Microservices is a software architecture model that aims to resolve the problems that come from combining different kinds of software applications into a single system. It was first introduced by Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) in 2016. Microservices is a combination of micro and services.
A microservice is a small independent component or service that makes up a whole application or system. Services are also called daisy-chained applications, as they are made up of multiple small services which make up an application or system. You can think of it like building an app based on APIs rather than on native code and build it as a subsystem within the main app.
The result? A more maintainable and secure architecture for your web, mobile, and IoT apps. Microservices allow you to separate concerns so that each one can be developed and deployed independently.
This way, you eliminate the risk of introducing bottlenecks between the different parts of your system while also speeding development time and cost-effectiveness.
What are the benefits of using Microservices?
First and foremost, let’s get this out of the way: microservices are great! They can help you scale your application, improve maintainability, and decrease overall risk. Furthermore, microservices can be used to integrate 3rd Party services, automate recurring tasks, and provides a highly available, reliable, and secure architecture for your entire application.
Whether you’re interested in exploring the advantages of microservices, implementing them on a full-blown cloud-based app, or are just interested in learning how they can benefit your company, this guide will help you understand the benefits of microservices and can help guide your decision making.
Advantages of Using Microservices
There are many benefits to using Microservices, and this section aims to list some of the more prominent ones.
Easier to scale: With multiple microservices, you can easily scale your application to meet new demand or scale up or down quickly and easily. This means less time and effort spent on managing and monitoring the performance of your application, and increased chances of success since your application will be able to scale more efficiently.
More reliable: Being able to independently develop and test each microservice can help reduce risk since each one can be relied on to work as expected. With the many benefits of microservices, it’s no wonder that they have become increasingly popular in the last few years.
Decreasing integration cost: Being able to link your API calls and consuming services from other applications using the same framework and tools can further reduce integration costs, making your application cost-effective.
Increased agility: Agility is another important benefit of microservices: being able to change the structure of your application or system as needed or desired, you can respond more effectively to changes in your environment or customer needs. With so much flexibility, you can better respond to changes in the market, your customer base, or your own business needs.
Best Practices for Using Microservices
Now that we’ve gone over the benefits of microservices and what they are, let’s move on to some best practices for using them. Documentation: A major benefit of microservices is that they allow for documentation in a completely different language to the one you use on a day-to-day basis!
This can be a huge time saver for teams working on documentation Since each service has its own API, no two services need to concern themselves with the others. This also means that documentation is much easier to maintain since each service interacts with other services through APIs.
Utilize test-driven development (TDD): TDD is the practice of writing code until you encounter a failure or bug, at which point you test whether the code works as intended to fail or not. With microservices you can test each service individually to ensure that it works as expected.
How to use Microservices
Now that we’ve gone over what microservices are and how they can benefit your company, let’s get to the nitty-gritty!
Start by deciding what you want to build
The first step toward creating a microservice based architecture is to decide what you want to build. This could be anything from a simple web app to an enterprise-level system. This decision will help shape the design of your microservice.
Identify the dependencies
Consider an application where your services communicate with one another through a REST API. All of the data sent between the services is received by the API, decoded, and sent back to the service. What happens if the API returns an error? What if the user requests a data that the API doesn’t have?
Remove the black-box assumptions
Describe your services as standalone entities, using the language of your choice. When someone first looks at your application, they won’t necessarily realize that each service is a part of the whole.
This is the black-box assumption – a service is believed to be independent because it doesn’t directly depend on other services. If a service depends on another service, you could call it a black-box dependency.
Set expectations upfront
Set expectations for each service upfront – for example, a recommended length of time for a service, or what kind of data the service expects. This way, when the service is working as expected, the user won’t be surprised by what kind of data the service returns.
Use the right tools
Use the right tools for the job – for example, if you’re building a web app, use a tool such as AWS SDK for PHP or Node.js. If you’re building an API, use an API Gateway or Express.
Use standard practices
Use standard practices for your services – for example, using such ideas for your API calls as a logging strategy, etc. Doing so will help you stay organized and make sure each service follows similar behaviors.
Make sure your services use the right URL structure – for example, putting your services within a VIRTUAL_SERVER, not an actual server on your computer. Make sure you’re using a standard URL structure, such as ‘/myapp’, ‘/api/’, etc. Doing so will help you keep your API calls organized, and will help avoid conflicts.
Create a login/signup/registration system for your services – for example, using an API or a login/password combo. This will help protect your data and make your application fail-back-friendly in the event of a disaster.
Create a cache for your services – for example, a local file on your computer or a database. This way, your server doesn’t have to keep all of the data in memory, and you can return the data to the client much faster. This can help reduce overall server load and improve scalability.
Create an API documentation page for your services – this will help users understand the API and how to use it. Having this information available as a reference is helpful – for example, if a user has problems with a API call, they can look up the command and see exactly what they need to do next.
Create a security policy for your services – this will help ensure the safety of your data and services. A common mistake with microservices is not having a security policy in place. This can lead to data being exposed, stolen, or misused since there is no way to securely store data in a microservice. A security policy includes information such as who has access to what data, who can delete it, and more.