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How and When do you transition to Microservices?

How and When do you transition to Microservices?

Amazon, Spotify, Uber, Netflix - are some of the tech giants that have shifted to microservices architecture to run their day-to-day operations. In this article, we will learn about microservices as well as discuss why, when and how you should transition to them.  

What are Microservices?  

One of the latest trends in the web development world, projects that have employed microservices architecture have had a great deal of success. It breaks down complex applications into a number of small and independent processes which communicate with each other using lightweight REST, Thrift APIs or HTTP.  

When you decompose an application into different small services, below are some of the benefits that you get from it:  

  • The application becomes easier to understand, develop and test 
  • Modularity is improved 
  • They are more resilient to architectural erosion. 
  • It empowers small autonomous teams to develop and scale their respective services independently 
  • Allows an individual service’s architecture to emerge through continuous refactoring 
  • Offers greater scalability and flexibility 

Why should you switch to Microservices?  

Let us look at why you should make the switch from monolithic to microservices architecture.  

 1. Flexibility:  

When you use Microservices, it doesn’t limit the developers in terms of technologies and tools. Each of the services can be built with the help of different frameworks and languages. It ensures that you could select the most suitable technology for your specific needs.  

With microservices, it doesn’t matter if the components are different. Microservices doesn’t limit you at all when it comes to technology use, but with a monolithic architecture, you will have to use the same technology during the entire process.  

 2. Maintenance: 

Detecting and repairing errors gets done in less amount of time because of the smaller size of microservices. The developers have a greater command of small instances of code and they will be in a position to deliver error-free applications.  

When there are a lot of building blocks, it can be difficult to find out where exactly the problem arises. That’s exactly why you have to use monitoring tools as it will help you react to problems in the fastest way possible.  

3. Better productivity:  

Microservices enables a number of teams to work on different components from the same application without affecting the work of others. Therefore, it becomes easy for the developers and doesn’t take up a lot of time either. You don’t have to wait for other teams to finish so that you can start working.   

One of the biggest advantages of working with microservices is that they can be easily moved and modified. Because of this, testers can test separate devices individually and get a lot done in a little amount of time. They don’t have to wait for the entire application to be ready.  

 4. Scalability: 

Since the microservices architecture is based on small components, scaling is much easier than when using monolithic architecture. So if there are issues in a certain component, the others will remain unaffected and will run seamlessly. For companies that work on a large number of devices and applications, microservices architecture is a big help.  

5. Faster time to market: 

As microservices works with loosely coupled services, there is no need to rewrite your entire codebase to add or modify a feature. You only have to make changes to specific services. Since the applications developed using the microservices architecture are testable and deployable independently, you can get your application ready for the market much more quickly.  

6. Continuous Delivery: 

If you are building monolithic applications, you need to have dedicated teams to work on specific functions such as database, server-side logic, UI, technological layers, etc. But for microservices applications, cross-functional teams can manage the entire lifecycle of an application with the help of the continuous delivery model.  

When developers and testers work simultaneously on a single service, testing and debugging becomes easy. Thanks to the incremental development approach, code is continuously developed, tested and deployed. It is also possible to use code from the existing libraries instead of developing the code from scratch. 

7. Better ROI: 

When you use the microservices architecture, you will be able to optimize the resources. A number of teams can work simultaneously on independent services which allow for faster deployment and even allows for pivots if the need comes. Therefore, development teams is reduced and the team’s code will also be reusable.   

You can get things done even with simple x86 machines, expensive machines aren’t necessary. The efficiency with which microservices lets you operate reduces both infrastructure time and minimizes downtime as well. 

When should you transition to Microservices? 

One of the biggest motivations for businesses to shift from monolithic to a microservices architecture is scalability. It is imperative that you use components that are used by most users so that the transition is smooth.  

When do you need microservices architecture the most? It is when parts of your organization have to work independently. The need for a transition depends on what you think about your organization and how you want it to function. If you want to break up your monolithic application, you need to have a clear idea about what you want your organization to look like in the next few years.  

If you are a company that is growing rapidly, then you can seriously consider shifting to microservices. When there are a number of developers working on a project, allowing them to focus on a single service of the application makes them more productive.  

Let’s say you are working on a monolithic architecture, all the developers have access to the code base. If there are any changes made, it can disrupt the entire application. When developers focus on a single service of the applications, things get much easier. 

How to shift your existing applications to Microservices? 

When you shift from a monolithic system to a microservices-based architecture, you will have to follow these steps:

 1. Identify the logical components: 

The main components used in the system are data objects, data actions, and the tasks to be performed. The data objects are the logical constructs representing the data that is being used. Data actions refer to commands that are used on one or more data objects, mostly on a variety of data types to complete a task. The tasks to be performed refers to the function the users are calling to fulfil their organizational roles. They could be user stories, use cases, and documentation.  

When you combine multiple systems into a unified one, all the main components should be identified. System architects will find it easy to identify the objects used within a system. The migration to microservice does not affect the user interface directly.  

 2. Flatten and refactor components: 

After the modules have been identified, the next step is to organize the groups internally. See if there are components that duplicate functionality before implementing the microservice. In the end, there should be only one microservice that performs any specific function.  

 3. Identify Component Dependencies: 

Once the components are identified and organized to make them ready for migration, the system architect is responsible for identifying the dependencies between the components. Search for calls between different libraries and data types can be done with the help of the static analysis of the source code.   

4. Identify Component Groups: 

 After the dependencies are identified, the system architect must concentrate on grouping the components into cohesive groups. This will enable them to be transformed into microservices. The objective in this step is to identify a small set of objects and the impending actions that are capable of being logically separated in the final system.  

 5. Remote User Interface API: 

The remote user interface is expected to be the sole mode of communication between the system, components, and users. The interface here should be scalable so that the system can evolve with time. The design and implementation of the remote user interface API are critical for the success of the migration microservices. The API should be able to handle all data objects that are represented within the system, be stateless, should be backwards compatible with the previous versions, and also be versioned.   

6. Migrate Component Groups: 

When migrating to full microservices, it is best to use macroservices as an interim step as they are better positioned for sharing data repositories and allow for complex interactions with data objects. Directly transitioning to microservices isn’t the right step because of the complexity involved.  

In this step, the objective is to move component groups into separate projects and make separate deployments. Each of the microservices should be independently deployable through the system’s continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD) pipeline.  

 7. Migrate to microservices: 

The data objects, multiple components, and functions are being pulled out of the monolithic system and into microservices. It will provide an understanding of how these components are separated into microservices. Do note that each of the microservices maintains its own datastore and only performs a limited number of actions on the data objects within that datastore.  

 8. Deployment and Testing: 

Integration testing and deployment is the next step once a microservice or macroservice is ready for development. The system should be configured to use the new service’s data. Once the testing is over, ensure that the remaining monolithic code accesses the new service for its information and that there are no remaining connections with the old datastore. After this, the new service can be deployed to the production systems.  

 

What are the downsides to transitioning to Microservices?  

Like all good things, transitioning to microservices has its downsides too. If you are transitioning from monolith to microservices architecture, then you need to be aware that increased operational cost and increased complexity are challenges that you will have to deal with.  

Developers need significant DevOps skills to deploy and maintain a microservices application in production. Even though a monolithic application can be deployed into a small application server cluster for resilience, each service in microservices requires its own cluster.  

Since microservices systems are distributed systems by nature, they are difficult to build. What was earlier a simple method call will be replaced by an asynchronous message, REST, or a remote procedure call.  

In the microservices architecture, each service has its own language, platform, and APIs. There will be multiple teams working on different entities of the project at the same time. Therefore, you need to monitor and manage the infrastructure effectively. That’s because if a machine goes down or a service fails, it will be impossible to find out where the issues are from.  

 

Conclusion:  

Migrating existing applications to microservices helps businesses get various benefits associated with this architecture- scalability, resilience, faster time to market, easy maintenance, and increased efficiency. While the transition isn’t necessarily easy, it will lead you to a more organized and long-lasting codebase at the organization.  

If you are looking to work with a technology company that is familiar with the ins and outs of Microservices architecture, get in touch with the folks at Zuci. Let us show how we can equip your business with resilient Microservices to completely transform the way you operate.  

Sharon Mariam Koshy

Loves getting creative with mundane topics in addition to geeking out over books and movies.