What are Microservices?

June 27, 2023

What are Microservices

Research by Rhea

It is undeniable that we are in the digital age where traditional monolithic architectures are being challenged by the need for agility, scalability, and quicker time-to-market.

Enter Microservices, one of the common types of software application architecture.

Microservices are an architectural style that develops a single application as a set of small services. Each service runs in its own process. The services communicate with clients, and often each other, using lightweight protocols, often over messaging or HTTP.

Microservices Architecture Use Cases

Did you know that 87% of IT executives and tech specialists believe the efforts and costs of adopting microservices are worth it? That’s according to a survey by IBM Market Development & Insights. The study shows how microservices provide businesses with a competitive edge, making it easier to deliver services and products faster.

So, when is the best time to use microservices? It depends on your product and the complexity of its architecture.

You have several independent applications that can run on their own. You can create them using different programming languages and even different platforms. You can structure big and complicated applications with simpler and independent programs that execute by themselves.

Generally, when an application needs to be divided into components that interact with each other through APIs, a microservice architecture might be a suitable option.

Here are some of the most common use cases for microservices architectures:

Modernizing and Refactoring Legacy Apps

If businesses want to stay future-ready and adaptable to new technologies, they need to move away from older legacy platforms. One way to do that is to start using microservices. That way, you can build a modern IT infrastructure that supports full-stack development technologies.

Big Data Applications

Event-driven architecture (EDA) and microservices are ideal for cloud-based systems, offering scalability and extensibility. Amazon optimized its pipeline and rebuilt a solid application framework with a service-oriented architecture, effectively managing massive data processing.

Apps that Process Real-Time Data

Organizations that handle large amounts of unstructured data, like Twitter, require scalability and flexibility for success. Microservices help identify obstacles and speed up deployments. Twitter’s transition from a web app to Scala and Java-based microservices enabled asynchronous communication via publish-subscribe messaging. This enables real-time data analysis and intelligent outputs for streaming systems.

Development and Operations Model

DevOps and microservices produce outstanding results. A microservice architecture standardizes tools for both development and operations to increase the efficiency of the DevOps team. A standardized language and process for discussing project needs, task dependencies, and challenges allow Operations and Developers to work together to adjust build configurations or scripts.

These are the different services when you can maximize the benefits of microservices. As you can see, microservices offer scalability and agility to businesses in different use cases. With the right strategy and implementation, your organization can benefit from the features of microservices architecture.

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5 Microservices Benefits for Your Business

As a business owner, you may be wondering if microservices applications are right for your business. The short answer is that it depends on the size of your applications and the complexity of its architecture.

But if you feel like microservices might be a good fit, here are five benefits of a microservices architecture that have been helping many businesses succeed:

1. Less development effort

Breaking an application into smaller autonomous fragments is easier to build and maintain. So, smaller development teams can work in parallel on different components to update existing functionalities.

Each service can be developed, deployed, and managed independently and can use different programming languages, technology, and software environments. The reduced codebase of each modular element makes releasing, scaling, deploying, and testing services more manageable.

2. Improved scalability

Undoubtedly, one of the most significant benefits of microservices architecture is its unparalleled scalability and capacity to grow. The autonomous services can be scaled individually based on the processing power and load requirements without affecting other services or raising the cost of scalability.

Microservices launch individual services independently, developed in different languages or technologies. Fortunately, each technology stack is compatible, allowing your development and operations teams to choose any of the most efficient tech stacks without fearing if they will work well together.

3. Independent deployment

The microservices ecosystem is more manageable than ever before, thanks to the increased autonomy of its various components. In traditional waterfall development, tasks occur sequentially, with no room for out-of-turn changes. Microservices enable an agile approach, with independent updates to each microservice.

Each service can be updated and deployed independently of other services, and modern DevOps tools and best practices for CI/CD allow for the process to be adjusted according to each team’s changing needs. So, development teams can work on one microservice, fix errors, and then redeploy it without redeploying the entire application.

4. Improved fault isolation

When software fails, quick identification and damage control are crucial. With monolithic architecture, one error can cause widespread disruption and costly downtime.

With microservices, isolating the problem-causing component is easy since the entire application is divided into standalone, fully functional software units. If errors occur, other non-related units will still continue to function.

However, care must still be taken when building microservices architecture to avoid cascading failures (e.g., using fault-tolerant techniques, circuit breakers, etc.).

5. Continuous integration with various tech stacks

You can create microservices using any programming language you like and even connect microservices made with different languages together.

With microservices, developers have the freedom to pick the tech stack best suited for one particular microservice and its functions. Instead of opting for one standardized tech stack encompassing all of an application’s functions, they have complete control over their options.

This encourages faster iterations, quicker releases, and individual teams embracing Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) to get products to market faster.

If you like the microservices advantages discussed above, you should consider adopting microservices architecture for your business. But make sure to have a proper DevOps strategy in place and the right tools and processes to ensure successful implementation.

developing microservices requires expertise quote

3 Disadvantages of Microservices

Similar to all architectures you are all familiar with, microservices aren’t at all perfect, and they have their drawbacks.

Below are a few of the most commonly reported issues with microservices:

1. Increased complexity

As discussed, since there is a larger number of individual components in a microservices architecture, it makes the entire system more complex. This can make debugging difficult and requires additional expertise and resources to manage.

2. Shortage of experts

When a company lacks relevant experience, it can be a real challenge that may stall the project. Developing a microservices environment requires expertise in software architecture, infrastructure maintenance (DevOps automation, continuous integration, continuous delivery, etc.), and agile development. Unfortunately, many companies don’t have that from the get-go.

3. Uncertain costs and project timeline

Determining how to break down a system into modules, establish workflows, and develop data strategies and security can be problematic for businesses. Additionally, estimating costs and timelines for migrating to microservices may be uncertain. To start with microservices, organizations need secure hosting and a development team capable of managing these services.

Monolithic vs. Microservices Architecture

Side-by-side microservices architecture advantages over monolithic architecture are clear. Choosing the right architecture for a project depends on its size, complexity, and goals.

What is monolithic architecture?

It is a traditional method of software development in which all of a project’s functionalities are contained in a single codebase.

Monolithic applications may be suitable for some smaller projects that do not require scalability or feature-heavy user interfaces. However, once the application starts to grow, extra development and deployment efforts are necessary.

Difference between a microservices architecture and monolithic architecture

A microservice architecture, on the other hand, is an approach that divides large-scale applications into smaller interconnected services. Each service handles a specific functionality in the overall application’s architecture.

Microservices can be used in large distributed systems that need to scale rapidly along with increased user engagement and functionality.

Choosing between these architectures depends on your project. Here are the considerations you should think about:

  • requirements
  • scale
  • budget
  • timeline

For example, if a project handles only basic functions or deals with limited data sets and doesn’t require scaling up operations, then develop it as a monolithic application.

On the other hand, if you need an application that can handle large data sets, provide various features, and easily scale up to accommodate more user requests, then microservices architecture is a better choice.

Monolithic architecture Microservice architecture
DeploymentDeploy the entire system once, then make adjustments as needed.It is possible to deploy and rollback each microservice separately.
MaintenanceNET, JAVA, PHP, or Ruby, Python/Django skills are neededDevOps, Docker, Kubernetes, Lambda, etc skills are needed
ReliabilityA single failure might bring the entire system down.A failure of one service has no effect on the availability of other services.
AgilityNew technologies and programming languages are impossible to implement.Possibility of using multiple languages and technology for varied business requirements
DevelopmentTeams are involved in the development process at the same time.Different teams can work on different aspects of the solution.
UpdatesDue to intrinsic dependencies within the architecture and other developers working at the same time, the updates may take some time.Because of the autonomous nature of the services, quick updates are possible due to the minimalistic design of the modules.
TestingPossibility of end-to-end testingEach component needs to be tested separately.
SecurityAt the system level, secure data processing and transfer is made easier.The use of an API gateway to communicate between services creates security concerns.
ScalabilityLow, only verticalHigh

5 Best Practices for Building Microservices

Don’t be discouraged by the cons of microservices-based applications. These can always be overcome with careful planning and execution!

Below are the best practices to ensure a successful microservices development project:

1. Embrace the single responsibility principle

A successful microservices-based application requires adhering to the single responsibility principle. Keeping microservices small, with one dedicated functionality, reduces negative impact and simplifies maintenance. Each microservice should have a single, well-defined responsibility and only communicate with other microservices to accomplish tasks.

2. Separate data storage

The decentralized Data Management principle mandates that each Microservice should manage its own data. Sharing databases with other Microservices should be avoided as it violates the principle, making troubleshooting difficult and resulting in data inconsistency. Separation of data increases flexibility, enabling microservices to manage different types of data efficiently.

3. Use an API Gateway

An API gateway acts as a proxy server, serving as a single entry point for clients to access multiple services. By reducing network traffic, an API gateway can simplify your architecture and improve performance. Additionally, it can offer added features, such as authentication, rate-limiting, and monitoring.

4. Employ version control for services

Version control is essential for any software development project, but it’s vital when working with microservices. That’s because each service is a separate codebase that needs independent management. You should use a version control system such as Git to track changes and ensure that each service can be deployed separately.

5. Continuous Integration and Delivery implementation

Continuous integration (CI) merges code changes frequently to maintain a working version of the codebase, while continuous delivery (CD) automates deployments for quick and easy code changes in production. In a microservices architecture, CI/CD swiftly finds and fixes bugs in multiple codebases.


Despite its name, the Micro-services are not small in terms of complexity. It’s a modern, highly specialized software development method that requires careful planning, implementation, and monitoring.

It has several advantages over traditional monolithic architecture for large applications. Many large companies, such as Netflix and Amazon, have proven this. It can scale up individual services or functionalities separately without scaling the entire application.

What’s more, each service can be in different programming languages, databases, or even platforms. It benefits to both developers and businesses because it saves time for application development, and independent deployment for each service is very easy.

Need Deploying Microservices?

The many advantages of microservices architecture make it an attractive option for businesses. However, the development process is no small feat. It requires the right technology stack, development team, hosting solutions, and more.

Our team at StarTechUP is experienced in microservices architecture and can help businesses transition. We understand the complexities of breaking down a system into modules, establishing workflows, and developing data strategies and security measures. Plus, we provide accurate cost estimates that account for time-to-market deadlines.

To learn more about our services and how we can help you implement microservices, get in touch with us today. Our team is ready to assist you with your project!

About the author: Andrea Jacinto - Content Writer

A content writer with a strong SEO background, Andrea has been working with digital marketers from different fields to create optimized articles which are informative, digestible, and fun to read. Now, she's writing for StarTechUP to deliver the latest developments in tech to readers around the world. View on Linkedin