Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Microservices Help Scale Distributed Apps, Survey Finds 

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The ability to scale applications and get products and services out the door faster are the primary reasons DevOps teams are embracing microservices, a new survey finds.

Microservices are the foundation of an agile architecture on which applications are built as a collection of different smaller services rather than an entire application. Among the emerging challenges is determining the best way to communicate among those lightweight services.

While nearly two-thirds of the 354 companies surveyed by workflow automation vendor Camunda said they are adopting agile microservices architectures for some or all of their distributed applications, half said they are unsure about the unsure of the return on investment. “The majority of enterprises are largely unaware of the impact microservices architectures may have on their revenue-generating business processes,” the company said in releasing its survey on Thursday (Sept. 20).

Of those companies using or planning to adopt microservices, 58 percent said they intend to run between 10 and 49 microservices in production. A smaller group (15 percent) is going all-in, with plans to run more than 100 microservices for production workloads.

Other vendor surveys have revealed similar enterprise adoptions patterns. For example, early microservices proponent Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) released a survey earlier this year that found 69 percent of those polled are deploying microservices architectures for new applications while reworking existing apps.

Adoption of this dual-use approach was even higher for Red Hat’s OpenShift and other middleware platforms, the company reported.

Still, the Camunda survey uncovered emerging challenges, including a lack of visibility into business applications and processes that span multiple microservices along with error handling between multiple microservices.

“Microservices architectures provide teams with autonomy and flexibility but also introduce significant new challenges because a company’s core business processes nearly always span multiple microservices, making it difficult to gain visibility into the current state of an end-to-end process and to ensure that errors within a process are handled reliably and consistently,” said Jakob Freund, co-founder and CEO of Berlin-based Camunda.

In terms of application development trends, the survey found that 88 percent of microservices adopters plan to use REST APIs for communications between microservices while only 46 percent said they would use the Apache Kafka stream processing platform.

As more enterprises embrace microservices to develop next-generation applications and services, more than half the companies surveyed by Camunda said they expect the size of their development teams to increase in the next year.

The larger teams are also seen as having greater autonomy, more than half of survey respondents said.

Camunda said companies located in 51 countries participated in the microservices survey, which was conducted in July 2018.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).