The demand for microservices has recently been on the rise. More and more global organizations are becoming progressive in changing how they build and deliver software. In fact, microservices are the answer to different IT challenges for corporations such as increasing speed, scalability of applications and rapid test process.
Let’s have a quick recap on how microservices first developed.
The microservices term was first used in 2005. It was introduced by Peter Rogers as “micro web services” at a cloud computing conference. In a simple definition, “microservices are an approach to designing software systems that are made up of small independent services that each have a specific purpose.” – Nic Grange. Through microservices, the software consists of mini services that communicate with APIs that can be placed independently.
As mentioned previously microservices are used by many global firms such as Amazon, Netflix, Uber and more. Before we dive into whether it is relevant for your business to use microservices. Let us have a look at the architectural diagram of how Amazon Web Services (AWS) uses it in their daily business. This helps them to improve productivity and speed in both internal and external environments. In addition, it is more flexible in using technologies and scalability. Microservice architecture can be written using different programming languages.
When starting your business, it’s difficult to predict the growth, and therefore how complicated your application will need to scale. On the other hand, if you are already a large institution. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a need to migrate into microservices. The applications that you might be using are not broad enough to be broken down into smaller services.
But how do we know if your organization needs to use microservices? Don’t worry! We have a thorough description for you to know when to use or not to use microservices when developing applications.
When to use Microservices?
Let’s start with the existing system used by your corporation. When migrating to microservices, you generally have two options. Either upgrade an existing application or build it from scratch using a microservice architecture and approach. When your management wants to have an application that has many features and services running, it is often best to adopt a microservice architecture compared to having a monolithic architecture that slows down the system you are using.
Another situation is when your business needs an agile development process that requires quick speed of delivery, available at all times, and scalability. Let’s have a look at one of the world’s leading internet TV networks, Netflix. Way back in 2008, Netflix was using a monolithic architecture which caused the company massive problems, a misspelling of a variable or a semicolon would cause the whole system to breakdown. Since Netflix users have been growing rapidly and integrating into different platforms like Xbox and mobile, they need a system that is fast enough to keep up with their growth rate. Accordingly, if your company services a huge amount of users, it may be the time for you to adopt to a microservice architecture.
It might be too overwhelming to adopt Netflix’s way of doing its architecture design for their system as it is huge and complicated. Hence, to get a visual idea of how it looks, look at the graphical representation for it.
Furthermore, there are certain cases that your organization is using legacy applications and you have to rewrite it in today’s programming language to keep up with the modern systems. This is through refactoring, meaning the legacy applications are using the monolithic system. It will be split into microservices and connecting them into one platform. For that reason, if you are experiencing troubles with the old system that interfere in your daily business transactions, microservice is the best option for you.
Now that you get an idea of when to use microservices, you might be overwhelmed with the benefits it can give your company. But there are also times that you should not migrate to microservices. As Martin Luther King Jr said, “It is always the right time to do the right thing”. To know more about the right timing and things to do when not to use microservices, just hang in there! It will be discussed in the next section.
When not to use Microservices?
Microservices are in high-demand, and many companies are integrating it. However, just because everyone is doing something, doesn’t mean you should as well. You need to consider what will be its effect on your company.
Let’s start from the beginning when you are new in business. At the beginning, the services and products you are offering might not be as huge compared to the established companies. In the previous section we mentioned Netflix as an example. Now let’s take a tangible product from a multinational corporation The Coca Cola Company. The company was founded in 1892. In their first year Pemberton (founder) sold just nine glasses a day, today they are serving more than 1.9 billion each day all over the world. However, given the fact that they are growing every year, the company integrated microservices only a few years ago. It is clear that even such a large company started with a simple system. Consequently, if your business just started it might not be relevant to join the trend on microservices. This architecture requires more time to setup and build for.
Moreover, your organization should also consider specific requirements when using microservices. Requirements such as scaling, availability, and reliability. If your team does not have enough people to work with different applications of microservices. The need for adopting a microservice architecture is unnecessary. Whilst you can also consider if conflicts are on the rise that the workers cannot handle it anymore. You need to understand that the bigger your team is the more complex issues can be along the way. And this is when you will need microservices. In a nutshell, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
You might be thinking that it’s still complicated for you to understand when not to use microservices. Watch a video from the Norwegian Developers Conference (NDC) about the path towards a microservices architecture. This video might be long but totally worth the time! You will also get advice for alternatives in migrating to microservices.
Microservices are very promising because most of the successful organizations started migrating to it. Your organization might be very excited to try different features it can give you. Hopefully, this article helped you to have a greater knowledge of when you should (not) use microservices. We can also assist you if you would like to talk about special cases. We know it’s a crucial decision to make when migrating to a new system. It needs time and effort but here at Wiredelta, we find ways!