A new survey from Red Hat shows the extent to which IT organizations are moving to modernize their IT environments: More than two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) reported they are using microservices for both new applications and re-architecting existing ones.
The survey, which includes responses from 168 IT professionals employing either Red Hat JBoss middleware or Red Hat OpenShift platform-as-a-service (PaaS) software, also confirms that IT organizations are employing a mix of legacy and emerging programming models to build and deploy microservices, says Rich Sharples, director of product management on the middleware team at Red Hat.
For example, Sharples notes, many of the microservices being deployed inside the same organization are being built with both traditional Java programming tools as well as so-called new stacks of software based on containers such as Docker. In fact, a full 87 percent of the respondents are either using or considering multiple technologies to build and deploy microservices, and nearly half the respondents (45 percent) said their organization is committed to “using the right tool for the right task” versus forcing the organization to employ a single technology, runtime or framework.
The top five benefits attributed to microservices are continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD), agility, improved scalability, faster time-to-market, higher developer productivity and easier debugging and maintenance. One-third of respondents (33 percent) said they have achieved two of goals by implementing microservices in the last two to six months.
However, making the shift is by no means easy. The top four challenges associated with making the transition cited by respondents are developing/implementing in-house microservices tooling, reorganizing their organizations, working with vendor subject matter experts/using a vendor as a trusted advisor and purchasing or using a platform/solution.
Microservices clearly are not for the faint of IT heart. Developing and managing a handful is relatively trivial. But managing them at scale can prove daunting to even the most skilled IT organization. Sharples says the most important decision an IT organization can make is determining what application workloads to deploy as a microservice. In many cases, IT organizations will be better off rewriting an existing application that they know how to run than trying to create an application from scratch employing microservices—not only to gain experience, but also to be able to compare the results achieved against what was previously delivered as a monolithic application, he says.
In many ways microservices are the next logical extension of concepts that were pioneered with the advent of service-oriented architectures (SOA) more than two decades ago. The difference now is that microservices tend to be more granular and are often maintained by the developer rather than a centralized IT operations team. Regardless of what level of appreciation an IT organization may have for the history of computer science, the one thing that is clear is microservices are being more broadly adopted than advocates of SOA ever hoped to imagine.