example, who calls the play in the huddle. If the quarterback performs poorly during a game, this performance shouldn’t affect the other team members. The quarterback is independent of the rest of the players but remains part of the team. 

Did you know the cloud microservices market was worth $831.45 million in 2020? 

How Are Microservices Built?

Developers used to package microservices in VM images but now typically use Docker containers for deployment on Linux systems or operating systems that support these containers. 

Here are some benefits of Docker containers for microservices:

  • Easy to deploy
  • Quick to scale
  • Launched in seconds
  • Can deploy containers after migration or failure

How Do You Monitor Microservices?

Various platforms automate the processes associated with microservices, but you will still need to monitor your architecture regularly. As you do, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of software development and how each microservice works with the latest application metrics. Use them to monitor key performance indicators like network and service performance and improve debugging. 

Here’s why you should monitor microservices:

  • Identify problems quickly and ensure microservices are functioning correctly.
  • Share reports and metrics with other team members and measure success over time. 
  • Change your architecture to improve application performance. 

The best monitoring platforms will help you identify whether end-user services are meeting their SLAs and help teams drive an optimized end-user experience.

Did you know the cloud microservices market could reach $2.7 billion by 2026? 

The Future of Microservices

Serverless Architecture

Serverless architecture allows developers to run microservices without managing any other infrastructure whatsoever. AWS is already developing this technology with its Lambda platform, which takes care of all aspects of server management for you. 

PaaS

Microservices as a Platform as a Service (PaaS) will combine microservices with monitoring. This revolutionary approach provides developers with a centralized framework for application deployment and architectural management. 

In the future, PaaS could automate even more processes for development teams and make microservices more effective.

Multi-Cloud Environments

Developers can deploy microservices in multiple cloud environments, which provides teams with enhanced capabilities.

“Microservices related to database and information management can utilize Oracle’s cloud environment for better optimization,” says technology company SoftClouds. “At the same time, other microservices can benefit from the Amazon S3 for extra storage and archiving, all the while integrating AI-based features and analytics from Azure across the application.”

Even Better Metrics

As microservices become more intelligent, developers need advanced metrics. Expect more extensive analytical models that provide developers with unparalleled insights into their application architecture. Teams can use these insights to make critical decisions about security, scalability, and service. 

What Are the Benefits of Microservices? Why Do They Exist Today?

It’s time to recap some benefits of microservices:

  • Microservices work independently of one another but remain loosely connected. Unlike the monolithic style, the microservices approach to software development allows for better scalability. You can expand applications based on user demand without affecting other microservices.
  • More enterprises are switching from the monolithic model to microservices. 
  • Developers can focus on one microservice without having to worry about all the others. This centralized approach means faster development cycles for many teams, and organizations can get products to market quicker.
  • Microservices improve performance because teams handle specific services rather than an app as a whole. This advantage leads to greater accountability, compliance, and data security.
  • Microservices allow developers to become language and technology agnostic. Different team members can use different programming languages and technologies when debugging and coding.
  • Monitoring microservices lets you check your architecture for service and performance and identify future debugging problems. 
  • Platforms like AWS and Azure make managing microservices even easier.
  • Developers package and typically deploy microservices in Docker containers.
  • The microservices architecture relies on the cloud, and developers can track changes to app infrastructure wherever they are in the world. 
  • Microservices are valuable for developers in all sectors, including those working for e-commerce companies. Retailers benefit from the microservices architectural style because they can handle responsibilities, such as billing, without affecting other tasks.

Before You Go

Microservices have had an immeasurable impact on software development recently. This alternative approach to the monolithic architectural model, which dominated software development for years, provides teams with a streamlined way to create, monitor, manage, deploy, and scale all kinds of applications via the cloud. Platforms like AWS and Azure facilitate this process. 

As you learn more about software development and microservices, you’ll discover new skills and become a more confident developer who solves the bespoke requirements of your clients. However, you should test your knowledge regularly so you can make every development project a success. 

Do you want to become a more proficient software developer? Microservices Architecture has industry-leading self-assessments that test your microservice readiness, applicability, and architecture. How well will you do? Get started now

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