Advantages of microservices and disadvantages to know

Microservices architecture is an approach to system design that breaks complex systems into more minor, more manageable services. Using microservices frameworks results in more scalable, flexible, and easier-to-maintain systems. 

Applications built using this architecture consist of small, independently deployable services that communicate with each other through APIs. By breaking down complex systems into more minor services, microservices architecture provides improved scalability, flexibility, and maintenance simplicity.


Advantages of microservices architecture

  • Accelerate scalability
  • Improve fault isolation
  • Enhance team productivity
  • Quicker deployment time
  • Increase cost-efficiency

This guide explains the advantages and disadvantages of microservices and how to manage and streamline microservices to simplify scalable app development. Microservices architecture is vital for DevOps because it promotes faster development cycles, reduces risk, and improves scalability and resilience.

What are microservices?

Unlike monolithic applications, microservices architecture helps teams implement new features and make changes quickly — without having to rewrite large portions of existing code.

Microservices architecture splits an application into a series of independently deployable services. Multiple microservices combine to create an application, each providing a piece of functionality for a domain.

Microservices loosely interact with each other using APIs, such as REST or gRPC. Teams can deploy and scale each service separately, enabling the rapid and frequent delivery of large, complex applications.

How do microservices work?

Microservices architecture differs significantly from monolithic frameworks. Each approach has its strengths. Which one is the right approach for you? Read microservices vs. monolith to find out more.

The microservices framework differs from the monolithic architecture because it does not function as a single unit. Instead, it operates as a collection of independently deployable applications. An API gateway facilitates the dependence of applications on microservices APIs, allowing the swapping of microservices for others without any disruption. 

The following are characteristics of microservices:

  • Each microservice runs autonomously with its business logic, database, and API.
  • Microservices architecture provides flexibility for plug-and-play upgrades, simplifying the scaling of specific components within an application without impacting the entire system. Containers are the primary means of deploying microservices on cloud platforms such as Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure.
  • DevOps tools like Kubernetes and Docker efficiently distribute processing power and other resources to microservices.
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Advantages of microservices

Microservices deliver flexibility and agility through modular architecture, fostering faster development cycles and easier maintenance.

The following are five reasons companies are adopting microservices architecture:

1. Accelerate scalability

DevOps teams seamlessly introduce new components without causing any downtime, thanks to the independent operation of each service within the microservices architecture. They can choose each service's best language or technology without compatibility concerns.

Deploying services across multiple servers can mitigate the performance impact of individual components and help companies avoid vendor lock-in.

2. Improve fault isolation

Microservices architecture is compartmentalized — if one service encounters a fault or failure, it doesn’t propagate across the entire system.

3. Enhance team productivity

Microservices architecture allows small, focused teams to concentrate on a particular service’s development, deployment, and maintenance without being burdened by the complexities of the entire system.

Microservices architecture fosters a sense of ownership and expertise within teams, enabling specialized team members to make informed decisions, iterate quickly, and maintain a high quality of service within their domain.

4. Quicker deployment time

In monolithic architectures, changing necessitates redeploying the entire application. Microservices architecture enables faster releases because each service evolves and deploys independently, reducing the risk and time associated with coordinating changes across an entire application.

Decoupling services in this manner enhances agility. You can swiftly roll out updates or fixes with minimal disruption to the overall system.

5. Increase Cost-efficiency

Microservices architecture optimizes resource allocation and maintenance because teams work on small, well-defined services. Efforts are localized to specific services, reducing overall development and system maintenance costs. Teams focus on specific functionality, ensuring resources are used efficiently without redundancy or excess capacity.

Disadvantages of microservices

  • Increased complexity: Because microservices are distributed, managing service communication can be challenging. Developers may have to write extra code to ensure smooth communication between modules.
  • Deployment and versioning challenges: Coordinating deployments and managing version control across multiple services can be complex, leading to compatibility issues.
  • Testing complexity: Testing microservices involves complex scenarios, mainly when conducting integration testing across various services. Orchestrating this task can be challenging.
  • Debugging difficulties: It can be demanding to debug an application that contains multiple microservices, each with its own set of logs. A single business process can run across multiple machines simultaneously, compounding complexity.
  • Data management challenges: Data consistency and transactions across multiple services can be complex. Microservices architecture calls for careful data management and coordination to support data integrity.

While many companies increasingly prefer microservices architecture, you can overcome operational hurdles and foster resilience within a microservices-based system by following DevOps best practices and embracing the procedures mentioned below.

How to manage microservice architecture

  • Monitoring and logging: Implementing robust monitoring and logging systems is crucial. Monitoring simplifies tracking real-time service performance, finding bottlenecks, and detecting issues. Comprehensive logs help developers debug and trace transactions across services, supporting system health and reliability.
  • Effective communication among services: Setting up efficient communication channels among microservices is essential. Well-defined APIs ensure smooth service interaction, improving system cohesion and minimizing communication errors.
  • DevOps practices: DevOps practices are pivotal for managing microservices. Continuous delivery streamlines the development, testing, and deployment processes. DevOps fosters agility and reliability by automating tasks, ensuring faster and more reliable releases while maintaining the microservices architecture’s stability and scalability.
  • Centralizing all information: When building microservices and managing the complexities of distributed architecture, use Compass. This extensible developer experience platform brings disconnected information, such as engineering output and team collaboration, together in a central, searchable location.

Use Compass to streamline microservices

Microservices architecture is resilient: If one aspect of the app fails, the rest of the system remains operational. Additionally, it offers scalability, cost-efficiency, productivity improvements, and accelerated deployment.

However, microservices architecture is complex. Compass stops microservice sprawl with its Component Catalog. It aids in setting up best practices, assesses software health through Scorecards, and delivers data and insights throughout the DevOps toolchain by utilizing extensions built on the Atlassian Forge platform.

Advantages of microservices: Frequently asked questions

What are some real-world examples of companies that use microservices?

Forward-looking, dynamic companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Uber have adopted microservices. They can scale their apps as required, add services, and respond to the market. Their systems are resilient, saving costs because when systems go down, costs can be as high as thousands of dollars per minute of downtime.

What factors should you consider when choosing microservices for your project?

  • Project complexity: Microservices architecture benefits extensive, complex projects because they can break complexity into manageable services. Simple projects might not warrant the overhead of a microservices architecture.
  • Scalability requirements: Microservices are suitable if an application demands scalable and flexible components.
  • Team expertise: Microservices architecture requires specialized skills, so evaluating the technical expertise within the development team is essential.
  • Organizational readiness: Implementing a microservices architecture requires development methodologies, communication structures, and operational process adjustments. It's crucial to verify that your organization is prepared for these changes.

How do microservices make maintenance and updates more manageable?

  • Microservices architecture enables targeted changes to specific services without causing disruptions across the application. Unlike monolithic architectures, where a single alteration might necessitate system redeployment, the modular structure of microservices allows for localized modifications.
  • Each service operates independently with clearly defined boundaries and functionality. This autonomy allows developers to focus on the service requiring updates or maintenance, minimizing the impact of changes.
  • This granular approach streamlines the development process, reducing the risk associated with updates as changes are isolated to specific services. By decoupling services, microservices ensure a manageable and efficient maintenance process. This promotes agility and enables swift updates without compromising the application's stability.

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