Like many companies today, you may be thinking about — or perhaps are already in the process of — digital transformation.
As McKinsey puts it, since the pandemic, every business needs to become a tech company of sorts, embracing (often critical) digital opportunities, while also managing cyber challenges.
Technical transformation can be a complicated process, and many companies are just starting out. McKinsey reports that 50% of companies it surveyed are still in the pilot phase of transformation, “but too often companies focus on a series of initiatives without accounting for crucial dependencies that need to be in place to enable the change.”
One of the most common steps in transformation is moving legacy systems from on-location servers, into the cloud. At Vog, we view this move to the cloud as an integral first step in tech transformation, as it’s important to move away from legacy, monolithic IT architecture to fully realize a digital transformation.
To transition from a monolithic architecture to one that is cloud-based, many businesses are shifting toward using microservices.
With monolithic architecture, all of a system’s processes are interconnected so if you want to make a change to just one feature or application in that system, the rest of the architecture must be updated as well. This is time-consuming, and costly.
On the flip side, with microservices architecture, each process runs independently, but is still able to communicate with the rest of your system through APIs (Application Programming Interface). So if you want to implement a specific use case or custom application, it’s much easier because system-wide changes aren’t required.
How does this benefit your business? Here are three reasons why you might want to consider a microservices approach:
Microservices provide opportunities to save money
With microservices, you don’t have to start up your whole system if you only need to do one task, such as login to a single application. Because you are only accessing the specific service you need, you don’t need to pay for your entire IT infrastructure to run. And once you’re done with that service, it shuts off.
You’ll use a microservice to access a marketplace for instance, but won’t be drawing on — and thus draining — your whole system to engage with that single app.
On the other hand, with monolithic architecture, you are likely paying for servers that run all the time, even if they’re not being actively used. It makes growth expensive and complicated.
Microservices can enable more innovative growth
As your organization pursues a digital transformation, it’s important that your strategy and budget include innovative digital programs. As McKinsey notes, microservices allow teams to “rapidly create products and services that will drive maximum value.”
It’s hard to rapidly create and test products and services if your business is working with a complex monolithic tech stack that’s consuming a lot of resources.
Microservices allow you to prioritize areas of growth and develop apps to achieve specific goals. This speeds up the process of getting a new product or service to market, while also reducing the cost of running legacy architecture.
Businesses that are stuck with old tech stacks end up spending too much time and money on infrastructure and maintenance, and thus can’t allocate budget to innovation.
As McKinsey notes, 92% of some bank budgets are spent in this way, leaving only 8% to fuel innovation and growth. McKinsey suggests at least 25% should be allocated to growth initiatives, which is made possible when a company replaces outdated systems with microservices.
Microservices allow you to develop new applications easier and faster
As a company that builds custom software and applications, we often recommend deployment of microservices because it allows for a transition to the cloud one function at a time, rather than rebuilding an entire IT infrastructure.
With microservices, we can also bring in a team that has different talents, and write code in different programming languages depending on needs. For instance, we don’t have to allocate a PHP developer to work on a large monolithic tech stack and instead we can have a node developer, or a C# programmer, build small services or even elements of services, as required.
How do you shift from monolithic to microservices?
As mentioned, the first step in moving towards microservices is investing in cloud infrastructure. Your data needs to be stored and accessed via the cloud before you can engage an architecture that is based on digital microservices, rather than legacy servers.
Then, start small by integrating new features via microservices. Over time you can replace your monolithic infrastructure rather than trying to do it all at once. Then you can grow your network of microservices, access the cost savings they offer and invest your digital budgets in initiatives that fuel growth.