Big Value from Microservices
Digital transformation is not just about embracing new technology. First and foremost, digital transformation is about embracing change. Moreover, it’s about embracing change at the speed of thought. Businesses today must quickly and continuously adapt to dynamic market conditions, shifting business requirements, and ever-evolving consumer behavior.
Collectively, enterprise applications, the business processes they drive, and the consumers/end users they serve constitute the target at which transformation or modernization initiatives are directed. Against today’s backdrop of constant change, traditional, large, cumbersome, monolithic applications with a rigid, single-tiered architecture in which the user interface and data access code are combined into a single codebase running from a single platform no longer suffice. They are difficult to scale, costly to maintain, disastrous when they fail and, most importantly, way too inflexible to meet the ever-changing demands of today’s dynamic digital world.
The microservices boom
Microservices – a software development technique in which an application is created by combining numerous smaller services – have rapidly evolved as the architectural style of choice for new application development, as well as for migrating existing legacy applications to the cloud. In a microservices architecture, each service is self-contained, independent of others, performs a specific function, and, ultimately, works together with all other services to form a functioning system.
Numerous large-scale companies, such as Netflix, Amazon, PayPal, eBay, Walmart, and Twitter, have migrated to microservices to scale their business processes, improve performance, and better align with dynamic market conditions.
Today, companies across industries and of all sizes are catching the microservices craze:
- According to a survey conducted by Red Hat, 69% of clients prefer microservices architecture for developing new applications and for re-architecting existing ones.
- According to survey findings in The State of Microservices Maturity report, microservices are used in over 50% of software projects.
- According to recent surveys, 80% of companies are counting on microservices and move towards fully microservice architecture. Nine percent already base their software mostly on the distributed structure, while 38% combine microservices with the traditional monoliths, and 33% are planning to switch in the near future.
- IDC predicts that by 2022, 90% of all apps will feature microservices architectures.
- Market Research Future (MRFR) forecasts a CAGR of 25% between 2019 and 2023 for microservices.
Show me the value
There are many distinctive benefits of employing a microservices architecture. By using small, independent services to create larger and more complex applications, businesses can develop, test, deploy, and, more importantly, change and maintain applications at a faster pace than was ever possible with monolithic apps. Additionally, by being device- and platform-agnostic, microservices enable businesses to develop applications that provide consistent user experiences across a range of platforms, spanning the web, mobile, and IoT.
Also, applications composed of microservices are far more resilient and stable than traditional monolithic apps. As the services are independent of one another, a problem with one particular service need not negatively impact the others, meaning performance doesn’t suffer and issues can be quickly identified, isolated, and repaired.
Lastly, with a microservices architecture, you have the freedom to pick the best operating system, language(s), libraries, frameworks, and runtimes for a particular microservice. In other words, you are free to use the best tool for the job and leverage different technologies for different services.
Here are a few additional ways microservices add value:
Perfect for iterative cloud migration
The vast majority of older companies rely on monolithic applications installed decades ago. Today, IT teams are tasked with migrating these core applications to the cloud. In many cases, microservices provide the best way to do this.
To get the desired end-to-end performance, legacy applications first must be re-architected to leverage the cloud. With microservices this can be accomplished in a strategic, incremental manner. The functions of the legacy application can still be used while adopting a cloud strategy incrementally. By breaking a monolithic code base into smaller components, or services, organizations can be very selective with which services they deploy in the cloud and which can remain on-premise, buying much needed time for this extensive process and greatly smoothing the overall transition to the cloud.
Survival in a hybrid, multi-cloud world
The vast majority of businesses today operate in a hybrid (on-premise and cloud) environment, and nearly 90% of today’s organizations have deployed multi-cloud environments. With microservices, you don’t have to get tied up with a single vendor. Using the best resources from different cloud providers as part of multi-cloud efforts has evolved to become best practice today. Rather than being limited to the allocated server resources and their restrictions, complex applications built with a microservices architecture can run across multiple cloud services and take advantage of their specific features.
Microservices deliver cost savings in a variety of ways. The reusability of code and easy fault isolation makes maintaining the application much simpler for developers. Moreover, having several independent teams with each focused on a specific service greatly accelerates time-to-market. As a result, the overall cost of development reduces drastically. In addition, microservices make testing and debugging a markedly less time-consuming (read expensive) process. Lastly, switching to microservices enables organizations to replace expensive commodity hardware with cheaper virtual x86 servers, resulting in an overall cost savings between 20% and 50%.
As reported in DZone, according to Walmart, migrating to a microservices architecture brought several notable results to the company.
- Conversions were up by 20%
- Mobile orders were up by 98%
- There was no downtime on special days, like Black Friday
- Computing power was cut by 40%
- The company saved 20-50% on overall product development costs
A DevOps dream
Today’s internet-of-everything, everything-as-a-service world demands application development and delivery at immense scale and scope, and at a blistering pace that was simply unimaginable just a decade ago. Those in charge of enterprise applications must look beyond established practices and accelerate the pace of translating business needs into application opportunities. In today’s faster-paced, highly disruptive, digitally driven business climate, the need to be more agile and deliver solutions faster, with higher quality, at a lower price, and with less risk is paramount.
Large-scale IT projects and the traditional, rigid, sequential, and lengthy ‘waterfall’ model of IT delivery no longer makes the grade. It takes too long, costs too much and, crucially, fails too often to deliver the expected benefits. Speed, flexibility, accountability, and value are the new guiding principals in re-designing core applications and business processes, and leveraging emerging technology. As such, businesses are fast-tracking Agile and DevOps initiatives to improve speed-to-market while ensuring quality.
A microservices architecture is a perfect match for DevOps practices, such as continuous deployment and automated testing. Organizationally, a microservices approach lets you dedicate smaller teams to smaller sections of the overall system. As these teams work independently, they can deliver updates faster. In line with this, microservices improve your team’s ability to innovate, unblock creativity, and release software more frequently. The containerized nature of microservice deployment ensures that services work in isolation with minimal resources. Deployment across regions can also bring resiliency and scalability.
Contact AST today to learn how a microservices architecture can help your business compete in today’s digital world!