Microservice Architectures: When Not to Use Them | UBDS Digital
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Microservice Architectures: When Not to Use Them

Samantha Durkin
3 September, 2020

From Amazon to eBay, businesses are increasingly jumping aboard the microservices trend as they seek to benefit from its multi-platform agility and ease of scalability. But just because big name tech platforms have been reaping the rewards of microservice architectures, doesn’t mean every business will. As with all things software development, there’s no one size fits all solution to what’s best for business. There are many cases where brands pour extra time and money into developing apps with microservice architectures – only to find later down the line that they aren’t in a position to capitalise on the investment.

Here are 3 questions that can help you determine whether microservices will be worth your while…

Do I need scalability or something easy to manage?

What’s your future vision for your app? Will you need to scale your app for use across multiple devices and platforms?

Microservice architectures help businesses develop apps that can create consistent user experiences across multiple platforms from the web, mobile, and IoT to wearables. They often perform and scale better than monoliths, but they take extra time and effort to manage. You’ll have an app with several moving parts that operate independently but also depend on each other in complex ways. Your developers will need separate codebases for testing, synchronized releases, and more resources for production environment monitoring. If you don’t have big plans for scaling across devices and adding multiple features, an easy to manage monolith app may make better business sense.

Do I have a legacy application?

Thinking of migrating your monolithic legacy application to microservice architectures? Stop first to consider how long you plan to continue using the legacy app. If it’s likely the app won’t be in use for many years to come, transitioning to microservices could be more trouble than it’s worth. Although microservices could support a ramp-up of your application’s offer, the extra costs in time, effort, and upkeep could still leave you with a net negative result over the long-term.

Does my team have microservices expertise and time?

To build an app with a microservice architectures, you’ll need an experienced team of developers and admins. Creating a microservices app requires more planning and coding, a larger technology stack, and additional tools that wouldn’t usually be required with a monolith app. Managing and securing the network also becomes more important and can take considerable resources.

So before you set about building an app, it’s worth considering whether your team has a tried and proven track record of success with microservices and the capacity to handle the extra responsibility. If your end goal is to get a functional product out onto the market quickly, a slower and more complex development process might not move the needle.

When developing software for applications, sometimes less is more. Microservice architectures may help businesses create apps with consistent user experience across a broad range of platforms, but they take longer and are clunkier to develop. You’ll need to ensure the microservices approach is truly what’s best aligned with your long-term success drivers, and then evaluate whether your technical team is ready for the challenge. Not every business can capitalise on microservices – at times, keeping things lean is what gets you further.

Samantha Durkin
Samantha Durkin
Head of Marketing

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