What Is a Microservice Architecture? Why Is It Important Now?

What Is a Microservice Architecture? Why Is It Important Now?

Microservices are growing as the default architectural design pattern. But why has it become such a point of emphasis? Find out here.

We have been building software applications for many years using various tools, technologies, architectural patterns and best practices. It is evident that many software applications become large complex monolith over a period for various reasons. A monolith software application is like a large ball of spaghetti with criss-cross dependencies among its constituent modules. It becomes more complex to develop, deploy and maintain monoliths, constraining the agility and competitive advantages of development teams. Also, let us not undermine the challenge of clearing any sort of technical debt monoliths accumulate, as changing part of monolith code may have cascading impact of destabilizing a working software in production.

Over the years, architectural patterns such as Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Microservices have emerged as alternatives to Monoliths.

SOA was arguably the first architectural pattern aimed at solving the typical monolith issues by breaking down a large complex software application to sub-systems or “_services_”. All these services communicate over a common enterprise service bus (ESB). However, these sub-systems or services are actually mid-sized monoliths, as they share the same database. Also, more and more service-aware logic gets added to ESB and it becomes the single point of failure.

Microservice as an architectural pattern has gathered steam due to large scale adoption by companies like Amazon, Netflix, SoundCloud, Spotify etc. It breaks downs a large software application to a number of loosely coupled microservices. Each microservice is responsible for doing specific discrete tasks, can have its own database and can communicate with other microservices through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to solve a large complex business problem. Each microservice can be developed, deployed and maintained independently as long as it operates without breaching a well-defined set of APIs called contract to communicate with other microservices.

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