Taking the Cloud-Native Approach with Microservices
Gone are those days where companies invested heavily in on-premise infrastructure. Cloud-native approach is the concept of developing, running and optimizing applications in a cloud platform that are both flexible and scalable. Microservices form the core of the cloud-native architecture.
Microservices are basically small standalone programs that are developed to achieve single business functionality. According to a recent research report, around 84% of the enterprises today use microservice architecture in one form or other. Another study from the IDC states that 90% of the new enterprises are likely to adopt cloud native approach.
Why Cloud-Native approach is beneficial
1. Flexibility and Scalability: Due to the self-contained nature of microservices, it gives complete freedom for the developers to choose the right set of data store, programming language, etc for each microservice based on the need of the business use case. Developers can also update and scale individual microservice as and when a new technology is introduced.
2. API based Communication
Microservices use REST API for communicating with other microservices and external applications. With API communication there is no need to worry about any risks pertaining to shared memory model, direct linkage or direct database retrievals.
3. DevOps and Agile Frameworks
Since microservices are independently testable and deployable units, they make the perfect choice for agile software development using Continuous integration/Continuous development. This enables the organization to respond faster to ever changing customer requirements.
Benefits of Cloud-Native Microservices
Iterative development: Since microservices are fully functional standalone units, developers can build and deploy MVP first and then iterate to make new changes and fix bugs.
Developer autonomy: Since microservices are completely isolated units, developers of each microservice have the complete flexibility to determine and use necessary tools for their microservice without worrying about other developers.
Fault Isolation: One of the biggest advantages of microservice architecture is fault management. Whenever a bug or error is detected in a microservice, it won’t affect the overall application. That particular microservice can be instantly replaced and the bug can be fixed simultaneously without affecting the output of the application.
Less disruption: Since microservices support, CI/CD, changes are implemented incrementally and offer a seamless experience. There is no need to disrupt the system when a new change is released.
Scalability: It is possible to scale or upgrade individual microservice as and when the need arises, instead of scaling up the entire system.
Recruitment ease: The new-age developers who are closely associated with Devops model, prefer to work on microservice architecture instead of tightly coupled traditional models. This enables the organization to attract new talent if they are using a cloud-native microservice model.
The key characteristics of cloud-native apps are:
Designed as loosely coupled microservices
Unlike traditional software development models, microservices are completely independent modules that are loosely coupled. They do not depend on the performance of other modules and can work on its own set of tools and language.
Centered around APIs
Microservices are standalone units that are developed to deliver single functionality. They communicate with other microservices for I/O, data store, etc using the REST API model. This is a secure and least disruptive method of software communication.
Packaged as lightweight containers
Microservices can be deployed using Docker containers separately. Each container can even have a different programming language. Since microservices can be packaged as containers, it eliminates the risk of conflict between languages or libraries. Containers also make it terribly easy to deploy in cloud platforms like Azure, Google Cloud or AWS.
Free from server and operating system dependencies
Since each microservice is a small system itself, there is no need to worry about the overall system or it’s dependencies. Microservices deployed using Docker or Kubernetes containers are totally independent and self-contained. They are not coupled with any particular operating system or server, in fact a single microservice can be deployed across multiple servers.
Deployed on a flexible infrastructure
The common factor that makes both microservice and cloud-native a perfect match is their flexibility. A cloud platform represents a flexible and elastic infrastructure and microservices can be deployed in any number of cloud platforms simultaneously. The software team can decide and juggle between public and private cloud based on the usage spikes.
One of the key reasons why organizations love cloud-native platforms is due to the automation it brings along. There is no need for the developer to worry about manually configuring or deploying containers. They can launch 100s of containers with minimal human intervention using cloud automation. Some of the key aspects of cloud automation are
1. Automated IP address assignment: Cloud native apps by default use DHCP to dynamically allocated IP addresses. This is completely automated but if required, the developer can hard-assign the IP also.
2. Automated discovery: Cloud-native applications rely on Domain Name Server(DNS) to automatically identify and connect with their peers for communication.
3. Shared configuration stores: Cloud-native applications inherit their initial configuration through a distributed key-value store. There is no need to manually do the initial configuration each time.
Independent life cycles
In the modern cloud-native architecture, each and every microservice has their own independent lifecycle. This is what allows each team to develop, test and deploy different functionalities without worrying about the system life cycle.
Improved resource utilization
Migrating to cloud-native platform from a traditional on-premise infrastructure is the easy step, the real challenge comes with optimization. In a cloud-native application, the central IT team can individually allocate resources for each microservice and thus ensure optimal resource utilization.
The success of implementing a cloud-native based microservice architecture depends largely on the initial planning and continuous optimization. TAFF has the necessary experience and expertise in the field of microservices and API development. TAFF can smooth your transition to a cloud-native microservices model with templates to accelerate deployment, and other valuable building blocks your development and DevOps teams can use to increase speed and accuracy. Contact us for a discussion on how we can help your organization adapt a cloud-native approach.