Microservices are the next evolution in Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). When combined with Microsoft Azure Cloud Services, they form a power-packed technology that can provide scalable, nimble, agile and highly-available services.
This enables organizations to build applications they can continuously enhance and scale without any downtime. This ultimately can help organizations improve operational efficiencies, among other benefits.
The need for microservices
The increased interest in microservices as shown in the image below is due to the fact that conservative monolithic architecture, including SOA, is no longer able to address the growing technology and performance needs of many organizations. 1
The increased size of organizations (in technology and number of employees) globally has led to applications with increased functionalities, which has escalated operational and server workloads. This has created many challenges, one of which is how to make the applications’ components more lightweight.
Evolution of platforms
Microservices are a new way of dispersed computing that are the result of migrations from several other architectural designs, as depicted in the image below.
After discovering the limitations of mainframe architecture, developers began putting all the pieces of an application into a single deployment unit, which came to be known as the monolithic approach. Monolithic architecture contained all the business operations and rules of platform deployment. This was known as a three-tier structure.
Over time this basic structure of architecture evolved into what is known as N-tier architecture, which has more than three discrete tiers. But developers faced challenges in scaling the tiers of both types of platforms as users began to increase, finally reaching a bottleneck where databases couldn’t be scaled any more.
As functionalities weren’t separated, the applications started consuming more resources from the server leading to a dearth of resources for rest of the functionalities.
Microservices to the rescue
This is where microservices can help.
Microservices’ architectural design caters to modern development issues better than the various iterations of SOA. Organizations can more quickly embrace digital transformation initiatives by adopting microservices along with Microsoft Azure Cloud, including scalability and agility, as seen in the image below.2
Microservices enable building that’s not constrained to a monolithic environment. As a result, they offer many new benefits that can help developers more easily build new solutions or restructure existing ones.
For example, they enable developers working on different portions of a system to use different technologies so they can code independently. As a result, there are no longer constraints on a particular technology stack, and developers can introduce new tech stacks just for one service. That also means that each service a developer builds can manage its own database and the various functions and operations can be reused for future development.
Microservices also reduces the scope of deployment for applications by enabling the components of the system to be moved around, e.g. to Azure cloud platform or hybrid (cloud + on-premise). As a result, the modified module can be deployed without disrupting the rest of the modules.
Some of the benefits of microservices architecture include:
- Language-agnostic: Microservices can be used with any new technology with a few minor tweaks.
- DevOps: Microservices architecture continues to evolve to the latest development methodologies and processes. DevOps, or the combination of Development and IT Operations helps steer smooth functioning of applications based on microservices.
- Tech vendor support: Many technology vendors support microservices because of their flexibility and reliability. As a result, many enterprises are pushing IT decision makers to adopt microservices because of such available vendor support.
- Brand recognition and acceptance: Big brands, including Netflix, Amazon, Twitter, SoundCloud, and others, have adopted microservices and shared information and insights about the tools with the technology community. Such real-world examples have raised the acceptance of microservices among other organizations.
- No shared resources: In previous service architecture designs, the main focus was on shared resources. The complications of having shared resources were that each service shared a monolithic database. Hence, using microservices’ architectural design enables each service to be functionally encapsulated. This gives developers liberty to tweak microservices without having to think about complexities that will influence other services because of shared resources.
Looking to learn how you can utilize microservices to help modernize your applications or drive innovation? Our Emtec technology experts can help. Contact us to learn more.