• January 2, 2023
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Is breaking a monolith into microservices worth it?

Let UWorx Decode the Mystery

In today’s world of disruptive innovation and advancements in cloud technology, microservices are receiving a lot of attention. Post COVID-19 break, adoption of microservices architecture has become popular, the major concern for businesses before jumping on the bandwagon is : How is that beneficial for us? Is the transformation really worth it? What sorts of issues can it resolve? Let us help you with that!

“The global microservices architecture market size estimates to reach $8073 million by 2026, registering a CAGR of 18% from 2019 to 2026 (Allied Marketing Research, Ecosmob 2022)”

With the rapid increase in connected devices usage like smartwatches, fitness trackers, wireless devices, tablets, SaaS, and PaaS-based enterprises have successfully adopted cloud-based solutions. As these are the key components driving microservices consulting a high market growth. Microservices are designed to scale with changing market demands. So , to stay abreast, modern enterprises are moving from legacy monolithic systems to microservices. But what are microservices? Let’s dig further.

What are microservices?

Microservices or Microservices Architecture is a decentralized approach to building and deploying applications. In simpler terms, it is a service oriented architectural style that structures an application as a suite of modular services; meaning each module within the software can be deployed independently and can be written in a different language. This allows separate developer teams to work on the same application using different approaches. Hence, it is said to be a more agile and has flexible approach as compared to monolithic architecture.

Here is why you should opt for microservices;

Microservices offer tangible real-world business benefits over centralized monolithic applications. Let us tell you some of the advantages of opting for microservices:

1.      Extensibility

Microservices are organized around business capabilities. They provide applications with the extensibility to support ‘hooks’ for new functionalities, interfaces, devices, input types, etc. As new technologies become mainstream, you will be in a better position to add more functionality to your system.

2.      Scalability

Since microservices architecture is based on small, independently versioned components, scaling up or down your application becomes very easy. The requirements for each scalable customer-focused service can be met conveniently. The applications continue to function correctly even through significant changes due to the isolation provided by this architecture.

This ability to scale well works to a great advantage for companies that work with multiple platforms and devices. Providing your software’s the ability to deal with growing user base and additional data efficiently.

3.      Maintainability

Applications are easier to maintain and test in microservices architecture. If you are working on a large application, utilizing microservices will make it easier to manage as each service operates its own database and can be rebuilt, redeployed, and managed separately. Companies that work with augmented teams, their teams can work more independently, make and execute technical decisions more quickly. Automation of testing and deployment and the continuous delivery software development process are also part of the appeal of microservice architecture.

How UWorx helps in breaking Monoliths into Microservices with just three steps!

The monolith to microservices journey is significant and often requires small incremental steps based on the complexity of the monolith. Effective microservices development and deployment demands cross-functional teams to collaborate freely and implement a strong CI/CD pipeline. With the following steps, we have helped our clients in their microservices transformation journey;

Step 1: Establish an application architecture baseline

To break apart a monolith service, we first have to know what’s in it. At the start of any microservices project, we segment the existing monolith’s architecture by logical components, such as the namespaces. We understand the broad pieces of the monolithic application first. This requires involvement of IT and business teams.  For example, the software team can create a list of APIs, but it still needs input from business stakeholders on what they actually use in the application and how important those APIs are. By investigating the current state of the application and reconciling it with actual usage, we help clients cut cost on zombie instances and improve performance.

We look into “What do the client actually have? What’s actually being used, and how is it being used? That’s the first step towards stability.

Step 2: Refactor into a domain-driven design

To progress toward microservices, we assess the size of the namespaces identified as future services. If any single component in the architecture contains more than 10% of the overall application, we break it down into smaller pieces. We use this approach rather than using lines of code, since code volume varies from one developer to another.

When we have segmented namespaces of roughly equal size, we look for the hills i.e. stacks of increasingly specific namespaces. Flatten these hills by reassigning classes to lower levels to get rid of extraneous namespaces, and create new groupings as needed. When in doubt, leave larger groupings together — you can always break them apart later.

Eventually, the monolith is logically translated to services, with namespaces organized by domains and subdomains. It’s modularized. We try and stick between 4-12 domains per application. Next, we check the dependencies between these components. Fewer dependencies mean less work. If certain components are tightly coupled, leave them out of the initial microservices migration. If most or all of the components are highly interdependent, we consider simply rewriting existing code rather than refactoring the entire application.

Dependency visualization is also crucial to set priorities within the microservices project. The lack of a dependency map is why so many migrations from monolith to microservices fail.

As we refactor code, we make sure renaming namespaces in a domain that is structured differently than the rest. For example, every namespace in the “shipping” domain of the application should be named “shipping.X.”

Before we refactor this modularized monolith code into microservices, we take steps to shield users from disruption, and ensure that no important business applications go offline during the process. Ensure that every change is reversible without data issues. For this purpose, we rely on several techniques:

Once the UI is separated from the app’s functions and code is grouped into easy-to-understand domains and dependencies, the monolith is no longer uncharted territory. It’s navigable and modular, clean, service-based architecture. You as a client can now enjoy increased agility, deployment rates and testability.

Step 3: Build microservices

Microservices are pieces of single-purpose code that do one thing well. From tens of business or functional services, an application architecture can split into hundreds or thousands of microservices.

  • we start at points where the application will benefit the most from microservices — ideally, where automation, DevOps and containerization are already in place. Using the strategies described above, like dark launches, teams increase the chance that they can refactor without negative consequences on the user base.
  • To create microservices, we identify functional blocks of code that should stand alone, map the associated data and identify relevant interfaces. Developers and architects must find the right places to split or consolidate services based on all three considerations.
  • Decide how you will manage microservices, and prioritize either reusability or specificity.
  • Our microservices architects revisit and refine the application composition continually. Microservices refactoring is not a one-and-done initiative.

This is how we do it!

To summarize, microservices evolution continues to benefit by providing;

  • Faster time-to-market
  • A consistent approach to scaling
  • Increased employee productivity
  • Reduced application downtime
  • Higher customer retention
  • Easier app maintenance and debugging
  • Better security of app and customer data

Microservices are here to stay!

Even though microservices have existed for over a decade, it’s only now that enterprises have begun to embrace its benefits. Lately, microservices have become the default choice of most enterprises. Perhaps, a trend that will pick up soon towards serverless computing. With no burden of infrastructure management, saving on costs is an added advantage.

With the current and future trends in microservices architecture adoption, we believe it’s a great time to be around! If you want to adopt this architecture we are here to help you. Get in touch with us now at info@uworx.co.uk.

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