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The Challenges of Using Microservices in Software Development

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In this tutorial we are going to see the challenges of Using Microservices in Software Development While many companies are migrating to a microservices architecture, it’s important to remember some of the challenges associate with microservices.

Businesses around the world rely on various software and IT products to help them achieve their business needs. In order to facilitate the development of such products, companies use a microservices architecture which simplifies a lot of processes across the board. Not only will this expedite time to market, but it also makes it easy for companies to test their products and provide maintenance as well. Still, companies will encounter many difficulties while working on microservices architecture and we would like to tell you about some of the most common issues you might encounter.

Managing a Complex Infrastructure

One of the big advantages of microservices is the ability to deploy small independent units. However, as you start deploying more and more microservices, the entire system becomes more complex and you will need a lot of expertise to handle such complications. Also, even though each service is now smaller, it is not necessarily less complex, it simply shifted to the communication between each individual microservice. Therefore you will need to choose the service boundaries very carefully and have the necessary tools and expertise to handle such complexity. Most importantly, there needs to be good collaboration between everybody involved in the development process, otherwise the microservices will not be set up correctly.

Complex Monitoring Process

Microservices are fallible, just like any other architecture out there which is why you will need to monitor them closely. We already mentioned how complex the system can become and you always need to keep an eye out for underperforming components. All of the data that you get from monitoring the performance of the microservices will give you valuable insight into patterns that point to upcoming failures allowing you to take action before the system goes down. With this in mind, the first thing you need to know is what exactly you are looking for. Try to measure how long it takes to perform database queries, the response time of each individual endpoint, and the success to failure ratio of each service.

It could become very difficult to monitor how well the overall system is performing because all of the microservices are independent of one another meaning that if one is underperforming, it will not have a domino effect on the others. So you really have to dig deep and really do your due diligence to uncover the small problems before they start snowballing into large ones.

Having a Failure Strategy in Place

We mentioned how microservice are all independent of each other and one of the biggest benefits of such an architecture is that you will be able to isolate the point of failure. For example, if you have a photo-sharing app, people may not be able to upload new content in the event of an outage, but they will still be able to use the application in other ways such viewing the pictures that have already been posted and sharing them with friends. This is called service degradation and you need to have failover logic in place in order to make sure it is done gracefully.

A lot of the service outages happen when you make changes to a live system. This could be something as simple as deploying a new version of the code and, by doing so, you introduce a bug. The self-healing nature of the microservices with advanced load balancing will help you make sure everything is running smoothly, but you need to have a plan in place in case something goes wrong.

Complicated Testing

When your QA team is testing various functionalities of the product, they need to have a thorough knowledge of each service the software is trying to deliver. This means they will have to analyze logs across many different microservices which can be mentally grueling and exhausting. Furthermore, a lot of attention has been given to the overall complexity of the architecture itself and we have to remember that in a DevOps environment, several independent teams will be working on creating certain functionality at the same time making it difficult to find a good time window for testing the software.

One of the ways to make things easier on your QA team is to make sure that all of the databases are completely decoupled from one another. Also, all of the microservices will have API endpoints that allow each microservice to connect with each other. It is important that the format of this communication is available to all of the teams so they know how to connect to the microservice.

Make Sure to Plan Ahead

All of the advantages that come with implementing microservices come with many challenges as well. That’s why you need to be aware of what some of the difficulties could be so that you know what to look for and be better prepared. It is also important to have the necessary expertise either in-house or from external vendors to make sure everything is set up correctly and you prepared in the event things don’t go as planned.