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Akhil Sundar

Senior Software Engineer

Application development companySep, 2020
Application development company2 min read
#JAVASPRINGBOOT
#MICROSERVICES

The Journey into Microservices at SoundCloud

SoundCloud is a company that allows millions of people to enjoy online music for free. This said, programmers at SoundCloud do not have an easy job.

Microservices at SoundCloud – How it all started

Just as most companies do, SoundCloud started with a monolithic architectural system, just like most businesses do. Like other successful businesses, SoundCloud’s business also grew. Their service has also become more popular.

In 2014, SoundCould hosted only about 12 hours of music. However, demand soon surged to huge levels, with hundreds of millions of people using the platform on a daily basis. This led to problems such as communication overhead, unnecessary friction, and delays.

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How the Team Set up Microservices at SoundCloud

The engineering division decided to dismantle the Ruby on Rails monolithic system (which they called Mothership) into a set of numerous smaller services that would help them to manage the service in an easier fashion.

To split the monolithic system into microservices, they did not use a team to set up a working microservices solution. Instead, going by the book called Bounded Context, they decoupled the services from the Mothership with help from highly skilled programmer teams.

  • For this, they invested in tools and libraries that helped them to create the microservices in an easier fashion.
  • Frontend developers started writing backend code with the existing backend developers chipping in with lightweight libraries which enabled the frontend-turned-backend warriors to write edge services easily. These were further standardized, paving the way for a Backend-for-frontend (BFF) framework.
  • They implemented ‘extraction projects’ in which a new service was set up outside the monolith when significant changes were made to a specific feature or entity that existed inside the monolith.
  • They also realized that new features could be built outside the monolith using the internal API that it provides to access its data.
     

Initially, there were only a few microservices, but today there are many microservices that make up the SoundCloud service. And these are split across different continents.

Closing Thoughts

Unloading the main server from huge streams of data helped to split up the load distribution into smarter paths, and this was a decisive factor in choosing to go the microservices way at SoundCloud.

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