September 1, 2023

Designing with Microservices: Key Concepts, Real-world Examples, and Gold Standards

The microservices architecture is frequently used in software development today.

Microservices represent a vital architectural strategy in software development, employing small components and modules to build applications of any scale. Each component is aligned with a specific business objective and most often embodies a distinct API.

Thanks to this architecture, which is ubiquitously adopted in modern development during digital business transformation, applications are essentially partitioned into several separate units. Each manages its segment of the software, operating independently of the others.

Additionally, when choosing this architecture, each service utilizes its own database. One might handle notifications for new events, another manages user authentication, while another facilitates calculations from backend to frontend and vice versa.

Since these services are decoupled, they can be reused effortlessly. Furthermore, a malfunction in any of these services won't critically impact the entire application, ensuring its long-term stability.

How Microservice Architecture Differs from Monolithic

Focus21 experts start discussing the choice of software architecture in the discovery phase

Monolithic architecture is still in active use today. It's characterized by its simpler implementation, making it the go-to choice when anticipating that the software won't experience heavy loads, both in terms of user numbers and functionality.

With a monolithic structure, all processes are interdependent, making the task of editing and scaling such software quite challenging. Moreover, a glitch in one area often jeopardizes the entire system.

Microservice architecture, though more intricate to implement, is seldom used for smaller apps with limited features and no user traffic. For more complex software solutions, this approach is generally preferred.

All components operate independently; thus, an issue in one doesn't affect the others. New elements can be added seamlessly, and older ones can be revamped with ease. As a result, the microservice architecture offers enhanced flexibility and scalability for software applications.

Key Advantages of Microservice Architecture

Independent Components. With microservice architecture, software is divided into numerous distinct components that can be effortlessly updated. Redundant ones can be painlessly removed, while essential ones can be added as needed.

Application Resilience. Microservice architecture nullifies the risk of total software failure. While certain components might malfunction for various reasons, they won't drag down the entirety of the software system.

Decentralization of Operations. Thanks to microservice architecture, there's an inherent capacity to create specific tools for individual components. Moreover, developers can work on them independently, often leading to enhanced productivity.

Effortless Data Exchange. With microservice architecture, the information exchange between the frontend and backend is uncomplicated. A component receives a basic request and returns an equally simple response, significantly enhancing clarity in various processes.

Why Companies Are Transitioning to Microservice Architecture

Amazon uses a microservices architecture because of the large number of features

Amazon. Initially, the company's primary website was developed using a monolithic architecture, which tightly intertwined all of its services. Customer profiles, order management systems, and inventory control – everything was stored in a single database.

However, as Amazon's user base grew, maintaining the monolithic structure became increasingly challenging. Any software updates took a substantial amount of time, services became overly interdependent, and the pace of the company's product development noticeably slowed down.

The company transitioned to a microservice architecture, segmenting the software into smaller independent components and APIs. The code became cleaner and more transparent, with distinct backend capabilities having their corresponding frontend segments, offering a clearer separation of Amazon's user features.

In shifting to a microservice architecture, Amazon adhered to the fundamental "two-pizza rule." It suggests that no team working on a particular component should be so large that two pizzas wouldn't suffice for their lunch. Such a simplifying principle is also employed within Focus21.

Netflix uses microservices architecture to improve system resiliency

Netflix. The massive video streaming service transitioned to a microservice architecture after a significant database failure that affected the entire company. This incident served as a pivotal lesson, prompting the company to break its software into individual, simple components.

Storing viewed shows, recommending similar movies and series, and the payment system – all became distinct parts of one vast system. This not only enhanced resilience but also boosted performance and simplified development.

Uber uses microservices architecture to easily scale the system

Uber. Initially, the service's system was built using a monolithic architecture. This is unsurprising, given that, in its early days, the startup operated in just one city – San Francisco. The need for a revamp became evident with the growth in clientele.

As Uber aggressively expanded in cities worldwide, myriad modifications to the system became necessary. Developers faced numerous scaling issues, primarily because the system was implemented with a monolithic architecture.

One could argue that Uber's spectacular achievements are partly due to its timely shift to a microservice architecture. It continues to facilitate not only easy scalability but also unmatched agility amidst ever-evolving market conditions.

In essence, if a software anticipates the need for future scaling, it's initially designed using microservice architecture. However, if it's a smaller project mainly for informational purposes, this rule can be overlooked.

Focus21 can help scale your idea strategically


Mykola (Nick) Hrytsaienko



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