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Microservice Architecture

When applications get too big, it may be time to move to microservices.

Imagine you're building a house. Traditionally, all the rooms, wiring, and everything else were constructed within the house's four walls, making it a monolithic structure. But what if you wanted to add a new bedroom? Then you'd have to tear down the whole house and rebuild to accommodate the new room.

This is where the microservice architecture comes in, where a house, or a service, is built from Lego blocks. Each block represents a single microservice that performs a specific function and enables independent development, deployment, and scalability. Just like adding a new Lego brick to a house, adding a new microservice to a microservice architecture doesn't require the entire system to be shut down, making them ideal for modern and scalable software systems.

In this article, we'll go into more detail about microservice architecture.

Microservice architecture example

In this example, our hypothetical project is an e-commerce website. To keep the website running, the web and mobile applications need to interact with different microservices that provide the website with specific data. Each service is connected to its own database, independent of the others, and works like Lego bricks. Let's look at some of the microservices that our e-commerce website could use.

The account service communicates with the account database and provides information about users, such as addresses or payment information. The inventory service can be used to check which goods are available in the inventory and can be purchased by users. The payment service handles how customers pay for the goods, while the shipping service schedules packaging and delivery. Each service works independently, and teams can develop and test new solutions independently of other microservices, reducing the risk of errors.

What are the key features of the microservice architecture?

  • Multiple component services: these consist of individual, loosely coupled component services that can be developed, deployed, and modified independently without affecting the rest of the system.
  • Highly maintainable and testable: enables rapid deployment of new features and makes it easy to update code, isolate errors and bugs, and roll back changes when necessary.
  • Small teams: microservices architecture encourages adopting agile practices that enable small groups to work independently and move quickly, shortening development cycles.
  • Organized around business capabilities: Services are organized around business capabilities, and teams are cross-functional with the full range of skills required for the development.
  • Automated infrastructure: teams use CI/CD to automate infrastructure so that each service can be built and deployed independently without impacting other groups.

Building microservices from monolithic services requires a two-stage implementation. One stage is technical, and the other is organizational. In the technical part, the monolithic service must be broken down into microservices, which must be fixed. Still, the risk of failure is reduced by continuous deployment and constant monitoring by the team. This brings us to the second organizational part, which requires the team to be divided into smaller teams focused on developing and running their part of the application.

Microservice or not microservice?

While this may be a complex task, there has never been a better time to explore this exciting approach to software development, and it has the potential to bring many benefits to companies still using a monolithic architecture. By breaking down applications into smaller, autonomous components, microservices enable teams to work more efficiently and flexibly. Microservices allow organizations to develop, deploy and maintain individual services independently. This leads to faster time-to-market for new features and greater flexibility in responding to changing business needs.

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