There is a paradigm shift in the way enterprise networks are constructed now. Traditionally, Wide Area Networks (WANs) were built to monolithic application stacks that were put in a central location with a more or less fixed path from the client to access resources. This is no longer the case.
Business-critical applications are no longer centrally located. Evolving business needs have brought about fundamental changes in the way enterprise networks are designed. Now enterprise networks look for a solution that integrates the Wide Area Networks (WAN), cloud, and security into a single architecture. It is because of this evolution that a growing number of enterprises are now leveraging Software-Defined – Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology to benefit from the cloud services to increase efficiency and bring down the cost of network management.
The growing adoption of SD-WAN means that the enterprises are opting for microservices-based architectures since it is a perfect accompaniment to SD-WAN.
Monolithic Vs Microservices
It is easier to understand microservices when compared with a legacy monolithic architecture. Monolithic architecture is easier to develop, test, and deploy. A monolithic application is built as a single unit. At the same time, the monolithic architecture’s simplicity has its limitations. As the name suggests, monolithic architecture is too large and complex to understand fully and to make changes.
The monolithic type of architecture is not equipped to handle the devices of the cloud era. Further, one must redeploy the entire application on every update. So it is impossible to scale a specific function or a service. You will need to scale the entire application, which leads to a significant increase in the cost. This also leads to complexity as every time the application is updated, it opens up the system to the possibility of a new bug.
A significant problem associated with monolithic applications is reliability. A bug in one module can potentially bring down the entire process. This type of architecture also makes it tough to adopt new technologies. Monolithic kind of architecture is more time consuming, is less adaptable, and comes with high maintenance cost. All these factors lead to an increase in technical debt.
On the other hand, the critical advantage of microservice architecture is that it offers each component separately. It is this feature that makes it easier to maintain and manage the process. This also helps in scaling the operations faster and allows replicating the required microservice without having to replicate the entire application.
There is then little doubt that when deployed properly, a microservice-based architecture brings significant value to the business. This value can be visible in both technical debt being avoided and a considerable increase in operational performance. A microservice-based architecture helps in adding agility, efficiency, and resiliency way of doing things. All this helps in bringing down downtime, which further helps to increase revenue and in delivering customer delight.
Organizations that want to maximize productivity, add agility to the processes, and enhance customer experience would do well to go with microservice-based architecture.
Some of the prominent businesses that use microservices include Netflix, eBay, Twitter, and PayPal, among others. Though these are examples of large companies, microservices are used by companies of all sizes.
Microservices and containers
A key concept which helps in increasing the efficiency of microservices is containers. As mentioned earlier, each service runs separately from the others in Microservices. Containerization makes this possible. It provides each microservice with its own separated workload environment. So basically, microservices written in any language can be quickly deployed in containers on any operating system to any infrastructure. It can also be implemented on a public or private cloud.
In simple terms, a container is a standard software unit that includes both code and dependencies, which ensures that the service can run smoothly from one computing environment to another. Interlinked with the container is the concept of Docker.
Essentially, Docker is a container platform that includes everything required, including code, system tools, system libraries, and settings, to successfully run an application. Docker helps running applications or services in an isolated but efficient manner. A docker is required to not only deploy applications in production but also to ensure that everything works consistently and reliably in all the environments.
Kubernetes is an open-source platform to manage and orchestrate containers. It helps in automating the processes by deploying, scaling, and managing containerized applications. Kubernetes were created initially for cloud-native or distributed applications. It helps in managing container instances across servers, which makes it ideal for managing complex and distributed systems. The main features of Kubernetes include auto repair, automatic rollouts and rollbacks, auto-scaling, service delivery, and load balancing and storage orchestration.
The growing adoption of cloud has led the movement towards containers and microservices since they enable operating systems and servers to be virtualized so that they can host distributed applications. Containerization and microservices also enable DevOps-type building of software that benefits from the cloud architecture. Microservices are also crucial to scale applications in both on-premises and off-premises cloud scenarios. This approach allows for rapid service migration between the public and private clouds.
Digital transformation is imperative for business growth, and the cloud is central to this change. SD-WAN has emerged as a disruptor force to drive the network to support cloud applications and services. The microservices-based architecture powers a more efficient and functional SD-WAN.