How to Build a Successful Microservices Architecture

Table of contents

Diagram showing how to build a successful microservices architecture

Monolithic architectures have long been the go-to when it comes to software design and building applications. However, monolithic architectures have their fair share of drawbacks and make it harder to make changes to an application efficiently. Therefore, monolithic architectures have given way to a new type of architecture that allows developer teams to make faster and more efficient changes, known as microservices architecture. 

Microservices architecture allows developers to work on the same app simultaneously, which results in less time spent in development. Of course, faster development times are very beneficial from a business standpoint for a multitude of reasons. If you’ve been wondering how more rapid development could benefit your business, it’s time to schedule a call with the DreamFactory team today. The DreamFactory platform can save you thousands of dollars and countless hours for tedious development and your company’s data storage needs.

This article will outline the differences between monolithic and microservices architecture while also providing information on the three key steps behind building microservices architecture. Read on to learn more about how microservices architecture can enhance your business capabilities. 

What Are Microservices? 

The term microservices refers to a type of architectural approach used to build applications. The use of microservices has gained popularity in the tech world as they allow multiple IT teams to make changes to the architecture of an application without breaking the entire app. Essentially, microservices enable development teams to work together to rapidly build new components of an app without interfering with the work of other teams or risking the functionality of the app as a whole. 

Another important note is that a microservices framework often includes microservices and containers, which work together to create massively scalable and distributed systems, which helps to avoid the bottlenecks of a central database. Essentially, microservices are about the design of the software, and containers are about packaging software for deployment. Two of the most well-known tools for building and deploying containerized microservices are Docker and Kubernetes.

Related Reading: What is a Microservice? What You Need to Know

Microservices are incredibly beneficial to business operations as they allow development teams to rapidly build and change applications that provide substantial growth opportunities for companies. In addition, the following list outlines some of the key benefits companies can reap from utilizing microservices applications architecture to build entire applications.

  • Improved Scalability 
  • Better Fault Isolation and More Resilient Applications 
  • Better Data Security and Compliance 
  • Faster Time to Market 
  • Greater Business Agility and Support for DevOps
  • The Ability to Connect Apps With Any Programming Language
  • Development Teams are Kept Smaller and Foster More Effective Communication

Related Reading: 7 Key Benefits of Microservices

If you’re considering implementing microservices into your business, the core goal is to create applications by splitting each business component into a standalone service. By doing so, you’ll not only develop one app but a handful of services that can be utilized on their own and integrated into future applications. 

By definition, microservices are starkly different from legacy software development practices, where the goal is to bundle everything into one easy package. If you’re interested in learning more about microservices and the benefits they can provide to your business operation, schedule a call with the DreamFactory team today. 

The 3 Key Steps Behind Building Microservices Architecture 

It’s clear that utilizing microservices architecture instead of the traditional monolithic architecture provides many benefits, both from a software engineering standpoint and a business standpoint. With Microservices-based applications offering companies greater agility and scalability when they need to upgrade their products or business systems to stay competitive, companies must understand how to build a successful microservices architecture. 

So, If your company is looking to build a successful microservices architecture, you should plan on following the three steps outlined below. 

Step #1: Build Upon a Monolith

Before any application can become part of a microservices environment, you must start with a monolith. Monolithic architectures are the traditional application architecture. In monolithic architectures, all processes are run as a single service. 

In monolithic applications, if one application process experiences a spike in demand, the entire architecture must be scaled. This makes the process of improving a monolithic application complex and challenging as the code base grows. In addition, monolithic architectures make it difficult for businesses to make fast and efficient changes. Luckily, microservices architecture is helping make the application building process much more efficient and successful for development teams.  

Building upon a monolith is a crucial step because every idea begins as something simple but grows admirably more complex as the feedback cycle comes around and you begin identifying more key functions worth bundling into your application.

For instance, if you’re building an application for eCommerce, the core idea is simple: Create an interface where the user can browse the catalog, add items to their cart, and pay. Soon enough, though, you’ll decide it’s worth it for users to be able to create an account. As you begin collecting feedback, you may also find that integrating a customer review system is essential to users.

From there, you may identify other functional capabilities, like an integrated order tracking system and perhaps even an automated returns portal, in case something doesn’t fit. You may find all of these things, and more, matter to your customers and give you an edge over competitors.

In addition, Domain-Driven Design, a concept popularized by Eric Evans, can be used to decompose monolithic applications. Essentially, in the process of Domain-Driven Design, decomposing your monolithic applications into microservices requires you to define these business functions into domains of expertise. Overall, this research phase is where you can begin identifying if an application is worth breaking up into microservices. The best way to do that is by starting with a monolith and working outwards.

Related Reading: 4 Microservices Examples: Amazon, Netflix, Uber, and Etsy

Step #2: Restructure Your Internal Teams

You may think of microservices architecture as a highly technical pursuit, but the success of your microservices venture depends mainly on the structure of your internal teams and their ability to support a microservices environment. Conway’s Law states: “Any organization that designs a system (defined broadly) will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization’s communication structure.”

Conway’s Law is very real and applies in many organizational situations. When adopting microservices, your teams will prove to be no exception. If you have a backend team, frontend team, and operations team, your frontend and backend teams will continue to independently create monoliths that get tossed to your operations team for production, and that isn’t effective for a successful microservices architecture.

For internal restructuring, remind yourself to treat each service as a standalone product. This means creating small teams, each with the competencies necessary to develop and maintain a service from start to finish. Without this restructuring, microservices will not be efficient or sustainable to pursue in the long term.

Step #3: Take a Calculated Approach to Implementation

To ensure the success of your microservices architecture, it’s paramount that you follow the established best practices.

  • Simplify communication between services with RESTful APIs. DreamFactory can help by making API management hassle-free.
  • Break up your databases to decouple your services, creating individual services or different services. In addition, this helps to improve uptime and security.
  • Invest in advanced monitoring and testing to make creating and managing microservices and an individual microservice more efficient and faster.
  • Embrace a “continuous delivery” model to help avoid friction during the development and testing phases, and improve delivery times.

Challenges and Considerations in Embracing Microservices

Transitioning to a microservices architecture promises a galaxy of benefits, but it's not all stardust and sunshine. Businesses venturing into this brave new world should navigate some cosmic challenges and considerations.

Data Consistency: One of the foremost challenges in adopting microservices is maintaining data consistency across multiple services. As data may be distributed across various microservices, ensuring that all services have access to accurate and up-to-date information can be complex. Implementing strategies like event sourcing and distributed transactions can help address this challenge.

Security Concerns: Microservices introduce additional security considerations. With multiple services communicating through APIs, there's an increased attack surface. Businesses must implement robust authentication, authorization, and encryption mechanisms. Regular security audits and monitoring are essential to protect against vulnerabilities.

Complexity Management: As the number of microservices grows, so does the complexity of managing and orchestrating them. This complexity can strain the development, deployment, and operational aspects of a project. Proper documentation, automation, and the use of container orchestration tools like Kubernetes can help mitigate this challenge.

Monitoring and Troubleshooting: Identifying and resolving issues in a microservices environment can be more challenging compared to a monolithic system. Businesses need comprehensive monitoring and logging solutions to trace transactions across multiple services. Implementing a centralized dashboard for monitoring can streamline troubleshooting efforts.

Related Reading: When to Use Microservices: Sam Newman and Martin Fowler Share Their Knowledge

How DreamFactory Can Help

If you’re ready to learn more about building a successful microservices architecture, DreamFactory is here to help. The DreamFactory platform and its dedicated team are here to help your company with all of your API gateway, API management, software development, data store, and needs. Register today to discover DreamFactory’s new features and to try out the platform for yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Microservices Architecture

What exactly are microservices?

Microservices are a software architectural approach where applications are built as a collection of small, independent services that communicate with each other through well-defined APIs. These services are designed to be modular and can be developed, deployed, and scaled independently.

How do microservices differ from monolithic architecture?

In a monolithic architecture, all components of an application are tightly integrated into a single codebase and are deployed as a single unit. Microservices, on the other hand, break the application into smaller, loosely coupled services, allowing for more flexibility, scalability, and independent development.

What are the key benefits of using microservices?

Microservices offer several advantages, including improved scalability, fault isolation, faster development times, better data security, and greater agility in responding to market changes. They also enable the use of different programming languages for different services.

What challenges should businesses be aware of when transitioning to microservices?

Transitioning to microservices can pose challenges such as ensuring data consistency across services, addressing security concerns, and managing the complexity of multiple services. It also requires changes in organizational structure and development practices.

Which tools are commonly used for building and deploying microservices?

Docker and Kubernetes are two well-known tools for containerizing and orchestrating microservices. Additionally, various programming languages and frameworks are used for building microservices, depending on the specific requirements of the project.

Is microservices architecture suitable for all types of applications?

Microservices are well-suited for complex and rapidly evolving applications. However, they may introduce unnecessary complexity for simpler applications. The decision to adopt microservices should be based on the specific needs and goals of the project.

How can businesses ensure data security in a microservices architecture?

Data security in microservices can be ensured by implementing robust authentication and authorization mechanisms, encrypting data in transit and at rest, and regularly auditing and monitoring the services for vulnerabilities.

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