PART 4: Including DevOps in the microservices migration

How to Migrate Applications to a Container-Managed Microservices Architecture

Introduction

In the three previous blogs in this series, we discussed the technical strategy and benefits of migrating monolithic applications to container-based microservices. This fourth and final post explores how DevOps helps with the migration.

While DevOps practices can be used for monolithic applications, microservices enable the effective implementation of DevOps by promoting the importance of small teams. The microservices architecture is a cloud-native architecture that creates a software system that is a package of small services, each independently deployable on different platforms and technological stacks and running their own processes while communicating through lightweight mechanisms.

Microservices Migration and DevOps Overview

DevOps is integral to the microservices architecture because it enables developers and IT operations to work closely together to deliver higher quality software much faster. DevOps benefits developers by giving them insight into the production environment in which their software will run, improving software quality.

The microservices architecture emerged from a common set of DevOps ideologies that came into being at companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Netflix, SoundCloud and several others.

Like Agile, DevOps breaks software programs down into smaller pieces or modules to increase software delivery speed and quality. A hallmark of DevOps is continuous practices that include continuous integration, continuous testing, continuous delivery and continuous deployment. Together, these practices enable the continuous improvement of software products and software-related practices.

Microservices allow DevOps teams to develop independent pieces of functionality in parallel. (See Figures 1 and 2.) Instead of moving code from one specialist to another (e.g., from development to test to production), cross-functional teams cooperatively build, test, release, monitor and maintain the applications.

Figure 1. Rearchitecting the Pipeline: From Monolithic to Containerized Microservices

The final microservices delivery pipeline independently delivers each service, so each can be deployed separately.

Rearchitecting the Pipeline: From Monolithic to Containerized Microservices

Source: Capgemini Engineering

Figure 2. DevOps Team Structure in a Microservices Environment

The DevOps team transforms from a traditional horizontal team to a set of vertical cross-functional teams. Each team is responsible for service and includes staff with complementary skills, such as development and operations. Team members cooperate from the project’s start to create more value for end-users.

DevOps Team Structure in a Microservices Environment

Source: Capgemini Engineering

Benefits of Microservices Migration with DevOps

Here are eleven business benefits that DevOps can deliver:

  1. More frequent software releases
  2. Better quality code
  3. Software reusability
  4. Higher levels of automation
  5. Accelerate innovation
  6. Make DevOps teams more productive
  7. Reduce errors
  8. Reduce software development costs
  9. Improve product quality
  10. Drive higher levels of business value
  11. Deliver higher levels of DevOps productivity

Microservices with DevOps Challenges

There are three key challenges that require careful planning when transitioning from a monolithic to DevOps-based microservices architecture:

  1. Lack of talent: Outsourcing a DevOps infrastructure requires a specific level of software development expertise.
  2. Toolset choice: There are many tools to consider when migrating to the DevOps microservices model, which makes it challenging to choose the right ones.
  3. Security: Effective security methods for microservices are substantially different than those that work for monolithic applications, which requires careful evaluation to select the most appropriate security methods.

Capgemini Engineering has expertise and experience helping companies manage the DevOps and microservices migration and providing solutions for any and all challenges, including:

  1. Engineering services, including DevOps and microservices software teams that provide the necessary development expertise to speed the transition to microservices
  2. Engineers who are well versed in the toolset options and can recommend the best options for the project
  3. Security solutions are an Capgemini Engineering core competency that we can recommend and install to fit the project’s needs

Recommendations

Here is a list of best practices for using DevOps with microservices:

  • Follow the security-first approach that includes continuous monitoring of digital security risks and threats and using up-to-date security tools.
  • Services should not be dependent on each other so that testing separate components is possible.
  • Adopt governance and compliance best practices.
  • Use only one repository per service. This isolation will reduce the engineer’s ability to cross-populate code into different services.
  • Use semantic versioning to build and deploy against correct versions of services, especially when loose-coupling is difficult.
  • Support multiple database deployments in the test and staging environment as each service is based on its own database.
  • Enable the microservice architecture with container technologies such as Docker.
  • Set up the CI/CD for each service (e.g., build, test, deploy and promote) on the same building blocks with similar endpoints.
  • Decide which processes and tests to automate first.

Conclusion

The microservices architecture is both theoretical and practical. Most of the model-based approaches have been developed in academia, not in a business context. Furthermore, most development and operations activities are not tightly integrated. Integrating the proposed approaches and increasing the degree of automation are critical challenges for successfully applying performance models in a business context and supporting both Dev and Ops in terms of performance improvements.

The approaches described in this blog are meant to provide guideposts that mark the way through the migration process. Every business situation is unique and calls for an original solution. Capgemini Engineering has vast experience helping companies—including Fortune 100 and both digital and traditional companies—migrate to a microservices-based architecture. The results are transformational.



Amit Goel Director – Technology
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