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  • Victor Kmita

Is It Worth Moving From Monolithic to Microservices Architecture?

84% of executives say that their future success is dependent on innovation (McKinsey). These days the more time you spend on the product update, the less clients go to your competitors. To fit consumer demands your business needs to be flexible.


When it comes to digital product development or update the question of its architecture becomes crucial. 61% of companies highlight that technical limitations from legacy architectures hinder their digital strategies, requiring a balance between both (Ernst & Young).


This choice influences the amount of money, time and resources you put in. Especially when you need to integrate cutting edge technologies and products, new services for your customers into your monolith architecture landscape. The price for robustness becomes to high - limitations in scalability and constant growth of complexity. The road to innovations becomes hard. One of the most popular inquiry from XM^ONLINE clients refers to overcoming limitations of the monolithic architecture inside medium and large-scale enterprises.


Is there any way out? We say yes! software architecture design rethinking.


What is a monolith architecture?


In short, monolithic architecture is a traditional style of building an application as a one unite, when all the components (e.g. user interface, a server side-application, and a database) are managed and served in one place.


It means that if there is any feature update required, it can be done by any developer accessing the same code base and make changes in the whole stack at once.


Example of a monolith architecture approach:


It could be an e-commerce app like Zaful (www.zaful.com), Joom (www.joom.com), Kasta (www.kasta.ua), etc aimed to authorize customers, payment, take an order, check inventory, and ship ordered products. It includes the next components: user interface and relevant back-end services.


The monolithic architecture of an e-commerce app


It is built and deployed as one app for desktop, mobile, and tablet using RDBMS as a data source.


Monolith architecture for business: Pros and Cons



Thus, the monolith app is considered to be simple but too slow and hard to maintain. This causes difficulty in business growth. That is the reason why Netflix (netflix.com), Amazon (amazon.com), and Google (google.com) have switched to microservices. If you are not ready to migrate just right now you can use microservices integration platforms like XM^ONLINE as your middleware solution. This helps you to integrate new products and solutions for your customers, and scale up your business with less effort.


Microservices as a solution to the monolith issues


Microservice architecture is “... an approach to developing a single application as a suite of small services, each running in its process and communicating with lightweight mechanisms, often an HTTP resource API.”
Martin Fowler, British software developer

The difference between the traditional monolithic model and microservice one


Let’s review why it considered being a trend in digital product development and a solution to many of the monolith disadvantages.



The reasons are clear, but where to start?


How to convert a monolithic application to microservices?


The key point here is not to change the app’s architecture but to transform the business processes. Thus, you should have a clear understanding of what goal to achieve. Do you want to:


  • Adopt new technologies and processes?

  • Boost the frequency of your app releases?

  • Scale in the cloud?


The answer will influence the approach you choose. There are 2 types of migration strategy organization:


  1. Planning the transformation of the business processes, and then the piece by piece technical part.

  2. One-off migration of business processes as well as technical background by blocks.


But what about the blocks' division? There are two approaches here:


  1. Monolith division based on its technical features. As a result of such a transition to monolith can be an API microservice of the project aimed to protect the system.

  2. Switching to microservices based on the bounded contexts by defining the project boundaries with low coupling and high cohesion. For example, it could be an event agency with autonomous systems of payment, accounting, scheduling based on microservices with a minimum coupling.


The second one is considered to be the most effective, but the first one is also used. After choosing the microservice transition model you go to the organization moments:


  1. Measure the goal you want to achieve: deployment time, frequency, etc.

  2. Decide whether to form an in-house, remote developers team or delegate this task to an IT outsourcing company. There should be cross-functional teams that can design, build, deploy, and support service independently of each other.

  3. Don’t update the features of a monolith.

  4. Create the Development Backlog with all the changes your application need: anti-corruption layer, monolith modules dependencies, development tools, Change Data Capture, code infrastructure, etc.

  5. Do that change and test it.


Afterword


Of course, there will be additional challenges when moving from monolith to microservices. There is no silver bullet. Anyway, proper choice of experienced partner and proven solution will mitigate technical risks for you on this way. You can always contact XM^ONLINE experts to find better solutions for your business.


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