The sheer amount of competitors within the software industry is enough to demand solutions that are powerful, adaptable, and scalable. Monolithic applications, once the dominant architecture, are struggling to keep pace with the need for rapid iteration and deployment. This is where microservices architecture emerges as a game-changer, empowering businesses and development teams to build software that thrives in a dynamic environment.

With microservices, businesses can build robust, adaptable, and efficient software systems that thrive. Here you find everything you need to know!

Microservices Explained

Microservices architecture decomposes a large software application into smaller, independent services, enhancing scalability in microservices. Each service has a well-defined purpose, clean interfaces (often leveraging REST APIs), and loose coupling with other services.

One of the primary microservices benefits is the ability to handle increased load without affecting other parts of the application. There are several other advantages, though:

Business Advantages
  • Increased Innovation: Microservices empower teams to experiment and deploy new features faster, accelerating innovation cycles.
  • Improved Time to Market: Microservices enable faster development and deployment cycles, allowing businesses to get products to market quicker and respond to changing demands.
  • Enhanced Developer Productivity: Smaller codebases and clearer ownership of services lead to increased developer productivity and improved code quality.
  • Reduced Risk and Easier Rollbacks: Failures can be isolated to specific services, minimizing downstream impact and simplifying rollbacks.
  • Tech Stack Flexibility: Microservices allow teams to choose the best technology for each service, fostering a more flexible tech stack.
Benefits for Software Teams
  • Improved Ownership and Accountability: Developers have clearer ownership of specific services, fostering a sense of accountability and pride in their work.
  • Simplified Development and Testing: Smaller, well-defined services are easier to understand, develop, and test, leading to faster development cycles.
  • Increased Team Agility: DevOps practices are crucial for managing the lifecycle of microservices efficiently, from development to deployment and monitoring. Microservices enable teams to work more independently and adapt to changing requirements more quickly.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: Clearer boundaries and service interfaces promote better collaboration between development teams.
  • Increased Complexity: Managing distributed systems with multiple services introduces complexity in deployment, monitoring, and troubleshooting.
  • Increased Development Overhead: Designing, developing, and maintaining well-defined APIs for communication between services adds complexity to the development process.
  • Distributed System Challenges: Network latency between services can impact performance, and ensuring data consistency across services requires additional effort.
  • Testing Challenges: Thoroughly testing interactions and integrations between multiple services can be complex and time-consuming.
user journey: printed sticky notes glued on board show user journey map

Microservices architecture empowers your team to innovate and deploy faster. Photo by Daria Nepriakhina 🇺🇦.

Is REST API a Microservice?

No, a REST API is not a microservice itself. It’s a communication style that defines how microservices interact with each other and with external clients. A REST API is a crucial element for enabling communication between independent services.

Microservices vs. MVC (Model-View-Controller)

MVC (Model-View-Controller) is a design pattern for building user interfaces, often used within a microservice. MVC itself is not an architectural style like microservices. It helps structure the code within a microservice to separate concerns and improve maintainability, but it doesn’t define how the service interacts with other services or the overall system architecture.

Microservice Example: E-commerce Application

Let’s clarify with an example. Imagine an e-commerce application built with microservices. Here’s how it might be structured:

  1. Product Service: Manages product information, including details, inventory, and images.
  2. Cart Service: Handles adding, removing, and managing items in the shopping cart.
  3. Order Service: Processes customer orders, interacts with payment gateways, and manages order fulfillment.
  4. Payment Service: Handles secure payment processing and integrates with payment providers.
  5. User Service: Manages user accounts, authentication, and authorization.

Get it? These independent microservices communicate with each other through well-defined APIs, enabling a scalable and maintainable architecture.

Types of Microservices

We’ve established that microservice architecture offers a modular approach to building software. But did there are three main types of microservices out there, that categorized based on their business capabilities:

#1 Business#2 Data#3 Utility

Business Microservices

org chart

These services represent core business functionalities, like order processing or customer management, and directly map to business capabilities. A well-defined business microservice delivers a specific business function efficiently, contributing directly to user value.

  • Product: Defines the user stories and acceptance criteria for the service, ensuring it aligns with overall product goals and user needs.
  • Design: Creates user interfaces (UIs) or APIs that interact with the business microservice, focusing on a seamless user experience.
  • Engineering: Develops and implements the core logic for the business microservice, ensuring efficient data handling and business rules execution.

Data Microservices

scatter graph

These focus on data access and manipulation for specific data domains (e.g., user data, product inventory). Managing data access and manipulation for specific data domains (e.g., user data, product inventory).

  • Product: Defines data requirements for the service and ensures it aligns with overall data governance strategies.
  • Design: May not be directly involved unless the service involves data visualization or reporting functionalities.
  • Engineering: Develops APIs for data access and manipulation, enforces data security and integrity, and implements data persistence mechanisms (databases).

Utility Microservices


A well-built utility microservice streamlines development by providing reusable functionalities (e.g., authentication, logging, caching), reduces code duplication, and improves overall system maintainability.

  • Product: Defines high-level requirements for the utility microservice, ensuring it aligns with overall system needs.
  • Design: May contribute to the design of user interfaces (e.g., login screens) or APIs for specific functionalities within the utility microservice.
  • Engineering: Develops and maintains the utility microservice, ensuring reusability, scalability, and performance.

Collaboration is Key

While each team has its specific focus within the microservices development process, effective collaboration is crucial. Regular communication and shared understanding of the overall product vision ensure that each microservice contributes to a cohesive and valuable software system.

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Microservices Architecture: Building Scalable and Efficient Software Systems

Building scalable microservices systems requires careful planning and consideration. Here are some key aspects:

  1. API Design: API gateways are essential in microservices architecture for managing and routing traffic. Well-defined APIs are crucial for ensuring security and efficient communication between services. REST APIs are a popular choice due to their simplicity and widespread adoption.
  2. Fault Tolerance: Implement robust mechanisms to handle service failures and ensure overall system availability.
  3. Service Discovery: Leverage service discovery tools to maintain awareness of available microservices in a dynamic environment.

Who Uses Them and Why?

Microservices architecture has become a popular choice for building modern software, but which teams benefit most, and how do they leverage this approach? Let’s delve into the motivations and implementation strategies behind microservices adoption:

Development TeamsDevOps and SREArchitechts

Development Teams
Building Scalable and Agile Applications


Development teams decompose the application into small services based on business capabilities. They then define clear APIs for communication between services and choose the most appropriate technologies for building and deploying each service.

This modular approach promotes loose coupling and simplifies the development process. For development teams, microservices offer a path to building complex applications with:

  • Enhanced Scalability: Individual services can be scaled independently to meet fluctuating demands, allowing for efficient resource allocation.
  • Improved Maintainability: Smaller, focused services are easier to understand, modify, and test, leading to faster development cycles.
  • Increased Agility: Changes can be made to one service without impacting others, enabling faster deployments and fostering a culture of innovation.

DevOps and SRE Teams
Streamlining Deployment and Ensuring System Health


DevOps and SRE teams leverage tools like CI/CD pipelines and containerization technologies for automated deployments. Additionally, they utilize monitoring tools and service discovery mechanisms to proactively manage the health and communication between services.

DevOps and SRE teams are champions of microservices due to the benefits they offer for deployment, scaling, and monitoring:

  • Simplified Deployment and Management: Automating deployment for individual services and managing scaling based on demand streamlines operations and reduces manual intervention.
  • Enhanced Monitoring and Fault Tolerance: Microservices architecture allows for isolating failures and implementing robust monitoring to ensure service health and overall system resilience. Failures in one service are less likely to cascade and bring down the entire application.

Architects and Engineers
Designing Flexible and Maintainable Distributed Systems


Architects and engineers design the overall system architecture, define service boundaries and communication protocols, and choose appropriate tools and frameworks for implementation. This involves careful planning to ensure service discoverability, communication efficiency, and overall system coherence.

For architects and engineers, microservices provide a powerful tool for designing, implementing, and maintaining distributed systems with:

  • Technological Flexibility: Different services can be built with the most appropriate technology stack, allowing for innovation and efficient resource utilization.
  • Loose Coupling: By minimizing dependencies between services, microservices architecture promotes improved fault isolation and simplifies maintenance efforts.

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Where Microservices Shine:  Ideal Use Cases

Microservices aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but they excel in specific scenarios:

Cloud-Native EnvironmentsEnterprise SystemsE-Commerce PlatformsReal-Time Data Processing

Cloud-Native Environments

cloud development

These are deployed in cloud platforms such as AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure, utilizing their services for scalability and resilience.

Why: The inherent scalability and elasticity of cloud platforms perfectly complement microservices. Services can be easily scaled up or down based on demand, optimizing resource utilization. Additionally, cloud services like managed databases and container orchestration tools can simplify deployment and management.

How: Services can be containerized using Docker and deployed on container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes. Cloud-based load balancers can be used to distribute traffic across instances of each service. Cloud services for databases, messaging queues, and caching can be integrated for data persistence and communication between services.

Enterprise Systems


Consider large-scale systems requiring modularization for better maintainability and scalability.

Why: Large, monolithic applications can become unwieldy and difficult to maintain. Microservices offer a path to modularize these systems, improving maintainability and scalability. Individual services can be updated or replaced independently, reducing the complexity of managing the entire system.

How: Legacy systems can be gradually refactored into microservices using a strangler pattern or API gateway approach. This allows for a phased migration while minimizing disruption to existing functionalities. Event-driven architectures can be implemented for communication between services, promoting loose coupling.

E-Commerce Platforms

transaction workflow

Aka systems that need to handle variable loads and frequent updates.

Why: E-commerce platforms experience fluctuating traffic patterns, with peak loads during sales or holidays. Microservices enable independent scaling of services like product catalogs, shopping carts, and payment processing. This ensures smooth operation even during traffic surges.

How: Services like product catalogs and user management can be separate from the shopping cart and checkout process. Each service can be independently scaled using auto-scaling based on metrics like CPU or memory utilization. API gateways can be used to manage user requests and route them to the appropriate backend services.

Real-Time Data Processing


Think of applications that process large volumes of data in real-time, like streaming services or IoT platforms.

Why: Microservices architecture is well-suited for applications that process large volumes of data in real-time, like streaming services or IoT platforms. Individual services can be designed to handle specific tasks within the data pipeline, facilitating parallel processing and faster data ingestion.

How: Microservices can be designed for specific stages of the data pipeline, such as data ingestion, transformation, and analysis. Messaging queues like Kafka or RabbitMQ can be used for asynchronous communication between services, enabling efficient data flow within the pipeline. Stream processing frameworks like Apache Flink or Spark Streaming can be utilized for real-time data processing within individual services.

Bonus: Microservices for Edge Computing

health app

The concept of edge computing is gaining traction in the Internet of Things (IoT) and decentralized applications. Edge devices, with limited resources, often require lightweight and modular software. Microservices architecture is well-suited for developing such applications because:

  • Modular Design: Microservices can be deployed independently, allowing only essential functionalities to run on edge devices with limited processing power and storage.
  • Reduced Latency: Processing data closer to the source (on edge devices) minimizes latency compared to sending data back to a central server.
  • Offline Functionality: Certain microservices can be designed to function even when disconnected from the central system, enabling basic functionalities on edge devices even during network outages.
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Nearshore development builds powerful MarTech apps to personalize & automate your marketing. Photo by S O C I A L . C U T.

The Cost of Microservices: An Investment in Agility and Scalability

Implementing microservices architecture requires an initial investment, but the long-term benefits often outweigh the upfront costs. Here’s a breakdown of the key factors:

Initial Investment
  • Cloud Infrastructure: Microservices benefit from the elasticity of cloud platforms, but there are associated costs for compute resources and storage.
  • Containerization Tools: Tools like Docker and container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes streamline deployment and management, but require licensing or managed service fees.
  • Monitoring Tools: Robust monitoring is crucial for microservices. Costs can include tools for service health, API performance, and application tracing.
  • System Re-architecture: Migrating existing systems to microservices might involve refactoring efforts, potentially leading to additional development costs.
Operational Costs
  • Cloud Services: Ongoing costs for cloud infrastructure and managed services.
  • Maintenance and Monitoring: Maintaining and monitoring individual services requires ongoing effort.
  • Development and SRE Expertise: Skilled DevOps and SRE teams are essential for managing microservices effectively.

Long-Term Savings

While the initial investment might be higher, microservices can lead to significant cost savings in the long run through:

  • Efficient Resource Utilization: Individual services can be scaled independently, optimizing resource allocation and reducing cloud costs.
  • Reduced Downtime: Microservices architecture promotes fault isolation, meaning failures in one service are less likely to impact others, leading to improved uptime and reduced revenue loss.
  • Increased Developer Productivity: Smaller, focused services are easier to understand and modify, leading to faster development cycles and reduced maintenance costs.
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The caveat is: it should only be done if you have the right partner by your side. Photo by Jason Goodman

The ROI of Microservices Expertise

Building and maintaining successful microservices applications requires a skilled DevOps and SRE team. Ubiminds specializes in helping companies like yours upskill existing teams or augment workforce with top-tier DevOps and SRE talent.

Ready to unlock the true potential of microservices? Contact Ubiminds today and let our experts help you build a high-performing and scalable software development team.


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