6 benefits of microservices for your digital project
How can microservices be used specifically to enhance your digital projects?
Written by Vegard Ottervig on
Microservices are a collection of separate services in an application that are highly maintainable and testable, loosely coupled, independently deployed, and organized around business capabilities.
Examples of microservices may include an insurance calculator, an API for an order, components of a website (like a box for showing a form), or server-side functionality (like a scheduled task).
But how can you leverage microservices to ensure the success of your digital project? Here are six benefits (and three challenges):
Microservices fit perfectly into a modern cloud infrastructure. Instead of one giant airship, you have several smaller aircrafts—smaller components running—that are easier to check and maintain.
By being smaller, components are easier to handle by DevOps in terms of testing, deployment, and management. Having a solid cloud foundation beneath your digital project will be reassuring for both your stakeholders and you as a project owner.
Microservices consist of smaller pieces, which makes it easier to do changes without interfering with other parts of your project. Instead of having one giant cogwheel to which everyone is transfixed and where everyone will be affected, you instead have several smaller and independent gears with microservices.
This enables all your co-workers to be more autonomous in their undertakings. They can test and perform tasks without risking to disrupt others in the same degree as before, resulting in more productive and agile-working project members.
Modular means “parts-based,” and is a governing principle behind microservices. In order to maximize the chances for success in your digital project, you should opt in to build a solution with more flexibility and choices within modularity.
Small pieces like microservices mean it’s easier to build a service more modular, and enable handy reuse between projects. Say that you have a project where you have implemented an inventory service in your CMS—which may come in handy when keeping tabs on your assets in the given project.
If you want a similar service in your next project, which differs in every other aspect from your previous project, you can reuse only the inventory microservice without involving all the other complex services.
As the saying goes, you’re no stronger than your weakest link. If monolithic system architectures are like a massive bridge, where one weakness leads to the collapse or stultification of the entire structure—a microservices architecture is like a modular bridge, where each part alone cannot topple the rest of the structure by its own demise.
Having independent components means that failure in one will not affect all the others in the same grave way. A microservice can be down without all the others being down, and it’s easier to isolate and discover where a failure originates.
In this way, your project can run smoothly (or as smooth as possible) when one microservice encounters an error, continuing to serve your co-workers or your clients. All while your developers can work steadily—knowing that catastrophe is not imminent.
Speaking of developers, microservices can get them up to speed much quicker by the following tokens:
Instead of browsing through a convoluted monolithic system, a microservices architecture can be arrayed in a logical and neat way, quickly giving your developers a picture of the essential structure, and letting them focus on their respective microservices. A neat overview accordingly leads to an easier way to make changes and having full control over what’s where.
Additionally, as the microservices are separate and independent, your developers can use specialized technology in each case that is more adequate for the task at hand. All this can lead to faster development cycles and more productiveness in your digital project.
Due to the independent and modular nature of a microservices architecture, you are more free to scale the services that need scaling at the pace of your project’s needs. If you need more insurance calculator power, then juice it up without having to affect other services as well.
Smaller pieces can run in the cloud faster, and microservices lay no obstacles in the way of choosing where to run the given service. Tools like Kubernetes help you manage and scale solutions like this.
While microservices might get you a better overview, the opposite is also true if you execute the architecture poorly.
(1) As everything is more fragmented than before, it can actually be more difficult to get a full overview. If you are wary of this possible disadvantage from the beginning and enforce reasonable rules for the architecture, you will probably steer clear of disaster.
(2) Also, keep in mind that microservices might be a different kind of technology than your developers may be used to, so be sure to facilitate training if necessary.
(3) Finally, a microservices architecture might be more difficult to test for your DevOps, as it consists of several small pieces instead of a singular whole. Build steady routines with periodical integration tests to ensure smooth operations for the future as well.
Microservices enable your project to be agile and modular, to avoid single points of failure, to make your developers start building solutions faster, and to scale at will.
Be mindful of the possible caveats, and then you’re set to consider whether or not a microservices architecture may be the right solution for your organization.
First published 27 May 2019, updated 29 September 2022.
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