Microservices architectures have been picking up momentum over the last few years. They are a big improvement over the monolithic approach, but they don’t solve all the problems a monolithic design brings with it. Even so, microservices is a superior architectural design and I welcome it.
Here is why microservices approach is superior.
Microservices vs Monolithics
Microservices help overcome several of the problems of monolithics, such as inefficient scaling and being stuck in a single technology stack. Microservices also reduce high coupling between modules.
Not only that, microservices get along very well with business-domain driven design, which could be very useful for your organization.
The monolithic architecture is currently the most used design to develop an application but it’s common to encounter these weaknesses when working with it.
- A single, Heavyweight Project
- You are probably used to working with a single large project and deploying it as one unit. This will take several minutes to get up and running in your local environment.
Wouldn’t it be cool to run only the module you’re interested in and have it ready in less than a minute?
- Highly-coupled modules
- When different modules are integrated in the same project, it’s easy for inexperienced developers to reuse functions throughout completely different modules. While reusing code is a smart practice, doing so incorrectly can cause future headaches and a lot of refactoring.
Wouldn’t it be cool to have all your code and modules correctly grouped by the business logic that they belong to?
- Single Stack
- Being stuck with only one technology for your backend project is fairly normal with monolithic applications.
How many times have you thought about how easy it would be to implement a module from your backlog with a totally different technology than the one your project’s currently using?
- Deficient at Redeploying
- In a monolithic app, there’s only one project. Any change at all in your code will compel you to redeploy your entire app.
Wouldn’t redeploying only a single part of your ecosystem be ideal?
What Is a Microservice?
Since it’s relatively new, there’s no exact definition of microservices architecture. However, there’s one definition that I like,
A microservice is a stand-alone process that handles a well-defined requirement.
I like this definition because it highlights the approach that must be taken from the very start of an ecosystem’s design. It is also important to note that the “micro” in microservice refers to the business scope and not the application’s size.
Here are some features that make the microservices architecture superior.
- With microservices there’s no need to scale all of them, just scale the service you need . They are distributed, independent, changeable, and deployable services.
This is what independent scalability means!
Simply replicate, upgrade, and change the services needed. If one of your services breaks, you can easily isolate it without affecting the entire ecosystem.
- Shorter times
- As projects grow over time, its backlog load grows and it takes longer and longer to test and run. Not with microservices.
Although not a requirement, microservices tend to remain relatively small because each is focused on a single requirement. This also has a direct impact on your development time. Testing a microservice module tends to remain short and quick.
- Microservices are not necessary to implement a polyglot ecosystem. However, it makes the option more achievable. It is fairly easy to create modules with different technologies according to their purpose.
Don’t do this just because you can. But if your team comes to the consensus that this is the best option, integrating a service made with a different language is not such a crazy idea.
A Success Story
Many companies and organizations are already experiencing the power of microservices.
A very good example is Netflix. They have successfully implemented and migrated many of their monolithic applications to microservices.
Throughout their brave journey, Netflix has created software to overcome the challenges of microservices architecture. These include,
- Components to apply patterns related with distributed systems, including service discovery, circuit breakers, intelligent routing, and client side load balancing.
- Software to supervise the health status of their enormous microservices ecosystem
- Tools to manage and help you see the broad picture of their cloud resources.
Fortunately for the rest of us, Netflix has made several of their internal projects Open Source. This helps the community overcome the potential challenges faced when using this awesome architectural approach.
Beyond Netflix, other companies are sharing their tools and experience. You can be confident that you will find the support you need.
The microservices approach is more advantageous than the monolithic approach for many reasons, and it will be more so with each passing day.
This is the road less traveled and you will find bumps along the way. It may not be easy at the start, when learning to use this architecture. You will certainly encounter technologies, patterns, and practices you’ll have to learn.
But, trust me when I say that microservices will make your life easier in the long term.
For more, contact me at [email protected].