Enterprises are moving from monolithic applications to distributed microservice architectures for flexible architectural choices, improved scale and availability, faster release cadence, and easier maintenance. Despite these benefits, this transformation poses serious challenges.

Microservices are the next evolution in application architecture. A microservices architecture offers the following benefits:

  • Choice of technology. In microservices architectures, you can develop services using different programming languages and tools. Teams can choose the most appropriate technology.

  • Independent workflow and full autonomy. Microservices give your team control over the full stack they require to deliver a feature. This reduces the required amount of coordination with other teams.

  • Independent scalability. You can scale each service according to its workload demands and performance needs.

  • Easy upgrades and rollback. With small, independent services, you can upgrade only the services that require the update. You also have the option of performing a rolling upgrade for one service at a time and/or for one team at a time. If a feature only requires a change to a single microservice, that microservice can be rolled back without affecting the workflows of other teams.

  • Independent and frequent releases. Microservices limit the scope of changes and reduce the amount of coordination required between teams. Teams can release according to their own schedules instead of being bound to a single release cadence.

Moving to a microservices architecture, however, poses two sets of challenges.

Challenges with a Distributed System

Decomposing a monolithic application into microservices results in a distributed system. Application and platform teams now need to manage different aspects of communication between many discrete services, including the following activities:

  • Establishing and maintaining operational visibility into the state of the services.

  • Connecting, routing, load balancing, and securing communications across distributed microservices.

  • Reducing latency between the services in the service chain, which can ripple across the entire application and affect the user experience.

  • Troubleshooting and identifying the root cause of problems in an application composed of many different services written in different programming languages.

Multicloud Challenges

Enterprises are increasingly moving their applications to the cloud and commonly choose to deploy their applications on multiple platforms or clouds. Multiplatform and multicloud application deployments create operational silos. Additionally, they frequently use different APIs, which adds to the complexity.

Enterprises have to spend significant resources to accommodate the different requirements for managing services depending on where workloads are running. This undermines the value of microservices.

A service mesh solves both the distributed system and multicloud challenges.