As technology becomes more complex and integrated, many organizations are assessing how their architectures will best support their business into the future. One such architecture – Microservices is becoming an increasingly popular choice amongst forward thinking technology departments. A microservices architecture may be the key to unlocking your business’s potential, but how do you get there? In this article, we’ll identify some of the key steps you can take to ensure you implement a successful microservices architecture and begin your modernization journey.

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What Does Microservices Mean?

“Microservices” may sound like a buzzword, but this modern organizational practice has its roots in sound and innovative software engineering. 

If you’re considering implementing microservices, 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 was to bundle everything into one easy package. 

How to Build Microservices Architecture

If you’re looking to build a successful microservices architecture, you must follow these three fundamental steps.

Step #1: Build Upon a Monolith

Before any application can become part of a microservices environment, you must start with a monolith. This is a key 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 that are 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 important to users.

From there, you may identify other useful 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.

This research phase is where you can begin identifying if an application is worth breaking up into microservices, but you can only do that by starting with a monolith and working outwards.

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 largely 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. Learn about the benefits of our low-code platform.
  • Break up your databases to decouple your services, improving uptime and security. Likewise, build your architecture for failure.
  • Invest in advanced monitoring and testing to make creating and managing microservices more efficient and faster.
  • Embrace a “continuous delivery” model to help avoid friction during the development and testing phases, and improve delivery times.

This list of best practices is far from extensive. You’ll find that the steps your organization should take to build a successful microservices architecture will vary depending on multiple aspects, like the size of your organization, the complexity of your applications, and how agile your teams and approaches currently are.

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Choose Your Partners Carefully

At the end of the day, building a microservices architecture is not only highly technical, but requires a shift in how you manage your projects internally. This can make it feel like a daunting undertaking, but with the right resources on your side, you’ll be able to reap the many benefits of microservices sooner rather than later.

Interested to learn more about how DreamFactory can help spearhead your adoption of microservices architecture? Start your free trial!

Related reading:

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