This is because microservices allow development teams to split the product into individually deployable components, which are separated by clear, contract-based interfaces such as APIs or queues. This separation allows microservices to work independently from each other, giving teams the ability to move quickly, without accidentally impacting other parts of the product.
Armed with the power of microservices, businesses can move away from monolith architectures and towards a more autonomous and decentralized model. What’s more, microservices are ideal for agile teams looking to continuously iterate and test their product as they naturally promote the design by contract approach and improve testability.
So, it should come as no surprise that the microservices market is expected to grow by 22.5% between 2019-2025, with big players such as Amazon, Netflix, Uber, and HBO Go all using microservice architectures to their advantage.
In part one, we’ll discuss exactly how microservices enable scalability within digital architectures.
Microservices power scalable architectures
As any development team working on projects within a cloud environment will know, the need to scale systems up and down according to demand is always top priority. However, while monolith architectures can scale within the cloud, they often lack efficiency in terms of computing power used.
Within a monolith architecture, scaling is essentially an all-or-nothing endeavor. The application has to be scaled in full, including parts that might not see much traffic. This approach results in additional costs and slows down teams’ ability to react to dynamically changing traffic levels.
However, with microservices, load balancers can dynamically scale the parts of an application that are bearing the most load, while leaving others to use only the computing resources that they need. This helps teams keep expenditure lean and re-channel resources into other areas, improving user experience.
Streaming platforms stand to benefit from dynamic scaling capabilities
Over-the-top (OTT) video streaming services often have to scale rapidly if platform traffic peaks due to a popular new release. The components which need to scale to accommodate this additional traffic might include the streaming service, but the browsing service wouldn’t need to scale alongside it. The browsing functionality is not going to see the same uptick in use as the majority of visitors are there to watch one episode. Microservices allows OTT platforms to ramp up the power of only the components that are required to serve the surge in traffic.
In fact, HBO Go put this exact strategy into action in order to handle the influx of traffic during Season 7 of Game of Thrones. The streaming service turned to Kubernetes to help them overcome the technical challenges that came with streaming the series. HBO Go provisioned Kubernetes clusters on AWS, monitored them, and ran microservices in the clusters. This resulted in an increase in the productivity of the engineering team and better resource utilization.
However, it’s important to remember that it’s not only OTT platforms that stand to benefit from the scaling power of microservice architectures. Any medium to large-sized business - be it an ecommerce platform or a ride-hailing app - that might need to dynamically scale their systems up and down can benefit from a microservices architecture.
In part two of the blog, we’ll dive into further benefits of microservices, including the ways in which they boost flexibility and create resilience.