What are microservices?
Microservices also known as microservice architecture, is an architectural pattern of software systems development that focuses on modules that are single-function and have well-defined operations and interfaces. It is a trend that has grown popular in recent years.
Microservices architecture is different from monolithic architecture. In microservice architecture changes made in one microservice do not affect the other because all are loosely coupled as opposed to a monolithic architecture where a change in one module of code will affect the other.
Characteristics of microservices
Componentization via services
A component can be described as a software unit that can be upgraded or replaced independently. Microservice architecture componentizes their software by breaking them down into services. One advantage of using services as components is that they are independently deployable. This is opposed to having an application consisting of libraries where a change to one component will result in redeploying the entire application.
Organized around business capabilities
Since the teams in microservices are cross-functional and their dedication is the fulfillment of a single functionality, the end goal is customer satisfaction and enhancing user experience. This makes them organized around business capabilities as opposed to technical capabilities.
Products not projects
Most application developments have a model of two teams, where one team develops the software and when complete hands over the software to another team that will oversee its maintenance. However, microservice proponents instead prefer a model where the team that develops software is the same that will still be charged with maintenance. This changes the mentality of just having a finished product to how the software assists the users and how it enhances their business capabilities.
Re-usability of services
Since microservices concentrate on business capabilities rather than products or projects. This, therefore, makes it possible for development teams to re-use previous services saving on costs.
As discussed earlier microservices are applying the build it/run it ethos. Where a team that built software is also responsible for running it. This changes the model of governance in that it is not a central governance structure but devolved, in that each team that has developed an application is- responsible for maintaining and ensuring their product is running efficiently. This pushes the responsibility to the individual development teams.
Decentralized data management
Apart from decentralizing governance microservices also decentralized data storage. They prefer letting each service manage its own data storage.
Many of the systems and products being developed with microservices are built by development teams with vast experience in Continuous Delivery and its predecessor Continuous Integration, this makes them extensively use Infrastructure automation techniques.
Examples of Businesses that have adopted the microservice architecture
Advantages of microservices
- Ready for market faster
They have short development cycles and support faster deployment and updates.
- Highly scalable
As your demand for services grows, microservices allow scalability that allows you to meet the demands of your growing needs.
Since the services are independent and do not impact each other, when one piece fails, the whole system doesn’t go down.
- Easy to deploy
As compared to the traditional monolithic apps, microservice apps are easier to deploy since they are smaller and more modular.
They have faster development cycles since most apply agile development methodologies. The large app is broken down into smaller segments and developers can easily understand, enhance and update the different small segments resulting in faster development.
- More open
There is the freedom to choose the best technology and language by developers as they use polyglot APIs.
Challenges of microservices
Since they have dependencies you have to spend time and identify them. Because one build can result in several other builds. The effects of microservices on your data also have to be considered.
End-to-end testing and integration testing are difficult but paramount. Because depending on the architecture failure in one part could cause something else different to fail.
There is always a threat of breaking backward compatibility when you update to new versions.
By having distributed systems, centralized logs are needed to bring everything together. Failure to which managing the scale will be impossible.
Due to their complexity, the deployment of microservices becomes overwhelming for humans. To make it easier quite a lot of investment must be made in automation.
Continuous monitoring is critical so that problems in the system can be pinpointed.
They have a debugging issue since remote debugging through IDE won’t work across the many services.
Whether integrated or centralized connectivity has to be considered.
What is meant by multi-tenant architecture?
There has been a rapid move in the last decade or so from on-premise installed products to cloud-based SaaS products. The SaaS providers have benefited from the economies of scale and in the end, passed the benefit to the users who have significantly saved in costs to access services. The multi-tenancy model has been the master stroke that SaaS companies have applied.
In this system, the users regardless of number are served by the same underlying software and machines, provided by the service provider.
- Database multi-tenancy
- Schema multi-tenancy
- Table multi-tenancy
Benefits of multi-tenant architecture in microservices
- Always up-to-date
This system ensures customers are always running with the late security updates and latest features because it delivers continuous releases. Unlike single tenancy where vendors release 1 or 2 updates per year.
- Continuous monitoring
In Multi-tenant architecture, threats are often detected and addressed sometimes even before customers are even aware. This is because of continuous monitoring and the ability to respond to security issues immediately.
- Automatic upgrades
Updates provided by the vendor are seamlessly pushed to the users with zero downtime on their part.
Given their flexibility in design, the microservice architecture ensures any issues are smaller and are in a single microservice. So if issues are identified a rollback of an individual service is simple.
- Better total cost of ownership
No need for experts to deploy and manage your implementation. Costs associated with hardware maintenance or upgrades are eliminated.
Limitations of multi-tenant architecture
- Less customization
- Global problems
The multi-tenant architecture in microservices is surely a game changer. It has not only changed the way development teams work but also the user experience. Real-time monitoring, problem isolation, and solution provision while other users are still using the application, its robust nature, easy scalability, and adaptability to business needs make it a sort after service by businesses today.
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