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Microservice Architecture: The Pattern in The Grand Design

March 11, 2022
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Web developers run into a myriad of challenges every day. Today’s market often suffers from a lack of available solutions too, so it’s logical that people come to rely on quick fixes. Microservice architecture, for instance, has become a much sought after technique – structuring a series of autonomous services around a business domain is a great way to build an app. 

 This brings along a bunch of new problems. Sometimes, relying on microservices becomes a pitfall as a result of not understanding the microservice architecture itself.

 Within the context of software and web development, it makes sense to search for this quick fix: Many developers get the unenviable task of designing an app that supports desktop and mobile browsers, while also exposing an API to be used by 3rd parties, while also integrating itself with other apps through web services. 

Also, teams of developers often rely on new members that need to quickly understand the technology in use, and apps need constant deployment in order to maximize testing and scalability.  A set of interconnected services that synchronize perfectly with each other can simplify a lot of tasks, after all. This is why, instead of ditching microservices, the perfect solution would be to understand the architecture itself before moving on. 

A Matter of Principle

Microservices depend on a variety of principles – these are the core tenets on which the microservice architecture has been built. Additionally, this style is composed by a series of design patterns that make up the whole. Web developers might benefit not only from understanding these principles and patterns, but the issues that result from their implementation. 

The principles themselves are the following:

  1. Independent & Autonomous Services
  2. Decentralized Governance
  3. Scalability
  4. Availability
  5. Resilient Services
  6. Isolation From Failures
  7. Continuous Delivery From DevOps Integration
  8. Real Time-Load Balancing
  9. Continuous Monitoring

Patterns In Place

A brief overview of design patterns currently implemented might help with common problems, given that they’ve been created for the sole purpose of overcoming the inherent limitations of microservice architecture. Every structure will, with enough time, prove its inadequacy to handle a challenge, creating a stress point for those involved. Fortunately, these design patterns can alleviate most of the issues plaguing web developers who rely on microservices.

Aggregator Pattern

An aggregator pattern refers to a basic website that collects data in order to display it. This type of pattern serves as an excellent way to improve scalability functions by amassing data from various microservices – by improving the aggregator, developers can work simultaneously on all their various systems. 

API Gateway Design Pattern

Multiple autonomous services mean multiple headaches. For example, requesting information from all of them can be problematic, as can be handling multiple protocols and requests at the same time. Mixing that with the fact that multiple consumers will require multiple solutions, and that means that developers will often have their hands full when dealing with this situation.

A solution would be to implement an API Gateway – that is, to create a single point of entry for any microservice call. This proxy service doesn’t work as a one-size-fits-all solution, instead it sends the requested data to each microservice before relaying and aggregating each solution back to the consumer. 

Chain Of Responsibility Pattern

Using a synchronized http request, it creates a “chain” between various services. In this schematic, the first service will receive the data, generate a response to be sent to the second service, and continue on until a consolidated response is generated. 

Asynchronous Messaging Pattern

Quite the opposite from the above, this pattern helps each service to communicate with each other, without having to engage in a sequence first. This is especially useful if one wants to avoid long periods of waiting time, which is better in the long run for the consumer. 

Database Pattern

A shared database means that every autonomous system has its own database, which means that the API for microservice will access each one. This is useful for avoiding issues like data duplication, the differing storage requirements autonomous systems are bound to have, and any resulting inconsistencies. 

External Configuration Patterns

Code modification becomes an issue when it comes to contacting other services. Most of the time, services need to call or request information from other services, which is a complex task. This is especially true when it comes to accessing data with different configuration properties. 

There’s a couple solutions to this problem, the most obvious being to set up an external configuration: credentials and endpoint URLs must be externalized in order to avoid any rebuilding or re-deployment of the service every time a communication attempt is made. 

Circuit Breaker Pattern

Just like the above problem, sometimes when a service calls another service, the latter one will be down. This can be a quick drain on resources, as the request for data will keep going towards the downed service, indifferent to the fact that it simply does not work at the moment. However, invoking a remote service via a proxy can solve this quite easily; when a number of failed attempts is reached, the proxy will shut down any attempts immediately until the service resumes normal operations. 

Decomposition Design Pattern

Decomposing services by business capability or by subdomain helps break down the application into a logical ensemble that functions correctly. For example, each subdomain has an intended model, and the scope of that model is known as the bounded context – each microservice is then developed around that bounded context. 

Understanding The Whole

This is just a peek into the various patterns that web developers can most likely implement into their day to day operations. Understanding these concepts is key to avoiding any pitfalls brought about by perfunctory practices. 

We at Teravision have over 18 years of experience handling technologies like this, helping web developers reach their desired goals on time without compromising quality levels. If you’re interested in learning more, give us a call. 


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