Constant business pressures are demanding more and more from software developers, and they are responding with some remarkable new technologies.
As always, necessity is the mother of invention. Developers are pioneering new architecture that can break down apps into small, independent components, allowing those individual parts to be updated when necessary with speed and reliability, all without impacting the integrity of the overall application while it’s running.
This new app architecture is known as “microservices”.
Traditional app architecture typically has three layers:
- The front end, which is linked to a website
- The middle layer, where the business functions occur
- The back end, typically where the database resides
Restrictive App Design Can Impact Business
This was the style of design used for applications that were static in size and made to suit specific hardware. However, the style did not lend itself well to updating, let alone scaling up; if one component of an app needed improving or modifying in some way, the monolithic design necessitated that the entire app would have to be modified and then tested before going back online.
As recently as a few years ago, many people would see “site under maintenance” messages when they tried to access their banking website or their insurance company’s website, for example. That is no longer acceptable for any business.
So, the time was ripe (and the pressure was ratcheting higher) for a better way forward.
Seamless Updates Are the Norm
Microservices provide developers with the means to refresh a single area of an app without taking down the entire site to do so. Likewise, a problem arising with one area doesn’t result in the entire app going down.
“Microservices is very fluid,” says Gurinder Singh-Mann, an Azure architect at Optimus Information. “You have multiple teams working on different areas of an app, with each team ‘owning’ their component and knowing it inside-out. If I’m a business owner with a promotions page on my website that goes down, I don’t want the entire site going down; that would really impact my business. And when I refresh, I want to be able to refresh just that component.”
An app designed with this approach has each of its elements – or microservices – independent from the others to allow for updates, repairs and security improvements specific to that microservice.
The net result is an app that is ready to be scaled, altered or updated in any manner necessary without incurring downtime.
Faster Database Access
Another important characteristic of microservice apps lies with the database. Recall the earlier description of a three-tiered architecture, with the database being the third tier at the back end of the app. Using the microservice approach, each individual microservice can have its own database, pertinent to just its function. Once again, an update or change can be made without impacting the app’s overall function, something not possible using a traditional approach with a single database at the back end.
There is also a dramatic improvement in the time it takes an app to perform a function– from several minutes down to as little as a second, in many cases.
Azure: A Tailor-made Platform
Like so much in technology today, microservices have come into being largely because the cloud is offering developers endless opportunities to innovate. In the case of Azure Cloud, it’s also reducing workloads and saving time.
Every website hosting an app needs to be monitored in real time. It’s important to know how the site is running in different geographic regions, explains Gurinder Singh-Mann, as well as how many instances of the site are running and whether there is an emergency and a need for disaster recovery.
These tasks would ordinarily fall to developers to deal with. They would have to write appropriate code, test it and then deploy it – added steps that extend the time to get an app to market.
Azure takes that major headache away from the developers so that they can focus simply on building out their code for the app. “Azure is pretty remarkable. It can take care of tuning your database and even takes care of disaster recovery automatically,” says Gurinder.
Power Your Business with Microservices on Azure PaaS
Azure and microservices create a powerful combination that allows businesses to maintain a problem-free web presence at all times, along with the ability to alter or update an app seamlessly in real time.
Optimus Information is actively using microservices architecture for our clients. We are experts in Azure cloud migration, optimization, management and support.
Today, over 60% of new apps are using cloud-enabled continuous delivery for faster innovation and business agility. It’s worth contacting the people who know how to make this happen.
Contact us today and we’ll be happy to share our expertise with you and show you how the combination of Azure and microservices can power your business.