The previous article in this series highlighted that monolithic architecture is not a viable solution for modern applications with multiple moving parts. However, it may still be suitable for smaller teams with simpler applications that have minimal complexity. Even in these cases, the tightly coupled nature of all units in the application can result in slower release cycles and longer development times, making it less efficient in the long run.
And that made this single-repo architecture less useful, which is why only 1.5% of engineering leaders plan to stick with it. At that point, it became clear that there was a need for a modular software architecture that could meet the needs of today's users, help businesses grow, and speed up the development cycle as a whole.
The process of "modularized" development involves making separate "modules" for different parts of your application or code. That’s where microservices come in. Microservices are a way to build software applications as a group of small, independent services that are only loosely linked to each other. Instead of building a monolithic application that does everything, you build a set of small services, each responsible for a specific business capability. In modern software development, they are popular because they work better for distributed systems, cloud-native apps, and continuous delivery.
Microservices as a Solution
According to McKinsey, “the shift from monoliths to microservices is one of the crucial shifts that old and established companies should make to stay relevant.”
As companies like Amazon, Netflix, and SoundCloud grew, they faced limitations in their existing monolithic architecture. This made them focus on re-architecting their systems, and they found that scaling through microservices was the best way to do it.
Data source: Allied Market Research
Let’s have a look at how microservices are solving the problems that surfaced by using a monolithic approach:
Reducing Complexity in Service Development, Operation, and Management
Even a simple change in a monolithic architecture requires a long review cycle because the entire solution must be tested. Over time, the modularity of a monolithic application tends to deteriorate, making it increasingly difficult to modify merely a tiny portion of an application.
The independent service nature makes both the development and deployment easier since the services are independent as well as autonomous. Because the instantiation of additional services is performed independently, scaling a multi-repo architecture is much easier.
Simplifying to Minimize Functional Overload
In a monolithic application, whenever you have to add new functionality to a component of the application, it often becomes overloaded, causing functional bloating in the app. This complicates the solution or application and increases the demand on the system.
Microservices architecture promotes the design of small, independent services, each one handling a single business function. This helps to prevent functional bloat, which is the tendency for software to accumulate unnecessary features and functions over time. Because each service is self-contained and focused on a specific task, there is less risk of it becoming overly complex or difficult to maintain.
Enhancing Agility in Responding to Market Dynamics and New Market Opportunities
Effective operation of the microservices architecture is achieved through collaboration between the business unit and the development team. This collaborative effort allows for individual microservices to be adapted or modified to meet the specific needs of a business unit without impacting the requirements of other business units within the organization.
a. No requirement for large infrastructure
Even a small change to a monolithic application requires a big investment in a development environment. But because microservices focus on individual services, they tend to be smaller. This means that they can even be built in small environments.
b. Time and cost are significantly reduced
Even for small changes, testing a large enterprise application takes a lot of time and resources. A microservices architecture with fewer application dependencies and simple APIs will immediately cut application maintenance time and cost.
c. Testing a modular app is easier
Testing is simplified using microservices. Due to its simplified design, reviewing its source code is less of a hassle.
Aligned with the modern DevOps practices
DevOps culture promotes collaboration and eliminates silos between development and operations by utilizing autonomous teams responsible for the entire life cycle of an application. The independent nature of microservices aligns well with this approach, allowing for easy implementation, while monoliths are incompatible with adopting a DevOps culture.
Microservices also work well with CI/CD practices, which involve multiple distributed teams working on a controlled codebase and continuously integrating and deploying code that has been integrated.
Leveraging cloud computing for elastic workload distribution
The microservices architecture is a perfect match for the cloud, unlocking its full potential for scalability and robustness. With their ability to operate independently, microservices can be deployed and run anywhere, making the cloud the ideal destination for expanding the application.
Gartner predicts that by 2025, 90% of businesses will adopt a multi-cloud strategy to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Additionally, enterprise mobility will be enhanced through the use of microservices architecture in cloud adoption, which will provide increased connectivity, agility, and scalability.
Whether you need to add more instances to handle more demand or add new, separate services to make your application work better, the cloud is the place to go for all of your application's growth needs.
Scalability Through Elasticity
Microservices are a better way to do things because they allow services to be built and deployed in parallel and independently. This makes them the best choice for any mid-sized business looking for the right way to scale up their application.
In a recent study by O'Reilly, it was revealed that an overwhelming majority of companies, 72% to be exact, have taken the leap into the realm of microservices. And the results speak for themselves, with a staggering 92% reporting success in their endeavors.
The solution is engineered to be resilient through the elastic deployment of parallel service instances and highly agile due to the ability to independently modify individual services to quickly respond to new requirements without disrupting the functionality of other services. This architecture can provide flexibility, scalability, and efficient management of large-scale applications, making it perfect for complex and changing environments.
Although microservices architecture may not be the optimal solution for every problem, it can be a powerful choice for situations that can take advantage of its constraint of service independence.
What Is Microservices Architecture?
Microservices architecture is an approach to software development where you break down a complex application into smaller, self-contained services that operate independently. Each service focuses on a specific task and communicates with others through APIs. This approach allows for greater flexibility, scalability, and easier maintenance, but it also brings challenges in managing the interactions between services.
What are the benefits of a microservices architecture?
Benefits of microservices include scalability, rapid development, technology flexibility, fault isolation, and improved fault tolerance. They enable independent service deployment and maintenance, fostering agility and resilience in complex applications.
When should we use microservices architecture?
Microservices architecture is beneficial when you have a complex application with evolving requirements, a need for rapid development and deployment, scalability demands, and a desire for technology diversity. It's also useful when your team can handle the increased operational complexity, such as managing multiple services and ensuring effective communication between them.