Your Guide to Microservices
Development: 10 Best Practices
Microservices development can help your company reduce coordination costs in a complex, multi-team environment and achieve harmony between delivery speed and security at scale. By empowering your teams to use best-fit technology and decoupling features, microservices architectures reduce deployment dependencies while producing business components that can scale independently based on real-time demand. The result is a highly efficient, elastic and dynamic application environment in which you can achieve continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) while reducing the risk of production failures. Simply put, you can meet customer demands as they happen.
The journey from monolithic code structures to a microservices architecture is not merely a code refactoring exercise. In many ways, writing these next-generation applications requires completely rethinking software development practices, corporate culture, team structures, management styles and communication chains. While it might seem like a heavy lift, the transformation to microservices delivery can give your company a significant boost in delivery speed and business agility.
10 Microservices Best Practices (And Why They Matter)
1. Keep It Simple
When you start designing your microservices, adhere to the Law of Demeter, also known as the Principle of Least Knowledge. Each microservice encapsulates a single business concern and operates independently without knowledge of how other services work internally. All data exchanges happen through standard APIs. Keeping each microservice simple helps eliminate dependencies and redundant functionality, and the encapsulation of business logic and data together in self-contained units improves data integrity and security.
2. Publish Immutable APIs
Each microservice addresses a single, core business concern. How it solves the concern isn't important to dependent services, but how that service is called is crucial. Once you define an API for a service, that call's signature should not change. You can add new ways to call the service, and you can change all the underlying code, internal data structures, underlying data sources, operating environment, etc. But once you publish an API, all your other business units need to trust that they can call your service the same way and get their expected response every time throughout the lifecycle of that service. If you find that an API needs to change significantly, it's wise to create a new service and plan a migration path for dependent components.
3. Decentralize Your Data Management
In a microservices environment, each service maintains its own independent data source. All other data requests must be made through RESTful API calls. At no time should data be shared between microservices. Otherwise, you'll end up creating unmanageable cross-functional dependencies. While there are costs associated with replicating data and managing multiple data sources, you gain security, agility and scalability across your entire application suite.
4. Centralize Cross-Cutting Concerns
When designing microservices architecture, there are cross-cutting elements that must be accessed by all services. Some of these shared concerns include identity and access management, logging, state and session management, caching, etc. By creating a centralized utility to handle these common elements and exposing access through a facade-style API, you can maintain control without causing hard dependencies between your microservices and your cross-cutting elements.
5. Use a Microservices-Ready Infrastructure
Microservices infrastructures — including those commonly available through cloud vendors — provide elastic resources for real-time scalability and turnkey application development tools and resources that help you deploy, manage and maintain your microservices. They also provide a host of built-in and third-party tools that are tested, supported and certified to work; can accelerate your development process; and help you avoid reinventing functionality that already exists.
6. Use Frameworks to Simplify Microservices Creation
Frameworks like Spring Boot, Vert.x and Micronaut and microservices-specific languages like Node and Golang can help you abstract away much of the tedious busy work that goes into setting up the structure of your microservices. By using frameworks, you can quickly set up your microservices environment, more easily migrate the underlying resources and focus your time and energy on developing code that addresses your business concerns.
7. Design for Failure
One of the key benefits of microservices is the ability to fail gracefully. If a service call fails, it shouldn't cause catastrophic or cascading failure across the system. Instead, your services should know how to handle failed authentication, expired sessions, unexpected data, error responses, etc. In the case of service failure, cloud architectures include mechanisms for automatic failover, self-healing, logging, alerting and guaranteed availability. Your services should be designed to take advantage of those features to minimize — or even eliminate — impact to your users.
8. Adopt Infrastructure Automation
Microservices distill code into business-focused components, which means you'll need to manage several of these services to create a complete application. And because each can be designed, built, tested and deployed on its own independent schedule, delivery can (and should) happen continuously. To enable CI/CD, your entire development pipeline — including code merges, testing, production environment replication, scaling and logging, reporting and self-healing — should be automated. Otherwise, your teams will spend a significant and overwhelming amount of time on management. Fortunately, microservices frameworks come with built-in automation features that can help accelerate your move toward continuous integration and delivery.
9. Move to a DevOps Culture
Traditional development tends to produce independent silos and disparate goals and responsibilities. A DevOps team, on the other hand, couples development with operations and often incorporates security, testing and support. Together, DevOps teams share goals, responsibilities and accountability for the service (or set of services) they create. With a decoupled architecture, independent build and deployment schedules and a resilient architecture that's built to fail gracefully, the post-mortem finger-pointing and cross-functional blame that may come with traditional development are minimized or even eliminated. And because DevOps eliminates information silos between development and operations, engineers can work together to develop best-fit architectures with each product iteration.
10. Train Early and Often
Microservices development and the introduction of a DevOps culture and new cloud computing practices mean significant changes for your team. Training should start before the first project to help minimize confusion and pushback. Established engineers who haven't experimented with microservices will find that their go-to methods and tools may not work for them anymore. And teams that have spent years or decades working in silos may not understand how they're supposed to work together to accomplish rapid product delivery. DevOps and Kubernetes training can give your teams the edge they need to get started on the right path. And with ongoing training, your teams can stay up to date with the latest technologies and development practices to give your products an edge in the market.
Are you ready to start breaking apart your monolithic applications, but not sure where to start? ExitCertified can help you develop a comprehensive training program that will bring your whole team up to speed quickly. With a variety of online and in-person instructor-led training through 9,500+ vendor-certified courses, ExitCertified gives your engineers and business leaders the knowledge and practical experience they need to adopt new technology solutions and business practices.
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