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Advantages and Disadvantages of Microservices Architecture

By Ranju RJune 29, 2021, 7:30 p.m. Application development company
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The advantages of microservices architecture are undeniable. If implemented correctly, it lends a highly flexible & scalable alternative to monolithic applications.


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What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Microservices Architecture

Before discussing the advantages and disadvantages of microservices, it is important to clearly understand the concept behind this architecture system and its implementation. 

Microservices – what they are?

A large single software application is based on monolithic architecture. A large monolithic software application broken down into smaller software modules that are loosely coupled and those that communicate through APIs are termed microservices. 

As a popular trend, microservices is favoured by business enterprises because of the agile and dynamic management that they offer in the case of APIs and execution of highly discrete jobs. Microservices are generally used for designing complex web applications. Microservices have their predecessor in Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) which came into existence to overcome the disadvantages of monolithic applications. 

It will do us some good to trace the evolution of microservices and whether the justifications that they are advantageous are indeed true.

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Evolution of Microservices

Evolution of MicroservicesA traditional monolithic application consists of a presentation layer or the UI, an application layer for the business logic, an integration layer for the coupling among the different components of the application layer, and a database layer that is available to the persistence system. 

The application, after creating a WAR package out of it, is then deployed on a server. This runs like a monolithic application because all the components are packaged together. With businesses that were growing, developers and architects face several challenges some of them being the ones mentioned below:

  • The codebase grows in size and loads every time the application is run.
  • Changing the tech stack of the application is not an easy task. 
  • The entire application goes down if a single function develops an issue. It is a difficult challenge to even spot the error. 
  • If any function takes up more processing power, this affects the entire application.
  • Scaling the monolithic application happens only when the WAR package is deployed in additional servers. This is referred to as horizontal scaling.
  • Developers will not be able to work independently as every function is tied up together in a monolithic application. This increases development time. 


Theory Supporting Microservices

Theory Supporting Microservices

The theory behind microservices is based on the scale cube that describes the 3 dimensions of scaling as mentioned below:

The X-axis represents horizontal scaling as seen in the monolithic application whereas the z-axis represents splitting similar things. This is based on the sharding concept in which the application requests are redirected to a specific shard depending on the user input. 

Here, the Y-axis shows functional decomposition, where each function is represented as a separate service. In this approach, developers deploy each of the functions separately. This approach offers several advantages including greater flexibility to deploy the functions and lessens the developers’ time spent on a project. The rest of the components are not affected in any manner whatsoever when one component is being worked on. 

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The history of microservices

Microservices is a software architecture style that structures an application as a collection of loosely coupled services. It was first coined by Peter Rodgers in a 2006 paper, “Service-Oriented Architecture: A Field Guide”, and has since been adopted by many organizations around the world.

Microservices were popularized by Martin Fowler and James Lewis in their 2014 book, “Microservice Architecture”. They argued that the traditional monolithic approach to software application architecture was no longer suitable for the modern era, and that the use of microservices was a better approach.

The concept of microservices has been further refined over the years, and is now seen as an important component of modern software engineering. Many companies have adopted the practice, leading to the creation of many microservice frameworks and libraries. These tools allow developers to create microservice applications quickly and easily.

While the concept of microservices has been around for over a decade, its use has grown increasingly popular in recent years. Companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Uber have embraced the technology and use it to power the most critical parts of their applications. The use of microservices has also been credited with allowing these companies to quickly adapt to changing customer demands and scale their applications with ease

Advantages of microservices Architecture

  • Developers can use new technology for any service that they want. This frees them from the dependencies of being tied down to a specific vendor or technology. 
  • Fault isolation is easier and fault developed in one service does not affect the functioning of another module. 
  • The functional aspects of one service can be clearly understood by the developers. 
  • Each developer had less code to play with and maintain. This also increases the efficiency and the performance factor. 
  • Deployments being faster when using microservices, allows the developers and the application to enjoy the benefits of continuous deployment. 
  • Developers can scale applications independently whenever required without affecting other applications. This positively impacts cost savings if done correctly. 
  • The service in demand can be deployed on multiple servers to enhance performance. 
  • The cost of scaling is much less when compared to that of monolithic applications.

Are you unsure about starting your journey to microservices architecture? Talk to our team today!

Download our ebook: Porting from Monolith to Microservices: is the shift worth it?

Disadvantages of Microservices Architecture

Microservices are not without their disadvantages.

  • The most obvious disadvantage of microservices is the complexity of the system as a whole. 
  • Communication between any two independent services has to be handled carefully and many a time extra code has to be inserted to avoid any kind of disruption. More complications are likely to show up when remote calls experience system latency.
  • Each service has its separate database and this means transactions management can be a complicated affair.
  • When testing a service, any dependent service has to be confirmed before the testing is started. Testing a monolithic package is way easier. 
  • Debugging also turns out to be complicated when each service has its own log. 
  • Deploying the product may need coordination from several services and is, therefore, not as simple an affair as deploying a monolithic application in a container.
  • Microservices are best suited for large enterprises but not suited for small companies because they will be slower to implement and the setup is complex. 

Download our ebook: Porting from Monolith to Microservices: is the shift worth it?

Microservices and their Deployment

Completely virtual operating systems or containers are used to deploy the microservices. These environments provide isolation for the processes within that service. Undisturbed access to underlying hardware resources is also available. Docker is a popular container solutions provider.

Cloud-based services such as AWS also work well for microservices and their deployment. However, this is not well-suited for lightweight microservices in terms of cost-effectiveness as they may not be able to leverage all the features of the cloud solutions provider. 

Open Service Gateway Initiative (OSGI) bundle can be used for code deployments where all the application services execute under one Java virtual machine, but there is isolation and a management trade-off that occurs here.

Some of the common microservices deployment patterns used are:

Multiple Service Instances per Host Pattern: This happens when you provide more than one physical or virtual host and run multiple service instances on each of these hosts. This is the traditional method of deploying the applications. Each service instance runs at a port on more than one host.

In this case, the resource usage is efficient, that is, the multiple instances end up sharing the server and the operating system. Also deploying a service instance is very fast. There is no overhead and starting a service is a quick affair. In case a service is simply its own process, you have to simply start it. 

If the service is only one of the many instances running in the same process group, you can just restart the container or dynamically deploy the service into the container. 

Service instance per host pattern is yet another deployment technique that follows two specializations: Service Instance per Virtual Machine and Service Instance per Container.

Moving Forward with Microservices

Not every enterprise can do better with microservices. For every case that merits consideration, developers must do their due diligence and strive to find out what works best in specific cases.

In case yours is a small company, it may be better to start with a monolithic application. This is likely to be faster, cheaper and simpler. If too much time has not passed, the application can be migrated to microservices at any time that is deemed appropriate. 

The companies that would benefit most from microservices are huge companies that have millions of users. The modular nature of microservices assures that the application is up continuously with minimum or no downtime and scalability is also easy. 

Best Technology for Microservices

The independent services constituting microservices make up a larger app and can run on their own. They are usually built using different languages such as Java. One of the most popular Java microservices frameworks is Spring Boot. 

Spring Boot today is the leading framework that is used for building microservices. It is an open-source, feature-rich and mature framework. They can be employed on various platforms including Dockers. In-built functionalities of Spring Boot allow for rapid Java application development. 

Spring Boot works on top of different languages for aspect-oriented programming and inversion of control. It also works to handle failure in distributed systems. It is easy to get started with Spring Boot and is convenient and flexible to use. It is easy to find experienced Spring Boot developers. Different training programs and certifications are available for developers to upgrade their skills in Spring Boot. 

Why Choose SayOne Technologies

At SayOne Technologies, we build breakthrough products for different industry verticals using the most modern technologies. We are specialists in the design, development, and implementation of microservice architecture. From the modernization of applications to the total digital transformation of an organization, we can create microservices applications for any industry/business application that eliminate downtime and enhance performance. 

Final Thoughts

As we weigh out the advantages and disadvantages of microservices, the transformation that microservices bring out in terms of culture, performance and efficiency is indeed noticeable. However, the initiative is a complex one and it is important to understand the challenges and risks clearly before embarking on the microservices journey. 
Are you ready to start the migration process into microservices? Seek help from our experienced teams!

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FAQs

The main advantages of microservices are scalability, maintainability, and agility. Microservices allow for a more modular approach for large-scale applications that can be scaled up or down easily, enabling faster development cycles and allowing for more efficient maintenance. Additionally, microservices can be deployed in a variety of different ways and can be developed and deployed independently of each other, allowing for faster delivery of new features and updates.

Microservices provide developers with a way to break down large applications into smaller components that are easier to understand and manage. By focusing on small, independent components, developers can easily make changes or updates to just one component without affecting the entire application. This makes development faster, simpler and more efficient. Additionally, it allows for more efficient debugging and testing, as developers can focus on one component at a time.

Some of the disadvantages of microservices include increased complexity, decreased scalability, and a greater need for communication between services. Additionally, managing and debugging microservices can be quite challenging and requires specialized skills. Lastly, it can be difficult to migrate existing applications towards a microservices architecture.

Microservices can have a negative impact on scalability due to the increased complexity of the architecture. As the number of services increases, it can become difficult to manage them all and the communication between services can become overly complex. Additionally, scaling individual services can be difficult as it requires code changes, which can be time consuming and expensive.

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