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Summary – In this blog post, we explore the approach of microservices in software development, its benefits, and caveats, as well as a real-world example of how Wovenware successfully implemented a microservices approach for a leading telecommunications provider.

There’s no question that software is getting more robust and complex. Whether building new cloud-based solutions from scratch or modernizing existing legacy systems, more functionality, features or integrations are required to keep pace with ever-changing needs. 

Leveraging traditional monolithic architectures can make software development a cumbersome and time-consuming process, since all processes are tightly coupled and run as a single service. This means that to make any change to an application, a software developer must update the entire stack by accessing the code base and building and deploying an updated version. There’s simply no way to scale individual components. 

For this reason, microservices have emerged as a way to ensure that there is greater flexibility, ease and speed in deploying new or upgraded applications.  

The Rising Role of Microservices

Microservices is an architectural and organizational approach to software development, through which software is composed of small independent “services,” or components that communicate over well-defined APIs. 

Taking a microservices approach makes applications easier to scale and faster to develop, enabling innovation and accelerating time-to-market for new features.

With a microservices architecture, an application is built as independent, self-contained components that run each application process as a service. These services communicate via a well-defined interface. Services are built for business capabilities and each service performs a single function. Because they are independently run, each service can be updated, deployed, and scaled to meet demand for specific functions of an application –  think of it as a Lego system for software.

The individual “services” of a microservice function as self-contained business application parts that can be mixed and matched to create custom solutions, built around specific business functions. They’re often created within a larger DevOps process, with different teams working on the various components.

There are many definitions and explanations of what exactly microservices entail but there are some key common elements:

  • Small, single-purpose programming
  • Automated deployments
  • Endpoint intelligence
  • Decentralized control of language

An architecture like microservices promotes automated deployments and decentralizes control of a specific programming language to enable better quality software. It could solve more than half of deployment bugs and problems, since they can be weeded out without impacting other parts of the solution.

A microservices approach also enables teams to develop each product in a different language, thus benefiting from language specific advantages or resource expertise. The selected programming language could coexist in harmony. For example, Node.js could be used for the sale product, while Python could be used for the print product.

There are some software developers who believe that microservices should be small, not more than 100 lines of code, yet size should not stand in the way of capabilities. They should be as small as possible while taking into consideration the complexities of maintaining and reusing a group of small programs. 

While the key benefits of a microservices architecture include agility for constant innovation and continuous deployment and the ability to scale more easily, microservices also provide technology flexibility, since teams can select the digital tools they need, and they’re highly maintainable since any issues can be fixed without bringing down the whole system.

Yet, with microservices, there are some caveats to consider.  Since they contain less risk and enable easier development, they can lead to tech sprawl and can cause confusion as to who developed or oversees specific components.

 

Wovenware’s Microservices Approach

Wovenware has deep expertise in a microservices architecture approach and deploys it often, when it makes the most sense for software modernization projects, as well as new applications for customers. One specific project where we implemented microservices was for Claro, a leading telecommunications provider. The long-time customer of Wovenware was looking to create a cloud-based, always-on and highly scalable SMS campaign manager to receive e-mail messages from external customers and convert them to SMS. Leveraging microservices and cloud-based architecture, Wovenware developed the solution in a matter of months. Because of its microservices approach, the cloud-based solution is scalable to accommodate expanding customers and increasing traffic. It’s also easy to maintain and agile to support changing requirements. Using a microservices architecture made it easier to build and maintain the solution, since it is split into a set of smaller, composable fragments that run as autonomous processes that can be easily reused and independently deployed. 

Taking a microservices software architecture approach can be the driver to faster and more agile software development. Everything can be more manageable when taken in manageable chunks, and that is where microservices shine.

Taking a Microservices Approach to Software Development

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