Individual Solutions Agile Software Development
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More flexibility through microservices architecture

For some time now, classic architectures in the IT sector have increasingly been replaced by modern microservices architectures for more flexibility.

Why more and more companies are modernising their IT architecture

Microservices are already a common term among developers, and IT decision-makers are also dealing with the topic more and more. But what exactly is a microservices architecture and what advantages does the method offer?

What are microservices?

Microservices are a new IT architecture pattern. A central concept in this context is modularisation. Compared to the classic, inseparable and uniform monolithic architecture, microservices architectures are about developing more flexible and smaller services. To establish complex applications, these smaller and independent processes communicate with each other through language-independent programming interfaces.

Microservices architecture or monolithic architecture?

Monolithic structures make handling difficult when an application reaches a certain level of complexity. The monolithic solution is therefore often unsuitable for fast and dynamic development. The larger projects become and the more people are involved, the greater the risks and disadvantages of a monolithic architecture. This is also due to the fact that for a new release, all components must first be brought together to form a large "whole". This also includes parts that have not changed at all.

Individual and independent services through container applications

Microservices, on the other hand, enable the rapid implementation of new functions. A large application is broken down into individual, independent services by means of microservices. In each case, the most suitable programming language and technology can be used without negatively affecting the operability of the overall application. This is made possible by the use of so-called containers, which encapsulate the services for operation. Since containers can be operated in parallel, the existing infrastructure can be used much better.

More flexibility

Microservices simplify debugging and facilitate integration. Especially the rising importance of mobile devices and Cloud Computing ensure that microservices are the more flexible solution in this context.

In particular, companies that do not know at the beginning of the development of an application on which end devices it will run benefit from the flexibility. Due to the independence of platforms, applications developed with microservices are suitable for different delivery channels. These include, for example, web, mobile, Internet of Things or wearables. With a microservices architecture, releases are available more quickly.

Companies benefit from microservices architectures

Large and successful companies such as eBay, PayPal, Netflix or Amazon have been using microservices architectures in their business operations for quite some time. There are several reasons for this.

1. Use of different tools

Developers do not have to limit themselves to a single tool from a particular provider. They can use a different solution for each task, with their own individual framework and language. Nevertheless, these developed services communicate easily with already existing applications.

2. Rapid delivery of features

Another reason for switching to microservices is the faster delivery of new features. When a feature is to be added or modified, only a small part of the code needs to be adapted. This makes it possible to test and distribute the modified parts independently of other services in the application, saving valuable time.

3. Increased adaptability

Microservices are also characterised by an increased adaptability of services. Due to the subdivision into different components, these can be individually scaled if, for example, only one part of the application is under particular temporary or functional load. In this way, companies benefit from a high degree of flexibility and more efficient means of controlling performance.

4. Higher resilience

The higher resilience also speaks in favour of microservices. Due to the decentralised application and the subdivision into individual services, a failure only affects a specific service and not the entire application. Depending on the task of the affected service, however, the effects of the failure are limited. With a monolithic architecture, an error usually affects several services and functions due to the uniform code.

5. Easier debugging

Companies benefit from microservices not least because of the simpler debugging. Due to the smaller, easier-to-handle code fragments of a service, the delivery quality of the applications also increases. In addition, it is easier for new developers to get started with the code.

Challenges when switching to a new architecture

Companies must anticipate the following challenges and then weigh up whether a changeover is worthwhile:

  • The orchestration of microservices, i.e. the way they communicate with each other, are managed and monitored during operation, requires the use of new, modern operating technologies. Without the use of tools such as Docker, the focus on microservices makes no sense, as their potential cannot be exploited in this case.

  • It is also important that companies provide the resources and personnel to make services available quickly and to be able to develop new applications in an agile manner.

  • This requires close cooperation between development and operations to support the fast innovation cycles without compromising the quality of the deliveries.

The trend towards new IT architectures is growing

Microservices are an important trend in the IT sector. However, companies should first analyse their own resources and then make a decision as to whether it is really worthwhile to switch from a rather classic architecture to a microservices architecture. One thing is certain: the number of companies using microservices will continue to increase significantly in the future.

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