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Microservices architecture has gained immense popularity in the software development industry, with companies like Netflix, Amazon, and eBay fully embracing its benefits. This approach offers enhanced fault isolation, improved modularity, scalability, tech stack versatility, efficient testing, and compatibility with Docker, Kubernetes, and cloud services. However, to drive great results with microservices, it is crucial to follow best practices that optimize efficiency and ensure seamless operations.
In this article, we will explore 14 best practices for microservices that can help you achieve remarkable outcomes with relatively less effort. By implementing these practices, you can enhance fault isolation, streamline development processes, ensure security, and improve overall system performance. Let's dive in!
1. Domain-Driven Design (DDD)
Domain-Driven Design (DDD) is a powerful approach to designing microservices around business capabilities. By following DDD principles, you can achieve high-level functionality coherence and create loosely coupled services.
The strategic phase of DDD ensures that the design architecture encapsulates business capabilities, while the tactical phase allows you to create a domain model using different design patterns. Design patterns such as entities, aggregates, and domain services can help you design loosely coupled microservices.
For example, SoundCloud, a popular music streaming platform, reduced release cycle time by implementing DDD. They initially followed the Backend for Frontend (BFF) pattern, but faced complications with duplicate code and risky business and authorization logic. To overcome these challenges, they adopted a new approach called "Value Added Services (VAS)" within the DDD pattern.
VAS enabled them to separate concerns and provide centralized orchestration. It also facilitated authorization and orchestration of calls to associated services for metadata synthesis. By implementing DDD with VAS, SoundCloud achieved decreased release cycles and improved team autonomy.
2. The Single Responsibility Principle (SRP)
The Single Responsibility Principle (SRP) is a microservice design principle that advocates for each module or class to perform one specific task exceptionally well. By adhering to SRP, you can reduce dependencies and improve response time.
Gojek, an on-demand marketplace, achieved higher reliability and lower response time by implementing SRP. They had a chat capability called "Icebreaker" that required multiple services to build a communication channel between users and drivers. However, dependency on several functions/services increased the chances of failure in the chat function.
To address this issue, Gojek applied the single responsibility principle by adding services for each function and assigning tasks to each. They reduced the load on a single service and improved response time by 95%.
3. Independent Microservices
Independent microservices take service isolation to the next level. They offer three forms of independence: independent service evolution, independent testing, and independent deployment.
Independent service evolution involves isolating feature development based on the need for evolution. Independent testing focuses on conducting tests that prioritize service evolution and reduce test failures caused by service dependencies. Independent deployment reduces downtime by minimizing cyclic dependencies during app deployment.
Amazon faced management challenges with a monolithic architecture after migrating to microservices. They addressed these challenges by developing "Apollo," an automated deployment system based on decoupled services. They also established decoupling rules that every function needed to follow. By reducing manual handoffs and improving the efficiency of the entire system, Amazon successfully managed independent microservices.
4. Asynchronous Communications
Proper communication between microservices is crucial for optimal performance. Asynchronous communication, a non-blocking protocol, allows parallel execution of requests and provides better resilience.
Flywheel Sports, a fitness community platform, faced communication challenges while launching "FlyAnywhere," a platform that enhanced the bike riding experience through real-time broadcast. To address these challenges, they built "Hydra," an internal library that supported features such as inter-service communication, service discovery, load balancing, and self-registration of services. Asynchronous communication facilitated real-time broadcasts to FlyAnywhere consumers.
5. Separate Microservice Database
While microservices are loosely coupled, they often need to retrieve data from the same shared database. In such cases, using a separate microservice database can reduce latency and improve security and resilience.
Twitter migrated from a monolithic software architecture to a microservices architecture using multiple services like Redis and Cassandra. However, as the platform scaled, they needed a scalable and resilient database solution to handle more queries per second. To address this, they introduced "Manhattan," an in-house distributed database that improved latency and handled several queries per second. Twitter's dedicated microservice datastore approach helped them handle millions of queries per second across various production clusters.
Containerization is a highly efficient best practice for microservices. It involves packaging the minimum program configurations, libraries, and binaries into lightweight and portable containers.
Spotify, a popular music streaming platform, containerized microservices using Docker and migrated them to Kubernetes. By leveraging Kubernetes APIs and extensibility features, Spotify accelerated migration and improved reliability, availability, and scalability.
7. Micro Frontend Architecture
Micro frontend architecture involves breaking down a monolithic frontend into smaller elements. This approach allows individual UI element upgrades, making changes, testing, and deployment easier.
Facebook implemented micro frontend architecture to reduce loading times and improve web page latencies. Their approach, called "BigPipe," broke web pages into smaller components called "pagelets," improving overall latency.
8. Microservices Security
Securing microservices and their communication with external services or platforms is crucial to protect data and prevent disruptions. Implementing SSL/TLS encryption, multi-factor authentication, restricted data access, web application firewalls, vulnerability scanning, and penetration testing can enhance microservices security.
OFX, an international financial transfer institution, implemented a middle-tier security tool to increase visibility and protection against cyber threats. The tool enabled detection of suspicious patterns, monitoring of login attempts, blocking malicious traffic, and extensive penetration testing.
9. Immutable APIs
Immutable APIs ensure parallel programming and minimize the impact of changes in one thread on others. By restricting the change of state, immutable APIs allow multiple threads to execute in parallel, improving programming efficiency.
Microservices often require APIs for communication and data exchange. Traditional mutable APIs are susceptible to cyber-attacks. Immutability with containerized microservices improves security and data integrity. Immutable APIs also facilitate parallel programming, allowing multiple threads to execute simultaneously.
10. DevOps Culture
Adopting a DevOps culture is crucial for seamless collaboration between operations and development teams. DevOps practices enable cohesive strategies, efficient collaboration, and continuous integration and delivery.
DocuSign, an e-signature technology company, faced challenges with collaboration between teams, leading to failures. By adopting a DevOps culture, they improved collaboration and implemented an application mock tool for internal API testing. This cohesive strategy allowed them to quickly build, test, and release applications.
11. Version Control System
Implementing a version control system is crucial for managing microservices and their different software versions. It involves tracking changes in application containers, key-value pairs, software bills of materials, licenses, etc.
Microservice drift, caused by different versions of a single microservice running on multiple clusters and namespaces, can be avoided through a version control system. URI versioning, header versioning, semantic versioning, and calendar versioning are common approaches to managing versions.
12. Backward Compatibility
Ensuring backward compatibility for service endpoints helps prevent system breakage when changes occur. The robustness principle or "Postel's Law" can be applied to achieve backward compatibility. This principle states that you should be conservative in what you send and liberal in what you receive.
By adhering to the robustness principle, servers can communicate the expected message formats and ignore new or unknown fields, reducing the chances of errors in APIs.
13. Avoid Hardcoding Values
Avoiding hardcoding values is essential to prevent system-wide issues caused by network-based changes. Utilizing a network discovery mechanism, such as a service registry or proxy, can facilitate easy connection and execution of functions.
For example, in an eCommerce application, hardcoding the service address of the shipping service can lead to difficulties in connecting with the service. By leveraging a network discovery mechanism, you can avoid such issues and ensure seamless operations.
14. Centralized Logging and Monitoring
A centralized logging and monitoring system is crucial for tracking changes in microservices, handling errors, and improving observability. It provides enhanced visibility and assists in root cause analysis for errors in microservices.
Netflix, a renowned streaming platform, manages multiple microservices with a centralized logging and monitoring system. This system enables them to track changes, handle errors efficiently, and improve overall system performance.
Implementing these 14 best practices can significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your microservices architecture. By leveraging concepts such as Domain-Driven Design, the Single Responsibility Principle, and containerization, and adopting a DevOps culture, you can optimize your development processes and ensure the success of your microservices projects.
Remember, each best practice has its own unique value and relevance, so choose and implement them based on your specific use cases and business requirements. Embrace these practices, and you'll be well on your way to driving great results with microservices.
Now it's time to take your microservices architecture to the next level and unlock its full potential with these best practices. Embrace DevOps, streamline your processes, and witness the remarkable benefits of microservices in action.