In recent years, we have seen the migrations from traditional monolithic to microservices, conducted by various tech giants and mid-sized businesses. Developers now, enjoy the freedom to work on the allocated microservice or microservices without the fear of breaking down the entire system. It is not only a boon for developers but for the organization as well, as they can make their applications highly scalable and ready for market faster. In this blog, you will get a detailed understanding about Microservices.
Microservices is an architectural approach where apps are broken down into their smallest components, independent of each other. Each of this component or process is a microservice. And each microservice can be tested and deployed independently making it highly scalable. Each microservice can be written in different languages as they communicate with each other via APIs.
Unlike microservices, a typical monolithic approach involves the UI layer, business logic layer, and data access layer all bundled together in a container. Before microservices, in monolith any change or addition of a new feature was very tedious and time-consuming. Because of the poor agility, organizations have to wait for a longer period to release a new feature. Now with microservice, organizations can release a new feature as quickly as possible.
Now let's compare the microservice architecture with the traditional monolithic architecture.
If we break monolithic then we get Mono + Lithic which means single stone. In technical terms, Monolithic architecture is a software development pattern where an application created would have the user interface and data access code combined into a single program. This makes development and deployment easier as there is a single code base for every functionality.
Microservices beats monolithic in agility, flexibility, and scalability On the other hand, due to multiple teams working on different services the development cost can be much higher as compared to the monolithic approach.
Now this leaves an interesting debate as to whether to go for the microservices approach or the traditional monolithic approach for your next application. This depends on your business requirements. Every business starts with a monolithic architecture. Even if you take an example, of any of the tech giants like Amazon, Netflix, or even Indian startups like Razorpay they all have started with the monolithic approach as it will be easier to build a fully functional application using a monolithic architecture with fewer resources.
So, if you are just starting or are in the initial phase of your business then the traditional monolithic will be your go-to solution and if you are an already established business but started facing scalability issues recently then it's high time you should migrate towards microservice before your codebase becomes cluttered.
There are many benefits of using a microservice architecture. Some major benefits have been explained below.
The 12-factor is a methodology or set of principles to build scalable, performant, independent, and resilient enterprise applications which are as follows:
Microservice Architecture also comes with a few challenges.
To achieve scalability, each microservice should have its database. In a large application, like Netflix where the number of microservices can go as high as 500, maintaining data consistency becomes a nightmare because
However, to achieve data consistency we follow a pattern known as the Saga Pattern. You can read about it here.
Managing CI/CD pipelines was relatively easier in monolithic as compared to microservices. With the increased number of applications managing code repositories and CI/CD pipelines becomes much more complex.
The testing phase becomes complicated with the microservice approach as each service is a standalone application so you have to test them independently. Also, tests that involve multiple services can be complicated.
Each service is a standalone application developed using different tech stacks and they communicate with each other via APIs. For such communication, you need a proper infrastructure layer that would facilitate resource sharing across various services.
Managing such communications can be hard without using automation and advanced methodologies such as Agile. You would need DevOps tools such as CI/CD servers, configuration management platforms, and application performance management (APM) tools to manage the network.
Microservice Architecture is great when it comes to scalability and releasing new features rapidly however it is one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is to design an effective microservice architecture while keeping challenges in mind for your application so that it does not backfire and for that, you need an expert team that will help you in this process.
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