In the present scenario of business, the integration of technology with business has become a must. Business owners must adapt to the latest technological advancements and improvise in designing their business operations in such a way that their businesses always stay up to date with current technological trends. One such trend is the shift of software-based systems from Monolithic Architecture to Microservices Architecture. Microservices Architecture or Microservices is an architectural approach to software system development in a modular manner.
In order to understand the reason of the shift and to simplify the technical jargon, one must first understand how a software system works. Previously, software systems were largely based on the Monolithic Architecture. In this system, to develop an application or a software system, a base project is started out. Once new features are added in, the project gets bigger and better. The whole thing functions as one body with thousands of lines of code attached to it. If any of the features somehow faces a bottleneck in any of the processes, the whole system suffers from it. This architecture is mostly inflexible, causing scalability and agility issues. On the other hand, the Microservices Architecture takes a modular approach to all of this. Simply put, it decentralizes the work of the system and divides the work of the system into several individual services. These separate services then proceed to perform one task and specialize on it. To compare, in Monolith, each worker would be expected to perform all the activities, whereas in Microservices different workers specialize in different activities and in the end, they are all combined to produce a result.
REASON BEHIND THE SHIFT
Many companies are seen to shift from using Monolithic Architecture to using Microservices. This sudden shift to the Microservices platform is because of the change in the way how people surf the internet at present. Earlier, people used to operate using one or two common types of devices whereas now there are a lot of different types of devices that people use to browse the internet. Because of this change in behavior, a software system that caters to different devices is required. As the Monolith is inflexible, in order to make simple changes like scaling a software system for different devices, the whole system must undergo massive changes. In the process of bringing forth these changes, if any feature behaves unnaturally, the whole system will behave so. Making massive changes like these also means extra costs of buying or hiring new servers. In comparison, Microservices provides an easier way out as it is flexible in nature. The final objective of the software system is divided into individual services which are developed to provide exactly one service perfectly all the time. As a result, scaling is not much of an issue because not every component of the system needs to be updated. Since each service works individually, it also means that bottleneck in a specific service would never crash the entire system; rather it would only crash the specific service, making replacement much easier. This modular design makes the whole architectural approach much more user-friendly and cost-efficient for businesses.
REAL WORLD USAGE OF MICROSERVICES
In real world scenario, business giants like Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, eBay have all progressed from the traditional Monolithic Architecture to the holy grail of Microservices. Amazon at the moment has to process multiple orders every second. This means that it must make sure all the services like accepting orders, adding to cart, recommending products, authenticating credit cards etc. work seamlessly. All of these could never have been handled by Amazon’s previous two-tier Monolithic Architecture. A crash in any of the processes would result in a historic failure for the tech giant. Amazon divides its entire software development team into small groups and are given specific services to work with to ensure efficiency.
In the Bangladeshi context, to exemplify, Microservices could be used in the development of mobile financial service systems. Instead of one massive body of codes, Microservices can help to break the system down to specific tasks. This would ensure that the system runs without hiccups even if one or two specific services stop working for some time, since each service runs separately and has a unique database. This means better utilization of business analytics in terms of customer activity monitoring.
BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF MICROSERVICES
Starting from flexibility to making systems more seamless, Microservices have a lot of benefits for businesses. It ensures painless scalability for system developers. Developers do not have to worry about jamming the whole system just for scaling it for a specific device type. It brings down the cost of hiring extra servers and ensures that businesses can keep better track of customers’ device preferences. On top of all these, the architecture ensures that the system keeps on running all the time, giving customers continuous delivery.
Again, like all other services, Microservices approach has its challenges as well. Continuous communication between the developer teams is certainly an essential criterion to make sure the developer teams can build a system that is well integrated. Another important sector to keep an eye on is security. Security breaches in one part of the system can cause harm to the whole system. As a result, a strong internal communication service is essential.
With tech giants moving into the Microservices platform, the future of Microservices looks bright. Microservices will likely receive more cloud-based computing integration as well as third party support. This means, it might be possible that certain services required by a lot of systems will be provided by one third party service provider. The opportunities for the development of the platform are endless and the companies aiming to survive in the business world must integrate Microservices into their systems to increase operational and cost-based efficiency.
By Abdullah Al Nahian