Benefits of the Microservices Architecture
The Microservices Architecture has become quite the buzzword, with many large organizations adopting some form of it to power their applications which cater to millions of users every day. Some of the biggest names like NetFlix, eBay, Amazon, and Spotify, have either migrated their legacy applications to Microservice-based applications or built them from scratch in a modular fashion.
The Microservices Architecture refers to a development concept that moves applications from large monolithic designs to modular services often called refactoring. The point is to keep each module lightweight and scalable. It is also possible to convert or refactor monolithic applications into a Microservice-based architecture.
The main characteristic of Microservices Architecture is that applications are built as multiple small components. Components can be created with any programming language and will still be compatible with each other due to them adhering to pre-defined web service schemas.
Components communicate with each other through web services, so as long as they adhere to the required end-points, the entire application will function correctly. If a component fails, the rest of the application will continue to work without any difficulty. The remaining components can be configured to use a different service to ensure continuity.
Isolation also allows teams to focus on particular business functionality regarding which they possess the expertise and manage the entire SDLC. This lack of hand-offs between teams reduces slack and improves quality.
Autonomy for teams
One of the other main benefits of a component-based application is that it gives teams autonomy. Each component can be managed by a separate team and be deployed according to its own schedule. This becomes important in order to promote methodologies like Agile and tools for Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment.
The smaller codebase and focussed functionality make components more intuitive, even for newer developers. Autonomy allows for teams to be decentralized, better facilitating global remote teams as there is only minimal dependency between each other.
Scalability by Refactoring to AWS Kubernetes containers
Microservices are highly scalable by nature. It is possible to scale components depending on demand because they are loosely coupled with each other. When containerized, components can be scaled up almost instantly without affecting any of the other components.
Vertical scaling is also possible as new functionality and patches can be introduced quickly in contrast to larger applications that are monolithic in nature. This is because there is minimal dependency on other components.
Microservices help to increase productivity in many ways. The most important benefit is that teams can work in isolation without any dependencies from other teams or components. This eliminates slack between tasks and allows for each team to add features and/or patches at any time without affecting other components.
Other benefits include shorter SDLCs and more frequent deployments, which reduces both effort and cost, and the ability to launch an application with the minimum viable functionality and then continuously improve it.
Language and Platform independent
Microservice based applications have no restrictions on language or platform among components. Each component can be developed in any programming language and be deployed on-premise, on the cloud, or be containerized. The only requirement is that every service adheres to a shared web service schema.
Platform Independence also gives teams the ability to deploy each component in the best-suited platform based on the services they offer. So an application may be deployed across many platforms and data centers.
If a component requires platform-specific features like AI, Machine Learning, File storage, or Image processing, then it can be deployed on that particular platform. This leads to cost savings as components that do not require a specific platform can be deployed on cost-effective platforms.
Language independence allows for further cost savings by using open source languages that do not require licensing other than when language-specific features are required. This also allows for flexibility when creating teams.
Faster Project Delivery
Most current teams use some form of Agile methodology, and the Microservices based approach allows for shorter iterations and faster deployments. Usually, monolithic applications require more effort for design, coding, and testing. The gains from Microservice-based applications are due to components having smaller codebases, which are easier to improve and test.
More time savings can be achieved because deployments can be done without much dependency on other components. Each team is free to deploy updates as and when they require as long as it does not disrupt the overall connectivity between components.
Reduced Vendor and Technology lock-in
Migrating a large monolithic application to a different vendor or technology is usually a tedious task due to lock-in. Component-based applications don’t face this issue as much due to the ability to deploy each component to the most suited platform.
On the one hand, if a migration is required, it becomes simpler due to the smaller codebase. On the other hand, due to the nature of microservices, even a different component can easily be used instead of an older vendor locked-in one.
Added Support for Containerization and Cloud Services
Microservice based components are ideal for containerization and other hybrid cloud services. Due to their nature, deploying on containers or other cloud platforms is both convenient and beneficial. This brings all the benefits of containers to the application.
One of the main benefits is that each component can be cloned to as many container nodes as required based on demand. This allows for scaling and also cost savings as underutilized nodes can easily be removed without any effect on other components.
Component-based applications allow for better security as testing can be focused on components that are important for functionality, such as financial transactions. These components can be developed in specific languages that ensure the required security features as well as be deployed on more secure platforms. The added cost can be optimized as only the particular component needs special conditions.
The Microservice-based architecture also simplifies monitoring as particular components can be focused on the approach to secure the application. Components that have vulnerabilities can be quickly patched or disabled without much effect on the rest of the application.
Microservices have become the defacto standard for modern application development on AWS Kubernetes. Many organizations that plan on migrating to cloud services take the opportunity to convert their applications to Microservice-based components through refactoring.
Depending on how a Microservice-based application is designed, there can be some difficulties in communication between components, testing and debugging the overall application, and deploying on many platforms. However, the benefits highly outweigh these disadvantages, which can also be mitigated with good design.