What are Microservices?
The term "microservices" refers to a delivery model for software applications that divides an application into smaller, self-contained components. Each component can be independently deployed, scaled, and updated. This helps to improve application functionality and reliability. It also enables developers to more easily create and maintain software applications.
Microservices are a key part of modern application delivery. From social networking apps to online retail to streaming video, almost every major software application today is built using microservices. But how exactly do they improve software? And what do they look like from a developer's perspective? In this post, we'll examine the pros and cons of microservices and the real-world benefits they bring to the software development process.
What are the benefits of using microservices?
The rise of SaaS apps and the widespread adoption of containers have created a growing demand for faster, more efficient and agile application development methods. In response, applications themselves are changing – from monoliths that do many things well, to distributed collections of independent services that address specific functions. In fact, a recent study by RightScale found that the majority of modern applications are using a microservices architecture. Some major benefits that microservices offer include:
Improved reliability. Because each microservice performs a single logical function within the greater application, developers provide updates that are isolated to just the service that needs the changes. Typically there is a well defined interface between microservices within an application, and as long as that remains intact, the application can remain functional even as changes are being made-real.
Reduced development time. Individual services provide a well-defined set of functionality for each component that can be built around specific requirements. This makes it simple to horizontally scale development efforts across multiple teams and makes it easier to quickly update or add new features.
Increased application functionality. As development teams are able to create individual components that can be reused in multiple contexts, they can create new applications that accommodate a broader array of users and deliver deeper functionality without duplicating efforts
Ultimately, microservices enable developers to focus on the specific functionality of their applications and avoid development issues that can arise from coupling multiple applications together. By breaking down an application into manageable pieces, developers can take advantage of new software development techniques such as automated testing and parallelization to deliver high quality results more quickly than ever before. Microservices are also easier to maintain because the associated services are self-contained; all dependent services run on their own platform with separate management tools. This provides more consistency and makes managing the entire collection of related components far easier than it would be if they were embedded inside of a larger monolithic application.
What are the disadvantages of using microservices?
There are some notable disadvantages to using microservices. If documentation and requirements are not well defined, it can be difficult to manage service dependencies and the overall application functionality when microservices are used. Security can also be a potential drawback with microservices. Each service is deployed independently and often has its own set of security controls. Consequently, it's not always clear who has access to which component and the potential for malicious activity increases as a result. Calls between microservices are often API based, and as a result are made via network transport, which could potentially expose sensitive information to attackers. Developers have to use care when choosing the platforms and frameworks they will use to deploy their microservices and the configurations that will be used to secure them.
What are the different deployment options for microservices?
There are a number of different deployment options for microservices. Typically, developers choose to deploy their microservice as a container-based service on a dedicated host, or they may choose to use a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider such as Amazon AWS. Using a PaaS provider offers a number of benefits including the ability to easily scale services and removing the need to maintain the host. However, developers need to consider the risks that are associated with relying on an external cloud service provider rather than deploying their own infrastructure.
What are the tools needed to develop and deploy microservices?
Developers need to have a number of development tools and environments in order to develop and deploy microservices. They need a development environment (IDE) for creating the service logic and writing the code, as well as a containerization workflow in order to package the microservice in a way that can be deployed to the host server. They also need a development environment for testing the service and verifying that it meets user requirements. Finally, developers may opt to use continuous integration tools such as Jenkins to execute automated tests to ensure that there are no errors in the source code.
How to protect microservices
Developers should use encrypted transport (HTTPS) to ensure that all data is securely transmitted between endpoints. Applications should also be run behind firewalls to prevent the services and data from being accessed by unauthorized users. Finally, logging mechanisms should be put in place so any suspicious activity can be tracked and investigated in the event that a breach occurs.
But that's just the first step. Beyond securing microservices themselves, it's also important to secure the communication between microservices. And that's where Noname Security comes in. APIs enable Microservices to talk to each other. APIs also play a critical role in the communication between Microservices and your backend services. Noname Security is the only API security vendor to provide end-to-end security from code to production. Whether you need to test your APIs for business logic vulnerabilities, inventory your entire API estate, or block API attacks in real-time, Noname Security has you covered. You can learn more about our platform here.