The rise of microservices as a means of developing and delivering software value faster is clearly on the rise. Containers have skyrocketed from a fringe technology to a mainstream imperative and organizations are scrambling to jump on the microservices bandwagon. Before you rush out to embrace microservices, though, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First let’s talk about what microservices even are since it’s a relatively new term in a sea of relatively new terms.
Al Hilwa, research director, Application Development Software at IDC described microservices this way:
“Microservices is an architectural approach that draws on long evolving experience in software engineering and system design, including the SOA efforts of the last two decades. Microservices architecture is enabled by a spectrum of tool categories but is primarily an architectural approach to system design that also requires considerable organizational and cultural adjustment to execute successfully.”
Put more succinctly, microservices is an evolution of software development and deployment that embraces DevOps and containers and breaks applications down to smaller individual components. Organizations can develop and deploy faster because there is a modular approach that makes code more efficient and enables much of the common or routine elements to be automated.
Everyone seems to be doing DevOps and containers these days. If you’re not you may feel like you need to catch up quick or risk being left in your competitors’ collective dust. That may be true to some extent, but you have to approach microservices in the right way and for the right reasons. Jinesh Parekh, CEO of Idyllic Software, shared some thoughts about four challenges organizations should consider when venturing into the world of microservices.
1. Insufficient guidance
When it comes to implementing new technologies and embracing new strategies it can be a little like the “Wild West”. There are few hard rules in place and very little in the way of guidelines or documentation to help you navigate how to build and deploy software using microservices. Thankfully, sites like DevOps.com and ContainerJournal are here to provide as much information as possible to give organizations some guidance.
2. Getting it wrong
There are a variety of “moving parts” involved in doing microservices successfully. Your organization should adopt a DevOps culture and have the appropriate infrastructure in place to avoid getting it wrong. Microservices architecture is generally built on a foundation of cloud and virtualization, and relies heavily on automation to ensure success and avoid failures.
3. No going back
You should be aware that it’s exceptionally difficult to switch back once you start down the microservices path. The changes that have to happen in terms of culture, tools, and processes to embrace microservices are not easily undone. The good news is that there is very little—if any—reason an organization would move to DevOps and containers as a development framework and then decide to revert to the old, monolithic way of doing things.
4. Deliver value
Parekh’s focus on delivering value is biased toward Idyllic Software. His company is in the business of delivering applications for clients via microservices and Parekh suggests that organizations outsource development to an experienced leader to ensure microservices meets expectations. You don’t necessarily have to outsource to Idyllic Software, though, or outsource at all. You just need to make sure that your approach to microservices benefits your organization—that it adds value and meshes with business objectives and isn’t just microservices for the sake of following the microservices trend.
Microservices seems to be here to stay, and seems to be on the same path as DevOps and containers from niche concept to mainstream business adoption. As you ramp up to jump on the microservices bandwagon just make sure you keep these things in mind.