What are Microservices?

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MicroservicesMicroservices are a flexible, single-purpose software program essentially compatible with any application. Think of them like individual pieces of furniture. Each article (e.g., a sofa, chair, or table) can stand apart and function. But the sum of things make-up the whole (e.g. a chair can surround a table for eating in a dining room or peek out from a corner to view television in a den. The sum of all the furniture and its placement makes the context). Moreover, one piece can be reused (e.g. a kitchen chair can be moved to a living room to seat an additional guest).  The philosophical essence of a Microservice can be described as, “focus on one task and do it well.”

Other Definitions of Microservices Include:

  • A method of developing software applications that are made up of independently deployable, modular services. Each microservice runs a unique process and communicates through a well-defined, lightweight mechanism (such as a container) to serve a business goal. (Kong Yang, SolarWinds)
  • “A way of designing and implementing applications using independently deployable units of code that communicate to other application components using APIs.” (IBM)
  • “A way of structuring applications into a set of loosely coupled services that can be updated and scaled separately under the container infrastructure.” (Swapnil Bhartiya, Linux.com)
  • “An architectural and organizational approach to software development where software is composed of small independent services that communicate over well-defined APIs.” (AWS)
  • Small, single-task focused sub-processes that communicate inside larger application packages (Dan Patterson, TechRepublic)

Some Good Use Cases for Microservices Include:

  • CPU and memory-intensive application parts
  • Distributed Teams: by letting local teams concentrate on separate pieces of code instead of overstepping each other into the same code.
  • Multitenancy: where many shared resources consume the software
  • Multiple User Interaction Models: where the software forks into different directions depending on user choices.
  • Ongoing App Evolution: where each software piece needs to evolve individually.
  • Scalability: where one software piece needs to be reused across different larger applications (e.g. a login function).

Be sure to invest time, talent, and money initially in the software design, before using Microservices to avoid unexpected information barriers and/or stability issues.

Businesses Use Microservices to:

  • Decouple service teams.
  • Take advantage of different kinds of programming languages.
  • Process data taken from the Internet of Things (IOT).
  • Make it easier for changes and repairs without shutting down the entire system.
  • To develop software more
  • Scale and speed up applications.

 

Image used under license from Shutterstock.com

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