Considering Microservices? Don’t Underestimate These Challenges

Large enterprises often run their businesses using vast, monolithic software applications that run everything from sales data and supply chain information to customer details, manufacturing, and more. Sometimes, it’s just too much.

In fact, many enterprises today are facing serious challenges with their applications and IT infrastructures due to inadequate speed, difficult-to-control utilization spikes, and other scalability issues. As a result, many organizations are looking at how they can transform their applications and make them more resilient to modern workloads.

That’s where the idea of microservices comes in. Particularly relevant to large organizations, microservices is the concept of taking monolithic applications and breaking them down into more logical, smaller, and more manageable parts. While they might seem like a simple fix, microservices present many challenges that your IT team must plan for.

Ultimately, each of the following challenges stems from the increased infrastructure complexity – in other words, increased nodes in the environment – that microservices require.

1. Configuration needs. With more nodes come more configuration needs. This often necessitates changes in policies and workflows. If your company did manual configuration in the past, you will now certainly need to adopt DevOps – such as automated provisioning – to manage all the changes.

2. Security and testing. Microservices face the same challenges as other architectures when it comes to security, but these issues are multiplied over many more instances. For this reason, it is generally a good practice to use automated testing to ensure security settings are in compliance.

3. Logging and debugging. Monitoring all your logs can be challenging when using microservices. For example, if you have five steps running on a single server, they will be logged together. But if those five steps are running on separate servers, tracing through them can become quite tedious – since you have to trace a single transaction over at least five separate files. You could write your own custom code to track and correlate the requests, but many IT professionals find that to be too specialized and end up buying application performance monitoring tools to do it for them.

Additional nodes to configure and audit, security challenges, and logging and debugging fragmentation are all concerns that can arise in the course of managing microservices. Other potential challenges can include properly designing more complex architectures involving asynchronous requests and a persistent message bus, complicated caching requirements due to multiple distributed components, and the need for higher levels of design and planning to make it all work properly.

One of the main selling points of microservices is how the approach can increase the resiliency and scalability of your software. It is also easier to maintain and enhance microservices from a coding perspective. Unfortunately, these advantages come with complications. From an IT perspective, in fact, microservices are more difficult to provision, deploy, and manage.

All the previously mentioned issues make microservices more complicated to utilize. It’s likely, if you decide to move to microservices, you’re going to spend more time on planning and development. It is important to note, accept, and be aware of these issues as you review your enterprise’s options and consider the potential payoffs.

Despite the number of challenges they present, microservices can save enterprises a lot of time and headaches in the long run if they embrace and understand a comprehensive design, development, and deployment strategy. Cloud costs could also be drastically cheaper via a microservices strategy.

In the end, enterprises must carefully review and research their processes, needs, infrastructure, applications, cloud environments, IT expertise, and more to decide if microservices are the right fit for their operations.

If you find yourself stuck in all the possibilities, the team at Shadow-Soft is happy to discuss the options with you and help you develop a strategy that best fits your needs.