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What you need to know about microservices

Brandon Butler | Nov. 10, 2016
New application development trends like microservices are sweeping into popularity, bringing new opportunities and challenges with them

For Pick and HBC, the transition to microservices has been successful, but it’s a slow process. For the foreseeable future, Pick plans to manage a combination of applications built using containers and microservices and other systems, such as certain databases and other legacy platforms, that will take longer to transition. “Now that the PDP has been successful, we’re building everything out to microservices,” he says. “But that takes time.”

It’s important to consider which functions of an application will be broken down into components. Ahmar Abbas, vice president of global services at consultancy DISYS says it’s helpful to have the various microservices components operate relatively independently of one another. Components that need to share data or transfer data can actually slow down an app made in a microservices style.

“If inter-component communication is longer than the actual processing time of the components, then your app will lose a lot of efficiency,” he says. It’s best to design the components of the system so that no single component is completely reliant on the other to run. This will help improve efficiency and allow each function to scale up and down independently.

Berkholz says that’s one reason why microservices are typically used to build out new applications or new components of a service. “There can be a very high cost of transitioning existing apps,” he says. “It can be a lot easier to buy into the benefits when you don’t have a switching cost.”


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