Syntel on microservices: How to evolve the digital core

This is a guest post for the Computer Weekly Developer Network blog written by Chetan Manjarekar in his roles as senior VP and head of Syntel’s Digital One practice.

Manjarekar writes as follows…

In today’s ‘always connected’ digital world, truly modular, resilient and scalable large-scale service systems are no longer differentiators, but a basic requirement for almost every business.

Microservices architecture is now the software application approach of choice for many companies, including Amazon, Netflix, Uber, Comcast, eBay, and Capital One.

Quickly modernising IT applications using an elastic microservices architecture offers advantages including better performance, scalability and fault isolation along with minimising application downtime.

But what are the key characteristics that make microservices an attractive proposition for these global brands?

Software development process

In recent years, there has been a profound shift from legacy programs and applications to flexible, cloud-native applications that can deliver the speed, scale and security required for the digital world.

Traditional ‘monolithic’ application designs tend to be extremely complex, with enormous code bases built to encapsulate all functionality into a single block. The consequence is often poor business agility, because even small changes or enhancements require a new version of the application to be re-deployed — a risky, time consuming task that can prolong time to market.

In contrast, microservices represent a flexible architecture built for the Digital Age.

The microservices approach breaks down a complex application into modular, independent services which are essentially defined packages that each execute a specific task.

Each microservice can be deployed without affecting the others, allowing business to continue as usual with minimal downtime. This sort of quick turnaround capability can help companies achieve 20 percent faster time to market and free up time for businesses to redirect their focus on experimenting with new business ideas.

Real-time monitoring

System failures can happen at any time, which is why it’s so important for businesses to effectively monitor and detect failures, enabling them to quickly restore service.

If a single microservice fails, the larger application remains largely unaffected, isolating the errors to a single component. Real-time application monitoring can trigger alerts which allow development teams to follow up and investigate.

Of course, it’s also important to ensure that development staff have the right combination of skills, experience and a forward looking mindset to anticipate future development needs, so new business components and processes can be smoothly integrated.

Migrating to a new system

IT is the day-to-day process and operational backbone of almost every enterprise, which is why it may not be feasible to completely scrap a legacy system in favor of a newly designed modern application.

Microservices have a role to play here as well. With microservices, companies can integrate modern software components incrementally. By creating one microservice at a time, you will eventually reach the stage where the new microservices-based has seamlessly replaced the monolithic application. In addition to helping achieve a 20 percent reduction in development and operational costs, this approach represents a low-risk, high reward way to evolve the enterprise core to compete in the digital age.

Syntel, Inc. is a U.S.-based provider of integrated technology and business services with headquarters in Michigan USA. Syntel utilises development centres in India.