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Adopt a microservice architecture with these five tips

A microservice architecture can accelerate application development and deployment. Use these tips to find out if your business can benefit from the technology.

More enterprises are considering a microservice architecture to replace traditional monolithic applications. Cloud provides an ideal environment for microservices, as teams can work to make their applications more agile. Microservices break applications into more manageable pieces for faster deployment and update cycles. In the application development process, these smaller modules allow each application service to be deployed, updated and managed independently. With this architecture in place, applications can be updated more effectively.

Here are five tips that will help you determine if a microservice architecture is right for you.

How are microservices and cloud computing related?

Applications that use microservices may not need cloud services, but they can take advantage of them. For example, microservices can use a cloud provider's API calls for event-driven computing, which helps developers create more efficient applications, according to this tip from Stephen Bigelow.

In addition, containers are ideal environments for applications with microservices components. Containers share an operating system, which gives these multiple, containerized components the ability to communicate and combine to form a single application.

Rally IT operations teams for microservices success

Before choosing microservices, evaluate the impact they could have on your network and infrastructure.

Companies adopt a microservice architecture because it promotes a more scalable and agile environment. By allowing them to perform different tasks on different clusters, microservices create a more seamless process for developers, according to this feature from George Lawton. But managing microservices can be difficult for IT operations teams, since they have to invest time and money into new tools for automation and deployment.

Unfortunately, microservices can also introduce network and latency issues. Monitor and test APIs to prevent this. Also, remember that microservices components use different technology stacks, so you must know how to maintain these different technologies. Form a microservices management strategy to ease these challenges.

Prepare developers for these microservices pros and cons

A microservice architecture comes with its pros and cons. One benefit of microservices-based applications is they use compute resources more efficiently because of their scalability, according to this tip from Stephen Bigelow. Additionally, applications that use microservices are easier to update because updating one component of the application does not affect other areas.

However, there have been some concerns about microservices. For example, microservices-based applications are not necessarily easier to build than their monolithic counterparts. And after they are built, deployment is more complicated, as it requires a detailed script. Microservices often use automated scaling and load balancing services, which can also force a development team to rely on a certain cloud providers' offerings or APIs.

A microservice architecture.

Put microservices, cloud at heart of your IoT strategy

A lot of enterprises see the Internet of Things (IoT) as a new opportunity. IoT is comprised of sensor and control devices that connect over the Internet -- but, because these devices accept a variety of data formats, it can be difficult for enterprises to analyze and manage that data, according to this tip from Tom Nolle.

A microservice architecture can help solve this issue by allowing users to query IoT data in a database. In addition, an IoT model based on databases and microservices can better ensure privacy, allowing organizations, for example, to identify any attempt to track the location of a person. However, when adopting this model, organizations need to align IoT security with their cloud policies and requirements.

Brace your infrastructure for a microservices approach

Before choosing microservices, evaluate the impact they could have on your network and infrastructure. To do this, development and operations teams need to categorize their network services into those that are and are not application-centric, according to this feature from George Lawton. Then, tie any application-centric service to the actual application, creating a per-application service model for your microservice architecture.

An important aspect of microservices is loosely coupled components. Make sure each component has a separate service discovery infrastructure to find its service's IP address. Also, consider using service discovery tools, such as Consul and Zookeeper, as well as automation tools, such as Puppet and Chef, to streamline management.

Next Steps

Use microservices to build a DevOps environment

Why you should implement microservices architecture

Microservices architecture can improve cloud efficiency

This was last published in April 2016

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