Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Using Microservices To Build Cloud Native Applications

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Most applications people build today are 3-tier, monolithic applications. What do I mean by monolithic? Basically the entire application is deployed as a single entity. In Java terms this might mean when you deploy your application, you deploy the entire thing in a single WAR or JAR file. The fact that the application is monolithic is not a bad thing, but at some point most applications reach a certain size and gain a certain amount of complexity where the monolith is too hard to understand and is starting to hinder the productivity of the team. At this point the monolith is no longer suited for the cloud (or on premise) and something needs to change.

Enter microservices. At a high level an application that is implemented using a microservices architecture is one that is composed of several (this could be 10s or 100s) completely independent “services” or apps that work together to produce the overall end user experience. Obviously since the term “micro” is used in microservices these services are meant to be small, lightweight, and focus on a single task. How small is small? That is the million dollar question :) There is no one measurement that I can give you that determines the correct size of a microservice. Instead it is all about productivity and speed. If a service gets to the point where you feel it is doing too many things and is hard to understand and work with, than it is likely too big and should be split into more than one service.

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