Cloud Strategy

Are These Challenges Holding You Back from Adopting Microservices?

A 2021 survey by IBM outlines how microservices are sufficing several use-cases for organizations worldwide. More than 45% of the IT executives affirmed the benefits microservices accrue in data analytics and business intelligence. Another 41% mentioned success with database applications. Customer relationship management and finance weren’t far behind either, with 38% and 34% of the respondents emphasizing these use-cases.

Surely, microservices have eradicated the bias of traditional monolithic software applications being a viable option for businesses. And development teams are now keen to adopt a microservices-based framework to keep up with technological advancements.

Although these use-cases and the associated benefits are well known to teams, there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding the adoption — owing to the challenges tied to it.

According to a 2020 O-Reilly survey, only one-third of the respondents affirmed that they’ve had “some success” with microservices. But why’s that? What could go wrong? For the purpose of this article, we’ll be exploring the difficulties that teams face in adopting microservices on their journey to transition so that they can prevent the following issues from proliferating. 

The Adoption of Microservices – An Overview

For long, monolithic, centralized applications were the go-to option for development teams. They were easy to develop, understand, and manage. But as the technology progressed, businesses required more flexibility and agility in software architecture, which is where microservices came into the picture. 

In essence, microservices are distributed and loosely coupled systems. The application is typically broken into several functions or services that define different business capabilities. So this is why microservices act as a beneficial replacement. 

As for the benefits, microservices facilitate greater scalability, improved performance, improved application security, faster time to market, better customer data management, and enhanced employee productivity. It also enables better adoption of cloud, leading to several business benefits. Naturally, their adoption is considered a progression and, in a lot of cases, a necessity for businesses to thrive in today’s world. This explains why more than 70% of organizations are endeavoring to adopt microservices.

However, it’s not an easy transition. The journey from monolithic software to microservices requires a complete paradigm shift from development teams and management alike. They could face several challenges during the transition, which we will discuss next.

The 7 Biggest Challenges Businesses Face While Adopting a Microservices-Based Architecture

1.    Effective Management of Microservices

Unlike a monolith, microservices aren’t limited to any specific number of components. As the number of microservices increases, so does the system’s complexity. 

As such, development teams must define a clear scope critical to building production-ready systems. The scope needs to explicitly define every aspect of the microservices’ use, including the logic between each microservice and the well-agreed upon strategy.

2.    Fault Tolerance

With microservices, you see even more ways of failure due to their sheer number and interdependence. So, it’s safe to say that outages in one or more services are inevitable.

But you need to ensure that no particular microservice outage affects the other one or the entire system. And if it does, this indicates an inferior system architecture. To reduce fault tolerance, you must focus on building loosely coupled services with an asynchronous dependency.

3.    Monitoring and Logging

At the start, businesses might get overwhelmed with the growing number of services and may be unaware of critical dependencies, new microservices, and logic, among others. They could also end up overlooking potential areas of concern. And that’s quite common when they’re new to microservices. 

Therefore, effective and timely monitoring is crucial to get to the root of potential issues before they affect the interdependent services. Also, proper logging is key to building a stable system. Logs can help replicate and fix problems within a service quickly. 

4.    End-to-End Testing

Effective testing requires every system component to be thoroughly tested for optimum quality and performance. And owing to the distributed system that a microservices-based framework brings forth, testing can get super complex and expensive — precisely why integration testing remains a distant affair.

5.    Configuration Management

Adopting microservices involves understanding a lot of configurations tagged to each service. You need a defined central path to store and access every configuration. That said, to avoid any complexity while adopting microservices, you must consider building a central configuration system for storage and easy access.

6.    Instability

The overall system complexity and a lack of management can result in unstable systems. The primary cause of instability can be attributed to the numerous iterations of deployments or changes. In truth, failure is inevitable in such complex systems.

You need to fix avoidable issues on priority, limit a system-wide impact due to unprecedented failures, and try to recover quickly in case of such a catastrophe. 

7.    Finally, There’s No Going Back!

And what do we mean by it? When an enterprise breaks its silos and moves from a monolithic architecture to a microservices-based one, there’s customarily no going back.

After all, the transition involves technology changes, organizational changes, upgraded tools, processes, and more. These make it super hard to go back to the old ways, not to mention the additional operational costs that would be incurred. 

The Bottom Line

Adapting to any such fast-growing framework from your legacy systems can be extremely tricky. The transition requires a significant overhaul of the business and its processes and certainly demands a steep learning curve.

But it’s not to say that such a transition isn’t rewarding. The microservices-based frameworks are the future of technology and promise to make businesses more agile, flexible, scalable, and efficient than ever before. 

At zCon Solutions, we’re here to help you get there. We build customized, efficient, sustainable, and scalable enterprise solutions and expedite legacy application migration and enhancement. Talk to a solutions expert today. 

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