A large number of apps used on a daily basis (online banking, entertainment services like YouTube, etc.) are often developed with multiple different technologies that somehow get along as a whole and, at the same time, do not look fragmented.
It is possible to achieve this because the mentioned apps are based on microservices architecture – a new approach that allows creating, developing, and operating distributed information systems consisting of multiple independent components.
What Is Microservices Architecture?
Microservices architecture is an alternate software architecture design that implies splitting the source app into a large number of smaller services that each perform a specific small function.
Every microservice has its own life cycle, includes its own special technology stack, implements an independent data model, and is developed and gets deployed independently from other parts of the system.
The following diagram illustrates the differences between a traditional Monolith application and an application using a Microservices Architecture.
The services do not interact with each other directly and do not utilize common databases. It is done to enable developers to change each component separately and avoid affecting other components.
The services are packed into containers that use the current operating system kernel and share it among themselves. Docker is the most renowned among the containers. Using it, you can run processes in an isolated environment.
Each microservice is a small monolithic app performing its function. You can add any number of new microservices to the software product, expanding its functionality. To achieve a similar effect in monolithic software, it is necessary to make changes to the main product.
[Reactive Microservices Architecture on AWS]
The microservices approach is more about how teams work together to create large and complex software products than it is about technology.
Microservices Architecture Benefits and Disadvantages
The ability to quickly respond to brisk technology development and changes in end users’ needs is one of the key requirements for modern IT companies.
Since microservices architecture is based on business service-oriented organization of code, it is the best choice to use when developing corporate solutions in the current market conditions.
Benefits of Microservices Architecture Implementation:
- Quick development. Since each microservice is a separate project, you can distribute a number of them among development teams virtually as you wish. You can get new professionals involved in the process more easily because they do not have to study the system as a whole and they can work only on their part.
- Quick changes. It is far quicker and easier to introduce changes to one of the microservices rather than to change the entire monolithic application and completely restart its infrastructure.
- Scalability. To increase system performance, it is possible to expand only those services that will be involved.
- Updating capabilities. You can increase the functionality by creating new modules and avoid overwriting the existing apps.
- Reduced platform dependency. Rather than binding your app components to a single software platform, you can use only those tools that solve a specific problem the best.
- Improved stability. Microservices architecture allows creating a product that maintains its performance level even if a number of components go wrong, and this feature minimizes the change-related risks.
- The possibility to experiment with new technologies. If something does not work as it should, it is possible to simply proceed to the newer version, and the system as a whole will remain operational. The ability to quickly implement new technologies is a crucial aspect for startups.
Microservices architecture is not suitable for all projects as this approach has several drawbacks (disadvantages):
- Data exchange. The distributed systems have one obvious disadvantage – it is difficult to choose reliable communication protocols to ensure maximally efficient and fast interaction between the components.
- Higher project costs. The need to service the whole group of apps entails overhead costs.
- Integration complexity. Developers have to step up their efforts to ensure high-quality integration between different modules.
- Requirements for specialists. This approach requires a lot of developer attention and skill. They have to do a lot before releasing the first service: think the infrastructure over, get a sense of the data transfer protocol, configure the deployment pipelines, and solve a number of other problems.
Bearing all these points in mind, the following approach is often put into practice: developers start with monolithic software and gradually separate microservices from it. In this case, a significant part of the initial release may remain as a core in the microservices architecture, but the main part of the new development will take place in services, leaving the monolithic software without significant changes.
Microservices are not an ideal choice. It is more like one of the options, and therefore, you have to comprehend when it is best to utilize them. If the task is highly specialized and one small team will develop it, you should probably opt for a monolithic software product.
However, if you have a fairly broad solution on your hands, and you plan to develop it in different directions, you should think of microservices architecture first of all. In most cases, its advantages will significantly outweigh its disadvantages.
If you switch from monolithic architecture to microservices, your business will become more mobile and flexible. Your company will receive an application tool able to quickly adjust to your business needs, providing you with the opportunity to rapidly respond to market changes.
If you are considering this option for your business now, you can always contact us and get advice. The Lvivity experts will perform a detailed analysis and offer you the ultimate solution, taking all of your business needs into account.