One of the most underrated benefits of cloud computing is that applications that access the cloud or provide a service via a network can communicate in real-time and, at the same time, be hosted on the different servers. Coordination of this communication is the real core of the infrastructure through API’s, and it is the key feature of the service-oriented architecture (SOA).
But what about a microservice architecture? Does it imply the same thing as SOA? Let’s take a look at the specifics of the microservices.
The Background to Service-Level Architecture
A decade ago, the services people were using back then were much different compared to modern technologies. Queues at a bank or hospital used to be longer, and if you ordered something say, on eBay or early Amazon, it would probably take a couple of days to get shipped to your door.
One of the reasons for such inefficiency was that most companies used a monolithic architecture to render their services. With the tech boom of the early 2000s, enterprises began exploring their options to streamline the services and keep control of their networks, databases, and frameworks.
The thing is, a monolithic architecture not only makes scalability a problem, but it also turns error resolution and fixing of the downtimes into a nightmare. As these networks consist of dependent parts operating as a single whole, any small problem would turn tremendous in a short time, if not solved quickly.
Then, a microservices architecture was created. This method basically promotes independence through co-dependence, allowing building single-function modules with well-defined communication. And that’s how the new era began.
Microservices: Independent & Collaborative Architecture
In a microservice architecture, some independent solutions represent specific business units or functionalities. This modularity allows each service to be autonomous and dependent at the same time.
Have you ever wondered how any enterprise can collect all this information from millions of users, rapidly organize it, and intelligently communicate to multiple servers? This efficiency is possible because of the microservices. The autonomous modules within the microservice architecture can communicate through API.
Thus, a service-level request doesn’t have to be updated on every module, only on the needed ones. The benefits of implementing microservices offer businesses many advantages:
· Each microservice is responsible for its data model, thus, allowing to manage specific functions separately.
· Modules communicate when needed, and API gateways allow for response aggregation.
· The microservice architecture makes it easier for collecting statistics on data and service interactions, as well as recording patterns.
· Separate teams can deploy and launch different modules within the microservice architecture independently, thanks to Agile methodology.
· Technical problems on separate microservices can be solved quickly without affecting the entire network.
Main Features of Microservice Architecture
Microservice architecture is often confused with the more general SOA, as both differ greatly from the monolithic method. However, microservices have some unique variations and distinctive features to note:
· The loose coupling concept is important in software development because it allows the minimization of dependencies between modules within the architecture, thus, allowing changing components without relaunching the whole system.
· Such an architecture is highly scalable, therefore, ensuring easy maintenance.
· Each service in microservices solves a specific task. Thus, it can be developed and maintained by a hyper-focused IT team without the need to cooperate with the rest of the developers.
· Microservices allow for choosing the technology package (programming languages, databases, frameworks, among others). As long as API’s understands the basic communication protocols between required modules, each service doesn’t need to understand the language of the next one.
· A bounded context allows setting the boundary of a specific domain model, defining how services communicate and eliminating unnecessary protocols.
· Independent services have better fault tolerance and fasten time to market.
The Future of Microservices
Microservices allow transferring data across different modules within a single project that increases the functionality and speeds up the performance of the software. Suddenly, Amazon making half-a-day deliveries doesn’t seem so infeasible anymore.
Some may argue that the concept of decomposition, which refers to defining every service in its separate kernel, is not the best small apps. However, the microservice architecture is a method of creating sustainable applications of any scale, optimizing their scalability, and operational efficiency.
Nowadays, many existing technologies aim to follow the idea of segmentation and well-established communication between modules that the microservice promotes. In the future, we will see a broader adoption of microservices in DevOps practices and cloud computing tech.