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Leveraging serverless microservices to build scalable and agile applications with cloud functions

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By Kumarpal Sheth, Managing Director, of Wissen Technology

Imagine running an online clothing store that witnesses peak traffic during the holiday season.

You’ve implemented microservices to handle different tasks like managing shopping carts and processing payments. While this helps manage the website efficiently, there are shortcomings.

Each microservice runs on its own server. Thus, the developers spend a lot of time managing these servers, checking CPU usage, provisioning new servers during traffic spikes, and scaling them back down when the traffic reduces. This continuous server maintenance and provisioning takes away the developers’ valuable time. They are left with managing servers instead of focusing on innovating and improving customer experience.

That’s where serverless microservices come to the rescue. Instead of managing individual servers, each task becomes a function triggered by events. Additionally, the cloud service provider manages resource allocation and server provisioning. So, during a holiday rush, the provider automatically allocates more resources and scales up the functions to manage the surge in traffic. The developers don’t have to worry about anything and can focus on improving business with innovative solutions.

Besides streamlining operations, serverless microservices improve cost efficiency by billing solely based on usage and encourage developers to release new features frequently without worrying about failure or downtime. They also have the flexibility to roll back or replace functions that don’t work well. Simply put, serverless microservices combine the best of both worlds—the modularity of microservices and the cloud-based execution of serverless architecture.

Serverless microservices have enabled major companies, such as the retail giant Nordstrom, to innovate and stay ahead of the competition.

That’s not all. Serverless microservices have the potential to build scalable and agile applications—the much-needed features required to thrive in a fast-paced business environment.

Let’s learn more about this.

The Key Components for Building Scalable and Agile Applications

Serverless microservices help developers create applications that can effortlessly adapt and grow. All this is possible due to various key components involved:

No servers: Developers write the code for each microservice, which is then deployed to a serverless platform. This eliminates the burden of server management, freeing developers to focus on core functionalities.

Event-driven interactions: Microservices communicate with each other through APIs triggered by events. This event-driven approach ensures that the microservices only interact when necessary.

Orchestration: To ensure smooth communication and execution within the serverless architecture, several key components play their part:

API Gateway: The API gateway authenticates user requests and routes them to the appropriate microservices.

Microservices: These are the building blocks of the application. Each of them handles a specific task within the serverless infrastructure. Serverless microservices are triggered by events such as HTTP requests or database changes and execute dedicated functions in response.

● Event Bus: An event bus is a central router that receives events from various sources and directs them to the relevant microservices, ensuring smooth communication between applications.

Data storage solutions: Depending on the type, developers can store data independently in cloud storage solutions like databases or object storage. This allows developers to choose the most suitable storage option for each microservice’s needs and switch the storage solution when their needs change.

Orchestration tools: Since multiple tasks happen within microservices, orchestration tools manage the execution sequence, ensuring the overall process follows the desired flow.

Building approaches: There are two primary approaches to building serverless applications: Function as a Service (FaaS) and Backend as a Service (BaaS). FaaS is ideal for building highly customized event-driven functions, while Backend as a Service (BaaS) provides pre-built backend functionalities like user authentication and database management to accelerate development for common tasks.

By leveraging these components and approaches, developers can build scalable and agile applications that adapt to changing needs while optimizing development speed and efficiency.

They can use serverless microservices’ modular architecture to add more functions and features to the application without impacting the entire application and aligning with the agile principles. This will enable them to adapt quickly to the changing business landscape and meet customer needs. Similarly, the cloud server providers can automatically scale the serverless functions based on traffic demand by managing server provisioning and resource allocation. This auto-scaling feature of serverless microservices can help developers manage fluctuating traffic without worrying about servers or resource usage.

Potential Challenges of Serverless Microservices and How Companies Can Overcome Them with A Trusted Partner

Serverless microservices have undoubtedly changed the way applications are developed. The architecture empowers the developers to iterate quickly and build scalable and agile applications with minimal downtime.

However, there are also a few challenges that developers face in building and deploying the applications:

– Optimizing the performance is not always possible as applications could face issues like cold starts, where functions experience latency after brief inactivity. This could negatively impact user experience.

– A single application comprises multiple serverless microservices, functions, and resources that interact with each other. Monitoring each of them can become daunting while scaling the application. Developers could face trouble tracking requests or isolating errors across the serverless environment. They could also face challenges in scaling the applications without clear visibility into functions and microservices performance.

– Developers are unable to define the scope of each function within the microservices, which makes updating the application and adding new features challenging.

– There are also other challenges, such as defining the use cases, selecting an architecture, pay model, etc.

To avoid such challenges, companies must work with a trustworthy technology partner.

A technology partner with experience building serverless microservices will understand the unique business needs and guide companies to build scalable and agile applications.

Wissen Technology has been at the forefront of helping companies build applications using serverless microservices. Contact us to learn more about our services.

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