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Microservices are new trendy things in the software development world, and almost everyone is into it. It’s not just the titans like Amazon, Netflix or Google. It seems that nearly everyone has adopted this architecture. Microservices promise lots of benefits including flexible delivery of changes, flexibility, ready for the cloud, and precise scalability. But what are microservices?

Short Definition of Microservices

Microservices or the microservice architecture is a particular architectural style that allows for building up applications as a collection of coupled services to power up business capabilities. Its philosophy of decentralization affects the architecture as well as management of data. The microservice architecture enables continuous delivery of large, complex application. It supports decentralized data management. If done correctly, microservices will provide the desired benefits.

The primary purpose of the microservice architecture is to focus on one task. It’s a tightly focused but flexible software. For example, a shipping microservice entity doesn’t care which app request to ship an item to a client. It also doesn’t care about why or what is shipped. The entity focuses only on its fundamental task – to send something to somebody. Thus, a microservice come in handy when it has one and only one responsibility.

Microservices suggests that two or more services cannot share a data store. Instead of sharing, a microservice entity has its own data store. Decentralization allows for avoiding accidental coupling between services. This could happen if services use the same data schemas.

Microservices vs. Monolithic Architecture

The choice of app architecture is one of the most crucial when it comes to software development. The architecture defines the further life of an app. Microservices have certainly grown in popularity over the past few years, but the monolithic architecture still holds its ground.

Monolithic Applications

Let’s start with the monolithic architecture. It’s a kind of a black sheep in the modern app development world. Monolithic applications are built as unified, single units. As a rule, enterprise applications built with the help of the monolithic architecture consist of three parts: a database, a client-side user interface, and a server-side application.

The server-side application is the heart of the app. It handles HTTP requests, domain-specific logic; retrieves and updates data from the database, and sends HTML views to the browser. It’s a monolithic structure, it’s a simple logical unit. To make any changes to the system, developers have to build and deploy an updated version of the server-side application.

Pros & Cons of the Monolithic Architecture


+ Ideal for small apps

In case your app is quite small (e.g., a music streaming app) and your time is limited, then the monolithic architecture is right up your street.

+ Convenient for testing and production

Before putting the server-side app into production, the monolithic architecture allows for testing the application on a developer’s computer and running a series of standard tests to check on changes.

+ Possibility to scale horizontally

It’s possible to scale horizontally and start several physical servers after the load is balanced.

+ Transaction controls and data integrity

Since monolithic apps share one database for storage, they greatly benefit from straightforward transaction controls and various mechanisms of the data integrity provided by RDBMS (Relational Database Management System).

+ Simple infrastructure

Monolithic apps have a single server for multiple tasks. The server handles everything including front-end, back-end, and database tasks.

– Single structure

To make any change, developers have to rebuild and deploy the whole monolith. Thus, they need lots of time to make alternations and fix the bugs.

– Cross-coupling

Any changes in the logic of a module affect other modules’ code as well. Even if you want to change only one component, there is no way to make it instantly.

– Limits

When it comes to the monolithic architecture, there is no place for innovations. Developers are bound to some common technologies chosen for the monolithic architecture at the very beginning.


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Microservices Applications

When talking about the microservices architecture, the easiest thing is to spot its pros.

Pros & Cons of the Microservices Architecture


+ Streamlined development process

There is no need for developing a whole app at once. Microservices are an ideal spot for agile development since development can be easily divided into units and sprints.

+ Flexibility

You can hire several development teams to work on the project. Thus, you can get a fully-functioning app over a shorter period of time.

+ Bespoke scaling

Developers can independently scale different units of the application.

– Communication

Skype calls coupled with time differences can slow down the development process. But they can be easily avoided.

– Complex infrastructure

There are lots of moving parts that challenge the developers to put them together and create an effective infrastructure.

Containers for Microservices

Developers can mitigate many of microservice challenges Taking advantage of Linux containers that allow multiple completely isolated containers to share the same kernel. Using Docker, developers create DockerFiles describing the language, framework as well as dependencies for that service.

The portability of containers makes the deployment of microservices a breeze. To deploy a new version of a service running on a particular host, the running container is stopped, and a new container is started. All the other container running on the same host aren’t changed.

When to Use Microservices?

Though microservices are relatively new for software developers, they are easier to maintain than monolithic applications. Microservice entities can be updated as an isolated part of the application and don’t change the rest of the system. Besides, the microservice architecture offers greater availability. Even if a microservice entity fails, the rest entities will work well.

Microservices first rose in popularity when eBay, Twitter, Amazon, and Netflix took a different approach to build and support their cloud apps. Before the microservice architecture appeared, cloud apps were the only antithesis of monolithic apps where the entire application scopes are developed, built, tested, and deployed in concert.

Today microservices are adopted in various industries including banking, retail and other to support continuous delivery of cloud applications. Microservices enable them to deliver multiple features into their system multiple times a day. Thus, microservice are right up your street, when you need unmatched agility and scalability.

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