Software companies, both large and small, are embracing microservices as a superior approach to application development and management. This is compared to the earlier monolithic model that combines a software application with the associated user interface and underlying database into a single unit on a single server platform. With microservices, a complex application is broken up into a series of smaller, more specialized services, each with its own database and its own business logic. Microservices then communicate with each other across common interfaces (such as APIs) and REST interfaces (such as HTTP). Using microservices, development teams can focus on updating specific areas of an application without impacting it as a whole, thereby resulting in faster development, testing, and deployment.
The concepts behind microservices and containerization are similar, as both are software development practices that essentially transform applications into collections of smaller services or components. These are, of course, portable, scalable, efficient and easier to manage.
Moreover, microservices and containerization work well when used together. Containers provide a lightweight encapsulation of any application, whether it is a traditional monolith or a modular microservice. A microservice, developed within a container, then gains all of the inherent benefits of containerization. These include portability in terms of the development process and vendor compatibility (no vendor lock-in). Also on the list are developer agility, fault isolation, server efficiencies, automation of installation, scaling and management, and layers of security, etc.
Containers, microservices, and cloud computing are working together to bring application development and delivery to new levels, which is not possible with traditional methodologies and environments. These next-generation approaches add agility, efficiency, reliability, and security to the software development lifecycle. All these factors lead to faster delivery of applications and enhancements to end users and the market.
Kubernetes is the most prominent container orchestration platform. Originally developed by Google, it has seen been open-sourced and is now managed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.
While it isn’t the only such solution, its feature set is indicative of what a modern container orchestrator should be capable of, as it can:
- Expose containers by DNS name or IP address.
- Handle load balancing and traffic distribution for containers.
- Automatically mount local and cloud-based storage.
- Allocate specific CPU and RAM resources to containers and then fit them onto nodes.
- Replace or kill problematic containers without jeopardizing application performance and uptime.
- Manage sensitive information like password and tokens without rebuilding containers.
- Change the state of containers and roll back old containers to replace them with new ones.