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When the Cracks Begin to Show On Designing Microservices by Lucas Jellema

Juergen Kress
PaaS & Middleware Partner Adoption

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No one has achieved success with microservices just by talking about them. Unfortunately, many organizations spend a lot of time on exactly that, debating how to approach microservices. It is as though there is one perfect approach to designing and working with microservices that needs only be uncovered. In actual fact, there is no such definitive solution; even if there were, it would hold true only until changes in the organization, business objectives, technology frameworks and regulations made adjustments necessary.

It is tempting—just as it was a decade ago with SOA Web Services—to spend a lot of time and energy on identifying microservices. Creating an exhaustive overview of all microservices, defining the exact scope and interface of each, is not feasible and is not a smart investment of time. It would be a lot of work, and that work would never be complete. The definition of microservices is not an end in itself and giving in to this temptation represents a serious risk. Microservices are an instrument for achieving sustained business agility in a changing world of functional and non-functional requirements and evolving technical, political, economic, and legal parameters. Microservices cannot be defined once and for all, and they should not have to be. As architects and developers we are agile and flexible. We embrace change in all aspects of our IT organizations.

Here’s another organizational risk familiar from the SOA era: starting with an exclusive focus on the technology for implementing microservices and on the microservices platform, the underlying platform for eventually running the microservices (that do not even exist yet and for which no requirements are yet known). It is all too easy to spend time on this seemingly useful exercise and, after months of investigation and selection and architecting, to end up with an impractical, oversized and over-engineered platform – and no running microservices. Such discussions slow down the process of microservices adoption, obstruct the view of the essential challenges, and set up an organization for disappointing results (if not outright frustration).

A third category of risk is to just start building microservices without a clear business need for or objective with a microservices architecture or, even worse, without really understanding what a microservices architecture entails from an organizational perspective. The operative keyword being overlooked: DevOps.

This article provides some insights and guidelines that can help propel teams of architects beyond discussions and into action. Perhaps it can also help establish some architecture guidelines, such as the importance of domain design.

What do we want to achieve with microservices?

When discussing microservices, we must remember what our objectives are. Microservices are not the objective; they are merely the means. Microservices are meant to help us with those objectives and if they do not do so, we neither need nor want them. Read the complete article here.

 

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