Microservices is a software architecture approach where complex applications are broken down into smaller, independent services that can communicate with each other through APIs. Each service performs a specific function and can be developed, deployed, and scaled independently of other services in the application.
On paper, microservices sound like a strong choice; scalable, resilient and modular in comparison to monolithic software. Microservices can also help organisations adopt a more agile approach to software development, where small, cross-functional teams can work independently on different services, using different technologies and programming languages.
But, microservices also bring challenges, like the need for robust service discovery, efficient communication between services, and managing the complexity of the overall system.
After exploring trending topics within our network, the topic of microservices continued to come up time and time again, as many businesses in Manchester and the North West are on a journey to adopt microservices within their architecture. We invited AppLearn, Northcoders & Globant to share their experiences and learning curves when navigating the world of microservices and filled a room full of interested techies to hear everything they had to say, with event-driven microservices becoming the clear theme for the evening.
First up were Northcoders, a Manchester-based coding school that trains individuals to become Software Developers across 13-week intensive bootcamps. Presenting for Northcoders was Junior Software Engineer Cat Hoang & Head of Data Engineering, Joe Mulvey.
Cat and Joe took us through the Northcoders Data Manifesto, a set of principles for students to bear in mind when building data-intensive applications.
The Data Manifesto was made after observing a number of anti-patterns from the real-world that the Northcoders team were trying to prevent. Such as…
🐘 The White Elephant: Expensive projects that take a long time to build, using amazing tech, but doesn’t perform any function that the business actually needs. 👎
🏞 The Swamp: Takes years to build, holds all the company data. Parts of it are absolutely essential, but it’s too complicated and not well documented. 👎
♣️ The House of Cards / Project Jenga: An application that works and delivers what’s needed brilliantly… until something needs to be fixed or adapted. It’s brittle and susceptible to failure, which causes a ripple of downstream problems throughout the application.
So how can microservices and the Data Manifesto prevent these anti-patterns from occurring?
“Microservices give our students really crucial hands-on experience of creating and deploying data applications.” - Cat
“The idea of microservices has had a large influence on our ideas and how we teach.” – Joe
📹 Watch the full talk here.
Next up to present was AppLearn, and joining us was Lead Software Engineer, Thara Leighton and Software Architect, Simon Stevens. AppLearn is a digital adoption platform that helps enterprises improve data quality and productivity in key systems, including ERPs and CRMs. The platform boasts over 5 million users across 172 countries and in 34 languages.
Simon & Thara took us through a recent feature implementation that they had worked together to build. The project involved aggregating resources separated across microservices. As always, there were several requirements for the project which included:
To achieve this, they embedded event bridges to connect source and target applications and step functions to create quick workflows, which were easily integrated into AWS.
Aggregating data using event bridges can provide several benefits, including...
📲Better user experience
🧐 Easier data analysis and access from various systems
🌎 Improved collaboration across teams
⏰ Real-time data processing
📈 Better scalability to handle larger volumes of data, in turn reducing the threat of data overload and improving reliability
You can watch exactly how they did it by recapping on the full talk here.
📹 Watch the full talk.
To round off the evening we invited Globant onto the stage. Founded in 2003, Globant are an IT and Software Development company that deliver profound transformations for companies, and career opportunities for IT professionals across 18 countries. Leveraging the latest technologies in the digital and cognitive space, they execute solutions from ideas to reality. From Globant was Software Architect, Matías Salerno. Mati is an experienced Software Engineer specialising in scalable platforms, and host of YouTube channel @ProgrammingwithMati.
Mati took us through how to use event-driven architecture to improve microservice communications.
Microservices usually becomes the best course of action when independent software or the “monolith” becomes too simplified for developing companies wanting to scale their services, and so migration over to microservices occurs. Once migrated over, the challenge of managing the complexities and constant upgrades becomes very difficult; especially when you want to understand dependencies between the services and managing upgrades.
So what does the average microservices communication look like?
We know there are services speaking to each other, but there’s often no logical flow and it can be difficult to determine where the data originates from. You can end up finding yourself in a microservices entanglement, going from this, to this...
So how can you improve the communication between microservices without overcomplicating the process? One solution outlined by Mati is to introduce event-driven microservices.
So is event-driven architecture a silver bullet? The short answer from Mati…
Watch back Mati’s full talk for a super clear breakdown of event-driven architecture as well as some of the trade-offs you might have to consider throughout the process of adopting microservices.
To hear more about how to scale your software and simplify your solutions, check out some similar lessons from Tractable, Gousto & Cervest from their journeys:
A huge thank you to all our guest speakers Cat, Joe, Simon, Thara & Mati for your presentations and if you missed the event or would like to catch up on the talks, we’ve shared the highlights from the evening.