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Introduction to Layered Architecture for Microservices

By Real PradNov. 8, 2021, 10:12 a.m. Application development company
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Layered Architecture for Microservices–Interconnected & Independent


Introduction to Layered Architecture for Microservices

Microservices architecture is rapidly gaining traction as a viable alternative to monolithic systems and service-oriented architectures in the industry. In fact, a data survey conducted by IBM on how likely their company is to develop applications using microservices in the coming two years found that approximately 25% out of 209 respondents chose the "very likely" option
However, the microservices architecture pattern is still in its early stages, and there is a lot of misunderstanding in the industry regarding what it is and how it is implemented. In an effort to simplify our system that uses microservices, we can follow the layered architecture of microservices.
The microservice architecture can be split into four layers and though these layers may seem to be separated, some elements of the architecture will overlap, or even touch every layer. In this article, we will discuss the four layers of microservice architecture in great depth, and understand how layered architecture can help us build efficient applications.

What Is Layering?

Layering is actually a software engineering paradigm where your functionality is divided into different components that interact in a sequential and hierarchical manner. Each layer usually has an interface to the layer above it and the layer below, and that is how different components interact. 
Now, layering is also used for the purpose of separating the functional components, so that they can be swapped with a completely different technology later if need be.

Advantages of Layering

As we briefly mentioned above, the best part of layered architecture is that one day we can completely swap out our relational MySQL database with a NoSQL alternative, MongoDB. This swapping will not really affect any functionality of the adjacent layers, and everything will work in harmony. 
It also allows you to have independent teams working on different layers of your microservice architecture, without interference. It provides clarity on the responsibilities of the various teams that are working to build your product.
Read our blog titled "Microservices Database Management – What You Should Know".

Disadvantages of Layering

Layered architectures provide technological independence, but they can provide logical interdependence between distributed environments. For example, we have a piece of data that is traversing through multiple layers, and finally getting stored in the database. If this doesn't work, debugging will be difficult because we'll have to follow the data through numerous layers.
Other than that, each layer can only communicate with the layer below it, and the layer above it, making them tightly coupled as a whole. Layered architecture can thrive, but it requires strong governance to prevent feature creep and tight coupling. 

Microservices and Layered Architectures

When working on a Microservice Architecture, layers can appear in two ways: one that is beneficial and the other that is not. Let’s take a look at both.

1. Release Velocity and Technology

The hardware layer and the application layer may be separate. For both, architects and developers may work separately. For engagement-focused functionality that changes regularly and needs to keep up with user demand, architects and developers may choose easier to code and faster to alter options like NodeJS and MongoDB.
Core business capabilities, on the other hand, will not change overnight, and architects may opt for more stable enterprise technology stacks like Oracle and Java. A noticeable distinction will emerge over time, and it would be wise to build a gateway between the two to ensure further independence. With the microservices layered architecture, you can benefit from this revolutionary approach to building robust systems.
To get a grip on what it takes when moving your application to a microservices architecture, please download and read our eBook "Porting from Monolith to Microservices – Is the Shift Worth It".
Are you looking out for a supportive microservices vendor? Call us or drop us a note!

2. Conway's Law

Organizations create systems that represent the organization's communication structure. Large corporations frequently have teams of directors and vice presidents that believe they own a specific business skill. This might be a positive thing in that they want to ensure the reliability of their numerous clients who rely on their services, or it could be a bad thing in that they simply want to keep their weight around and be relevant. Read more about how Conway’s Law can affect your organization’s communication. 
In any case, teams will modify and regard the business capabilities of other teams as black boxes, creating abstractions around them. What emerges is a Layered Architecture made up of groups of Microservices that represent the business skills of a single team. This stifles innovation since consuming teams are unaware of the true potential hidden beneath the surface. Teams within the same company are forced to innovate in isolation.

Four Layers of Microservice Architecture

This architecture is quite famous and proposed by Susan J. Fowler, in her book Production-Ready Microservices.

Layer 1: The Hardware Layer

The hardware layer is at the very bottom of the microservice ecosystem, and it consists of the real computers that execute everything in the layers above. These computers can be your own in your own datacenters or (virtual machines operating on) cloud providers' machines such as AWS's EC2, GCP, or Azure. Databases—dedicated and shared—are also found at this layer. 
The operating system, which is commonly a Linux variant such as Debian or Ubuntu in microservice architecture, is found here. All of the resource isolation and abstraction solutions, such as Docker and Mesos, run on top of the computers and operating systems.
On top of that, the host-level monitoring and logging, which refers to the monitoring and logging that occurs at the hardware layer on these devices (here "host" refers to the machine or virtual machine) is also present. Finally, configuration management tools (such as Puppet or Ansible) ensure that each host has the appropriate programs running and configurations installed.

Layer 2: The Communication Layer

The communication layer sits on top of the hardware layer. This layer is unique, and it might be puzzling because it interacts with every other layer in the ecosystem. It's the layer that houses everything relevant to the application, system, and service communication. The network and DNS are located here. This layer also contains any RPCs or messaging that the microservices employ for communication.
Because the microservices must communicate with one another using the same protocol, like HTTP, and send data in the same format, all of the microservices' API endpoints can be considered as part of the communication layer, like JSON. This layer also includes traffic routing and distribution, which implies service discovery, service registry, and load balancing are all part of the communication layer.

Layer 3: The Application Platform

All of the internal tools, systems, services, and platforms that the microservices run on live on Layer 3 of the microservice ecosystem. Everything in this layer is designed to be used system-wide; there are centralized tools and services for the developers to use. A solid application platform allows microservice development teams to focus solely on the microservices they're working on, rather than anything else. This layer offers good self-service internal development tools that are tailored to the needs of the company. 
It will also have a structured development process that includes a decent version control system, a good collaboration tool such as Github, and a reliable development environment. This layer also contains all (ideally automated) tests, build, package, and release tooling. The deployment pipeline, which governs how new code is sent to servers, is also available.
Finally, the application platform layer contains all microservice-level logging and monitoring. The reason it's here rather than in Layer 4 is that logging and monitoring in microservice architecture should be centralized and consistent, regardless of the different microservices.

Layer 4: The Microservice Layer

The microservice layer sits at the very top of the ecosystem. This layer contains all of the microservices as well as any additional information about them. This layer is nearly fully independent of the layers below it, and it is the sole layer with which practically all microservice development teams work and interact-everything else is abstracted away and lives in the layers beneath it.

The Takeaway

Competition for resources in the microservice ecosystem is fierce, just like it is in any other ecosystem in the natural world. Each engineering organization has finite engineering resources (teams, developers) as well as finite hardware and infrastructure resources (physical computers, cloud hardware, database storage, and so on), and each resource is expensive.
Layered Architecture gives you a chance to truly compartmentalize your functionality into different sections and focus on them rather independently. The four layers of microservices architecture allow you to invest in what is most important to you right now while also diversifying your investment in building a cutting-edge application.

How Can SayOne Help 

At SayOne, we offer independent and stable services that have separate development aspects, including maintenance advantages. We build microservices especially suited for different levels of businesses in different industry verticals: startups, SMBs, and enterprises. In the longer term, this would allow your organization/business to enjoy a sizeable increase in both growth and efficiency. We create microservices as APIs with security and the application built in. We provide SDKs that allow for the automatic creation of microservices.
Our comprehensive services in microservices development start with extensive microservices feasibility analysis to provide our clients with the best outcomes. We use powerful frameworks for our custom-built microservices for different organizations. Our APIs are designed to enable fast iteration, easy deployment, and significantly less time to market. In short, our microservices are dexterous and resilient and deliver the security and reliability required for the different functions.
Are you thinking of shifting to microservices to help your business grow? Call SayOne today.

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FAQs

No, microservices is not a 3 tier architecture. Microservices is an architecture style that structures an application as a collection of loosely coupled services. A 3 tier architecture is a type of software architecture that is composed of three “tiers” or layers: the presentation tier (user interface), the application tier (business logic and data access), and the data tier (storage and databases).

Benefits of a layered microservices architecture include increased scalability, improved reliability, greater flexibility, and enhanced security. The loose coupling between services also makes it easier to create, manage, and deploy new features quickly.

Challenges of a layered microservices architecture include the complexity of managing multiple services, the potential for latency issues, and the challenge of synchronizing data between services.

A layered microservices architecture is a type of software architecture in which an application is composed of multiple autonomous services that are organized in layers, such as presentation, application, and data layers. This architecture allows for loose coupling between services, enabling greater scalability and resilience.

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