Microservices architecture style is an approach to developing a monolithic application as a suite of small services, each running in its own process and communicating with lightweight mechanisms, often an HTTP resource API. These services are built around business capabilities and independently deployable by fully automated deployment machinery. There is a bare minimum of centralized management of these services, which may be written in different programming languages and use different data storage technologies.
Microservices architectures borrow a design aesthetic from Domain Driven Design called the Bounded Context. A bounded context encapsulates all internal details of that domain and has explicit integration points with other bounded contexts. Microservices architecture combines the logical DDD bounded context into physical architecture. In other words, in microservices architectures, the bounded context is also a physical context.
The DevOps revolution highlighted how much inadvertent friction an outdated operations mindset can cause, starting the move towards automating manual tasks. By automating chores like provisioning and deployments, it suddenly became cheap to make changes that used to be expensive. This new capability was harnessed to build architectures that fully embraced the operational aspects of the application design. The microservices architecture style prioritizes operational concerns as one of the key aspects of the architecture.
Let’s look at a few benefits we get by implementing DevOps and Microservices:
- Helps distributed teams spread across the globe: Microservices consulting firms enable you to organize the development effort around multiple teams. Each team owns and is responsible for one or more single services. Each team can develop, deploy and scale their services independently of all of the other teams.
- Microservices architecture makes changes less expensive: Since each service is operationally encapsulated, it frees development teams to change implementation details without worrying about inadvertent side effects that affect other services because of shared infrastructure. If each element in your architecture is decoupled, having fine-grained elements allows you to make small, evolutionary changes. DevOps and Microservices strive for integration coupling but no physical coupling. The goal is both encapsulated behavior and ease of operational change.
- Practicing continuous deployment of applications: Each service can be developed and deployed independently
- Highly scalable and available: Since an application is composed of multiple micro services which share no external dependencies, scaling a particular micro service instance in the flow is greatly simplified. If a particular microservice in the flow becomes a bottleneck due to slow execution, that microservice can be run on more powerful hardware for increased performance if required, or one can run multiple instances of the Microservices on different machines to process data elements in parallel.
- Embrace emerging technologies: Eliminates any long-term commitment to a technology stack. When developing a new service, you can pick a new technology stack. Similarly, when making major changes to an existing service, you can rewrite it using a new technology stack.
Along with benefits, microservices also has its challenges:
- Complexity in creating a distributed system
- Inter service communication mechanism
- Maintaining data consistency
- Integrated testing of multiple microservices
- Maintenance of large number of services
DevOps and Microservices bring an evolutionary change, but it’s for each one of us to weigh the benefits against the complexities and design the solution. It is important to work with a good microservices consulting firm who can simplify the DevOps journey for you.
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