Most enterprises have a simple, light weight, monolithic architecture to begin with. But as the systems grow, a monolithic architecture begins to hinder and even reduce organizational growth. New functionalities take more time to be delivered as does new employee induction, impacting scalability. Engaging more teams to derive benefits from such systems place further pressure to the architecture and lead to discouraging results. These are clear indications of system's architecture’s failure to meet the company’s requirements.
As the role of enterprises have evolved from supporting IT to strategizing innovation, enterprise architecture has moved away from monolithic models to service-oriented architecture and is fast progressing towards microservices - an architecture that can resolve much of the sluggish pace of monolithic system development.
Monolith vs Microservices
In the cost benefit comparison and analysis between monolith vs microservices, in the current highly changing business environment, the latter win hands down for most competitive organizations.
A majority of big applications that exist today were at some point a monolithic system since at a basic level, it is easier to develop, simpler to test and deploy and even scale horizontally. A typical monolithic system has numerous functions knitted into the fabric of the codebase and multiple interdependencies running through them, making it difficult to work on individual functions in isolation. Hence, to even make small changes, the whole application will need to be taken down. When multiple teams work on a monolith application, what code controls which function can also get difficult to register.
By modernizing the application from a monolithic to a microservice architecture, the application can be split into multiple functions (microservices) that allows us to work independently on individual components thereby increasing the speed of software development - time to market. A typical microservice either built to scale or leveraged through open source services consists of an API layer, compute resources and data storage, making it a fully functional independent unit.
Consideration aspects when migrating to microservices
A microservice architecture is a software component model that future-proof systems according to changing business needs. Microservices are best useful when running a complex network of systems that require continuously evolving applications. A microservice architecture is particularly beneficial when systems and applications become too large and complex and need to be broken down into separate services.
Implementing an agile microservices approach to modernize your applications will infuse innovation in your enterprise. However, you should take the following into consideration before embarking on the journey:
- API Generation and integration – For a legacy technology, the speed at which APIs can be generated for a new service or its codes reused for existing services can be challenging and costly. That’s where low-code platforms are used. They can auto-generate APIs and offer the advantage of writing business logic by reusing generated APIs in Java.
- Efficiency in data migration - When migrating to microservices, the entire storage systems data must also be migrated from the monolithic architecture. However, since at the time of migration, the data itself is not directly accessible, frequent data migration routines or synchronization processes are created and made available as APIs. Here again, low-code platforms come handy since they accelerate the entire data migration process, seamless integrating and delivering experiences with offline data access and synchronization.
- Building simple UI applications - The UI of an app creates user experience. Moving to microservices from monolithic can positively impact user experience and demonstrate immediate value since it becomes possible to display information, encourage interaction, use modern application functionalities on-the-go as well as build data intensive predictions and forecasts for showcasing using powerful dashboards, drag-and-drop features and multiple customization options.
- Transforming one service at a time - The best way to migrating to microservice architecture is to break down the monolith into manageable chunks and pick microservices out of the existing monolith one service at a time. This involves identifying parts of the application that are monolith independent and also identifying ways to write back to the existing system.
- Choosing high value functions for migrations – In order to effectively measure value and improvement, it is best to begin migration with high-value services and which can demonstrate improvement through data which is measured against a predetermined baseline.
Making migration meaningful
Since legacy systems take time to transform, migrating monolith to microservices is a major technological and cultural change for most organizations. This is where low-code platforms can be used to develop custom software stacks, deploy API-driven microservices-based applications, and effectively orchestrate IT infrastructure. The ‘API-first’ microservices architecture enables enterprises to focus on rapidly delivering value and accelerating innovation on cloud-native applications.
Instead of rewriting applications from ground up to move microservices, it makes better business sense to incrementally refactor applications into microservices using the following three strategies:
- Microservices implemented as new functionality
- Splitting components from business and data access perspective
- Existing applications conversion from monolith into microservices
A good application transformation plan must include a good testing strategy. With time and increase in microservices, the developmental team’s velocity grows. The migration process might also include transition implementations when dealing with authentication or authorization functionalities and legacy databases that can later be removed. The final migrated microservice architecture will make the organization nimbler and equipped with greater velocity in the application evolution journey.
Application modernization from a monolithic to a microservices architecture is as much about changing organizational level mindset (in the way people use technology to work, collaborate, and communicate with each other) as it is about scaling technology. Migration from a legacy to microservices structure should be incremental and only after close evaluation of various aspects of the monolith.
iOPEX’s application modernization services help clients transform their applications landscape from a monolith to a microservices architecture. Our holistic approach ensures your modernization roadmap will enhance employee and customer experiences, drive revenue growth and eliminate back and front-end inefficiencies. We partner with the major cloud platforms and SaaS to enable predictable results. Our cloud certified professionals have helped organizations to achieve smooth transformation by building effective technology architectures & solutions and efficiently deploying it using agile framework. To learn more about our application modernization services, see our low-code application development platform and support framework.