5 September 2023
Microservices architecture is rapidly changing the world of software development. By breaking large monolithic applications into smaller, composable services, companies can build systems that are more agile, scalable, and resilient. This beginner's guide will explain what microservices are, the benefits they provide, and key concepts for implementing them. Whether you're new to microservices or looking to go deeper, this article will equip you with a solid foundation. This guide is the perfect introduction or continuation to your Microservices Architecture Training get in contact to discover how one of our customised courses can benefit your team.
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Microservices, also known as the microservice architecture, are an architectural approach to software development where an application is composed of small independent services that communicate over well-defined APIs. These services are:
This is in contrast to monolithic applications where all functionality is combined in a single executable. Monoliths can be difficult to maintain and scale over time.
Figure 1: Monolithic vs. Microservices Architectures. Credit: NGINX
Some key benefits of microservices include:
Microservices power many large tech companies like Amazon, Netflix, Uber, and more. However, they also come with their own challenges and require organizational shifts to be successful.
Well-designed microservices architectures follow core principles and best practices:
Services should be as independent from each other as possible. This means minimizing service dependencies and interactions. Services communicate via well-defined APIs that should be relatively stable over time. Direct database or infrastructure dependencies should also be avoided between services.
Each microservice should align with a specific business capability. For example, Order Service, Customer Service, Payment Service. Keeping the scope of a service focused makes the codebase easier to maintain.
Unlike monolithic apps which share a common database, each service manages its own database in a microservices architecture. This helps keep services decoupled.
Services should handle errors gracefully and not fail catastrophically if other services are unavailable. Patterns like circuit breakers, retries, and graceful degradation help build reliability.
Domain-driven design is a development approach tailored to microservices. It calls for modeling software after the real business domains.
Inter-service communication is a critical part of distributed microservices. Here are common communication styles:
Services communicate asynchronously via a message broker like Kafka or RabbitMQ. Messages are durably stored and retries can handle failure.
REST APIs are commonly used for synchronous request-reply style communication between services.
Services find and call each other via service discovery (e.g. Consul, Eureka, Zookeeper). Load balancers route traffic.
Since each service has its own database, data management becomes more complex with microservices. Common patterns include:
Let's explore key development principles:
Modern platforms like containers and orchestrators enable reliable microservices deployment:
While microservices provide significant benefits, they also come with distinct challenges:
Here are some tips to begin your microservices journey:
Microservices allow the rapid delivery of complex applications, but require organizational change and a sound technical approach. We hope this beginner’s guide provides a solid basis for your microservices architecture!