Monolithic or Microservices? 4 Tips to get Things Moving

Tech Community • 3 min read

Dealing with cloud infrastructure is somewhat trivial (well not really in some cases but it should be with properly built automation and processes) - and I think the next real thing with cloud will be the modularisation of applications running in cloud. 

I see far too many cases where customers still implement a monolithic solution instead microservices. Just because they are afraid it will be more complex to build and manage if it is done in a more modern and modular way.

The dark days of virtualisation

The background for all this comes from the dark days of virtualisation when everything required a full-blown OS image to run. Some unix systems had a slightly different approach which was a precursor for modern containers and serverless solutions. For example, Solaris had zones which were groundbreaking at the time and worked really well. 

But enough of talking about the ‘good old days’ - let's concentrate on something invented a bit more recently. 

Companies like to rely on old stuff but we’d rather focus on the more recent things that can bring real benefits. So, what’s the challenge? Well, applications need to be built to use that fancy microservices model, and that takes either money or time, usually lots of both. 

It all comes down to planning

So this is something I often talk about with our clients and it all comes down to planning. Once you’re planning to build something, involve your internal stakeholders at the earliest possible stage. Lay down the possibilities that can be reached and challenges there are if they’re trying to run something quick and cheap.

4 tips to get things moving in your business

And how do you get things moving at your business? There are four major things that come to mind which are probably the most important. 

1. It’s more cost-effective to run microservices, you can build applications to use resources by the exact amount they require and not an inch or penny more. This is something to use as a selling point when deciding how to build that fancy new business application (it usually resonates quite well with the guys who look after all the spreadsheets). 

2. It’s easier to implement and roll-out when running in a modular way. You can upgrade your software on a more granular level with no need to bring everything down when doing so. This also runs well with business folks as they want to keep systems running 24/7 and are not keen on old maintenance windows. 

3. Microservices can be built to be more scalable - by that I mean you can scale it in parts it really needs the scaling, not the whole shebang. This also nods to reason one as this is cost-effective - scaling just the part that needs the most oompfh when you have hundreds or thousands of simultaneous users logging in. 

4. It’s more usable on a global scale, you can spread out more closely where your clients are lower-revenue. You can even run some parts closer and less needed parts further away. This should be something that truly global companies should focus more on, as customers demand more responsive services and this is something that is harder to do when running monolithic. 

Time to embrace microservices

I think we have a big shift coming up in some companies, as there is still lots of old school thinking in the wild. We need to advocate and educate our customers to all the possibilities of this brave new world. If you’re out there and need some help - let us know.

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Ilja Summala
Ilja Summala LinkedIn
Ilja’s passion and tech knowledge help customers transform how they manage infrastructure and develop apps in cloud.