An Introduction to Microservices

When we open an application to use it, we don’t usually think about how this entire process of tapping on the screen works – we follow instructions that are pretty obvious and easy to execute, and all this magic seems to happen at the tip of our fingers.

Back in the 2000s, big tech companies used to manage large containers of data – this factor worked up to the point when issues would rise, and getting the software running again would become a tiring series of tasks.

Nowadays, the data is divided in many different services – each independently placed within the Cloud, acting as “commands” to each result of action we are about to take.

Therefore, Microservices, as it is called, are a cloud-based architecture composed of many independent services. With services being broken down, it becomes much faster to manage them.

 

Microservices and DevOps

Microservices have a strong tie to DevOps. As we have mentioned before, DevOps is a set of software practices intended to keep a system’s lifecycle shorter and better in quality. The architecture is composed of services that are small and so, can be deployed easily – hence why microservices work so well with DevOps and CI/CD.

A system’s lifecycle in microservices requires development and operations teams to have knowledge on how to employ the architecture in various development projects.

Besides, when investments are made in the lifecycle of a system for automation, monitoring and deployment, then the green light is given to make use of microservices. Such applications are effectively developed and maintained with a decentralized continuous delivery and with development-operational practices.

Microservices demand the use of DevOps to work.

Aside from that – coding can also be done much easier, different languages can be used in different components, and they can be worked on independently without hurting all the application.

Micro benefits

Every element being worked on in microservices can be treated individually – and have a stack suited for its particular function. Stacking can be a headache and, having it stored as cloud services can facilitate management. In microservices, coding can be reusable.

In other words, microservices simplify update, deployment and scaling in a software, allowing each application to run as a service.

And the benefits of decomposing applications into services are many. To list a few:

·        Development: as it was already mentioned – individual teams develop, deploy and scale their service, independent from others.

·        Scalability: after the development process, the independent services can also be monitored and scaled one by one.

·        Modularity: where the architecture can become more resilient when developing and testing an application – with modularity, it becomes better to understand how an application operates.

·        Integration: transitioning the software application to integrate microservices is a modernization of how applications work, and enterprises are already caught up to the process.

Many companies made the transition to microservices – Uber, Netflix, Amazon, Spotify are just a few names added to the line.

However, there is still hesitation on this topic of companies making the switch to Microservices – many still use the traditional approach of monolithic architecture.

 

Microservices x Monolithic

 

The monolithic architecture builds and deploys applications altogether, with all its features grouped as one unit. If there are any updates, the entire structure must be altered and, with time, it can become complex to manage it – hence why the process takes longer to deploy.

A monolithic architecture works well if a product has to be launched quickly – although updates take longer –, and works well on a small team that does not need the complexity of microservices.

A microservices architecture, on the other hand, works well on a team that is looking to grow or that is already big. That is because microservices allows teams to be more independent and individual, much like an Agile environment works. By working on services separately, these teams can do a faster and better job at completing their tasks, rather than wasting a lot of time on the development cycle.

Parallel to this faster aspect, there’s also the freedom teams feel when, by acting independent, members can choose how to solve their own specific roadblocks – meaning there are selective tools for each micro-service performed. It is indeed a great architecture.

 

Microservices permits the applications to handle failure without crashing completely, allowing us to make use of them every day. So, next time you open your Amazon account to place an order or tap on that Uber app to get yourself some comfort food, remember – all these clicks and small functions happen thanks to the microservices architecture.

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