Understanding Microservices

Learn about how the microservices system works and its advantages.

What are microservices?

Microservices are smaller independent application components—known as services—that have their own separate physical or logical databases and can communicate with each other via a message broker that serves as the event bus. In this system, all the components and functionalities of the application are in different pieces and are loosely coupled. Modularity is vital in microservices systems, and each modular component performs a specific task.

For an e-commerce web app with the “Product Category,” “Related Products,” “Product Finder,” “FAQ,” and “Contacts” components in the microservices system, we'll have five microservices.

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An example of the microservices architecture
An example of the microservices architecture

The advantage of this system is the separation of concerns. We can scale each independent modular component separately based on our needs and scale the application’s growth metrics without reproducing other parts of the application codebase. For instance, if the “Product Finder” microservice grows in traffic, we can scale it more times than the “Related Products” microservice. The development team of the “Related Products” component can then just focus on algorithms and disregard scaling up the microservice application. Another advantage is that each team can use a different programming language to build their component based on their needs.

Why use microservices?

Microservices are the future of web application development because they offer enormous benefits to businesses and developers. One of the major benefits is their ability to permit developers to code in various programming languages during development. This allows the different teams charged with developing modular components to create applications that work independently of one another. So while the development team charged with frontend development might use JavaScript for a particular feature of the app, the team responsible for the backend can use Python for another feature of the same app. This also makes it easier to debug and maintain the web application. It also facilitates code reusability as each independent modular component can be reused elsewhere.

Another benefit of microservices is decentralized databases, which ultimately gives better information security and data governance than the centralized database found in monoliths. A centralized database can pose problems for teams that are responsible for specific components and functionalities, just like in the monolithic architecture, where there is a single big database. However, in microservices, each team handles a particular service with its associated database, thereby improving data governance and information security.

Aside from scalability, which we have emphasized, another prominent benefit of using the microservices architecture is the speedy development process. Each development team can focus on a particular service using any programming language.