Constructing an eCommerce platform is no small feat. There are a number of key features and components that create a comprehensive user experience. As a result, the pieces need to be constantly updated and upgraded to meet evolving user demand or meet rebranding requirements.
The microservice architecture allows for agile, easily scalable, and quick to deploy construction. B2B businesses like VARStreet use the architecture to build discrete modules that are not tightly-knit together and can be used to quickly build the experience as required by the customer.
Table of Contents
- What is microservices architecture?
- What is Monolithic Architecture?
- Monolithic vs Microservices
- How microservices architecture work
- Microservices Architecture at VARStreet
- What are the benefits of microservices?
- What are the drawbacks?
What is microservices architecture?
“Microservices” was a concept developed in 2012 but gained traction in 2014. British software engineer, Martin Fowler, began mentioning microservices in several popular publications leading to aggressive traction and adoption.
The foundation for microservices developed from Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). SOA is an integrative IT structure that brings together services exchanging data and activity coordination. Microservices takes the services offered and brings development to a granular level.
With no official definition, the microservice architecture describes the loose coupling of independent services. The services are able to share information on a single network to meet a business vision
What is Monolithic Architecture?
Monolithic architecture has worked as the traditional blueprint for building applications. The structure is self-explanatory, it is built as a single and codependent unit. The architecture comprises of three main components;
- A client-facing user interface
- A back-end application and server
- A database
Monolithic structures are built by a large codebase and consist of no modules. In order to edit or update the application, the code of the entire application must be remodelled. The applications developed using monolithic architecture are harder to scale upwards and require rewrites constantly to keep up with the ever-changing industry and business requirements.
Monolithic vs Microservices
While conventional, companies that function with smaller teams could benefit from introducing a monolithic application. The straightforward application development process requires lower investment and proficiency requirements. This makes it easier to develop and maintain, especially for startups.
Monolithic applications are perfect for creating simple static applications that require minimal change going forward. If you are looking to launch an app quickly with minimal input requirements, the monolithic structure works to swiftly simplify and validate business ideas.
Microservice architectures require a heavier investment. Professionals with DevOps and Container experience are non-negotiable. This addresses the separate functionalities and creates a clear division of responsibilities between the microservices developed. Creating multiple small teams to handle the individual responsibilities makes building more complex, but more comprehensive.
Additionally, microservice architecture is a great investment for businesses looking to rebrand or redevelop at a later stage. Addressing the microservices individually helps companies decide what areas could use an update and what could run at current capacity. Large scale application development is better suited for microservice architecture.
Depending on the resources available to the organization and the complexity of the application requirements, businesses can decide what framework is best suited to their organization and develop accordingly.
How microservices architecture work
Applications built with microservice architectures possess the following characteristics;
- They are built in multiple modules with components working loosely together while performing unique functions.
- The functions are required to be on par and supportive of internal business activities.
- Cloud storage and hosting is an active consideration for microservices.
- Each function is an individual component. They can be edited, updated, or removed without greatly affecting the overall performance of the application.
Microservices Architecture at VARStreet
The VARStreet platform is built with a microservices first approach. What this means for our customers is greater flexibility in choosing modules that suit their business requirements. Microservices architecture is extremely fast and responsive. It holds the potential to build, scale, evolve, and deploy individual services quickly enhancing customer experience on their websites and online stores and faster rollout of new product features for their end customers.
For our tech team it means reduced complexity of the application change-management process and accelerated upgradation and updates to new technologies, languages and frameworks resulting in faster development cycles and deployment without affecting other services.
The interdependencies are mapped during the development process creating clear trajectories for information sharing. When the developers are building the individual components they are able to create smaller subsets or groups that contain units that support each other. The development of the individual components is segregated from building the entire application to concentrate efforts and build higher quality microservices
Within the eCommerce environment, the letters would represent the multiple components that make up the business. Front end and back end teams would contain smaller subsets that represent interconnected services e.g. user interface and marketing collateral development. The end result is a smoother operation with targeted teams monitoring their service and ensuring information is developed and shared with other services.
What are the benefits of microservices?
A test conducted by LeanIX on 118 multi-corporate and midsize businesses showcased a massive 71% of organizations have decided to increase their adoption of microservices.
Key benefits include
Developing new features does not require the application to be taken down and rebuilt, but the simple addition of a new microservice. This allows our users to greater scalability and improves application development speed and stability.
2. Fault Isolation
It becomes simpler to identify a growing concern by monitoring the microservices individually. While there is a system of interdependency each model is able to stand on its own. This minimizes the risk of an overall breakdown if one component does not work as it should.
3. Optimized Scaling
Building scalable components at a granular level keeps intent concentrated. Only the services required are built making system optimization almost an inbuilt mechanism.
4. Minimizing Complexity
Developers building microservices are only concerned with how their service operates. This compartmentalization allows for quicker large scale application development. When everyone is concerned with making only their part and making it the best, complexities stay manageable.
5. Business Agility
Experimenting with applications has never been easier. The microservice architecture allows for the development of individual units. The units are interdependent but can work just as well on their own. Our customers can add and remove components depending on how they choose to optimize their business activities without interrupting the rest of the application.
6. Developer Productivity
The isolated development of individual microservers speeds up the process of application development. Small teams of professionals are dedicated to a single cause ensuring cleaner and faster results for our VAR users.
7. Easier Maintenance and Debugging
Tackling concerns with singular components are easier than addressing the whole application. Microservice architectures allow businesses to address only the cause of a concern and leave the rest of the system running intact. Developers are able to work more efficiently and effectively.
8. Alignment of Business Users and Developers
Microservices are built around the unique internal processes of a business. A service for every component. This helps developers understand the intent of the business and of the application. As a result what the end user is able to see is a friendlier yet relevant application.
9. Equipped for the Future
Adopting new technology updates and upgrades into your microservice architecture is simple. This happens progressively, targeting one microservice at a time. The process is simplified and easier than monolithic architectures that require replacement of the whole application in one stretch.
10. Smaller, Agile Development Teams
Small teams work on developing each microservice. The concentrated units handle only what they are creating. This builds multiple self contained units, each working towards a different cause optimizing the application development process.
What are the drawbacks?
While beneficial to implement, organizations must weigh both the pros and cons before deciding to build with multiservice architecture. Drawbacks include;
Applications with multiple moving parts can often be difficult to manage. While microservice architecture offers easier to understand individual processes, there are quite a number of individual processes. Each of which requires attention and time. Our skilled tech teams understand that the dependencies between the services is key to building a successful microservice-based platform.
In order to build successfully using a microservice architecture planning and communication must be clear. Developers and architects must carefully consider the microservices needed and build while planning interdependencies and maximizing functionality.
Developing too small minimizes the benefits of employing microservice architecture. Develop too big and the system is too complex and cumbersome to manage. It is important to strike a balance between required features and capabilities of the development team not only to build, but to manage.
4. Third-Party Microservices
More often than not companies delegate some microservices to third party providers. This means parts of the application are maintained by teams the business has no access to. Third-party builders may change their policies at a moment’s notice triggering a flow of breakdowns within the application. We at VARStreet do not outsource any of our processes to third-party providers. Keeping everything in-house allows us greater control over the architecture and allows for faster response times to any breakdowns.
When building an eCommerce application there are a number of components that must be considered. The back end needs to run with ease and efficiency and the front end must be easily modifiable to accommodate everchanging branding visions. Breaking this process down into individual components helps us keep development and running the application simple.
Our eCommerce application adopts a microservices first approach to keep feature development adaptive and future technology-friendly. The fragmentation makes tracking and revamping components as needed a simple process. In the competitive world of eCommerce, agility could be the reason your competitor is unable to overtake the pace and effectiveness of your business activities. Migrating to microservices architecture introduces a new scope for innovation allowing our customers to reap more benefits from our SaaS platform.