Microservice Architecture: 5 Major Benefits
Although they’ve been around for a while now, microservices are gaining popularity within continuously deployed systems. Many web giants, including Amazon, Netflix, Twitter, PayPal, The Guardian, have successfully adopted the microservice architecture. Following their footsteps, other companies are working in the same direction: away from the rigid monolith to the flexible microservice-based architecture. But what makes it so special? Does microservice architecture have any business value? Let’s find out.
Microservices vs Monolith
The microservice software architecture allows a system to be divided into a number of smaller, individual and independent services. Each service is flexible, robust, composable and complete. They run as autonomous processes and communicate with one another through APIs. Each microservice can be implemented in a different programming language on a different platform. Almost any infrastructure can run in a container which holds services encapsulated for operation. Since these containers can be operated in parallel, the existing infrastructure is easier to maintain.
In contrast to microservices, the monolithic architecture means the code’s components are designed to work together, as one cohesive unit, sharing the same memory space. The software built using a monolith approach is self-contained; its components are interconnected and interdependent. If developers want to make any changes or updates to a monolith system, they need to build and deploy the entire stack at once. It’s the same thing with scalability: the entire system, not just the modules in it, is scaled together. With the monolithic architecture it can be difficult to adopt a new technology stack, and in case you want to use a new platform or framework, you’ll have to rewrite the entire solution. Ouch.
Benefits of Microservices
Still not sure if using the microservice architecture will work for your solution? Don’t worry. We’ve compiled a list of five benefits microservices have to offer so you could make an informed decision.
Easier to Build and Maintain Apps
The key principle of microservices is simplicity. Applications become easier to build and maintain when they’re split into a set of smaller, composable fragments. Managing the code also becomes less painful because each microservice is, in fact, a separate chunk of code. Services can be implemented using different programming languages, databases and software environments. This allows each service to be deployed, rebuilt, re-deployed and managed independently. For example, if a microservice allocates too much memory or puts a heavy load on the processor, it will only affect this service. Generally speaking, any problem with a microservice will not influence the entire system and the failure of individual microservices can be compensated relatively quickly. Plus, it allows putting each microservice into production one by one easily.
Organized Around Business Capabilities
Martin Fowler highlights that microservices allow building products instead of projects. Indeed, microservice architectures invite teams to focus on building business functionality instead of writing glue code. In other words, development teams are organized around business capabilities and not technologies. This means that services are adaptable for use in multiple contexts. The same service can be reused in more than one business process or over different business channels depending on the need. Each team member is responsible for a particular service which results in building a smart, cross-functional team.
Improved Productivity and Speed
Microservices architecture tackles the problem of productivity and speed by decomposing applications into manageable services that are faster to develop. Different teams can be working on different components simultaneously without having to wait for one team to finish a chunk of work before starting theirs. And, as we’ve mentioned earlier, separate microservices are easier to locate and modify. This type of architecture is also very handy for speeding up quality assurance since each microservice can be tested individually and you can test the components that have already been developed while the programmers are working on the other ones. Nifty.
Flexibility in Using Technologies and Scalability
You do know by now that each microservice can be written using a different technology. This simplifies the selection of the most appropriate tech stack for the specific needs of your service. The microservice architecture allows decoupled services written in different programming languages to peacefully coexist with other fragments. This is also good news if you’re looking to scale your solution in the future. With microservices, you can add new components to the system painlessly or scale services separately from one another.
Autonomous, Cross-functional Teams
Microservices are a blessing for distributed teams. Carrying out the development of a massive monolith system can be complicated and messy if you’re working with divisions around the globe or extended teams. Microservices grant the developers more independence to work autonomously and make technical decisions quickly in smaller groups. So, if the solution you’re developing is expected to be large, be sure to consider the microservice architecture.
Microservices offer a unique kind of modularization; they make big solutions easier, increase productivity, offer flexibility in choosing technologies and are great for distributed teams. However, like any architectural approach, microservices have their disadvantages. Sometimes, using different languages, libraries, frameworks and data storage technologies can be intimidating and paralyzing for organizations. Plus, not every team can handle the autonomy and independence microservices offer. But if you have a large project, need quick and autonomous delivery, plan to scale your solution or need to frequently update separate parts of your system, microservices are your best bet.
It is up to you to decide which type of architecture to use for your next project. But if you’re still at a loss, Skelia will gladly help you make the best choice as well as implement the solution of your dreams, meanwhile check out our succses story – a unique microservice architecture for a Cloud-based smart irrigation platform.