Microservices outline

For the past few years, microservices have been the talk of the town, with numerous success stories across big business and start-ups alike. However, with the rise of containerization in the enterprise, we are starting to hear about this term again as the new Holy Grail, the next step in the evolution of our applications. In this article we’ll look at some of the main driving forces behind why many developers now see microservices as the the future of application development.

Although there is no standardized definition of microservices architectures, Martin Fowler, a recognized author and pioneer in the field, describes them as “A style of architecture that shares common characteristics with business skills”. In this sense, microservices architectures cannot be reduced to a technical infrastructure or a way to organize the execution of its application code. Instead,

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A specific architecture inherited from SOA

Of course, microservices architectures are made up of multiple “small services,” but they follow specific patterns that differentiate them from a classic “n-third party” architecture. Microservice architectures share many characteristics with SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) providing many benefits above other types of architectures. For a detailed perspective, Steve Jones, CTO of Capgemini, outlines some of these benefits in describing microservices as a delivery-oriented approach to a well-designed SOA.

Asynchronous communication and API Gateway

Microservices architectures have concepts similar to SOA, such as an “asynchronous message bus” to manage the communication of the different modules. The API Gateway is an essential pattern that allows answering the application’s splitting in multiple “endpoints.” In addition, this element allows exposing a uniform API to consumers securely.

Scalability and resilience

Another key pattern of microservices architectures is their ability to respond to load in a differentiated manner. Rather than deploying new instances of an application, only the services that are in demand are deployed and then destroyed once the load is reduced. Thus, the crash of a process cannot lead to the disappearance of the service, its existence being ensured through multiple replicas created and destroyed on demand.

Breaking down the ‘Monolith’

Microservices (modular) architectures are often contrasted with the classic “Monolithic” model. Imagine your monolithic application as a train made of cars representing your different modules. If one of the cars has a problem, there is a good chance that your train will derail. Similarly, if you need to modify one of the cars, you will deliver a complete train. Since this is a cumbersome operation, you will be waiting for enough modifications to justify delivering a new train. 

In contrast, a microservices application is more like a fleet of Uber vehicles. The vehicle crash does not affect the service as long as enough of the same vehicle is available. If a vehicle is too much in demand, it is enough to add more to circulation. Similarly, some patterns allow vehicles to be updated without disrupting the service (Blue-Green deployment, Canary Release, etc.). Of course, this model requires an application designed and developed in this sense, but that is not enough. To take advantage of it, you need to have adopted a particular organizational model.

Increasing organizational maturity

This is the most difficult aspect for organizations that want to move to cloud-native application models. For organizations using a server-centric ITIL model for many years, this can be a difficult step to take. Cloud-native architectures are “Service-Centric.” This aspect alone induces a real evolution in IS governance. Microservices architectures require a great deal of technical maturity. 

Delivery velocity

One of the main advantages of microservices architectures is their intrinsic ability to maintain a continuous flow of deliveries. As a traditional application grows, its codebase becomes larger and larger. Changes become more complex and expensive to implement. The frequency of deliveries slows down, and the more change requests accumulate, the faster it becomes.

Microservices: Final thoughts

First, since they bring flexibility, they give the business more reactivity for their orientations. Second, in the event of a functional change, you’ll be able to make each feature evolve autonomously. You will thus be able to “push into production” an update of a microservice without waiting for the others. This way, you will be able to make my functionalities evolve more quickly.

Then, we will be able to scale the infrastructure more flexibly. If one of the services consumes more “machine resources,” you will allocate some to it and not to the whole application. In the end, this reduces infrastructure costs: for the same activity, you consume less with microservices.

Moreover, since the code architecture is very modular, we can detect the source of the problem much more easily in the event of a failure or bug. Thus, we can directly identify the failing microservice, and it is the one that is corrected.

Finally, since each microservice is independent, it will be developed in its language without worrying about the others. In terms of work organization and the overall performance of the application, this is a huge plus. We can position different teams on the same project, each working in its language. We can also choose the most suitable technologies depending on what needs to be done. Also, if a new technology appears, we can test it and integrate it easily.

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Microservices and DreamFactory

Building a microservices architecture requires not only the right technical skills 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.

DreamFactory is a modern, easy to use, no-code auto API generation platform that is tailor made to support microservice development. Interested to learn more about how DreamFactory can help spearhead your adoption of microservices architecture? Start your free trial!

Related reading:

How to Build a Successful Microservices Architecture