• Microservices for Scalability & Software Quality: Why Enterprises Should Care

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    “I want to do one thing and do it well,” said Jasn Koum, co-founder of Whatsapp. Koum’s philosophy applies to things done across all industries. This approach is quite possibly redefining the software development industry while significantly increasing the quality of delivery.

    Amazon, grew from a small online bookstore to become the largest marketplace across the globe. Amazon underwent a massive architectural shift, migrating from a two-tier monolith to a distributed services platform, while hosting numerous applications. They made it appear effortless. Do you want to know the secret behind their flawless scalability?

    They used micro-services architecture to split their large application into small and independently versioned services, each having precise business goals.  We will take you through a quick overview on what microservices architecture is and why it is a valuable approach for enterprises.  Today everything needs to be brought to the table quickly, even though quality remains the top priority.

    What is A Microservices Architecture?

    Microservices architecture offers a unique approach to software development. The key differentiator here is that a monolithic application is broken down systematically, into several small and independent units.

    These units are then assigned to development teams that focus on ensuring  delivery of optimal functionality for each specific microservice. What is important to note here is that all these microservices communicate with each other, even though they are built to be independent.

    By using this approach, not only would the teams be able to deliver faster but also work in a more focused manner carrying out the delivery, instead of waiting for the other units to complete their bid and risk a potential delay in delivery of the product or the service.

    Also, the microservices are architectured to communicate with each other through neatly defined interfaces and they all follow a protocol.

    The other advantages of microservices architecture include, independence and convenience in developing different segments within an application using various programming languages. This not only enhances the quality of the application but also helps you offer the best technologies to form the APIs for your software. At an organizational level, you will be able to foster collaboration between independant teams differing in qualifications as well as technical expertise. They all come together to work using their respective expertise on the same project.

    Microservices: The Differentiator within an Enterprise

    It is imperative for enterprises to ask whether microservices architecture is suitable for their organization. The architecture, when introduced into enterprises, can have a deep impact on all fronts. It affects the technologies, and operations, as well as the culture.

    Enterprises often need to break down their huge applications into more manageable parts in order to offer improved precision and quality. Technical leaders face concerns such as, endorsing innovation, picking up new trends, ensuring better alignment of technical team capabilities and setting goals for them to achieve. Surviving and beating the competition could also be a serious concern.

    In the example below, we are showing an API gateway hosting microservices for a specific project. The user can test the microservices here, and can also download the code along with docker and swagger definition.

    Microservices-2 Microservices1

    In this situation, microservices architecture is a great deal.  Answer the following before you decide to take this approach:

    • How will you manage the dependencies for the development that will take place under different microservices?
    • Are the sizes of the end-to-end functional tests commensurate with microservices architecture?
    • What will the APIs be for public usage, under this architecture?
    • How will you manage the deployment lifecycle?
    • What is your preparedness across different functions, for automation within the organization?

    As a leader within the enterprise, your greatest challenge will be to run architectural governance within the organization, to effectively make microservices a reality. This is of vital importance to maintain the sanctity of the processes and control failure or breakdown.

    By implementing this architecture, you will be able to empower your teams to manage their work better, deliver more frequently and improve the overall health of the project. It’s also a good opportunity for you to instill confidence in your teams by allowing them to deliver their best by using their specialized technologies.

    Key Benefits An Enterprise Can Derive Using Microservices Architecture

    Any software that is built under microservices architecture, gets split into multiple components. Each of these components or microservices is then deployed independently. This clearly implies an independence for developers to develop as well as deploy the microservices.

    • Identification and isolation of faults: Faulty microservices can be held back while others can be deployed to continue running the application.
    • Each microservice can have different coding across different programming languages.
    • Since one component is always available for deployment, the microservices architecture boosts continuous delivery.
    • Since microservices architecture splits the application into smaller components, it becomes easy to integrate them within all third-party services. They become more scalable and reusable.
    • The integration with continuous integration tools like Jenkins, and comes in handier for microservices.
    • Microservices are more comprehensive, easy to understand and simpler to modify. They boost productivity by allowing the developers, especially new ones to focus on one thing.
    • They match ideally with the concept of containers. Dockers are the most common example.
    • They robustly support cloud services as well.
    • Security is another great benefit of using microservices. Since the application is split into smaller parts, the vulnerabilities are limited to small components or microservices, and not the entire application.
    • Individual teams feel more empowered and are enabled to perform with a greater amount of independence.

    Enterprises Using Microservices Architecture 

    Netflix, eBay, Amazon, the UK Government Digital Service, Twitter, PayPal, and The Guardian, have all been running huge applications. Below are some applications that have evolved from monolithic to microservices architecture:

    Walmart Restored its Architecture Strength with Microservices

    Walmart’s big move, has set a great example for similar enterprises where evolving and dynamic processes, help bring them ahead of their competition. The company had been performing poorly during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, for at least two years. Their IT team came up with a solution that transformed the way they handle their applications. They began to do it the “microservices” way.

    In 2012, the company decided to replatform its old system. This decision came in the wake of the recent poor conversions.

    When they migrated to microservices, they yielded 20% increase in conversions, 98% rise in mobile orders, reduced operational costs and a 50% overall cost savings.

    Spotify Delivered Exceptional User Experience with Microservices

    Spotify serves more than 75 million active users per month, with an average session length of 23 minutes. The company runs a highly complex business.

    The topmost challenge for the company was scalability. They had a steady increase in the number of users and needed autonomy for its teams. In addition to scalability, they also needed their teams to work in sync, to ensure their company goals matched the team goals.

    Results: Spotify has around 90 teams, 600 developers, and 5 development offices on two continents, building the same product. What they did was minimized the dependencies between the teams, in order to have them perform better and deliver their bid faster.

    Amazon Embraced the DevOps Philosophy with Microservices

    In light of the ever-rising user base, Amazon had to enhance its capabilities. Migrating to microservices architecture was an intelligent business decision. The applications are highly dynamic and the user inputs are countless.  The applications that run all these features had to be split into smaller units to keep them foolproof and faster.

    Conclusion

    Microservices has emerged as a solution to scalability issues for enterprises and helps improve the development quality. By using this approach, not only can an enterprise enable its teams to deliver faster but also work in a more focused manner, carrying out the delivery in phases. Instead of the teams waiting for the other units to complete their bids and face the consequences of an overall delay in delivery, they can deliver their piece of work quickly and run part of the application faster.

    An enterprise must break down the large monolithic applications into more manageable parts to manage the number of users as well as maintain the quality of delivery.

    If you are looking for any help on building any digital solution for better customer or employee engagement, this an area where we can help. Please contact us at info@netsolutions.com.

    Siddhartha Bhatia

    About the Author

    Siddhartha Bhatia is working as a Technical Architect at Net Solutions and has close to 12 years of experience in web based applications development using Java/J2EE, Struts, Spring, Hibernate & MongoDB. He is also a Sun Certified Programmer for Java. Apart from coding, he keeps himself engaged in learning new trends in Java and Javascript frameworks. Besides work, he loves to travel and explore new food.

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