From service-oriented architecture to microservices


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Existing systems are still the backbone of many businesses. Yet, as the demand for efficiency, scalability, reliability and agility increases, we have seen an evolution of these underlying technologies to meet those needs. Let’s explore some of these technologies, their history and evolution to see why such a change was inevitable. Because in today’s digital economy, organizations must drive at a much different speed than was previously acceptable and embrace change in their competitive landscape and products.

Service-oriented architecture to the rescue

Legacy systems, which are the backbone of many businesses, were not developed to support the implementation and adoption of new technologies and growing economies operating at breakneck speed. Therefore, as the number of digital transformation initiatives increases and the expected speed of delivery intensifies, IT managers are overwhelmed by the sheer number of demands on the systems. Additionally, existing legacy interfaces, developed in a world of daily batch calls, are not suited to today’s digital channels that require real-time data.

Step into Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), with its promise to accelerate project delivery, increase IT agility and scalability, and reduce integration costs. Gartner analyst Roy Schulte defined service-oriented architecture in 1996 as follows:

A service-oriented architecture is a style of multi-layered computing that helps organizations share logic and data across multiple applications and usage patterns.. “

The goal of SOA is to create independent services that represent a single business activity with a specified outcome, that are self-contained and can be consumed by others, regardless of the details of its implementation depending on the exposed interface. However, as SOA has been adopted by organizations around the world, SOA governance requirements, large-scale ESB integrations, and the need for large service registries have made implementations cumbersome and monolithic.

SOA’s original promise was to speed up project delivery, increase agility, and reduce costs. However, SOA users have found that it increases complexity and introduces bottlenecks. While teams were able to create faster connections, they also had to maintain a large ESB implementation which slowed down production time and did not provide a reasonable return on investment.

Associated article: Modernizing Legacy Technology: Big Bang or Fragmentary?

Microservices: creation of the software assembly line

Microservices are actually the next step in the evolution of service-oriented architectures. A microservice is:

  • Functional scope: The design of microservices is based on services and applications that perform a narrowly defined business function. A microservice does not have to be small, its size depends on the complexity of the business function it performs. However, it will be smaller than an application which contains its functionality as well as other business functions.
  • Autonomous: The essential element of a microservice is that it must be self-contained. That is, it should be able to operate on its own and without the need for other services. Other services can be stacked (such as a service that handles user authentication), but it performs its business function independently. It can be developed and tested independently, and it can be deployed independently.

More than anything else, a microservices design forces us to rethink the way we plan projects and lead teams. It affects the way we think about deliverables, application lifecycles, and production time. It lends itself to a DevSecOps-based approach that is grounded in merged Scrum teams with an emphasis on automation, speed and agility. In some ways, this is akin to the shift in mindset that came with assembly-line production and the lean philosophies that revolutionized the manufacturing industry in the early 20’s.e century. Some of the advantages of using a microservices-based architecture are:

SpeedBecause a microservice is a stand-alone unit, independent Scrum teams can develop, test, and release it into production independently from other parts. Each new unit provides critical and unique functionality, but no unit prevents the set from functioning. Therefore, services can be created and deployed in production in small Scrum teams.

Agility An agile environment succeeds on small units that can be built into Scrum teams of six to eight, tested, and added to the release pipeline. Microservices not only work, but thrive in an agile environment, and drive faster, faster versions of stand-alone units that can be promoted into production as stand-alone units.

Flexibility – Autonomy and lack of dependencies of microservices offer a number of advantages: teams can use the language and tools that best fit the problem, they can test, build and deploy features without being obstructed by others. teams and departments, and the code base that each team must manage is considerably smaller and simpler. They provide the ability to try out a new technology stack on an individual service as needed. There won’t be as many addiction issues and undoing changes becomes much easier. With less code in play, there is more flexibility.

And to top it all, Simplicity – Microservices provide us with the smallest unit of productivity in a complex ecosystem of IT services within any organization, such as complex human body cells. It forces organizations to think about their simplest business function and smallest unit of work. Additionally, rather than working on one element of a centrally managed project, each team working within a microservices architecture is free to innovate as part of a single business function, driving innovation. and risk taking that does not affect the whole organization.

Thinking and designing our applications in terms of small independent units is the first step towards building a modern, agile, agile and scalable infrastructure. While there is always technical debt as teams balance time and design, it is easier to pay off this debt. In fact, as organizations evolve and change their requirements, IT departments can work alongside them to replace services rather than maintain them.

Associated article: What microservices bring to the digital workplace

Geetika Tandon is a Senior Director at Booz Allen Hamilton, a management and technology consulting firm. She was born in Delhi, India, holds a BA in Architecture from the University of Delhi, an MA in Architecture from the University of Southern California and an MA in Computer Science from the University of California to Santa Barbara.

The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of his employer.

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