By Venkata K. and Reuben M.
As emerging technologies continue to evolve, so too does the IT industry as it figures out new, innovative ways to develop and deliver applications. We’ve come a long ways from back on June 21, 1948, when computer scientist Tom Kilburn ran the first piece of monolithic software as it performed mathematical calculations via machine code on the Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine – aka “Baby”. Fast forward just over 73 years and we’ve moved into ubiquitous cloud-native environments leveraging DevSecOps and AIOps as more standard development and operational best practices. One of the most significant progressions in this continuously evolving development journey is the pivot towards microservices. But before we dive deeper, it helps to set the stage and ensure we have a baseline understanding of microservices.
What are Microservices?
Microservices are software-developed small services that perform a specific business function or task over web interfaces. Microservices are built on cloud-native architectures that are autonomous, independently deployable services, and communicate with one another over a combination of defined APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).
Evolution of Microservices
The term “micro web services” was used in a conference on cloud computing in 2005 by Dr. Peter Rogers. “Microservices” were discussed in a software architects’ workshop held near Venice in 2011. In March 2012, James Lewis presented a case study on various microservices concepts at 33rd Degree in Krakow.
Today, microservices are gaining momentum due to the fact that conservative monolithic architectures are no longer able to support the growing technology and performance needs of many organizations. With the increased focus on containerization and cloud computing solutions, microservices are being developed and deployed easily on different platforms using various programming languages.
In fact, a February 2021 report from Market Research Future indicated that industry use of microservices architectures is expected to rise at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17% through 2023, reaching $33 billion.
Additionally, a 2021 IBM survey reinforces the fact that microservices are here to stay. Within the next two years, 56% of current non-users are likely to adopt microservices, 78% of users will increase their investment in microservices, and 59% of all applications will be created with microservices.
How Microservices Work
In a monolithic architecture, users interact with the presentation layer, which then talks to the business logic and database layers, and information travels back up the stack to the end user. A monolithic architecture adds risk for application availability because it creates many single points of failures.
Microservices, however, break down the monolithic application into more granular functional services, thus providing the ability to quickly update the code of a single function in the application. The failure points are independent of each other in the application and thus helps mitigate broader application failure.
How Microservices Manage Data
Microservices are typically developed to perform a single purpose, and are thus simple and autonomous. The shared database is a coupling point for the microservice, causing them to be interdependent as opposed to independent. Microservices leverage database services through defined APIs and manage their own data in private data stores.
Microservices Data Management
Benefits of Microservices
Leveraged by industry leading corporations such as Netflix, Amazon, Uber, Twitter, PayPal, Spotify, and LinkedIn – among many others – microservices are rapidly gaining traction as a best practice for the host of benefits they provide, a few which include the following.
- Agility: Microservices can be adapted rapidly and are easily reusable.
- Flexible Scaling: Microservices are individually scaled to meet demand for the application and are also extremely cost-effective.
- Individual Deployment: As independent components, microservices can be quickly fixed with little downtime, thus frequent updates can be done with minimal risk.
- Technological Choice: Microservices leverage the most current technologies, thus teams can choose the right tool to develop microservices and standardize the technology where it makes sense.
- Small Services: Microservices are easier to understand and the underlying code can easily be rewritten.
ActioNet and Microservices
The benefits are compelling and the increased use of microservices across the enterprise is a development game changer. ActioNet is helping our clients in their digital transformation journeys to increasingly leverage microservices as they pivot to the cloud in alignment with their infrastructure modernization mandates. By providing a rapid means to deploy smaller business functions in a more flexible and real-time manner with a lower risk profile across a distributed cloud-based infrastructure, microservices will continue to be a valuable design decision organizations must consider incorporating when building modern applications.