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5 reasons for switching to microservices
Oct 23, 2018,

Building efficient architectures is what our team does best, but we must admit, without microservices, this task would be harder to accomplish and way less sustainable. We’ve made the switch a couple of years ago based on our refactoring experiences where near to 99% of the time we faced the same challenges: ensuring agility in development, keeping up with the market changes and reducing cost without compromising on productivity.

This is why we’ve decided to share with you 5 reasons for switching your enterprise-level application to a microservice architecture. Before that, let’s revisit some terms.

Microservices – what exactly are these?

According to Chris Richardson, the creator of the original CloudFoundry.com: ”microservices represent an architectural style that structures applications as a collection of loosely coupled services, which implement business capabilities. This style enables continuous delivery/deployment of large, complex applications, enabling an organization to evolve its technology stack.”

Simply put, such an architecture is composed of a set of small, independent, composable services, that communicate via RESTfull APIs and allow building little parts of the business logic piece-by-piece, making the business logic behind any application is malleable, and delivers considerable advantages as compared to monolithic systems.

Ensures Scalability from Day 0

Let’s consider you’ve just built a retail app and its popularity increased tenfold over your initially expected number of active users. If your app is based on a monolithic architecture, most probably, you’ll have to scale-up the entire system which would cost a lot in development and resource usage.

Compared to monolithic structures, microservice-based applications deliver you the possibility to simply scale up those processes, that serve your ever-growing audience. Since those are independent, you can simply pick and choose which service gets more memory, computational resources or specific data access effortlessly, in matters of minutes.

Reduces Platform Dependency

Building a microservice based app delivers you more freedom in matters of chosen tech stack. As long as consistency is ensured, you can use virtually any language in building a system component. For instance, you could write your API in Java (Spring), implement your front-end via VueJS or render pages via KoaJS (for the SEO part of your application) and code a particular image manipulation service via Python (Django).

Furthermore, you can pick and choose the best-fitting language for a particular task, without having to worry about dependencies at a large scale. Take DataBase design: in monolithic systems, you’re stuck with a single database schema shared with most of your system. In comparison, microservice architectures allow each service to use its own database schema that suits its purpose, allowing loose coupling.

Decreases Costs of Development

Since a microservice oriented app is a bunch of independent, small and composable services, most of them are reusable. That’s what happens when the entire data and business logic is removed from an app and split into tiny manageable bits, which are complemented by a user-interface, converted into modular, purpose-built components. This approach ensures there is one application logic copy at every level that enables capability, regardless of the number of applications leveraging that logic.

Over time, apps running within a Microservice Architecture decrease development cost and ensure agility in development (yet another good reason to choose this path). Simply put, you can repair, rebuild upgrade or supply a Microservice without tearing down the entire application.

Better Service Diagnostics and Outage Management

Monolithic apps are similar to a Jenga Tower: you never know which brick might fail in case of an outage. Since all modules of the app run within the same process, If a module gets affected by a bug, it brings down the whole process, thus the entire app is affected. You might lose hundreds or even thousands of business opportunities until you’re done troubleshooting.

Compare to the monolithic disaster, Microservice Architectures are more reliable. That is because each service is built and deployed independently as a resilient entity and outages occurring at a service level will not bring down your entire system. In fact, you can continue providing services to your customers while troubleshooting an outage, without them even noticing.

Faster Time-to-market Metrics

In an ever-changing industry, the faster you can deploy modern functionality to your app – the better. When your app follows a monolithic approach, each change can impact the entire system and most of the time, releasing new features involves testing the entire app which takes a lot of time and effort. Basically, you risk delivering a competitive feature later than your opponents, which may result in customer churn.

With Microservices all of the above challenges are met. Since these architectures make use of container technology, you can have independent releases, deployment of certain components and features without a major impact on your existing application. This means you’re just testing the new feature – not the entire system and since most of your services are reusable, you’re saving on development efforts too. Combined with the freedom of choosing your stack, better diagnostic and outage management as well as pre-defined scalability, you’re always ahead of the competition.

Conclusion

Considering the above-mentioned benefits, it is safe to assume Microservice Architectures are fundamental for those who want improvements now, at a lower cost, with scalability in mind. It is to mention though; such approaches are not a “silver bullet”. While many organizations such as Netflix, Uber, Tumblr, Twitter, eBay or Uber have adopted the Microservices Architecture pattern you might not qualify for an immediate shift.

If you’re looking to swap the old for the new, you must be prepared to run both for a while. This will help you and your development team to efficiently divide the old business logic behind your legacy system into efficient micro-services and build a new platform focused on best practices of your old one.

Of course, if you’re starting fresh, without the burden of a legacy system, going with a Microservice Architecture is the best way.

To find out if microservices are the right fit for you, we’re ready to talk. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.