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Pros and cons of moving to microservice architecture

 

Microservices are a way of splitting up huge software applications into loosely coupled modules which communicate with each other through application programming interfaces (APIs).The microservice architecture (MSA) is an answer to the problems associated with the traditional backend monolith, once its complexity calls for higher scalability. MSA enables rapid, frequent and reliable delivery of large, complex applications. It also enables an organisation to evolve its technology stack.

The time and resources needed to migrate from monolithic to microservice architecture are substantial, so it’s vital to weigh up the pros and cons beforehand. Skipping this process can prove costly, and as one company discovered, it was just the wrong move. However, microservices have been beneficial for brands with complex software foundations, such as Amazon, Netflix, and Uber.

Here are some pros and cons of microservice architecture.

Pros

  • Larger applications can remain mostly unaffected by the failure of a single module.

  • Eliminate being locked in by a single vendor or technology, hence providing the flexibility to try out a new individual service as needed.

  • With added simplicity, developers can better understand the functionality of a service.

  • Each production cycle is faster as teams can develop, deploy and scale services in parallel, which in turn reduces downtime.

Cons

  • Developing distributed systems can be complex. Since everything is now an independent service, you must be careful when handling requests traveling between your modules.

  • Multiple databases and transaction management plus cross-team management and communication won’t be easy.

  • Testing a microservices-based application can be tough now that every dependent service needs to be confirmed before testing happens

  • Deploying microservices needs careful coordination between services.

By Jo Lo
Jo Lo

About the author

Jo Lo

Jo is a digital producer at Pattern. Jo has a background in communication, and has worked as a producer and editor for organisations such as Les Mills International, Tailor, Auckland Libraries and XtraMSN/Telecom. From 2007-2009, Jo was the web editor for Taste and Metro magazines.