Advantages of Microservices Architecture

Advantages of Microservices Architecture
Photo by Mohammad Rahmani / Unsplash

Software development is an ever-evolving process. It demands constant innovation and improvements to meet the growing needs of users and businesses. Today, every software organization would like to embrace DevOps culture. DevOps has completely revolutionized the way software is built and delivered. In the world of DevOps, microservices architecture came along as an added advantage. Containerized apps helped organizations deliver software much more efficiently. And Docker opened the road to these improvements.

Simply put, microservices transformed organizations into efficient software delivery machines. And it helped make their services much more reliable and easier to scale up and down according to demand.

This blog post will teach you about the important benefits of microservices architecture. But first, let's look at the old model, the monolithic architecture. What problems did that have? Why was there a need to replace it?

Common Challenges with Monolithic Architecture

Imagine a company needs to implement 100 functions for their business. With a monolithic architecture, they implement these in a single app. Or they configure a single server to implement all of those things. They basically put all their eggs in one basket.

While monolithic architecture worked well in the past, it is not a preferred architectural style today as it poses many business challenges. For example, what happens if the app or server malfunctions? All of those 100 functions go down. Or what if they need to update 1 out of 100 functions? They might need to interrupt services while they update one thing. Again, 100 functions are not available for some time, since they're all packed together. This can cause customer and business issues due to reduced productivity and downtimes.

Now compare this to microservices. A company can make 1 microservice for each function. So they can have 100 microservices. Now if 1 service breaks down, just 1 function is lost. If they need to update 1 function, only 1 microservice needs to be paused. The other 99 out of 100 will still work. This adds a lot of flexibility. The company can update stuff more easily. And those services will be more reliable. If one thing crashes, the other microservices will still work. And it's easier to restart one microservice than restart a huge monolithic app.

What is Microservices Architecture?

The microservices approach was born out of the need for organizations to break up their monolithic applications into more manageable components and deliver new features faster. Microservices architecture is an approach to developing a single application as a suite of small services, loosely coupled, each running in their own process. These services can be written in different programming languages. Then, they communicate with each other using APIs, application programming interfaces. Also, these services can be developed and deployed independently. As a result, the microservices architecture helps developers move faster as they don't need to wait for other developers to finish their tasks.

Now, teams can build and deploy their own microservices with reduced risk and increased speed. Simply put, it's easier to build 10 small apps with 1 or 2 functions rather than a single app with 20 functions.

Why do Microservices Matter for Your Company?

A long time back, the trend was all about monolithic software architectures. It made sense back then. We did not have the useful cloud solutions we have today. So it was much harder to build microservices. But developing and deploying monolithic architectures was slow and inconvenient. It is harder to scale them, and they are harder to maintain and update. Also, bugs can be harder to trace and fix in monolithic apps. Hence, microservices architecture was introduced to solve some of these problems. The huge monolith was divided into many smaller, autonomous pieces. And they were developed and deployed independently. This isolates them better from each other. So a problem in one service has fewer chances to impact other services negatively. Bug tracking can sometimes be easier as well since each service is much smaller.

In today’s digital world, businesses must remain agile to meet customer demands and conduct business operations in real-time. As a result, companies need to develop new applications and features and bring them to the market faster. With the rise of cloud-based services and the Internet of Things (IoT), microservices architectures have become popular for building scalable and reliable software applications.

With microservices, companies can deliver software solutions much faster.

How to Adopt Microservices Architecture?

When implementing a microservices architecture, you must understand your organization’s needs and the type of problems you want to solve. Next, determine which features would be better served by smaller and autonomous services. The next step is to create a plan for the transition to microservices and manage the process to ensure the transition is successful. This may take some time, especially if your organization has never used this type of architecture before.

Once you have decided to adopt the microservices architecture, it is also essential to know how to package and ship your services. This is where Docker comes into play. Docker is a platform for packaging and running your applications inside containers. This makes them perfect for hosting microservices.

The other important aspect after Docker is to know how and where these services should be deployed, for scalability and reliability. The obvious answer is usually Kubernetes. It makes it easy to scale microservices up or down. And it ensures your services remain healthy, so you can avoid downtimes. Finally, each microservice can be built and deployed independently. Which means you'll have a lot of them. Manual deployment would be hard. So you must automate. Have a strong continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) process in place.

Examples of Microservices Pattern Adopted by Successful Companies

Many successful companies, such as Amazon, Netflix, Etsy, UBER etc., have adopted the microservices architecture. Amazon had a monolithic application pattern. When Amazon became too big as a company, it experienced several challenges, such as development delays, and scaling issues. So in 2001 Amazon decided to break its huge monolithic application pattern into microservices (Source).

Image Credits: Werner Vogels on Twitter

Netflix is an even more famous example. It started its microservices journey around 2008, when it experienced a severe loss due to database corruption. Netflix decided to remove the single points of failure and move to a microservices design architecture (Source).

Image Source: Netflix Global Cloud Architecture

75 billion database calls in a day made eBay take the decision to divide its big monolithic application into microservices, to handle the ever growing traffic and database calls (Source: eBay Architecture).

Similarly, UBER entered the market with cab services offering for a single city. And then the business took off like a rocket. UBER started facing challenges with their scalability and decided to move from a monolithic architecture to the microservices architecture.

Image Credits: UBER’s microservices architectural style

Other examples of companies that went through a similar process: Spotify, Walmart, PayPal, Airbnb, Coca-Cola, Twitter. They all moved to microservices architecture and are now enjoying the benefits.

Conclusion

The demand for new digital experiences continues to rise. Developers and software architects must find new ways to create software that can keep pace with changing customer expectations. Microservices are the answer to tackle the architectural complexities of software. They provide an approach where services are small, independent, and focused on a specific business problem. They are also a great way to meet the new challenges of fast, easy scaling, and uptime. Microservices are here to stay, and a thorough understanding of this architectural style is the need of the hour. In this highly competitive cloud-native ecosystem, developers need to upgrade their skills. One such skill with microservices is knowing how to deploy them using Docker and Kubernetes. KodeKloud has easy-to-understand courses on both Docker and Kubernetes. You can check these out by following these links:

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