We would all like to think of ourselves as experts in something but when it comes to microservices, how much do you really know? We put together a few FAQs about this topic and we think the answer might surprise you.
Microservices are part of an architectural style of creating large software applications by creating a suite of smaller applications (modules). Microservice modules deploy independently and distribute independently to software users.
The term refers to the idea that some software applications (especially larger ones) are easier to build and maintain when broken down into smaller component pieces. Software engineers build each module of the suite so that it is responsible for and runs its own process. These component modules communicate with each other through Application Program Interface (API) which acts like a kind of translator between applications. Best of all, they communicate over the client’s network to accomplish the business’ goal.
This architectural model contrasts to the traditional model in which the software system develops as one piece.
What are the advantages of microservices architecture?
We see microservices architecture becoming the industry standard for building continuously deployed software systems. The advantage of distributing different responsibilities of a software system by dividing it into smaller pieces is twofold: (1) it increases cohesion (the elements that belong together stay together) and (2) it decreases the degree to which the smaller, separate pieces, or modules, are interdependent on each other (coupling). When a software system exhibits traits of high cohesion with low coupling, the system is usually easy to read and easy to maintain.
Using microservices also means that modifying the software system is easier because the developer can add new functions and features at any time. The system can also tolerate continuous code refactoring which means developers can release the software system modules early and continuously. Changes to the modules are simpler, too. A change to one small part of the software application generally means a small change to just that service module. The modification requires rebuilding just that one service module and then redeploying to the network. The rest of the software modules remain intact and operational.
From an engineering standpoint, microservices saves time because the various module pieces develop concurrently instead of in a series. This means that modifications to one module do not require stopping work on the rest of the project as would happen under the traditional architectural model.
Is this architectural scheme used to create life and annuity software applications?
Yes. Insurance software, such as the latest software in policy administration products, leverages your existing software. It does this by wrapping around your existing system. Alternatively, the new system can overhaul your existing system one component at a time. Components and services are pre-built and pre-configured so they can integrate with your system as full applications. And you receive early benefits because each component delivers early as a stand-alone application.
So, what do these microservices modules do?
The services organize around capabilities that the client needs. One module may function as the front-end user interface. Another may concentrate on logistics or billing, and so forth.
Does my system need certain programming languages to operate microservices modules?
No, that’s one of its selling points. Microservices use the best environment that suits the customer’s needs and capabilities. For example, microservices operate via several different programming languages and can coordinate with different databases, hardware, and software.
Can you give examples of companies that use microservices architecture for their software needs?
Amazon and Google are the first that come to mind. You can count Netflix and Salesforce as users, too, as well as Red Hat OpenShift, The Guardian, Spotify, Uber, Wix, Microsoft Azure and others.
To read more about Spotify’s experience with microservices, computerworlduk.com’s article entitled“How Spotify uses automation and microservices to gain speed advantage on larger rivals.”
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