Microservices Made Easy: Concepts Explained and Myths Debunked

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Online apps back in the day ran on a monolithic structure. All the code was centralized in a single application. However, as apps steadily grew more complex, they became bigger and more difficult to deploy, scale, and troubleshoot.

App developers realized that a more efficient way to develop online apps would be to break the main functions down into separate parts, launch them on separate servers, and have the servers communicate to unify the whole app. This structure is called microservice architecture.

An example of this would be an eCommerce app. If you break it down, there are several parts:

  • Shopping catalog: lists all the available products for the user to browse
  • Checkout: collects user billing and shipping information and confirms purchases
  • Order processing: records orders and payments, gives shipping status updates
  • User profile database: gathers information on the user, such as browsing pattern, previous purchases, shopping cart status, etc.

If these individual parts were loaded into a single, monolithic structure, it would be too big to run on a typical server, so they moved to a microservice architecture. Think of it as delegating smaller tasks to a team of different people instead of overwhelming one person with multiple tasks. Makes sense, right? But why aren’t all companies using microservice architecture?

Myth 1: Microservices aren’t reliable or secure

Some businesses are wary of adopting a microservice architecture because of their concerns regarding microservices security and reliability. Since app development is decentralized among different developers, it’s harder to guarantee app and user data security. Additionally, breaking down functions into different apps means more avenues for error, such as communication failures and compatibility concerns.

However, both concerns have already been resolved by modern-day solutions. There are several microservices security strategies available, from centralized security tools to the defense-in-depth strategy. Concerns about miscommunication among multiple developers and servers are valid, but they are overturned by the greater benefit of adopting a microservice architecture. Microservice architecture offers the same functionality as monolithic architectures, only with more agility and flexibility. Tasks like debugging and updating are much easier on a microservice architecture thanks to functions being separate. You can make changes to one aspect of the whole process without affecting the others.

Myth 2: Microservices aren’t worth the investment

While it’s true that most small businesses and simple apps will be fine with a monolithic approach, it limits their growth opportunities. A microservice structure makes feature addition and expansion easier. So if you intend to grow your business in the future, it’s better to invest in converting your system to a microservice structure while it’s still small. The more complex your app is, the harder it will be to switch from a monolithic to a microservice architecture.

Much planning and expertise are required to adopt a microservice architecture, but the benefits greatly outweigh the drawbacks. The cost of converting will be well worth it if it means a faster and smoother user experience for your customers and an overall improvement in your app’s functionality.

 

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