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When people think about building a well-functioning application, their mind tends to go towards visualizations of lots of code all bunched up and glued together, running on the web in order to provide different people with some value. This could be your favorite streaming service, a shopping app, or maybe the homepage of your local coffee shop. The fact is that the majority of apps are exactly that, but not always.

As time progresses, applications evolve, and with that evolution, the requirements become a lot more complex. There comes a point where having a monolithic approach to applications becomes a liability, one where small changes to the system lead to a complete re-building and re-deployment of an application. The situation becomes even worse when apps need to be scaled up. It’s because of this that microservices architecture have become absolutely invaluable.

What is Microservices Architecture?

There are plenty of sources that go into detail about what microservices architecture are, but generally speaking, it is an approach to application architecture and development in which an app is built in separate smaller pieces rather than being done in bulk. Different services are developed before being tested and eventually deployed independently. It is a relatively new concept, but the idea behind it is familiar to lots of professional software developers.

The only relation that there is between various microservices is the exchange of data which can be accomplished using APIs that are exposed. These are essentially built-in programs that are connected by pipes.

The Benefits of Using Microservices Architecture

Microservices architecture is getting more and more popular, and there are a number of reasons for this. They come with a range of different benefits which include but are not limited to some of the following:

  • It becomes simpler to deploy and roll back apps
  • Deployment and rollbacks are done faster
  • It’s easier to isolate faults
  • There is the elimination of any long-term commitment to only using one type of technology stack
  • You can scale independent services
  • There is more diversity within technology
  • It’s easier to write new features as plugins

Are There Any Drawbacks to Microservices Architecture?

Of course, as is the case with any technological development, there are also some drawbacks to using microservices architecture. These include the following disadvantages:

  • They require an increased network connection
  • There has to be the serialisation between different microservices
  • There is added complexity in testing a distributed system
  • Deploying an app once it’s complete becomes a bit more complicated

Should You Make the Switch?

There are a number of sources that can lead to additional complexity with development and deployment, which include having to work with large teams, multi-tenancy, and also the speed at which various business components evolve independently can change too. That being said, one of the most common drivers is where a monolithic application simply becomes too large to modify. If this happens and it is a complexity that you come across frequently, then that could be a sign to make the switch.

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Annabel Johnson

Part time gamer, reviewer and blogger. Full time geek and tech expert!

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