How Microservices and Cloud-Native Architecture Benefit Business
Traditional IT architecture deals in monoliths: each part of the system heavily leans on the other, forming one tightly coupled block of data and service. These massive infrastructures, containing all the connections, functionality and services of applications in lengthy blocks of programming code, have been the classic approach to building IT infrastructures. Adding or altering features in this system is more complex as an organization grows. Monolithic structures fail to provide flexibility, create significant overhead and pose an extra level of complexity in operations.
Business requirements all around the world are changing: markets are more dynamic than ever before, competitors are global instead of just domestic, and customers require personalization. A successful company today needs to find a way to be fast, agile and efficient to keep the pace with all the demands placed on it.
Cloud-native architecture and microservices do not just add to the current IT infrastructure. These technologies completely re-imagine the information network within an organization, opening the door with new possibilities and providing a new set of advantages monolithic architectures cannot deliver. Speed, flexibility, efficiency are no-longer an unrealistic fantasy, but an achievable reality.
Most of us would not use a Ferrari (if we had one) just to go to the nearest mall. Similarly, we should not just use the cloud to move our colossal architectures from on-premise to the cloud. We need to see that cloud opens a brand new door of possibilities when it comes to increased IT and business flexibility and speed of response.
Cloud-native development means that we take into consideration the characteristics and nature of the cloud. We consider the cloud as an “open book,” filled with possibilities; instead of trying to jury-rig the old IT infrastructure inside the new digital environment. We look at the distributed nature of the cloud and apply this thinking to our software development. What are the individual services, applications, and functions we can distribute to end-users through the cloud? Separating applications into common functional components leads us to create microservices.
What are Microservices?
Microservices are shared software components that, when connected to each other, have and may even supercede the functionality of the legacy systems they are replacing. These modules complete separate tasks when called upon.
Many high-profile companies like Netflix, eBay, Amazon, Twitter, and PayPal use microservices to remain top leaders and innovators in their respective fields.
For example, a microservice within an e-commerce function could mean just calculating the tax on a product, or listing product features when requested. Microservices function separately from each other, which also means they can be developed, scaled, and deployed independently.
They communicate with each other through a well-defined interface using lightweight Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), which lace microservices together. Supporting the microservices architecture are container ecosystems, such as ECS or Kubernetes. A container is a standard unit of software- a microservice- that packages up the code and all of its dependencies. It is a lightweight, standalone executable package of software, which includes in an efficient package everything for the application to run: code, runtime, system tools, and settings. Containers, alias microservices need to be orchestrated and connected to provide one aligned yet diverse application.
Benefits of Microservices
Agile development and deployment
Microservices make it possible for small DevOps teams to efficiently focus on specific application functionality, and take charge in developing and deploying their project dynamically. Developers achieve a deep understanding of specific business functions with a faster and more frequent deployment of updates.
Microservices are allowed to scale and optimize according to the business need at any given moment, which means resilience and availability in peak times for individual services. In practice, this means, that if your website is experiencing high purchase volume of a certain item, only the microservices involved in the buyer journey of the specific item will get the necessary computing power according to traffic. Auto-scaling of microservices assures maximum optimization of resources, increasing efficiencies by aligning the required computing power to the individual components.
Freedom in code
Programmers can code microservices in the languages of their choice. The functionality of each microservice is code-independent. The code can be re-used and adjusted to different microservices, increasing efficiency in development.
The expertise of developers in their own areas results in higher-quality code and fewer bugs. The cloud-native architecture also means resilience to failures. In the case of downtime, containers are migrated automatically to another server keeping the microservices running smooth.
Using microservices allows the company to review the business processes, and keep only necessary functions for high performance. For example, one large company revised its ERP system with the help of microservices. It discovered it only needed 30 services from the original 120 functions that were actually critical to operations.
If you also wish to improve your productivity, and fully leverage cloud benefits, contact the team at Cloud Life Services to find out more.