Using Kubernetes (also known as K8s) to manage microservices may be a good way to simplify the management of different business units within an organization. But is using Kubernetes in every situation actually beneficial?
This article compares microservices with a monolithic architecture and discusses the main advantages and challenges of using microservices. It also gives an overview of two Microsoft Azure solutions to create and manage microservices based on Kubernetes.
How a microservices architecture and a monolithic architecture differ
Any organization strives to grow and obtain the best results. Often, when the degree of complexity exceeds certain limits, adopting a solution that simplifies the management of the different business areas is key.
A microservices architecture splits the different features into separate services that work together. Each microservice can be coded in independent programming languages and its management will be assigned to a specific team.
Microservices are a software architecture approach which consists of several applications dedicated to different services, i.e. to each of the business operations. In this case, each microservice can focus on specific functions, such as: invoicing, client management, order management, or others.
When a business uses a monolithic architecture, all its features are deployed in a single process which works as a single unit – hence its name. The entire system is based on a single programming language.
In this type of architecture, there is no independence or autonomy, as everything is integrated in the same solution.
When a project is finished, unlike a monolithic solution, the microservice architecture enables the delivery of different business units separately to the client, which helps to streamline their deployment.
Weaknesses of a monolithic architecture
- Over time, mere app growth will make an application increasingly difficult to maintain;
- Whenever deployment is necessary, every single thing will need to be deployed;
- By adopting a new technology in an application that is already in use, the whole application will inevitably need to be changed.
Strengths of a monolithic application
- As the developer works with a single technology and a single language, services are easier to develop;
- The cost structure is lower because use of a single server is possible;
- Fewer latency issues, as there is no need to wait for communication among the different microservices.
As both have its advantages and disadvantages, the type of architecture most efficient for each case will depend on the degree of complexity and the size of the organization.
Benefits and challenges of using microservices
When a business wants to simplify the management of its business units by splitting them into microservices, this transition may pose a challenge. However, after this initial transition from a monolithic architecture to a microservices architecture, everyday management becomes much easier.
Here are some of its strengths:
- Changes and updates are simpler to implement and affect only one microservice, while the others remain unchanged;
- Each microservice can be scaled independently and whenever necessary;
- Debugging microservices is possible without affecting the overall solution.
But opting for a microservices architecture also has its challenges. The biggest disadvantage is when you need to monitor and identify the source of errors. As the root cause of a bug may be located in many microservices, it is harder to find where it originated.
The importance of containers in executing microservices
Containers, as the name suggests, work like physical containers i.e. they enable the isolation of one or multiple applications or microservices in their respective operating system.
This means that, at any time, a container can be moved into a different machine, or operating system, and still keep the application running. In other words, within each container, there is everything needed for a microservice or application to run.
Docker, container-specific technology
Docker is an open-source platform which facilitates the deployment of apps that are in containers. Its role is to create the containers and operate as a tool to support their management and deployment. In short, Docker enables you to create and interact with each container.
Kubernetes and microservices: how they relate
Working with Kubernetes, or K8s, through a microservice architecture enables you to scale each service independently, as each service can be deployed in a separate container.
When there are several microservices bundled in containers, they run within a cluster or machine. If there are different clusters to manage, we need to use something to scale, operate and deploy them. This can be done through Kubernetes.
Kubernetes acts as an orchestrator of the clusters and containers where the microservices are running. Whenever it detects that a microservice is failing, or needs to be scaled, it acts to correct and improve its operability.
3 Benefits of using Kubernetes to manage microservices
When managing all the microservices proves to be a complex task, using Kubernetes may be the answer to streamline every process and every development team in charge of each area. Here are 3 of its advantages:
1. Simplified resource management
In a very large infrastructure, using Kubernetes enables the global management of every microservice from a single control point. In this way, we can act in each area independently, without affecting the normal operation of other areas.
2. Automatic scalability
Using Kubernetes allows us to scale applications automatically so that they meet their requirements for use. This ensures that they are always available to users.
Portability is one of the greatest advantages of this solution. Using Kubernetes makes it possible to migrate applications and to deploy them in different cloud environments. All without having to change the code.
Azure technology: a Microsoft Cloud service to manage Kubernetes
Azure Containers Apps
This is a new Microsoft Azure system that makes deploying microservices easier. It enables the creation and isolation of independent business units through a microservices architecture. This solution allows you to manage them without needing any knowledge of Kubernetes.
Azure Container Apps provides the main features of Kubernetes for the average user. Being a very recent solution, it still has some limitations, but remains a good launch pad into the world of Kubernetes.
When your application in Azure Container Apps grows and becomes very complex, you can move it to Azure Kubernetes Service.
Azure Kubernetes Service
This Microsoft solution allows you to set up your own customized solution in the Cloud, but requires knowledge of k8s. Due to its high degree of complexity, the Azure Container App solution was developed for users who don’t have solid programming skills.
Azure Kubernetes Service is a complete tool that offers automated management and simplified scalability of your clusters. When it becomes harder for Azure Container Apps to meet the complexity requirements of an organization, you can use this option.
If you’re thinking of adopting a microservices architecture to streamline the different business units in your organization, reach out to Nexllence. Trust our experience and know-how to help you manage your business optimally.