Microservices: An Agile Solution for Big Business?

Gone are the days when size trumped all. Today, businesses big and small are competing in a global market where the race to win customer loyalty is less about who’s best, and more about who best fits the individual.

In the drive to deliver more of this customisation, businesses are increasingly opting for cloud-based applications. But whilst this has greatly improved speed and efficacy, on its own it isn’t enough to deliver optimal efficiency or agility, particularly where the overall framework is large or complex.

Application development within many businesses has traditionally followed a monolithic approach. In this situation, the IT team develops and supports a single product, comprised of interconnected components that draw on one unit of code and share the same resources.

This approach has several advantages that have perpetuated its use, particularly for enterprise businesses. Most of all, it’s convenient. All components of the app are centralised and tightly coupled, so focus and resources are streamlined towards securing, managing and improving one product.

But the singularity of purpose in monolithic applications can also be a weakness. Scaling up is achievable but often slow, as new resources like servers must first be built. When changes do roll out, the whole system has to stop in order for them to be applied. And as it gets bigger, load time frequently gets slower.

In contrast, the microservices approach to system architecture is highly deconstructed and entirely cloud-based A relatively new development concept, microservice architecture functions as a suite of small, independent services which each play a unique role and work in combination to meet a specific business goal.

Loosely coupled and communicating over standard protocols, microservices can be easily adapted to suit changing business needs; individual tasks can be easily isolated and changed or fixed, without disrupting the overall system. In some cases, several microservices may be capable of performing the same tasks.

This scalability and resiliency offers a huge advantage to business, allowing it to keep moving forward with minimal downtime and demand on resources. It also provides greater agility to respond to opportunities, challenges and customer demands.

The modular nature and agility of microservices must however be managed carefully, with developers keeping sight of the business’s top line goals and objectives. Microservices are generally developed in relative isolation by small, independent teams, and may even be in different languages. Without strong project leads that can tie all the services together, the resulting disparate frameworks, long chains of API calls and overall lack of governance can create future complications for development and support.

There’s no denying the customer is king. And technology plays a central role in any organisation’s ability to remain competitive. But today, more than ever, technology must also be customer-centric. Companies of all sizes, from bootstrapped start-ups to multinationals like Amazon and eBay, are embracing this paradigm shift and adjusting their approach to development, to deliver a better service fit for the customer. Strategically project managed and with sights set on clearly defined business goals, microservices are a powerful and efficient way to manage application development in almost any business.

If change and meeting your customers’ needs is a constant, doing nothing isn’t an option. Be sure you are partnering with a company with the depth and breadth of expertise you require. Particularly one who can help you navigate end-to-end managed services, cloud, mobile and paperless office technology. GPK consultant, Ben Holian, is available for a no obligation discussion on how GPK can help you reduce operational costs, manage your IT footprint more effectively and create an exceptional experience for your customers. Contact: Phone 1300 000 475 or email for more information.

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