A Word About Microservice Architectures and SOA by Luis Augusto Weir

 

clip_image002In this article I will talk about my first conclusions and my point of view regarding Microservice Architectures. As there is still quite a lot of confusion and debate out there on this topic, I will try to describe with my own words what Microservice Architecture is, how does it differ from typical Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) and what design principles and practices governs it.
What is a Microservice Architecture?
In the article http://martinfowler.com/articles/microservices.html written by Fowler and Lewis, Microservice Architecture is described as following::

Microservice architectural style is an approach to developing a single application as a suite of small services, each running in its own process and communicating with lightweight mechanisms, often an HTTP resource API. These services are built around business capabilities and independently deployable by fully automated deployment machinery. There is a bare minimum of centralized management of these services, which may be written in different programming languages and use different data storage technologies

The article overall it’s a fantastic piece of work (really suggest you read it). The way Microservice Architectures it’s defined opens up a few pandora boxes (in a good way I think) which I will talk about subsequently.
First of all, if you are familiar with SOA and it’s guiding principles this will seem very familiar (read for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service-oriented_architecture or http://www.soa-manifesto.org/). Yet, if you noticed the highlighted texts, it’s not quite the same as what we are used to in traditional SOA. The truth is, wether we accept it or not, SOA architectures evolved around the adoption of certain design patterns (such as Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), canonical schemas, centralised contracts, -see http://www.soapatterns.org/ for more) and the use of SOA specific infrastructures to build and deploy services and APIs became the approach of choice (note that the service vs API topic it’s not discussed in this post. For my view on this read http://www.soa4u.co.uk/2013/09/restful-is-also-soa.html).
From my perspective, I would define Microservice Architecture’s as both 1) a design pattern and 2) a discipline for delivering services and APIs. To elaborate further based on my conclusions I can highlight the following guiding principles:

  • Delivering business focused and lightweight services/APIs that are truly design, built, deployed and executed independently of each other (meaning that in terms of infrastructure dependencies, they share very little)
  • Strong focus on people collaboration and communication as the main mechanism in the adoption of best practices and standards rather than common set of strict guidelines and standards that constraint the way services are define, built, deployed and maintained
  • DevOps (config management, deployment automation, CI, Continuous Delivery) as a fundamental building block rather than a value add
  • Scalability should be easy as services are very lightweight and stateless (The same service can run in many servers and DevOps makes the deployment process automatic and easy)
  • Doesn’t encourages the use of monoliths to deploy services (a monolith is for example an application server or an ESB). Services should run almost as demons

One can argue that SOA architectures can also satisfy the listed requirements as SOA it’s really an architecture paradigm that can be realised in different ways. I personally think this myself and I would regard Microservice Architecture as a SOA design pattern, however as per my previous point, comparing it with traditional SOA architecture’s there is a difference.

Microservices vs SOA Read the complete article here.

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About Jürgen Kress
As a middleware expert Jürgen works at Oracle EMEA Alliances and Channels, responsible for Oracle’s EMEA Fusion Middleware partner business. He is the founder of the Oracle SOA & BPM and the WebLogic Partner Communities and the global Oracle Partner Advisory Councils. With more than 5000 members from all over the world the Middleware Partner Community is the most successful and active community at Oracle. Jürgen manages the community with monthly newsletters, webcasts and conferences. He hosts his annual Fusion Middleware Partner Community Forums and the Fusion Middleware Summer Camps, where more than 200 partners get product updates, roadmap insights and hands-on trainings. Supplemented by many web 2.0 tools like twitter, discussion forums, online communities, blogs and wikis. For the SOA & Cloud Symposium by Thomas Erl, Jürgen is a member of the steering board. He is also a frequent speaker at conferences like the SOA & BPM Integration Days, JAX, UKOUG, OUGN, or OOP.

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