Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Exploring Microservices in the Enterprise

The microservice hype is everywhere, and although the industry can’t seem to agree on an exact definition, we are repeatedly told that moving away from a monolithic application to a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) consisting of small services is the correct way to build and evolve software systems. Many industry stalwarts are suspicious as to the benefits being touted, from Benjamin Wooton arguing that there is no free lunch for what could effectively be a reinvention of classic SOA, to Martin Fowler suggesting we are simply pushing complexity around, from application to orchestration. Simon Brown also recently asked a very interesting question in his blog; “if you can’t build a [well-structured] monolith, what makes you think microservices are the answer?” This is a highly pertinent question for all teams looking to utilise microservices to escape their current architectural woes.

Despite these concerns, many companies are vocal about their successful adoption of microservices. Netflix is the poster-child of the microservice architectural style, with the likes of Amazon, Twitter, Groupon and Gilt closely flanking them and regularly sharing their stories at tech conferences. Accordingly, organisation and enterprises of all sizes are beginning to evaluate this latest incarnation of SOA, and the goal of this article is to build on the introductory article by Martin Fowler and James Lewis and provide an overview of the key concepts and technologies of microservices. Ultimately, we hope this article will help developers to shift their mindset temporarily away from the typical enterprise monolithic applications, and we aim to provide several pointers to allow successful exploration of this brave new service-oriented world.

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