In the latest software engineering field, there is a trend that involves breaking down the components of the business into small units. The broken units then operate individually without depending on other groups. The process of breaking down business units is what is called microservices. When the units work independently, they form what is called service boundaries, which separates each group from one another.
The service boundaries perform special duties to fulfill the requirements of the business, and the needs are arranged hierarchically. Every service unit has different means of operation in terms of costs, working teams, and roadmaps. Examples of service boundaries include the user validation process and payment process kind of services. This article aims at highlighting the stages involved in building a microservices.
Stages in Building Microservices
- Stage 1: Create a Monolith
You might choose to skip this stage if you do not have users for your app because your business might take a new dimension when you create your minimum viable product. The motive behind this is because of the feedback you will be getting concerning software development as you try to figure out the potential capabilities of the business you want to set up.
Since microservices can be quite hard to manage, it becomes essential for new projects to stick to a single codebase. Using a single codebase reduces extra costs and makes the process of creating the application becomes easy to handle.
Dealing with microservices becomes easy when you have a better understanding of each role of the different services required. On the other hand, microservices becomes challenging to implement when the project is still ongoing. Remember to keep everything simple until you get enough information from the users because it will be costly to change data structures, service interactions, and API‘s in microservices.
Note: Make efforts to have simplified modules that can be extracted later on from the monolith to avoid troubles with breaking down a complex code into smaller pieces.
- Stage 2: Team Organization
Creating microservices requires highly skilled personnel because it is a technical issue. There are a lot of requirements throughout the process. You deal with technical problems such as implementing the required patterns that keep failing due to network problems, breaking down the codebase in several services, and dealing with data consistency. All these issues will call for new actions and technical thinking. As a result, you have to structure your working team to be ready to face all the problems and solve them accordingly.
It is advisable to create a manageable team with few experts who can develop and keep track of the services they are assigned to. Having a small group of experts is advantageous because all the developers involved know the code used in production. In the end, they will produce quality results that will fulfill the needs of the customers. Another advantage is that the teams involved will cooperate to make the necessary changes to the code and the entire process.
- Stage 3: Building a microservices architecture by splitting the monolith
After you have differentiated boundaries of your service and arranged your team of workers, it is now an appropriate time to break the monolith and create microservices. This is the final stage, and you have to put the following factors into consideration:
- Embrace simple communication between RESTful API and services
Make sure you are using a RESTful API in your system to get a suitable endpoint and dump pipes. Embracing simple communication implies that the data should be passed across without changing it. When the message remains unchanged, it is well received, processed, and feedback sends. The purpose of microservices is to maintain things easy to handle, unlike SOA, which is more complicated.
- Split the structure of the data
Having a solo database is a common practice in different monoliths. The advantage of a single database is that you can view the user’s information when the user has access to it. It is a straightforward idea though it is not practical in microservices. In microservices, you must split up the services to access the invoice even when the system goes down. As a result, every service in microservices must have its database to make the process simple.
However, be ready to encounter technical issued such as duplication. In some instances, you will experience the doubling of data in different databases. In such cases, you use an event-driven architecture that will enable you to sync data on several services. The purpose of event-driven architecture is to keep the account’s information simple and not to concentrate on other dependent services. The event-driven architecture informs the system of the actions taken on various services accordingly.
Another strategy to avoid duplication issues is to keep the user’s information in the account service and keep a foreign key reference in your billing and delivery service. When you do this, the two accounts will network with the service account to have the user’s data when the need arises. This will avoid duplication of already existing information.
However, remember that there is no general solution to duplication issues. You need to understand the basis of the problem and handle it accordingly.
- Create the microservices architecture for failure
Up to this point, you have realized the advantages offered by microservices through monolith architecture. They are indeed simple to understand, thanks to their specialty and minute size. They have split apart, and this implies that you can take a new direction on a service without worrying about the effect it might cause on other system’s components like affecting the development of other teams. Also, they give developers chances to use different technologies when required without affecting other services.
All these advantages show that it is easier to develop and maintain each business separately with a microservices architecture. However, the complexity comes in when you need to bring all services together to complete a particular task. It is obvious the system is about to experience technical failures, and you have to think the way forward.
You will experience network failure and inadequate responses from different services. Recovering from such failures can be a bit hectic, but then you are forced to figure out solutions faster to avoid the congestion of messages. You should ensure that your system was built for failure from the start before you start getting solutions from the monolith systems.
- Concentrate on making microservices testing easy
Another big issue of microservices with a monolith system is testing. When a system is created using a single codebase, it does not require frequent testing to see if it is running. All that is needed is a single codebase system is a backend server connected to the database to run the test.
However, in microservices, the case is different. The first phase involves the unit test that is similar to that of a monolith, and you won’t strain much at this point. The main difficulty comes in when integrating the system’s services. Since there are different data stores, you may have to, first of all, run the various data stores and set up message queues that were not necessary for the monolith. At this point, it is expensive, and you can’t predict the possible failures.
To avoid complications at this stage, you need to concentrate from the beginning to highlight possible problems and take care of them before things get out of hand. It is vital to grasp the bases of each service to act accordingly when an unexpected failure happens.
- Keep continuous delivery on track to minimize deployment difficulties
You can decide to launch a monolith system manually, but you have to prepare to face a lot of work, and you risk technical failures. That is why it recommendable for each software business to embrace continuous delivery for any kind of development.
As you move towards microservices, it is better to use a continuous delivery strategy to minimize the rate of failures. Continuous delivery enables your development teams to keep creating and running applications. Another reason why you should consider continuous delivery is to have your services approved at the testing stage before reaching production.
- Do not view running microservices as a competition
Many industries are embracing the use of microservices practices, and this implies that it is a trend that is growing steadily. Those hard projects are given options on how you can create and deploy software. Microservices also offer a business analysis of your system that helps a lot when you have several teams working on the same application. However, note that managing distributed systems and dividing a monolith architecture should be considered when service boundaries are well-defined.
When creating microservices, do not have a competitive mentality to achieve your business goals because it is a drastic process. You must take time and understand all the tech-related issues to the distributed system, how to fail, and weigh different components in the system.
Microservices is a plan that is advantageous to both the business organization and the code development process. Through microservices, you can split teams into smaller units that belong to the same business operations. Microservices is still an upcoming technological trend, and it is worth giving it a trial and experience the difference it will bring to your team.
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