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Development of microservices

Microservice architecture – basic features

Microservice is an architectural approach to software development where applications consist of smaller, loosely coupled and independently deployable services that communicate using standard protocols (eg HTTP) and function as a single system. Typically, each microservice focuses on a single function and uses a minimal amount of information to communicate with other services.

This kind of software organization allows organizations to implement new functionalities faster and adapt to market demands, far more efficiently than in the case of a monolithic architecture, in which the entire application is built as a single entity. Basic features of microservices include:

Autonomy:

each service component in a microservices architecture can be developed, deployed, managed and scaled without affecting the functioning of other services and can be updated without affecting the rest of the application. Services do not need to share code or implementation with other services.

Specialization:

 each service focuses on solving a specific problem. If developers add more code to a service over time and it becomes complex, it can be broken down into components of less complexity.

Agility:

microservices foster the organization of small, independent teams that take ownership of their services. Teams operate in a small and well-understood context and can work more independently and faster. This shortens the development cycle time.

Flexible scaling:

Microservices allow each service to scale independently to meet the demand for the application functionality it supports.

Easy integration:

Microservices enable continuous integration and continuous delivery, making it easier to try out new ideas, easier to update code, and faster time to market for new features.

Freedom to choose a technology approach:

 Microservices architectures do not follow a “one size fits all” approach. Teams have the freedom to choose the best tool (different programming languages) to solve their specific problems.

Code reusability:

A service written for a specific function can be used as a building block for another function. Development teams can create new capabilities without writing code from scratch.

Elasticity:

 Service independence increases the application’s resilience to failure. In a monolithic architecture, if one component fails, it can cause the entire application to fail. With microservices, applications deal with complete service failure by degrading functionality and not crashing the entire application.

Business and organizational benefits:

(1) Code can be updated more easily – new features or functionality can be added without touching the entire application.

(2) Teams may use different technology stacks and different programming languages for different components.

(3) Components can be scaled independently of each other, thus reducing the costs associated with scaling entire applications.

Overall, microservices architecture thus makes applications easier and faster to develop, facilitating innovation and speeding up time to enable new features. Among the first to adopt this architecture were giants like Amazon, Uber and Netflix, as well as companies with large user bases like SoundCloud, Twitter and PayPal.

Microservices vs SOA

service-oriented differences in relation to microservices architecture; highlight the benefits of using a microservices architecture

Anyone who works in IT or cloud computing is familiar with the debate about the merits of microservices and agile applications versus Service-oriented Architecture (SOA). SOA embraces the traditional framework for building applications according to a monolithic architecture: it breaks down components into smaller parts/services, and then those services communicate with each other to meet business goals. Each module in SOA is smaller than a monolithic structure and can be used for other purposes, but due to less flexibility, implementation is not straightforward. On the other hand, microservices represent an advanced version of SOA, where services are mutually independent and elaborated in detail. If any application or function in the microservice fails, other applications and the system will continue to function without interruption.

Communication:

in microservices architecture, each service is developed independently, with its own communication protocol, while SOA implies that each service must share a common communication mechanism (enterprise service bus, ESB); at the same time, microservices use simpler messaging protocols such as HTTP/REST and JMS

Speed

 By taking advantage of sharing a common architecture, SOAs simplify development and troubleshooting. However, this also causes SOAs to perform more slowly than microservices architectures, which minimize sharing in favor of repetition.

Governance:

The shared resource nature of SOA enables the application of common data governance standards across services. The independence of microservices provides greater flexibility for each service, which can encourage better collaboration across the organization.

Storage:

SOA and microservices also differ in how storage resources are allocated. An SOA architecture typically includes a single data storage layer shared by all services within a given application, while a microservice will own a server or data storage database for any service that needs it.

Migration of traditional applications to microservices architecture – challenges and necessary expertise

The executive, sales and product teams of most modern organizations tend to be focused on speed to market. Operations teams typically value stability and customer satisfaction. Development teams, on the other hand, highly value agility, independence, ease of maintenance and the ability to innovate. So, the motivation for moving to microservices includes the organizational and technical requirements of the company that the microservice architecture can successfully respond to.
In addition to the growing complexity in all domains of IT infrastructure, the biggest challenge that IT experts face when migrating from traditional applications to the structure of microservices relates, to the greatest extent, to inherited, design-supervised solutions that imply a monolithic structure of cumbersome, hardware-demanding applications with incomplete development documentation. The direction in which these problems are solved involves the transformation of traditionally conceived applications, their packaging into virtual machines, and then into containers, in order to finally structure them into a network of connected microservices.
For some organizations, SOA architecture has been a springboard to replace monoliths, as it provides a more flexible and agile environment. SOA services can be developed and used in a large environment, but do not address the specific needs of individual enterprises that want to deal with business processes within their scope. That is why the migration from SOA architecture to microservices, which meets specific business needs, is a completely expected development direction.
However, while the advantages provided by microservice architecture, such as agility, scalability, and availability, are still undeniable, there are a number of different suboptimal implementations of microservice architectures. Numerous pitfalls and challenges along the way lead to suboptimal implementations of this architecture, which can lead teams to start thinking microservices are just another passing fad.

A large number of teams developing systems based on microservices architecture have more or less experience in SOA. And while the SOA experience helps to develop a service-oriented approach, it can also have a negative impact and lead to pitfalls such as suboptimal service granularity, excessive communication (so-called chatty applications that rely on a large number of services) and shared database constructions resources (eg. if multiple microservices are bound to the same tables in the database, so any change in the schema will result in cascading changes in other microservices, which is contrary to the basic purpose of microservices). Furthermore, constant technological improvements have caused some teams to fall into the trap of strictly technological thinking, which leads to additional complexity and performance degradation of microservices.

Therefore, we recommend that you take care of these potential problems and that you proactively deal with challenges so that all the advantages of microservices can be used effectively, that is, that you hire collaborators for these needs whose confirmed expertise provides a guarantee for the correct implementation of microservices architecture.

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