Combatting The Complexities Of Microservices Architecture

According to Market Research Future, the microservices architecture market is increasing at a CAGR of 17%, putting it on track to reach $33 billion by 2023. Cloud-based solutions, including SaaS and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings, are driving the growth of microservices, which divide a large application into smaller services that communicate with each other through APIs.

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The Healthcare microservices market alone is expected to increase from $130 million to $519 million by 2025. The retail industry has also benefited from the value of microservices, with Amazon and eBay adopting the architecture to include highly available and scalable services. Furthermore, Netflix transitioned to microservices in 2009, and today, the service handles 2 billion edge requests each day through more than 500 microservices.

While there are advantages to microservices architecture, from trying out a new technology stack with fewer concerns to having failures not impact the rest of an application, there is a downside.

One of the biggest challenges is its complexity. The complexity comes from the many components and parts that interact in timeframes to become a system. The microservices architecture requires a shift in technology, but also the way that components are connected, the way that they communicate, and how people collaborate to keep everything running.

A useful technique for handling a complex environment like a microservice-oriented solution is to visualize it as a network. Network analysis provides tools, metrics, and ways to understand the structural properties and key nodes (microservices, components, and agents) in a schema — and how to protect them from an unexpected failure to achieve resilience or stability. Tools such as Kubernetes, Swarm, and Mesos, among others, can assist in putting together the infrastructure to develop and deploy a complete solution.

Microservices can also complicate security. Unlike a traditional application, which has very few entry points, applications built with microservices have dozens or hundreds of entry points. Each exposed API, port, and component is a potential attack vector, and every entry point must have the appropriate access controls to protect against denial-of-service attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, and so on.

One solution is adding a service mesh to microservices that can improve visibility, monitoring, management, and security. A service mesh allows developers to make changes without touching the application code itself. It provides the ability to mirror and monitor traffic on multiple versions of the same service, which lets developers test capabilities before deployment and determine the best way to route traffic through the system for specific types of use patterns. Most importantly, it provides automated ways of monitoring what is happening between services at all times, providing important metrics that can help quickly determine the cause of failures or performance issues.

A service mesh also can drastically improve security in microservices-based development through authentication and authorization. When services talk to one another, each must ensure that the others are who they say they are. Without a security layer, microservices are essentially talking over an unencrypted open channel.