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Microservices: What does it mean for your digital project success?

Siw Grinaker on

How can microservices be used specifically to enhance your digital projects?

Microservices are a collection of separate services in an application that are highly maintainable and testable, loosely coupled, independently deployed, and organised around business capabilities.

Examples of microservices may include an insurance calculator, an API for an order, components of a website (like a box for showing a form), or server-side functionality (like a scheduled task).

But what do these independent parts mean for your digital project? How can you leverage microservices to ensure project success?

Cloud-driven project

Microservices fit perfectly into a modern cloud infrastructure. Instead of one giant airship, you have several smaller aircrafts—smaller components running—that are easier to check and maintain.

By being smaller, components are easier to handle by DevOps in terms of testing, deployment, and management. Having a solid cloud foundation beneath your digital project will be reassuring for both your stakeholders and you as a project owner.

Agile project

Microservices consist of smaller pieces, which makes it easier to do changes without interfering with other parts of your project. Instead of having one giant cogwheel to which everyone is transfixed and where everyone will be affected when you tamper with the wheel, you instead have several smaller and independent gears with microservices.

This enables all your co-workers to be more autonomous in their undertakings. They can test and perform tasks without risking to disrupt others in the same degree as before, resulting in more productive and agile-working project members.

See also: How to manage content for single-page apps »

Modular project

Modular means “parts-based,” and is a governing principle behind microservices. In order to maximise the chances for success in your digital project, you should opt in to build a solution with more flexibility and choices within modularity.

Small pieces like microservices mean it’s easier to build a service more modular, and enable handy reuse between projects. Say that you have a project where you have implemented an inventory service in your CMS—which may come in handy when keeping tabs on your assets in the given project.

If you want a similar service in your next project, which differs in every other aspect from your previous project, you can reuse only the inventory microservice without involving all the other complex services.

No single point of failure

As the saying goes, you’re no stronger than your weakest link. If monolithic system architectures are like a massive bridge, where one weakness leads to the collapse or stultification of the entire structure—a microservices architecture is like a modular bridge, where each part alone cannot topple the rest of the structure by its own demise.

Independent components entail that failure in one will not affect all the others in the same grave way. A microservice can be down without all the others being down, and it’s easier to isolate and discover where the failure stems from.

In this way, your project can run smoothly (or as smooth as possible) when one microservice encounters an error, continuing to serve your co-workers or your clients. All while your developers can work steadily—knowing that catastrophe is not imminent.

See also: 4 factors to consider when future proofing your customer journey »

Making developers productive faster

And speaking of developers, microservices can get them up to speed much quicker by the following tokens:

  • Faster overview
  • Easier to make changes
  • Full control

Instead of browsing through a convoluted monolithic system, a microservices architecture can be arrayed in a logical and neat way, giving your developers a picture of the essential structure quickly, and letting them focus on their respective microservices. A neat overview accordingly leads to an easier way to make changes and having full control over what’s where.

Additionally, as the microservices are separate and independent, your developers can use specialised technology in each case that is more adequate for the task at hand. All this can lead to faster development cycles and more productiveness in your digital project.

Scalable project

Due to the independent and modular nature of a microservices architecture, you are more free to scale the services that need scaling at the pace of your project’s needs. If you need more insurance calculator power, then juice it up without having to juice up other services as well.

Smaller pieces can run in the cloud faster, and microservices lay no obstacles in the way of choosing where to run the given service. Tools like Kubernetes help you manage and scale solutions like this.

See also: Lift your customer journey with rich web front-ends »

Challenges

While microservices might get you a better overview, the opposite is also true if you execute the architecture poorly. As everything is more fragmented than before, it can actually be more difficult to get a full overview. If you are wary of this possible disadvantage from the beginning and enact strict rules for the architecture, you will probably steer clear of disaster.

Also, keep in mind that microservices might be a different kind of technology than your developers may be used to, so be sure to facilitate training if necessary. Finally, a microservices architecture might be more difficult to test for your DevOps, as it consists of several small pieces instead of a singular whole. Build steady routines with periodical integration tests, to ensure smooth operations for the future as well.

***

Microservices enable your project to be agile and modular, to avoid single points of failure, to make your developers start building solutions faster, and to scale at will. Be mindful of the possible caveats, and then you’re set to consider whether or not a microservices architecture may be the right solution for your organisation.

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Topics: 
microservices
digital projects