Is Microservices Architecture in Everyone’s Future?

A modular approach offers faster innovation, greater availability, and easier scalability — but microservices architecture also has its own set of challenges.

Microservices architecture

The microservices architecture market is growing. According to Market Research Future, the market is increasing at a CAGR of 17 percent, putting it on pace to reach $33 billion by 2023. Cloud-based solutions, including Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), are driving the growth of microservices, which divide a large application into smaller, modular services that communicate with each other through APIs.

Research from LightStep found that 92 percent of development professionals worldwide increased the number of their microservices from 2017 to 2018, and 92 percent expected microservices to grow in the next year.

The Advantages of Microservices Architecture

Microservices architecture has a number of advantages over monolithic applications. Cloud Academy explains that microservices addresses these issues:

  • Working with a large code base, which can overload your development environment and limit productivity
  • Changing the technology stack without impacting application functionality
  • Scaling that’s only possible by horizontal means, so each copy of the application uses the same resources on different servers — an inefficient model

With microservices architecture, you can try out a new technology stack on an individual service with fewer concerns about dependencies, and you can roll back changes much easier if necessary. And if a module fails, it doesn’t impact the rest of the application.

The Downside to Microservices Architecture

Cloud Academy also explains that there are some disadvantages to using microservices architecture. Generally, it’s more complex. You need to manage requests between modules and may need to write additional code to minimize disruption. There’s also complexity in deploying these applications since you need to coordinate multiple services. Additionally, testing requires that each service is confirmed, and you need to manage multiple databases.

A QAT Global blog expands the list of disadvantages, pointing out additional cons including:

  • Implementation requires a change in mindset, moving managing service failure to a priority concern.
  • Excellent communication between teams is necessary to avoid breaking something when a service is updated.
  • Securing large numbers of microservices is more difficult than securing a monolithic application.
  • Costs can be higher when implemented, throughout use due to larger memory consumption, and to install and maintain the network required to run them.

Key Vertical Markets Demanding Microservices

Your clients in a variety of verticals have a keen interest in the advantages of applications designed with microservices architecture:

  • Healthcare: the Healthcare microservices market alone is expected to increase from $130 million to $519 million by 2025. Driving growth are healthcare’s needs for faster service deployment, quicker adoption of innovative technology, and increased productivity. Healthcare is looking for solutions for its data security and regulatory compliance requirements as well as how to overcome complexity of use and implementation.
  • Banking, Financial and Insurance: Aspen Mesh cites three key advantages of microservices for financial services: greater security through creating a separate identity service; faster delivery of new functionality; and an easier-to-manage API layer.
  • Government: In addition to the other advantages of microservices architecture, government organizations can benefit from its ability to build functionality that aligns with business goals, allowing IT teams to build or enhance services based on constituents’ needs.
  • Retail: Amazon and eBay have demonstrated the value of microservices to retail, including highly available and scalable services and more efficient handling of bug fixes and errors.
  • Media and Entertainment: Netflix transitioned to microservices in 2009, and today, the service handles 2 billion edge requests each day via more than 500 microservices. The move provides speed, scale, and availability.

Use Your Expertise to Make the Best Decision

Microservices architecture is tried and proven in a number of high-profile use cases, but it’s not without its own set of challenges. Don’t approach microservices architecture as a panacea for all of the issues a client faces with the speed of innovation, availability, and scalability. Maintain a realistic perspective that will help you and your client successfully address their objectives in the most practical, cost-effective manner — whether that’s a monolithic application or with microservices. Find the best way to deliver what your clients need. 

Mike Monocello

The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of DevPro Journal.

The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of DevPro Journal.