Embracing Kubernetes Microservices - The Building Blocks of Powerful Solutions

Tyler Au
7 minutes
February 8th, 2024
Tyler Au
7 minutes
February 8th, 2024

What is Kubernetes Microservices?

All too often, we hear of groundbreaking technical innovations defining what our future will look like, tech like generative-AI, extended reality, and edge computing are leading the charge in creating a modern utopia. These aforementioned pieces of technology have the potential to cause waves within the industry for years to come, something that’s making an impact as we speak is the combination of kubernetes microservices.

At Lyrid, we preach about the uses and benefits of Kubernetes relatively often, though the same can’t be said for microservices. The microservices architecture has the power to change the way you conduct business, injecting mobility and flexibility into any application that supports the change. But what is microservices architecture?

Microservices architecture refers to the software development approach that sees applications split into independent components known as services. These services are unique in the software development space because they are:

  • Independent: Microservice independence allows for isolated development, deployment, operation, and scaling, without impacting any other services
  • Specialized: Microservices have their own core responsibilities, allotting maximum resources to solve a specific problem while creating the possibility for further service splitting if the problem is too complex

Because of these two traits, services are often run by small teams that provide specialized maintenance, consequently making applications more efficient, easier to scale, and faster to develop.

Industries like ecommerce, streaming, and rideshare thrive with the use of microservices because of their heavy reliance on the internet towards their everyday operations. Microservices don’t only thrive within these industries, however. The use and benefits of microservices extends so much past themselves, though to get an idea of what this architecture and coupling it with Kubernetes can offer you, you’ll have to understand monolithic architectures.

Microservices vs Monolithic Architecture

If microservice architecture represents pieces of a whole working together, yet independently, then the monolithic architecture is its greatest enemy. 

Contrasting highly to the loosely coupled approach of microservice architecture, monolithic architecture develops and runs applications as a single service, tightly coupling processes and components. This means that any modification and scaling are run as a whole instead of individual processes, with the code base being uniform. 

While running an application on a monolithic architecture isn’t the end all be all of your service, a monolithic approach may be limiting your application. One thing to note is how monolithic applications react to demand spikes: if one process of the application experiences a spike, the entire architecture has to be scaled. Scaling might be limited due to the single code base, with expanding it and working towards experimentation proving to be further problems by themselves. 

Where a monolithic approach has the upper-hand on microservices is with regards to application development and deployment. Because monolithic applications are a single unit, initial development does not require as much planning and personnel as microservices would- though as the code base expands, monolithic development can certainly become complex. Deploying monolithic applications is also easier, as all it takes to deploy that application would be a single button press. Microservice deployment requires teams working in conjunction and deploying each independent service- though this process usually happens through containers.

Whether a microservice approach or monolithic approach better suits you depends on your usage and needs. For one, microservice applications offer unparalleled benefits, but require a stronger development team and more flexible infrastructure. Although a monolithic approach is more limited in its capabilities and scaling, its use of a single code base is perfect for prototyping and smaller applications that do not require multiple languages. 

With the power of Kubernetes on its side, microservices have become the go-to choice for many developers looking to level up their applications.

Advantages of Microservices

Having loosely coupled services provides a plethora of benefits not only towards the hosting application, but also the company engaging in microservice practices. Notable benefits of microservices include:

Greater Scaling

The individual services of the whole application are able to meet ever-growing demands by intuitive scaling. Depending on what features are experiencing demand spikes, microservice teams can scale individual services to ensure availability, allowing for stronger and more efficient resource allocation and better cost efficiency.

Service Resilience

Because services are independent and isolated, resistance to failure increases by removing the threat of a single point of failure. The application’s overall fault tolerance and security increases as a whole, with the ability to replicate services in case of a primary service failure being available too.

Increased Flexibility and Accessibility

Service independence allows each service to become more agile and flexible, as it is only responsible for one application component. This flexibility is further extended in looking at the accessibility of the service; modifications and updates come much easier, as operating on a portion of a unit is more accessible than disabling a whole unit for modification.

Faster Time to Market

With dedicated teams on each service within an application, development cycles become shorter and more approachable. This, in turn, speeds up time to market, allowing for faster innovation as well. In addition, with the microservice support of CI/CD, you’ll be able to update your microservices continuously, keeping you updated with all the future tech coming out.

Tech Stack Experimentation

Unlike the single code base of a monolithic application, microservices can be built using any tech framework that suits your specific business needs. With the flexibility in development, dev teams working with a microservice architecture have greater experimentation, paving the way for better development facets.

Disadvantages of Microservices

The benefits of microservices are certainly forces to be reckoned with, though the potential microservices disadvantages cannot be overlooked. Such disadvantages include:

Service Complexity

While independent services allow for better application efficiency and mobility, these services must also be managed independently. On a smaller scale, independent service management is achievable, though as the number of services increases, management can suddenly become complex and unapproachable. This complexity is also increased if the frameworks used by teams aren’t known by other teams.

Another potential complexity is communication overhead. A service communicates with one another using lightweight APIs and network calls. The amount of communications happening might cause headaches for developers once an error occurs and muddles communications.

Potential Cost Issues

Microservices have the ability to drive your costs down based on their resource consumption, high availability, and general resilience to security threats. Where costs may be driven up is with regards to maintenance and management. In order to best service microservices, developer teams that are able to competently manage and maintain services must be onboarded per each service, increasing overall headcount.

Microservices and Containers - Where Kubernetes Fits In

You’re probably wondering, what does Kubernetes have to do with microservices? The popular open source container orchestration platform has plenty of features and capabilities that supercharge your usage of microservices.

As mentioned previously, microservices has the power to make your application extremely flexible and scalable because of service independence, but can also quickly ramp up complexity once more and more microservices are involved. A solution to combat this management complexity would be to containerize your applications and package all of the services together- Kubernetes supports microservices containers by providing a single interface to manage all containers, and therefore microservices. Everything from microservice deploy and scale to health checks can be accessed with Kubernetes. 

Kubernetes enables microservice scaling to extend past its already renowned capabilities. The container orchestration service offers scaling support in two different ways:

  • Vertical Pod Autoscaler VPA: automated CPU and memory resource scaling to pods, the building block of microservices
  • Horizontal Pod Autoscaler HPA: automated Kubernetes resources scaling to meet workload demand, thus deploying and recalling pods depending on requirements

Both automatic scaling methods provide different ways to meet and support the scaling demands of microservices, while saving you important resources and costs. 

Similar to scaling, deploying microservices on Kubernetes allows you to utilize Kubernetes’ automatic deployment capabilities, while providing tools and API that streamline deployment processes. Kubernetes will also run 24/7 health monitoring on all your deployments and pods, ensuring that your microservices are tended to through container restarting and isolation that works in tandem with microservice fault isolation.

Kubernetes hosts services like load balancing and service discovery- services that are extremely important to microservice operations for a variety of reasons:

  • Load balancing distributes traffic evenly amongst microservices, avoiding bottlenecks within service and increasing availability
  • Service discovery allows microservices to locate and communicate with one another in a central network, removing the previously mentioned API communication challenges

These services are just two of the many offered by Kubernetes that safeguard high availability, with replication and mission critical component allocation across different environments being methods to further minimize downtime. 

From microservices orchestration to single-interface managing and monitoring, Kubernetes provides unparalleled value to the software development method. For companies that rely on fast, responsive tech and a powerful connection to the internet, such as Netflix and Uber, to huge cloud service providers like AWS and Microsoft, Kubernetes microservices represents the perfect approach to software development- injecting the scale and flexibility needed by any company, as well as the security and fault tolerance needed by mission critical applications.

Microservices Tools with Lyrid

Known for its ability to inject flexibility, scalability, and resilience into your application, the microservices architecture is an approach at software development that many companies of all sizes have been taking up over the past few years. Contrasting highly from the single-unit, tightly coupled nature of monolithic architectures, the microservices architecture is the perfect approach for companies looking to become more scalable and agile, with Kubernetes further expanding microservice utility. While this tech has the ability to evolve your application, both microservices and Kubernetes can become complex if you aren’t able to manage both efficiently. 

In order to better service your microservices, our managed Kubernetes solution offers the best that Kubernetes has to offer, without the included headaches. Say goodbye to countless hours configuring your interface and learning how to operate the platform, and hello to various Kubernetes features such as automated Kubernetes deployment, Kubernetes clusters cost optimization, autoscaling and load balancing, and so much more. The best part is, creating Kubernetes clusters within our solution is simple, mobilizing your microservices in no time. Say goodbye to managing Kubernetes clusters uncontrollably, Lyrid Managed Kubernetes offers single-interface management and end-to-end cluster visibility, showing you how your microservices are performing in real time.

To learn more about Lyrid Managed Kubernetes and supercharge your microservices, click here, or book a tour with one of our team members!

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