Countless apps are launched every day, which shows that there is strong market demand for applications. This is no surprise given that massive digital transformation is taking place worldwide, compelling businesses to move to the digital realm to remain competitive. As a result, companies want to quickly develop applications for their businesses – this is where microservices come into play. Microservices solutions architecture is the hottest trend in application development.
This article explores microservices, their benefits, and how their architecture works.
What are Microservices?
Microservices refer to a software architectural style in which an application is composed of loosely coupled, independently deployable services. Instead of building a monolithic application where all functionality is tightly integrated into a single codebase, microservices break down the application into smaller, independent services.
Each service is designed to perform a specific business function and can communicate with other services through well-defined APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).
The rise of microservices-based applications is due to the limitations of monolithic applications. The latter is an architectural approach that creates tightly coupled apps, resulting in a dependent set of inflexible, unreliable services that take longer to develop.
Microservices architecture overcomes these limitations as it loosely couples the app components, thus allowing for rapid scalability and changes.
Here are some of the key characteristics of microservices:
- Decentralization: Each microservice operates independently and you can develop, deploy, and scale it separately from other services.
- Scalability: Services can be scaled individually, allowing for efficient resource utilization based on the specific needs of each service.
- Resilience: If one microservice fails, it doesn’t necessarily bring down the entire system. The failure of one service doesn’t always impact others.
- Autonomy: Microservices are typically developed, deployed, and maintained by small, cross-functional teams. This autonomy allows teams to choose the best technologies and tools for their specific service.
- Flexibility: Microservices enable greater flexibility in terms of technology choices, programming languages, and frameworks, as each service can be implemented independently.
- Continuous Delivery: Microservices architecture supports continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) practices, allowing for faster and more frequent releases.
- Easier Maintenance: Since each microservice is a separate entity, it’s often easier to maintain and update specific features without affecting the entire system.
Microservices offer numerous advantages in terms of scalability, flexibility, and resilience. However, you need to keep in mind that they also introduce challenges, such as increased complexity in managing inter-service communication. Microservices can also make it hard to maintain consistency across services and the need for effective service discovery and orchestration.
You must adopt microservices after carefully considering these trade-offs based on their specific requirements and constraints. For most companies, however, the benefits of microservices greatly outweigh the drawbacks.
How Do Monolithic & Microservices Architectures Work?
Microservices is all about categorizing large and bulky applications into distinct services that combine together to form an application. Each service plays a specific role or function in the app. To understand how the microservices architecture operates, we first need to understand monolithic architectures.
Monolithic applications are made up of three layers: presentation, business or application logic, and database. All three are tightly integrated into a single, cohesive unit. This monolithic structure was prevalent across various industries and technology architectures, representing a foundational approach to application development.
The primary interaction within this architecture occurs as users engage with the presentation layer. This layer, in turn, communicates with the business logic layer and the database layer to process requests and retrieve information. Although this method of organizing an application was efficient back in its days, it had its drawbacks, particularly in terms of potential single points of failure.
Hardware malfunctions or code bugs often lead to prolonged downtimes. And since monolithic architectures lack a “self-healing” mechanism, human intervention was necessary to address any issues.
Scaling in a monolithic architecture presented challenges as well. Expansion on any one of the layers necessitated the acquisition of an entirely new server. This process involved purchasing a monolithic application running on a single server and then segmenting a portion of users to the new system.
Such segmentation led to silos in user data that you had to reconcile using nightly batch reports. Consequently, the rigidity of this scaling model limited the adaptability and responsiveness of applications to changing demands, making monolithic architectures archaic and not suited to rapidly evolving market dynamics.
As opposed to a monolithic architecture, microservices are a modern app development and design approach. It emphasizes breaking down monolithic apps into smaller, independent services that you can deploy.
Each microservice is responsible for handling a specific aspect or function of the application, such as logging, data search, or other discrete functionalities. Collectively, these principles of microservices work together to form a cohesive and scalable application.
A microservices architecture operation involves a client interacting with the application through the user interface, generating requests. Simultaneously, one or more microservices are invoked through the API gateway to execute the requested task. This decoupled nature of microservices allows for more flexibility and agility in solving complex problems, as you can combine various microservices to address specific needs efficiently.
One key feature of a microservice architecture is that it enables you to build, operate, scale, and deploy each component service independently. Unlike monolithic architectures, there is no sharing of code or functionality between microservices. Instead, communication between the different components is facilitated through well-defined APIs, enabling seamless interactions.
Microservices design patterns are tailored to specific skills or functionalities that you require to address particular issues. And if your development team identifies the need for additional code, they can further break down services into even more granular microservices. This creates a modular structure that not only enhances the scalability and maintainability of the application but also provides developers with a diverse set of options for solving problems, even those that may not have been initially anticipated.
Benefits of Microservices
There are so many benefits microservices offer that monolithic architectures don’t. Here are some of the most important benefits of microservices:
1. Reduced Development Effort
You can divide your app development team into smaller groups, with each group focusing on different app components so as to update the overall app functionality. This makes it very convenient for you to identify the leading services and scale them independently of others, thus leading to significant application improvements.
2. Better Scalability
Another key advantage of microservices is that they allow you to develop and scale each app service independently of other services. Your DevOps team can use whichever programming language or technology they are comfortable with to develop a service – all are compatible, and they work together well. Moreover, they require less infrastructure compared to monolithic applications since they choose specific app components for scalability on a need basis.
3. Independent Deployment
Each microservice that combines with other microservices to form an application must be a full stack so that the developers can deploy it independently. Their granularity allows developers to handle the errors of one microservice at a time and then redeploy the same without dealing with the entire app.
4. Error Isolation
The absence of error isolation is one of the greatest drawbacks of monolithic apps. If a tiny app component in your monolithic app fails, it can bring down the entire system. Microservices don’t have this problem. You can easily isolate the error-causing component since the app is already divided into fully independent services. This also means that errors in one component will not impact others as services are not tightly coupled.
5. Tech Stack Integrations
Microservices have made app development a breeze for developers, allowing them to choose whichever tech stack they want for app development. They don’t have to go with one tech stack option to develop every microservice; instead, they may choose different options for different app components.
In essence, microservices architecture offers a more flexible and adaptive approach to application development, allowing for the creation of agile, scalable, and easily maintainable systems.
It breaks down the monolithic structure into smaller, specialized components, creating microservices that enable developers to address specific challenges more efficiently and respond rapidly to evolving requirements. This is a critical capability in the ever-changing landscape of software development.
Are you looking to build a microservices application? Xavor offers innovative microservices solutions that help you stand apart from your competitors. Drop us a line today at [email protected] to learn more about how we can help you achieve your digital transformation goals.