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Putting simplicity and agility first with microservices

While the cloud clearly remains one of the cornerstones of your company's IT flexibility, a new style of architecture is now increasingly needed: microservices. It promises greater ease of development and deployment, better scalability, easier maintenance and more flexibility in the way you engage with technology.

Your company has always faced many IT challenges: whether to ensure the availability and performance of your applications, as well as their quick and inexpensive upgrade, or to develop and deploy new solutions more quickly.

Advantages

In short, your organization, if it wants to keep up, must be synonymous with responsiveness and flexibility in order to fully meet the demands of your business. Yet all too often your IT department inhibits this dynamic process, because of your installed base (i.e. your historical applications), the inflexibility of your infrastructure and the lack of flexibility of your development teams. Of course the cloud – and especially the hybrid multi-cloud (see our previous blog) – can provide an answer to these challenges. But nowadays, it’s possible to go beyond that answer, thanks to microservices.

Schematically, a microservices-based architecture aims to develop an application as a suite of small services, each operating its own process and communication through lightweight mechanisms. These services are built around business functionality and can be deployed independently as part of an automated process, while centralized management is minimized.

In other words, a microservices architecture offers you several advantages: shorter development cycles, scalability built in from the start of your development, the possibility of deployment on-premise or in the cloud, the ability to handle complex requirements, less vendor lock-in thanks to the many products available in open source, the possibility to choose the best implementation technology to solve your specific problem, as well as ease of maintenance and upgrade.

Constraints

While the microservices approach has many advantages, adopting it requires that you respect a number of conditions. For one thing, as a complex technology and architecture, it requires certain specialized skills. In addition, a DevOps and automation culture is absolutely essential. Finally, the boundaries of each service must be clearly defined, while organizational changes are also needed to ensure the success of such a project.

In short, you definitely shouldn’t look at microservices as the new Eldorado for your IT department: this type of architecture is only suitable if your company needs scalability, complexity and speed of implementation. And you certainly shouldn’t underestimate the organizational challenges it brings. It effectively requires you to set up inter-functional teams, multidisciplinary and autonomous, with clear boundaries between them (and therefore between your microservices). Ideally those teams have a double dimension: a vertical business aspect and a technological communication structure between teams to create the knowledge network and establish border governance between services.

 DDD approach

To meet these challenges, we at Aprico propose a type of structure, based on the idea of DDD or Domain-Driven Design. It is neither a framework nor a methodology, but rather an approach (as described in the book of the same name by Eric Evans) that aims to define a common vision and language shared by all people involved in the development of an application.

In practice, DDD allows you to offer tools capable of establishing the service boundaries, the upper limit being the associated context and the lower limit the aggregate. Domain events are powerful building blocks for service orchestration, while domains constitute natural boundaries for the business-oriented team. In addition, context integration and team relationships are governed by strategic design.

Partnership

Microservices represent the logical evolution of a distributed systems architecture. They are intended to meet your needs of complexity, scalability and speed of delivery. But to succeed, your organization must be aligned. DDD offers powerful tools for structuring a microservices architecture through aggregates, associated contexts, domain events and the strategic design that ensures relationships between contexts and teams.

As a consulting firm specializing in information systems architecture and transformation, Aprico Consultants allows you to resolutely accelerate your digital transformation processes. We provide you with the flexibility, performance and competitiveness needed to strengthen your position in the market. Aprico Consultants works with you to translate your company’s strategy, objectives and constraints into pragmatic transformation programs that deliver real added value and proven return on investment.

Microservices architecture (MSA)