Microservices – which can also be called “microservice architecture” - is a software architectural style that designs and structures an application as a collection of loosely coupled services. Microservices are an important approach to help make continuous delivery or deployment of large, complex applications possible.
The microservices definition is somewhat complex, but simply put, a microservice is a software development technique that situates an application as a collection of loosely coupled services. Within microservices, each service is small and simple, though the chain they form is complex.
In the end, the microservices definition has two goals:
- To help you decide whether or not microservices will be of benefit for your application portfolio;
- To help you determine whether you can use microservices architecture successfully.
There are many different microservices examples as more and more companies shift toward microservices architecture. One prevalent example is Netflix, which has a widespread architecture that has evolved over the years as its services have changed from delivering DVDs to digitally delivery programs on-demand to (and soon viewers will be able to choose their own endings to programs).
Netflix receives billions of commands and calls every day from different types of devices. Each prompt that a customer makes triggers a chain of microservices that need to function quickly, efficiently, and correctly at any given time. The services also need to be able to handle the load of viewers.
Advantages Of Microservices
The advantages of microservices are that when an application is broken down into smaller services, it improves the modularity of the application and makes it easier to develop, test, understand, and change. It also helps to keep the application stronger and perform better as the architecture ages.
Another advantage of microservices is that it parallelizes the development of software, making it possible for smaller teams to work at the same time, develop at the same time, deploy at the same time, and even scale at the same time – all without interference from each team. It also allows for the architecture of a singular microservice to be refactored throughout continuous delivery and deployment.
Of course, it is also important to note that there are some drawbacks to microservices. There are many issues that can occur if there are problems within the code – continuous inspection and monitoring are needed.
Microservices Best Practices
Microservices best practices have developed as more organization have adopted a microservices approach. While there isn’t a clear consensus on microservices best practices, there are some clear characteristics and best practices that are generally accepted. The most important is that services in microservices are all independently deployable. Following this, these services need to be organized around the different capabilities (recommendation, logistics, front-end, user interface, etc.); they need to be easy to replace; they need to be easy to test; all microservices need to be able to be implemented using different languages, hardware, databases, and environments.
In order to make all of that possible, microservices best practices dictate that the services need to be small in size, bounded by context, autonomous, independent, decentralized, and expertly built. When this happens, the microservices are able to work together and communicate through APIs or messaging queues. Scalability, decentralized continuous delivery, and business-driven development also follow when a development team uses microservices best practices.
Microservices best practices also naturally enforce a modular structure and allow for continuous delivery through the development process. This can help when fine-tuning specific parts of an application.
Microservices communication includes processes that communicate to fulfill a specific goal using specific protocols, including HTTP. However, there are some other kinds of inter-process communication mechanisms, like shared memory.
For more information about microservices and how you can use them in your application and software development, CLICK HERE for a free white paper.