According to research, the global market size for microservices architecture will be worth over $8 billion by 2026. With digital being a mainstay revenue channel for businesses of all sizes, more leaders are getting acquainted with the benefits of leveraging a microservice architecture for their core enterprise applications that are also cloud-native.
The benefits of targeted scalability, resilience to large failure events, and flexibility for customization are gaining extensive popularity in the enterprise technology landscape. Over time, it has been proven that microservice architecture works best for applications built and deployed on cloud infrastructure. And this is also the reason why the future of microservices is projected to be paired with serverless architecture — the most promising application development experience on the cloud.
However, the roadmap of pairing microservices with serverless isn’t a brand-new initiative. Microsoft Azure is already attracting a lot of interest from the enterprise technology community with its serverless offering Azure Functions.
The dedicated service can be leveraged as a backend for applications built with microservices architecture.
The Benefits of Using Azure Serverless Architecture for Microservices
Let us explore the top benefits of building enterprise applications with microservices using Azure Serverless Architecture.
The Azure Functions offering doesn’t mandate any minimum number of virtual machines in the consumption plan. This allows enterprises to build scalable microservices without burning a hole in their pockets. Eventually, when the volume of traffic or transactions handled by the application increases, they can scale up all or service-wise components to meet the growth in business volume.
This offers a great cushion in capital growth expenditure which is crucial for small and medium businesses and startups that require significant capital for core operations and simply cannot afford to spend everything on technology.
Interoperability of Functions
The next best thing about Azure Functions is their unlimited reusability across different microservices. They are interoperable with just about every basic and advanced managed service like databases, API management tools, orchestration tools, and much more.
Enterprises can easily reuse functions, thereby eliminating the need to write and maintain large code blocks in their application as the business scales over time.
Azure Functions are built by leveraging an open-source engine. This makes them a very attractive proposition when developers want to deploy the function locally or in hybrid-cloud environments depending on the needs of the business.
This gives enterprises the freedom to control their technology stack rather than face vendor lock-ins that could have impacted their profitability and innovation roadmap in the future.
Using Azure Functions to build enterprise applications with microservices architecture isn’t always the best option for enterprises as there are challenges they must also mitigate. Let us examine the top challenges:
Monitoring Function Activity
An application built with microservices and Azure Functions is, in reality, a network of functions big and small constantly engaging in transactional and information exchange activities. Over time, this entire landscape will be very complex, and tracing function call sources, solving dependencies, and debugging errors may become practically tricky. The key reason is that different teams will not have clear visibility into the interactions between functions and services and the larger application.
Complexity in Microservices Design Pattern
Each microservice can have a unique design pattern that supports the activities the service is meant to handle and realize. However, a typical large enterprise application may have to handle over five different microservices design patterns like Ambassador, Façade Layer, Gateway Aggregation, Sidecar, Strangler, etc. This will create difficulties in ensuring a seamless experience with applications built on such approaches.
Minimal Dependency Support
Azure Functions work well when a domain-based operational model is chosen for the application that leverages the functions. With microservices, this tip still stands. Microsoft specifically emphasizes the need for microservices to deal with business functions only and not core technology like data analytics, storage, messaging, etc. The stress on reducing dependencies may indirectly impact the long-term feasibility of using them to sustain operations of enterprise applications.
The rising popularity of Azure Functions and microservice architecture creates an exciting opportunity for enterprises to build their technology ecosystem by combining the two. Navigating the right roadmap, taking precautions to eliminate challenges on the way, and future-proofing the solution are key in empowering businesses to ensure successful long-term digital competitiveness. This is where zCon can help create a difference.
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