5 Benefits of Migrating to a Microservice Architecture
In today’s Internet driven marketplace, speed and agility have become significant keys to success. Internet “unicorns” like Netflix, Amazon and Twitter are having great success maintaining their profitability and industry leadership using Microservices to build distributed applications that are highly flexible, agile and scalable. Microservices is a software architecture where complex applications are built using building blocks that are small, independent processes communicating with each over language-agnostic APIs – somewhat analogous to the old UNIX program “files” and “pipes.” Microservices are small, highly decoupled services focused on doing small tasks.
Developing applications in Microservices architecture offers a number of significant benefits.
1 – Developer Productivity & Agility
The size and complexity of a Microservice is very small compared to a huge, monolithic legacy application. A Microservice also has a bounded context and is loosely coupled to other services. In addition, decomposing what used to be a monolithic application into a collection of small processes/functions drastically reduces code complexity and enhances programming productivity. It also makes it easier to scale development with multiple teams where each team owns an independent portion of the application which can run as a service on its own. The only key important piece they need to know is how to interact with other services. Most significantly, as the size and risk of change reduces, the rate of change increases which enables greater agility and faster time-to-market.
2 – Deployment Flexibility
Because they are loosely coupled to other services, Microservices are independently versioned and independently deployable which greatly reduces the risk of failures that are inherent in large, monolithic applications. Furthermore, the loose coupling to other services reduces the dependency of developers on other teams and provides them with the agility to release and test new features, virtually on-demand, as new requirements and user stories come in from the customer. Perhaps most importantly, Microservices is a key enabler for DevOps continuous delivery core principle.
Microservice architecture also allows deployment flexibility in terms of hardware choices for the individual services. Some services may be compute-intensive while others may be IO-intensive or memory-intensive. Instead of deploying a whole application on a high performance computing hardware type, Microservices can be deployed to different hardware configuration servers to maximize computing power. This gives way to adopt a cloud platform to maximize cost, performance, and ability to scale out on demand without affecting any systems at all.
3 – Scalability
Microservice architecture allows scalability independence, so that only the services that need to scale do it independently from the other Microservices, instead of the whole application scaling –which can save a lot of computing resources. For example, if there is more traffic to a search service compared to an authentication service, just the search service scales. Due to their size, deployment flexibility and bounded context, Microservices are easier to scale and faster to instantiate than large, monolithic applications.
4 – Identify and Fix Issues Faster
Decomposing and deploying the applications into smaller services reduces the time to identify and mean time to fix failures (MTF). Furthermore, it allows fault isolation (ex: memory leaks), as well as the reduction of the attack surface area due to any security vulnerabilities that may exist in the code.
5 – Technology Stack Independence
Loosely coupled Microservices also removes many technology stack constraints enabling developers to be able to choose the programming language that they are most comfortable with and that’s most appropriate for the service. This makes it easy to replace the service when better technologies become available. For example, one Microservice could be written in Java while another could be written in node.js. As better patterns evolve in each stack, the code can be easily refactored and redeployed.