While implementation of DevOps practices has been on the rise lately, a slightly lesser-known concept has also been gaining popularity – microservices. The idea behind microservice architecture is to build your application as many independent services rather than one large code base. The primary practices associated with microservices include containerization, continuous integration, DevOps, automated integration testing, and – in many cases – Agile development methodology.
When implemented properly in combination with these best practices, implementation of microservices can deliver many benefits to your project’s application, including:
- Easier deployment process
When deploying updates to a feature, the entire application need not be re-deployed – just the service that you want to be updated.
- Use of varied programming languages and technology stacks
Microservices give you the ability to use different technology stacks across your microservices – want to use Java and Scala? Go for it! Additionally, this makes it much easier to migrate to different technology stacks than with a monolith application.
- Better failure detection
With microservices, it is easier to monitor and detect when one of your services has an issue. Of course, this requires that the right software is in place to monitor said services.
- Enhanced continuous integration and deployment
Spreading your application across many different code repositories makes it easier for developers to constantly push changes to their microservices, and makes for easier automation testing.
Challenges with implementing microservice architecture
Of course, all the benefits of microservices do come with some caveats.
- Additional Staffing Needs
Although microservices have the benefit of being able to reach into a more diverse talent pool of developers, there are additional roles that need to be filled. The added layer of complexity of utilizing microservices in coordination with Continuous Integration requires some serious DevOps talent.
- Added project complexity
There is also a great deal of cross-team coordination required to ensure that redundant services are not being built, while also making sure that data formats are consistently maintained while communicated across the services. This issue is particularly challenging to address, since teams working on isolated code repositories often will have limited knowledge of the other services being developed, especially with larger applications. One way to overcome this challenge is to divide the workload into small vertical slices, and have teams gain exposure to different pieces of the application over time. This approach does require programmers that can develop the full stack – both frontend and backend.
Is the microservice architecture right for your environment?
The implementation of micro services is challenging. But many would agree that the benefits outweigh the additional cost and application complexity. At the very least, if you’re starting a new Big Data initiative it would be worth your time to consider analyzing it as a viable option.
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