What is a Microservices Architecture?

For enterprises in the process of building proprietary applications, committing to a microservices architecture offers strategic benefits that are well worth the IT investment.

Enterprises building applications from the ground up have a number of critical decisions to make as they develop platforms for their end users — among which, selecting a development architecture ranks among the most crucial. While a monolithic architecture has historically been the predominant route for enterprise applications, recent changes have driven some forward-thinking companies to invest in a microservices architecture instead.

Whereas a monolithic architecture involves building each application as a single, wholly integrated unit, a microservices architecture uses a modular approach in which an application is comprised of discrete units that each perform their own processes. This means that each of these units function independently, enabling a host of benefits that wouldn’t be possible for software built in a monolithic environment.

For enterprises considering which type of architecture to invest in, it’s important to note that microservices is not a passing fad or a futuristic goal for software developers. Instead, it’s a current reality — one that’s playing an important role in the IT infrastructure of major companies, from Amazon and PayPal to Netflix and Uber. Microservices are powering a generation of more agile, more customizable applications specifically suited to the challenges of an increasingly digital marketplace.

If you’re looking to take an innovative approach to application development, take the time to consider the benefits of a microservices architecture. By putting in the work now to prepare for microservices development, it’s possible to leverage the benefits of this software structure for your wider business.

What are the Benefits of Microservices?

In the simplest terms, microservices offer enterprise dev teams greater speed and simplicity than monolithic architecture. Applications built with a monolithic framework tend to take longer to develop and can be more difficult to update and reconfigure. What’s more, issues at one level of a monolithic application can cause widespread issues across the application, complicating the experience for end users while IT teams attempt to root out and resolve the problem.

A microservices architecture, on the other hand, is built on a fundamentally different foundation than a monolithic architecture. This foundation offers a number of advantages that are critical in today’s fast-paced tech environment. Because applications built with a microservices framework are comprised of many discrete units, each performing their own function, these units can be built, tested, and deployed on a much shorter timeline. This gives developers the independence to design microservices tailored to specific business functions and scale them without affecting the rest of the application.

The isolated nature of microservices modules means that should any one encounter an issue, the rest of the application can continue functioning as the problem is resolved. Moreover, knowing exactly what each microservices component is designed to do can make it easier to localize problems and their causes.

What Does Building a Microservices Architecture Entail?

Although there are clear benefits, shifting to a microservices architecture to build applications is no small task. For starters, organizations tend to build applications that reflect the structure of the organizations themselves. Whereas monolithic applications reflect more traditional, hierarchical chains of command, microservices belie a more dynamic environment.

This is certainly the case for tech giants that have put an emphasis on nimble, independent DevOps teams capable of designing, deploying, and updating microservices applications in real-time. In this kind of developer culture, smaller teams are able to act faster and overcome challenges independently. Conversely, the larger departments typically associated with monolithic applications utilize a top-down structure that requires input from multiple decision-makers.

Beyond this, building a microservices architecture entails working with endpoint APIs to deliver services to users. Developers can deploy containers as needed so that microservices modules can provide a consistent experience. This is crucial when it comes to managing essential application functions such as load balancing, routing, and cybersecurity defenses.

Should You Shift to a Microservices Architecture?

For enterprises that prioritize agility and adaptability in application development, microservices provide a host of critical benefits. However, shifting an entire organization onto microservices is a tall order. Between equipping DevOps teams with the right tools to securing the cloud computing and storage resources necessary to make microservices run smoothly, there are a lot of factors for enterprise operations to consider.

To that end, partnering with a managed service provider like Turn-key Technologies, Inc. (TTI) can make all the difference. With nearly three decades of professional experience in the IT space, TTI has the resources, contacts, and institutional knowledge that enterprises need to implement a microservices architecture. Whether you’re in the market for a specific solution or you’re interested in a more comprehensive partnership, reach out to the team at TTI today.

By Craig Badrick

July 15, 2019

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