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5 key benefits of a microservice architecture

Microservices are taking over the developer landscape. While they certainly have their challenges, here are five key benefits that might make you choose a microservice architecture.

Lee Brandt Jan 18

In recent years, microservices have become a central topic in blog posts, conference talks, and video tutorials. It seems like the whole world is abandoning the monolith and embracing microservices with open arms. If you haven’t been involved with developing a microservice-based application, you might think, “What‘s the big deal? What does building software this way get me?” Here are five of the benefits of a microservice-based software architecture.

1. Microservices are more scalable

The microservice architecture itself is a form of software scaling called functional decomposition. You are scaling your application by deconstructing a monolith into smaller pieces. The real advantage here is that you can add resources specifically to a resource-intensive task. No longer will a resource-intensive process in a large application hog the resources from the rest of the application. If the shipping calculator service begins to take more memory or processing power, you can increase the memory or processing power of the shipping calculator, no need to increase the memory or CPU for the entire application, just those processes that need it.

2. Microservices are resilient

Any developer who has been around for a while has seen an entire application fail because of a small error in a small process. In a monolith, the entire application lives or dies together. Developers can mitigate this by writing properly decoupled applications, but there is a much higher probability of tiger coupling when all of the code is together in one code base.

Because each microservice is a stand-alone “application”, a fault in the tax calculator service doesn’t have to cause the entire application to fail. Developers can build more fault tolerance into their applications by seeing and preparing for scenarios where a particular microservice might be slow or faulty.

3. Microservices make software easy-to-understand

Because each microservice is its own “application”, it makes it easier for a new developer to get their head around the things they’ll be working on every day. Understanding those boundaries is very clear-cut when each boundary is an ACTUAL application boundary and not just a theoretical boundary between sections of a more extensive application.

A microservice approach may also be easier to organize development teams around. A small group of developers tasked with developing and maintaining a small microservice can help with lowering production bugs and speeding up the delivery of new features.

4. Microservices make change easier

Since each microservice is completely independent and decoupled from the other services, changing a service is much less likely to have widespread effects. This means if you find a better way to do something or a better tool to use for a particular service, you can make those changes without worrying about whether that code is used by something else in the overall system.

This also means that you are not locked into a particular vendor. If the team writing the shipping service finds a better provider of shipping rates, they can just rework the service to use the new provider without worrying whether something else in the system might break. The team could even decide that a completely different programming language will perform better for the shipping service!

5. Microservices can be deployed individually

Another benefit of a microservice architecture is the ability to deploy each microservice separately. Deploying an entire monolith can be scary, particularly in older code bases. We’ve all been in those all-day meetings on deployment day. Everyone with their laptops ready to fix bugs on the fly. It’s especially painful if there are no changes to the section of the application that your team is working on. You’d almost wish you could just deploy part of the application. With a microservice-based architecture, that’s exactly what you can do. Since each service is a stand-alone application, you only need to deploy those services with changes. Making it less likely to have deployment problems at the service level.

This has one drawback: if you need to deploy the entire application, managing the dependencies between services can be a challenge, but Architect can handle all those dependencies for you. When you use Architect to deploy microservice applications, Architect handles all the dependencies and makes sure that dependent services are deployed before the services that depend on them. So you can deploy all of the services of an application without worrying about whether the database service is up and responsive before deploying the inventory service that will be querying that database. Not to mention handling rollbacks, easy setup of development and testing environments, and security for secrets and service communication. Sign up for a free developer account and try it for yourself!

Learn more microservices benefits and best practices

Now that you know some of the benefits of a microservice architecture, learn more about implementing and testing them!

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