Over the past decade or so, microservice system architecture has become increasingly popular with companies looking for increased flexibility. Unlike monolithic single-unit applications, microservices are essentially a collection of small, independently deployed services that form a larger application.
One of the earliest companies to switch to microservices was Netflix – back in 2009, before the term microservices existed, the video streaming giant migrated to a cloud-based microservices architecture that helped them scale and grow their business. Since then, many others have followed suit. Over 85% of organizations with over 5,000 employees currently utilize microservices. When looking at organizations with 1000-2999 employees, the number is 75% (with a further 23% expressing plans to incorporate microservices in the future).
For most companies, regardless of size, the challenge is not determining whether migrating to a microservice architecture is beneficial in the long run but determining when to take action. Before doing that, it’s important to know the key differences between microservice architecture and monolith systems:
A monolithic application is self-contained and single-tiered with everything originating from a single platform. This can be beneficial early in development, as a single code base leads to simplified development, deployment, and bug fixes. There are fewer moving parts to worry about when testing features or troubleshooting issues.
Speaking of moving parts, microservice architecture is a collection of entirely separate services within the same tech stack. Each service acts independently, with its own logic and goals, but also forms part of the larger system. It’s like a football team, where each player is responsible for fulfilling the duties of his or her position so that the entire unit can move forward and succeed.
Microservices have a wide range of potential usages, including website hosting, payment facilitation, modular data processing, media storage, and more. If you have access to the required DevOps expertise to migrate to microservices, the advantages to doing so are numerous. Let’s take a closer look at some of the bigger ones below.
With a monolithic system, your IT department needs to be able to work with, or at least understand, everything in your tech stack because it is all connected. Microservices give you the flexibility to create specialized distributed teams focused exclusively on different managed services.
Microservices make it possible for different managed services to scale independently from one another, creating a high degree of performance availability and decreasing overall infrastructure costs. Additionally, because teams are distributed it is generally easier to onboard new members and ramp up development. Monolith systems, like their immovable stone namesake, cannot match this.
Overall, it could be argued that microservices architecture is as complicated as its monolithic counterpart…but when looking at individual services, this is not the case. Microservices based on input and output messages with decoupled code enjoy higher readability, fewer bugs, and less complexity.
Another major benefit to having autonomous teams working on designing and implementing solutions is the overall increase in productivity and development speed. Microservices optimize the end-to-end CD/CI pipeline and enable the fast implementation of new features.
Because teams act independently from one another, utilizing microservices can mitigate the impact that data breaches have on your overall organization. Additionally, this gives you multiple layers of data protection and makes it easier to achieve compliance.
As noted above, microservice teams manage services independently from one another – the mitigated security risk also applies to bugs and inconsistencies. When a single service is impacted, it can be quickly rolled back for testing and big fixes without disrupting the most important services or features.
In many cases, the biggest obstacle small and mid-sized organizations face when migrating to microservices is the lack of a suitable IT partner – someone who provides trusted, transparent guidance tailored to your specific business needs.
That’s where we come in. At Flugel.it, our virtual DevOps team can help you determine whether microservices will benefit your business and, if so, identify the best time to start the migration process – schedule a free expert consultation today to learn more.
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