Everything you need to know about microservices

March 3, 2022 - Read 5min

Microservices are being employed by more and more IT companies around the world thanks to the results they are providing in software development processes. To understand them in detail, we must first begin by understanding what they are and what the term "Microservices" refers to. The word "micro" in microservices means small applications. However, while they are independent, these applications are not always simple, as they must be as large as necessary to operate correctly or solve a particular problem. According to Microsoft, "Microservices should be designed around business capabilities, not horizontal layers such as data access or messaging." Microservices communicate with other microservices and external users through APIs to create a broader application.

Applications that are built based on microservices are composed of small, independent modules that communicate with each other through clear and defined pathways. Each microservice is focused on a single concept and its operation is refined and then merged with the others to generate a reliable, agile and adaptable end product.

The evolution of development architecture

Previously, in the era of IBM mainframe computers and the market dominance of Microsoft Windows operating systems, corporate IT environments used monolithic architecture as the development model for their applications. This is governed by the use of a structure in which all functional aspects of the software are coupled into a single program, always seeking the maximum degree of cohesiveness between modules on a single server. This ensured a good performance of the final product, but made the subsequent processes of maintenance, adaptability and extensibility of the applications very limited.

Faced with the need for more agile, scalable and modifiable products, this architecture gradually evolved towards microservices. This change in the way of developing products was initially born in the open-source communities and from there external developers and emerging companies began to adopt this approach in their projects and also began to contribute code to extend the basic functions of the most widely used web server platforms. Over time, large technology companies began to see the benefits of microservices architecture and eventually migrated to it. Today, most major IT companies publish their own microservices and contributions to open-source projects governed by industry-specific standards and teams from a market rich in solutions based on unique functionality. Microservices are based on the same principle of innovation that developers apply to open-source solutions for cloud applications.

Advantages of microservices

The main advantage of microservices lies in the moment when it is necessary to create new functionalities for software applications, where traditional and emerging companies can speed up the arrival of their updates to the market, as opposed to the large amount of time required for a monolithic architecture. Users who prefer web and mobile applications are the ones who notice and appreciate these types of changes the most.

It is the technologies that respond first to change that will receive the best adoption by users and customers. Small and medium-sized businesses as well as large IT companies are finding advantages in staying on the cutting edge of programming and development by integrating new microservices.

Optimized data automation: developers prefer to use platform-specific or standards-based tools in their work, including the use of programming languages and databases in web applications or mobile microservices. Microservices are tied to retail-structured processes, such as APIs, which can provide higher levels of data automation.

Team agility: Because each microservice is focused on delivering functionality related to a single business domain, teams assigned to a microservice lifecycle can work in parallel without "stepping on each other's toes". Each team can go at its own pace and deploy new functionality without depending on the others.

Scalable, market-ready applications: With shorter development cycles, microservices architecture enables faster deployment and upgrades. In addition, as demand for certain services grows, they can be deployed across multiple servers and infrastructures to meet needs.

Minimize failures: If these independent services are well designed, they cannot affect each other. This means that if one part fails, it does not affect the entire application, unlike the monolithic model.

Accessibility: As large applications are produced in small pieces, developers can understand, update and improve these pieces more easily, which helps speed up development cycles, especially when combined with agile development methodologies.

How do microservices work?

Microservices allow functions to be executed separately and, should one service fail, the rest will continue to function without being affected by this individual failure. In this sense, the operation of microservices consists of increasing the functionality available with respect to that offered by default by the management platform, the network or the data center.

Microservices-based solutions compete primarily with the service-oriented architecture (SOA) provided by Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and other large industry players focused on closed source distribution. Large enterprises must now support multiple applications written in PHP, Python, Ruby-on-Rails, Java, C++, ASP.net, etc. together or simultaneously in production environments.

In this manner, a data center can have multiple functional database frameworks across virtual machines on multiple client hardware. A web server must be configured to support custom extensions to stream multimedia content, API integrations or the addition of proprietary utilities reserved for analytics techniques. The combination of all these third-party and open-source services means thousands of microservices on a typical web server in a production environment, which must be multiplied by the millions of scalable virtual machines in a cloud services and public access environment.

Microservices Design Patterns

Regardless of the language used to develop microservices, employing this methodology involves tackling problems that other developers have encountered before. Design patterns are formal, abstract solutions to recurring problems in the application development process, and several of them are specific to microservices. According to Devopedia, the most common patterns are:

Service Registry: to connect clients to available instances of microservices.

Circuit Breaker: to prevent failed services from being called continuously

Fallback: to provide an alternative to a failed service

Sidecar: to provide an ancillary service to the main container, such as for registration, service synchronization or supervision

Adapter: to standardize or normalize the interface between the main container and the external environment

Ambassador: to connect the main container to the external environment, such as for proxies from localhost connections to external connections

How to use microservices in my projects?

Experts agree that approaching the complexity of microservices from scratch can be risky, however, they recommend employing them gradually and gradually. IBM has published its guide to the 5 key types of decisions an organization needs to make before embracing a microservices architecture:

  1. Business decisions

Compared to the traditional monolithic approach, a mixed services strategy involves investments in finance, corporate culture and new developments and operations (such as DevOps).

  1. Architecture and design decisions

Microservices introduce new architecture and design approaches and considerations; you must ensure that you are using the most appropriate architecture approaches and making the necessary application design decisions that will help you achieve your business objectives.

  1. Implementation Decisions

Consider the various implementation options required for a microservices architecture, including platforms, frameworks, and programming languages.

  1. Culture Decisions

In order to create a microservices architecture, it is necessary to take into account the tolerance to complex processes such as the required high availability, unforeseen errors, disaster recovery, isolation of equipment, etc.

  1. Operational decisions

Finally, make sure that your team can oversee and manage the microservices ecosystem, as it requires a deployment of both human and technological resources commensurate with a methodology that is characterized by its number of coupled parts.

At DreamCode, we have over 8 years of experience implementing microservices development architecture in conjunction with agile methodologies such as DevOps and Agile SCRUM. By implementing best practices and optimizing processes at every stage of the software development lifecycle, our expert teams have the perfect solution framework and resources for your organization.

If you are ready to employ the most agile, proven and best performing methodologies in the development of your software projects, we invite you to contact us to find the best possible route to make your projects a reality. Enter here and learn about the methodologies that can take your company to a new level of agility and results in applications and technology solutions.