One buzz-word that has been spreading across the IT industry for the last few years is ‘Microservices’. However, these are not completely new approach to the IT infrastructure, but a combination of best proven methods of concepts such as nimble software development, service related architecture and API-first design (building the API first and developing the web application on top of that).
Microservices can be simply defined as ‘a self-contained process fulfilling a unique business capability’.
Following are some characteristics of a microservice architecture:
– Redistributed data management: Microservices don’t rely on a single schema in their central database. They have different views for various data models and are unique in the ways they are developed, deployed and managed.
– Functional independence: Modules in the microservice architecture can act independently without affecting the functionality of other components. They can be changed or upgraded without affecting other microservice modules.
– Simplicity: Each component is built on a set of capabilities fulfilling a specific function. Depending on the level of complexity, it can be split up into two or more independent components.
– Flexible and heterogeneous approach: Microservice gives the teams a freedom to choose the best tools and methods for their specific problems, be it programming languages, operating systems or data stores.
– Black box design: Microservice components potentially hide the details of their complexity from other components. The internal communication between the components happen with very well defined APIs to prevent implicit data dependencies.
– DevOps: This means, when you build it, you operate it. This helps the developers to be in close contact with their consumers, precisely understanding their needs and expectations.
Benefits and challenges of Microservices:
When addressing the agility and scalability issues of traditional monolithic architecture deployments, microservices benefit consumers in various ways such as:
– Microservices create a sophisticated working environment where small and independent teams take the ownership of a particular service. Hence, empowering them to work quickly and independently shortening the cycle times.
– Having a Devops culture by merging the development and operational skills removes the hassles and contradictions, providing an agile deploying environment. Making it easy to test and implement new ideas faster, henceforth creating a low cost of failure.
– Dividing a software into small and well defined modules can be maintained, reused and composed easily, giving out a great output in-terms of quality and reliability.
– Each service can be developed and implemented with their best-suitable programming languages and frameworks, and can be finely tuned in-line with aptly performing service configurations.
– Failure isolation is made easier with microservices as techniques such as health-checking, caching or circuit breakers allow you to reduce the blast radius of a failing component.
Despite all these advantages we have discussed above, there are some disadvantages of these microservice approaches as diverse systems invite more complexity.
– Determining the right boundaries for a microservice architecture is crucial when you migrate from a traditional monolithic architecture.
– Versioning for a microservice architecture can be challenging.
– Developing an effective team structure, transforming the organization to follow a devops approach and streamlining an effective communication between them can be challenging.
– The more the number of microservice modules, the more is its complexity in interactions.
– In a microservice approach, we no longer run a single service, but a combination from dozens to even hundreds of services. This increases operational complexity to a greater level.
AWS, one of the most-preferred cloud service platforms has number of offerings those address the challenges of a microservice architecture.
Effective Scaling and Provisioning of resources:
AWS microservice architecture employ on-demand resources that are readily available and provisioned when needed. Multiple environments can co-exist correspondingly, so that you need not employ difficult forecasting methods to guess the storage capacity of the microservices.
You only pay for what you use:
You can potentially experiment the new features or services, and roll them out if they aren’t successful for your business goals in AWS microservice architecture. This helps you find the innovation best suiting your business goals and also fulfills a microservice’s goal of achieving high agility.
AWS microservices come with a specific API, Command Line Interface (CLI) and SDKs for different programming languages. Even complete architectures can be cloned, scaled and monitored through custom codes and programming languages. And, in-case of any failure, they are capable in healing themselves automatically.
AWS microservices provide you with a flexible environment to programmatically build custom tools and deploy the suitable resources, thereby reducing the operational costs and efforts.
Infrastructure as a Code:
AWS microservice architecture lets you to describe the whole infrastructure as a code and allows you to manage it in a version-control environment. You can redeploy any specific version of an infrastructure at any time, and compare the quality and performance to any application version to ensure they are in sync.
Reduce operational complexity with Continuous deployment and delivery:
Managing multiple application cycles in parallel can lead to operational complexity. AWS microservices offer automation of the provisioning and deployment process, enabling the adoption of continuous integration. This ‘continuous integration’ of the development part of the life-cycle can be further extended to the operations part of the life-cycle.
Managed services with AWS microservice architecture:
One of the key benefits of cloud infrastructures is it relieves you of the hassles of provisioning virtual servers, installing and configuring the softwares, and dealing with scaling and reliable backups. Monitoring, scaling and security are already built into the AWS microservices, helping you to further reduce the operational complexity of running microservice based architectures.
Service-oriented and Polyglot approach:
Each AWS microservice focuses on solving a specific and well-defined problem by communicating with other services using clearly defined APIs. This approach breaks down the complex infrastructure into simpler bricks or modules, preventing the need of duplication of the processes.
With microservices definitely helping to break down the complex business process into simpler modules, AWS cloud microservices further reduces the operational and interactional complexity of the microservices, helping you to define and use the most ‘appropriate’ solution for your specific business problem.