This article on Cloud Native microservices is dedicated to providing a deep understanding of what Cloud Native microservices are and also gives out information about how we can leverage the benefits of the new architecture.
Most of the organizations are shifting their focus to a cloud-native approach where they are combining microservices architecture and container technologies so that they can build applications which are scalable, flexible, and more importantly, completely utilize the technology benefits.
So, before going much further into the benefits and also their core functionalities, we need to understand clearly about cloud-native microservices. Let’s do that!
Microservices is an architecture process where it is used to develop an application by collecting small services. Each and every service is associated with business capabilities where they are equipped with their own process. All of the communication happens through HTTP API or messaging features.
Every individual microservice can be restarted, upgraded and also scaled without disturbing the other services within the same application. With this kind of process, the development team can push the latest changes to the production environment or the live environment without affecting or impacting the end users or customers.
Now that we have understood what Microservices are, let’s focus on understanding what it takes the business or an organization to move from their traditional architecture to a cloud-native microservice architecture:
Most of the organizations are following a standard process where they have only one deployment unit which has all the application features. This type of architecture is called Monolithic architecture.
If you are building a Healthcare information system, the application includes modules like patient admission, pharmacy, Invoices, and other respective modules. All of these modules are clubbed together and deployed as a single unit. This type of architecture has a lot of dependencies and also adverse effects.
Few of the risks involved with Monolithic architecture are as follows:
As all the modules are built together, the code base will be huge, and any bug fixes carried out by the development team might impact other modules of the code. So, interdependency is always the case.
The huge code base is not easy to maintain and it can be fairly difficult for the developers to handle.
If the deployment size is huge then it will definitely overload the server and results in abrupt crashes.
Scalability of individual components is difficult.
Considerable downtime is necessary for production deployments and it affects the business operations.
So, considering the above points, it definitely makes sense to change the process from Monolithic architecture to Microservice architecture.
So, what it takes for the businesses or the organizations to change from Monolithic architecture to Microservice architecture ?
Most of the limitations that we have listed above with Monolithic architecture can be accommodated, and can be rectified by going through microservice architecture.
When it comes to Microservices architecture it is completely about designing the software in such a way that they are different components associated with a single application.
As per the example that we have considered above, i.e., HealthCare application, the modules like admissions, invoices, pharmacy all will be independent components and are deployed as a single unit.
Let’s say that there is a surge in the utilization of the admissions module, then the developers have an option to scale the admissions related component only and not affecting the rest of the application behavior. On contrary, this is a bigger issue in the Monolithic environment.
So the scalability factor is definitely possible here and also we can determine whether the scalability is defined by a manual intervention or it can be automated. This can be decided by the operations team.
The automatic scalability is like a cool feature where it can be flexible based on the demand. If there is a surge in terms of the application usage for that particular module, it can auto scale to a level where the demand is fulfilled and later it can auto scale it to a low level.
Business and Process Decisions for a Microservices TransitionIn order to change the process from Monolithic architecture to Microservice architecture, the businesses have to understand and evaluate their current situation and take the step towards betterment.
In general, they are two approaches:
These are the two approaches that most of the businesses have to follow when they are trying to transition from Monolithic architecture to Microservice architecture.
Within the two approaches, they are few challenges that the businesses have to go through.
So, considering both the approaches, it definitely makes sense to go through the current situation within the implementation and take appropriate steps.
Considering all these benefits, it will definitely be the best fit. As per the organization demands and the application needs, microservices architecture can be implemented.
To the flipside of the coin, there are a few disadvantages which can be painful for most of the organizations if they are not dealt with or addressed during the initial stages of the implementation. They are as follows.
The above aspects need to be monitored carefully so that the best of microservices architecture is availed.
Deploying a microservices architecture is an integral part of the entire implementation and the following points need to be addressed.
The above points are critical so that the microservices are effectively deployed.
With the use of open source tools like Docker and Kubernetes, microservices architecture can be deployed.
Docker is one of the open source platforms which can be utilized by developers and system administrators to deploy the application containers in a Linux environment.
This is one of the best ways to deploy a microservice architecture application. The following steps are necessary to make the entire implementation perfect:
Kubernetes is another platform where we can leverage and add more value to the deployments when it is used with Docker.
Using kubernetes, it is easy to manage a bunch of Linux containers as a single system where the docker containers are available on multiple hosts. This deployment structure will be helpful while dealing with large-scale microservices.
When it comes to migration strategies for microservices, there are few approaches that are available. The usage of an approach varies based on the conditions and the team within the organization will have the ultimatum to take the appropriate decision.
A high level of the migration strategies that organizations tend to use are stated below:
As the name suggests - do not disturb the existing monolithic structured application. It is better to build a parallel application considering microservices architecture. In other words, the same business functionality is implemented but using microservices architecture.
The benefits with this type of approach are:
The disadvantage with this type of approach is:
In this approach, the standalone modules are identified first and they are redesigned and developed according to the microservices structure. Within this process, the entire application’s UI and backend are redesigned so that it suits microservice architecture.
The benefits associated with this type of approach are:
The disadvantages with this approach are:
With this approach, the team has to identify modules which can be executed independently. Once this activity is done, the entire backend will be reworked and the individual module UI will be rebuilt according to the microservices architecture. Once the development is completed, the existing monolithic services and the UI will be replaced.
The benefits associated with this approach are given below.
The disadvantages associated with this process are as follows.
The best practices for migration :
Well, the best practices actually vary from one another. So, in general, the best practices that can be implemented are as follows.
Hybrid cloud is nothing but a cloud computing setup or environment which primarily uses a mixture of private clouds and on-premises clouds in conjunction with public cloud services.
It takes time and money to transfer content from a private cloud to a public cloud and consumes a lot of computing efforts, which results in unnecessary resource utilization and increases the operations’ cost. Furthermore, to control these aspects, one can definitely use hybrid cloud services which offer much more flexibility and have a lot of data deployment options to choose from.
Now, let’s understand how hybrid cloud environment setup is helping Microservices implementations:
As per the microservices architecture, all the functionalities are divided into small components where they interact with each other and form an application. Also, with this structure, the functional components can either scale up or down based on the need.
The same concept works for the hybrid cloud computing environment as well - based on the demand the cloud instance can be either scaled up or down. So, in general, hybrid cloud environments and microservices architectures go hand in hand.
One of the best examples is the containers. The concept of containers is widely used in microservices architecture. Whenever there is a need, the containers can be either created or destroyed automatically without affecting the application performance.
If a considerable load has been observed, then the required containers are created automatically where the load balancer will start distributing the load to multiple services.
Alternatively, if there is a decreasing demand for the load on the application, then the related containers are destroyed so that effective utilization of resources is always maintained.
When it comes to infrastructure considerations, the organizations have to look out for different components like maintenance, scalability, performance monitoring, and eventually hosting.
So, below aspects should be considered so that the team can properly design a microservices architecture based application.
Especially if the organizations are opting microservices based applications, then the application should be designed in such a way that its flexibility and scalability concepts are not at all compromised.
As per the standards, a cloud native application is built on different logical layers based on the functionality and the deployment. Every layer has designated microservices which will eventually accomplish their own tasks.
Though the layers are clubbed together, every layer acts independently. When compared to the three tier traditional architecture, the stack is in the form of a hierarchy. But in cloud native application, the structure is a flat one where the service is exposed via an API.
The different available layers and their usages are listed below:
This layer is completely flexible and can grow and reduce according to the runtime usage. In order to carry out the scale-in and scale-out operations, a autoscale policy needs to be implemented.
Within this layer, each and every service selects an ideal database where the structured data is stored. These type of services are called stateful services where high-level APIs are exposed.
All the scheduled jobs, parallel jobs, and batch jobs are notified as parallelizable layer.
Within the event-driven layer, the code is not packaged in the form of containers. So, rather than using containers, the functions are written in programming languages like Python and Node.Js. Once these functions are written in the above-mentioned programming languages, they are deployed directly.
All the functions that are triggered within this layer are nothing but event-driven based.
Most of the monolith applications are legacy layer based. For example, all customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain management (SCM) and human resources (HR) applications.
So to use the existing systems, microservices architecture can still support and the transactions can be interoperated in the legacy layer.
With the help of microservices maturity model, the customers can compare themselves and see whether they stand and also know what it takes for them to reach to a point where they can classify as a microservice related enterprise.
Also, it acts as a standard set of rules and policies so that all the teams within an organization can abide to. It plays an important role in terms of maintaining the standards and process controls to an industry standard.
The Assessment stage: According to the maturity model, this is the stage where an organization evaluates its current standards to the maturity model standards. According to this assessment, the organizations can understand the main areas where they need to emphasize on.
With this type of study and assessment, organizations can understand the latest trends and will be able to improve their performances which in return will showcase more profits.
In this article, we have gone through several concepts of microservices architecture components where they are transforming the way the traditional applications are developed and deployed. Based on the application stability and the ad-hoc requirements, team can take a constructive decision of moving from monolithic to microservices architecture. Using the migration strategies, one can decide the best approach and work towards a completion.
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