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Monolithic structure to microservices architecture
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Migrating web applications from monolithic structure to microservices architecture

Let’s start with introducing a monolithic structure and an architecture based on microservices, before we understand the need for migrating to the latter.

Monolithic Structure, monolithic to microservices architechture challenges

A monolithic structure is a software system which represents a “Mono” block which is capable of executing multiple functions. The software code for this type of system is usually large, complicated and hard to debug, maintain & improve. It is like the end of the world if anything fails, the entire system goes down with complete downtime. The system is kind of a black box with some magic doing all the work. The problem is the back-track the issue, investigating and debugging. It’s like cutting down the entire tree to find the bug. These kinds are deployed at once (mostly waterfall methodology) in a single JAR file or a WAR file (In case of a web application).

Microservices architecture

After the advent of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CICD), enterprise softwares is made with an assumption that eventually they would need an upgrade or definitely an extension to functionalities.  Therefore a need for extensible, flexible and variable modus operandi was warranted. Microservices are based on the idea that ‘Just perform one thing, and do it the best’, so for each functionality or use case a single (Probably simple and without anything else in mind) an application is designed and built. When the system is fully built and integrated, we get a bunch of independent applications doing the job together. Whenever there is a need for additional functionality or an extension, one can simply add an application to perform the latter. Microservices are a modern style of solution provisioning with inherent support for high agility, continuous integration and continuous delivery (CICD) and solution improvement by collaborative involvement of cross-functional teams.

Why would there be a need for migrating from Monolithic to microservices?

After seeing through the above briefing of both the software practices, one would be getting a slightly better idea of the differences and challenges in case of both. The ‘black box’ or a monolithic system is more susceptible to failures, they are hard to debug, analyse (Extremely arduous and laborious if worked upon by someone other than its original creators). Microservices are rather easy to work on, because you pick any component and it does only a single job rather than the entire world. So there is definitely a need for moving from a monolithic to microservices architecture

Even if any failures occur in a microservice, not everything will go down, only a fraction of the architecture will shut down, that can be easily pin-pointed and worked upon (There might be a cascading effect).

How to migrate from monolithic to microservices architecture, some best practices?

  1. Identify the logical units, which could function independently.
  2. Identify the dependency and consider data locality. (A far away datastore might impact overall system performance)
  3. Assess security compliance and requirements.
  4. Adopt a message queue for application communication (Why a queue ? to enable buffers between fast and slow performing applications, to stop cascading failures of components), such as Kafka (It’s the best to decouple microservices).
  5. Enable continuous integration and continuous delivery (CICD) and agile methodology for functional extensibility.

 

Some references

8 Steps for Migrating Existing Applications to Microservices

Migrating to Microservices from a Monolithic App

 

Further readings on Microservices Artchitechture

  1. Microservices architecture – How does it work?

  2. Microservices Architecture Security: Challenges and Best Practices

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