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Can A Microservices Approach Bring Greater Agility To Business? - Part 1

September 13, 2021

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This two-part article looks at the following question from a business standpoint: Can a microservices-based approach to application development increase business agility? 

Part 1 looks at the primary motivations for adopting a microservices approach and the different types of value it can generate. Next, part 2 considers the organizational challenges of adopting microservices, their money-saving potential, and the promise of increased agility. 

Introduction 

A decentralized development process allows you to test out ideas swiftly and introduce innovative solutions to customers ahead of the competition. What’s more, you can raise their accountability, effectiveness, and engagement by promoting teams whose features are published and work well in use. 

Monolithic architecture has some clear advantages and is well-suited for getting a business up and running with limited in-house technical knowledge. However, it is too slow and inflexible to turn a company into a leader, shake up the market, or outpace the competition. Microservices are a much better choice in this situation, but they may also make sense for small organizations that are unsure about their future technology needs. 

From an organizational standpoint, bringing microservices architecture to the company can also positively affect management, drive teams toward an agile way of working, and assist the company in rapidly adapting to changing market conditions. As a result, the pace and dynamism of the company are likely to reflect the technological approach it uses. 

Why move to microservices? 

Of course, if your business’s monolith is not complex, switching to microservices will not bring any benefits. So let’s look at this reversed. Will your business thrive while it puts up with the following disadvantages? 

  • You must redeploy the entire application to update a part of the system. 
  • Adopting new technologies or frameworks is very difficult because all the functionalities must use the same technologies. 
  • The whole application is likely to fail if even one service becomes unstable. 
  • Using agile methodologies becomes more complex when supporting a monolithic application. 

Those are just a small selection of the drawbacks of monolithic development!  

We are approaching a tipping point for most software-reliant organizations, where the question is no longer whether to migrate, but when to migrate. Understanding opportunity-cost and return on investments are significant parts of evaluating whether the time is right to adopt microservices. 

Below, we briefly consider how a substantially shorter time to market will affect your microservices return on investment. We also look at a few of the possible ways the transition can produce financial upsides for business. 

Faster time to market 

Because microservices function with loosely coupled services, you don't have to rebuild your entire software to add or alter a feature. You only make modifications to one service. You can bring your apps and services to market faster if you create them in smaller increments that are independently tested and deployable. 

Understanding the value of your investment 

Adding value is crucial, but if current value is not preserved, it is a net loss.  

Microservices components are built individually in a phased migration, progressively replacing monolithic functionality until all old system components are declared "extinct." In theory, this implies that your company might see a return on investment in months rather than years. And it means the chances of existing value being retained are much higher. 

Remember that each project must be evaluated separately, however the following characteristics are useful for estimating the value of microservices adoption: 

  1. Embrace the multilingual technology landscape and employing programming languages based on merit. Part of the value here is that, when recruiting, you are not limited to hiring talent in a smaller pool dedicated to a single code language. 
  1. Agile delivery entails delivering features as quickly as feasible in the smallest amount of time. 
  1. Move features to production, and then release, with confidence. Microservices applications are nimble in nature, and that helps each new element moves more smoothly through development and testing phases. 
  1. Scale the application based on usage metrics. There's no need to scale the monster monolith, thereby spending vast amounts of money on infrastructure and support team hours. 
  1. When the product or feature or service reveals its bugs, squash them with ease. 
  1. Better resilience/fault tolerance, as all the features, are independent services. 

Seen through the lens of the assessments above, you may notice that a microservices approach is likely to bring increased agility and more into your business.  

Do you want to dig deeper into this question? In the second half of this article, we look at the organizational issues of using microservices as well as their potential to save your company money. Can a microservices-based approach to application development increase business agility? - Section 2. 

Provided source links: 

https://www.azion.com/en/blog/getting-your-business-ready-for-microservices/

https://rollbar.com/blog/monolith-to-microservices-is-your-organization-ready/#

https://headspring.com/2019/01/22/preparing-your-business-for-microservices/

https://hycom.pl/hycom-blog-is-your-organization-ready-for-microservice-architecture

https://allcloud.io/blog/how-moving-to-microservices-will-increase-your-business-agility/

https://nl.devoteam.com/expert-view/is-your-organization-ready-for-microservices-2/

https://capgemini-engineering.com/us/en/insight/are-you-ready-for-the-shift-to-microservices/

https://medium.com/@nikki_ecommgeek/microservices-and-why-your-business-needs-it-95b15df09adf

https://blogs.perficient.com/2018/07/05/are-you-ready-for-microservices/

Piotr Róg

CEO & CTO, Founder at Onteon, former Architect Director at Alior Bank. Never stopped to code.

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