Microservices And DevOps – How To Make the Combination Work

As technology evolves at a lightning-fast pace, fulfilling the ever-increasing consumer demands while keeping up with the latest trends is not easy. For that reason, many organizations have started abandoning monolith development methods and adopting Agile and DevOps philosophies to improve software development and delivery. 

At the same time, they are also looking to drive continuous efforts toward integrating these development philosophies with new-age architectural approaches to enable rapid adaptation to changing requirements. 

One such approach is the microservices-based architecture that allows applications to be built as loosely coupled services. As per Statista, more than 75% of the organizations (with 1000+ employees) use microservices, and another 23% plan to use them in the near future.

Read on as we discuss the individual and combined benefits of microservices and DevOps and how you can make the most of this integration. 

The Benefits of Microservices

Offering an alternative approach to traditional application development where software was developed as a monolith, microservices break any application into different loosely coupled and distinct services, streamlining the development of individual components. By empowering teams to develop software in small portions, the microservices architecture:

  •     Improves the ability of teams to prevent issues or loopholes in one service from spreading onto others via robust fault isolation.
  •     Allows teams to easily, efficiently, and independently develop new features and make changes, thus ensuring massive scalability.
  •     Enables the independent deployment of different features or components – without impacting the availability or functionality of other components.

The Benefits of DevOps

Fueling a paradigm shift in the way organizations approach software development, DevOps breaks down traditional silos and makes the SDLC a more collaborative process. Through the efforts of cross-disciplined team members who bring their unique talents to the development process, DevOps ensures 

  •     Every feature or change is quickly, easily, and efficiently integrated into the underlying code via continuous integration.
  •     Improves the quality and timeliness of software delivery and reduces the chances and impact of human error through automated testing.
  •     Reduces code conflict and improves visibility into development efforts while making it easy for teams to manage different versions of the source code via robust version control.

Combined Benefits 

While microservices and DevOps both offer an array of benefits to software development teams, it’s their combined adoption that enables organizations to drive maximum value. Analysts project that by 2023, the microservices and DevOps ecosystem will amount to roughly $10 billion in revenue. That said, let’s straighten out the benefits such an ecosystem promises: 

  • Better flexibility: Taking a microservices-based approach is an excellent way for DevOps teams to address issues effectively. For instance, when teams want to implement a new feature, they can develop and deploy it separately, without affecting the development and delivery of other services. Such a decoupled approach not only simplifies the development and testing process but also allows teams to modify services independently.
  • Reduced complexity: The containerized approach to DevOps delivery helps in seamlessly extending existing code, without additional hassles. Since each service is packaged as a separate container image, teams can reduce development complexity while also streamlining the continuous delivery pipeline.
  • Increased reusability: Since microservices allow different components and services to act as fully independent entities, teams can bundle all the dependencies and requirements within the container. This ensures services are system-agnostic and allows teams to reuse them repeatedly – across different systems and environments. 
  • Higher availability: Using DevOps and microservices together also equips development teams to achieve high availability. By clubbing various deployment strategies like blue-green deployment, canary deployment, A/B Test deployment, and more, teams stand a better chance of ensuring their product is always available and meets evolving user requirements and expectations. 
  • Higher reliability: Since the impact of failure in a microservices-based architecture is limited to the consumers of that microservice, using a combination of DevOps and microservices paves the way for higher reliability. The concept of containerization also encourages reliable deployment and environment promotions.

Tips and Best Practices

Given the individual (and combined) benefits of DevOps and microservices, here are some tips and best practices to keep in mind to make the combination work. 

  • Set up CI/CD for each component: The concept of DevOps is built on the foundation of CI/CD, which makes integrating (and deploying) new features and changes straightforward. Since microservices break code into several smaller chunks, setting up CI/CD for each component or service is critical for faster delivery.
  • Change the approach to testing: Just like CI/CD has to be set up for each component, it is also important for DevOps teams to test each component in isolation and with other components. Embracing automation testing is a great way to do this quickly and efficiently, thus ensuring automation of most testing, packaging, and deployment tasks for each service. Since each service resides in an independent DevOps pipeline, any issues in one service will not affect the other services, causing feedback loops to become much shorter and resolving bugs much easier. 
  • Revamp the team structure: DevOps brings different siloed teams to work together to achieve common development goals. But while embracing microservices, it is important for them to transform into a set of vertical cross-functional teams. By breaking down silos between developers, testers, and operations staff across experience and skillsets, organizations must realize increased flexibility and autonomy for teams.
  • Use service mesh: Naturally, using different languages and deployment methods to develop thousands of components tends to increase complexity. Therefore, leveraging a service mesh that can enable managed, observable, and secure communication between individual services is highly plausible. Since a mesh will make use of consistent tools to factor out all common concerns of running a service, teams can focus on creating and managing cutting-edge applications instead of worrying about implementing measures to address the different challenges for every service.
  • Take a security-first approach: Because microservices involve individual and independent deployments, DevOps teams need to take a security-first approach to ensure each service or component that is being developed meets the required security requirements. Embedding security early on, shifting it left, and embracing automation is critical to getting early feedback on security loopholes while empowering teams to constantly monitor the overall security of individual components as well as the entire application. 

In a Nutshell

The increasingly popular microservices architecture is a perfect match for DevOps. The services-based approach allows teams to break down an application into smaller services and tackle them as separate entities—ultimately simplifying the development and delivery of complex applications and fulfilling every user demand. 

Follow these tips to turbo-charge your microservices-DevOps journey!