Advantages of Microservices
Distributed services for large scale enterprises applications with independent business units
Modern architecture for scale
Microservices, short for microservices architecture, is an effective architecture design system used to develop and scale software applications that are complex, robust, and serve large user bases. Usually, microservices are used when an application has several disconnected and large pieces of functionality and needs to support several front-end applications such as a native application, desktop application, and a web application simultaneously.
A transforming field
Power applications of any size and scale
One of the key advantages of microservices is their ability to scale because each business component of the platform or application is separated out into its own service connected to its own database, creating isolated efficiencies. Applications that use microservices also often have exposed API’s for other applications and programs to consume.
Improve efficiency and performance
Benefits of Microservices
Develop software applications as a set of independent modular services.
Leverage Microservices for Improved Efficiency and Performance
Each project can benefit from the microservices architecture in different ways
When developers onboard a monolithic application, they generally need to spend time understanding parts of the application that they won’t be developing but that part of the code base will be interacting with. If it’s a big application, developers can spend hours of time understanding specific functions, so they don’t create bugs with their new code on unrelated but interacting parts of their application. For this reason, a large advantage of microservices is that developers can onboard more quickly and contribute to a service without having to spend large amounts of time creating bugs, debugging, and learning the nuances of parts of the application that are secondary to their development priorities.
Microservices productive gains
Microservices are also considered advantageous because each service can have relatively simple hosting and cloud-based infrastructure. Microservices are often deployed with containers and instances for ease of use and scalability. Microservices can also have effective economies of scale, as a relatively small Dev-ops team can handle the hosting of the collective services.
Enhance quality of microservices
Support and maintenance
Microservices also can offer an application better maintainability and allow for easier test coverage within its respective sub-services. Since each service is designed to be isolated and is relatively smaller than a monolithic application, changes to the code base are meant to be easier and it is simpler to understand what a specific service or function is meant to do, creating an easier test environment. However, microservices do have their inherent testing challenges and data synchronization issues.
De-couple services for tech stack free
Using a microservices architecture can help eliminate the accumulation of long-term technical debt – another advantage of microservices. By separating out an application into smaller pieces, often organized by business function, a software development team can choose an appropriate technology stack that has the most fitting libraries and pre-built infrastructure for their use case. This can also allow for hiring developers suited to a specific technology for the rapid onboarding and development within a specific technology business unit.
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Benefits, limitations, and alternatives
A good starting point
Another design pattern for a software application is a monolithic architecture. Monolithic applications are generally considered significantly simpler than an application using microservices. Monolithic applications are great for quick development, medium scalability, testing coverage, and simple dev-ops and hosting infrastructure.
Monolithic architecture drawbacks
Avoid obstacles as your system grows
However, monolithic applications also have their limitations. In general, they can become complicated and unorganized the larger they get and often require large amounts of documentation and time invested into new developers onboarding the project. Generally speaking, as a monolithic application’s codebase grows, so do its inefficiencies creating a near linear correlation between complexity and size.
Modernize your architecture
Transition to microservices
Continuous deployment can also present challenges for monolithic applications at scale. Building a new application every time there is a deployment can be resource intensive, expensive, and inefficient for background jobs running. Moreover, monolithic applications are good at scaling but only to a point, as scaling them is limited by the number of copies you can create, versus one of the advantages of microservices is the ability to optimize how they are scaled and controlling exactly what each service specifically needs, whether it is increased memory, GPU, or CPU capacity.
Identifying microservices challenges and drawbacks of using a microservices architecture
Connected services that operate together
Operational complexity in exchange for more flexibility
Microservices isolated architecture and distributed nature create certain complexities that must be solved with unique skill sets and development team structures. Notably, some of the main drawbacks from microservices include:
When to Use Microservices
The advantages of microservices are well known, but so are the drawbacks. So, when should an application use this architecture?
When first starting the development of an application, the priority might be speed of development and keeping the development team lean – priorities that are centered around building a minimum viable product with low overhead and low complexity. Microservices aren’t the architectural solution for these business priorities. Using a microservice architecture starts to make sense when an application has a large enough user base in which monolithic performance costs start to have diminishing returns. Another core reason to adopt microservices is when an application has several different interconnected but isolated functions.
Migrate without affecting your app performance
A company who wants to take advantage of a microservices architecture might consider breaking up each service by business function or capability – for example with a Commercial passenger airline application we could split up just a few example services as their own service and synchronize data across all services: front-end content, user accounts, bookings, itineraries, check-in, flight status and rewards program.
Modern systems move towards microservices
Custom microservices development
To learn more about microservices advantages, and if they are right for your software product, check out our blog on more of the advantages and use cases of microservices, or schedule a call with us.