Microservices are a type of architectural style for building software that has been gaining popularity. The concept was first introduced at a tech conference in 2011 and has been adopted by many Agile enterprises such as Netflix, Amazon, Uber, SoundCloud, Groupon, eBay, to name a few.

So, what are microservices? What are the benefits of microservices? And why are so many large enterprises have been implementing this method into their DevOps and continuous testing strategies? Should it be adaptable to your business? 

In the article below, we are going to break down these concepts and give you a better understanding of how they work. Let's explore

What Is Microservices?

Microservices architecture refers to a technique that decomposes the application into discrete services that implement specific business functions, which allows modern developers to design highly scalable, flexible applications. 

Each service communicates with others through standardized application programming interfaces (APIs), enabling the services to be written in different languages and technologies. This differs completely from systems built as monolithic structures where services were inextricably interlinked and could only be scaled together.

As each service has limited functionality, it is much smaller in size and complexity. The term microservice comes from this discrete functionality design, not from its physical size.

Microservices architecture has risen in popularity because its modular characteristics lead to flexibility, scalability, and reduced development effort. Its deployment flexibility, and the rise of cloud-native serverless and function-as-a-service deployment options (such as AWS Lambda and Microsoft Azure Cloud Functions), have created the perfect environment for microservices to flourish in today's IT landscape. These cloud platforms enable microservices and functions to be scaled from inactivity to high volume and back again while customers pay only for the computing capacity they use.

As businesses are continuously looking to be more agile, reduce bottlenecks, and improve application delivery times, microservices architecture continues to rise in popularity.

Differences Between Traditional architecture and Microservices 

While traditional architecture is built as one large system and is usually one code-base, microservices architecture is built as a small independent module based on business functionality. In the microservices application, each project and services are independent of each other at the code level. 

The huge system of traditional architecture makes it difficult to isolate services for purposes such as independent scaling or code maintainability. Also, changing technology or language or framework on the whole system seems to be too laborious. Meanwhile, microservices with separated modules facilitate configuring, deploying, and adjusting to being implemented easier. 

Moreover, the microservices architecture allows each module or each service to deploy independently. In contrast, monolithic architecture requires the whole system with all functions to finish for the deployment.

Microservices Features

  • Decoupling:  Microservices structures an application as a set of loosely coupled services, minimizing the dependencies of one service to another. So the application as a whole can be built, altered, and scaled up easier.
  • Componentization: Microservices includes several independent components that can be adjusted and upgraded easily.
  • Organized around business capabilities: Business capabilities are actions that businesses take to bring value. These actions are often around business objects, such as order and customer management, product and service development, demand generation, amongst others.  
  • Continuous Delivery: Allows frequent releases of the software, through systematic automation of software creation, testing, and approval 
  • Independent Development: Each service can be developed independently with a different pattern, technology, and language based on its functionality without any standard
  • Small teams: The engineering division is organized into small, autonomous teams of 6 –10 members, on average, of which each team is responsible for one (or more) services.

Advantages Of Microservices

  • Agility: Each service can deploy independently, which means less time is needed to test the entire application for any changes made to that specific service. 
  • Autonomy: Developers have the freedom to work on different languages and technologies to build different services of the same application
  • Fault Isolation: Even if one service of the application does not work, the system still continues to function 
  • Highly maintainable and testable: As each service is independent of the other, making changes to that service would not affect the rest of the product’s codebase, resulting in easier maintenance and faster testing. 
  • Easy to scale up: Individual components can scale as per need, there is no need to scale all components together

Microservice Disadvantages

Microservices are not without their disadvantages, however. 

Microservices add networking complexity. With microservices, businesses must figure out how each service ties into each other at the macro level. While individual unit development is much simpler, the overall system does become more complex.

Whether or not this complexity is equal to, less than, or even higher than the monolith requires an investigation of a business current situation. Adopting microservices for a single-use, single-deployment application, for example, could easily be more complicated and would warrant a monolithic approach instead. It all comes down to the project scope. Microservices will generally be less complicated at the micro-level, yet and equally sophisticated on the whole.

What about changes that affect an entire system? A monolith can be updated as a whole because everything is tied together inexorably. However, since a microservice architecture is distributed, updates across the entire system (such as adopting a new version of a chosen language or protocol) can be more expensive. Solving these issues at an enterprise scale will likely require a management layer. 

Should business transform from monolithic development to microservices? 

The answer is not completely yes. It depends on your business system and goals/

Nowadays, monolithic development is regarded as a precursor to microservices and would be replaced. However, this is not entirely accurate. The monolith does have a reason for existing, and in many cases, is still an appropriate solution. The monolith once became popular for a reason, its requirements were small to start, and its performance was often excellent due to the nature of singular demand on memory and processing.

While the monolith has become less popular due to the difficulties of deployment and iteration, there are still many use cases where this is an appropriate approach to take. A monolith is essentially tightly coupled. But, when an application is meant for a single purpose and has to be coupled, this is not a negative.

There is still value in constructing a monolith. For that reason, it is better to consider the relationship between monoliths and microservices akin to API design styles. In the same way, even as many enterprise users have moved from the monolith to the microservice collection due to several benefits to earn, analyze your system and goal for a proper decision

With loads of experience in software development with microservice, TPS Software is able to provide deep insights on the topic. In case you are considering to implement a microservice project, contact us now for a free consultation