How Containers, Microservices and DevOps are Revolutionizing Enterprise IT

The modern business environment is on the brink of change – software services that were historically considered mere back-office functions are now increasingly being used to deliver core values digitally.

Why?

The Harvard Business Review claims that businesses converting traditional back offices into automated systems generate over 50 percent improvement in customer service and productivity. So, even though they are more important than ever to the business, software services now affect the customers directly.Instead of the central services produced and delivered by the company being physical and in the real world, software-based services now have the power to affect the very core of the business, making them a crucial part of a company’s overall strategy and the services being sold to the customers.

Functionality and features must now be delivered quickly with optimal user experiences and high quality. Prolonged, convoluted app development cycles usually make organizations non-competitive and threaten to disrupt not just the customers of the business but their bottom line as well. For that reason, existing organizations need development processes and architecture resembling efficient factory assembly lines to remain in the competition.

Becoming More Service-Oriented

Enterprises need to start implementing common points of management, including the ability to “trick” operational tools into believing they are managing a common set of systems. The goal is to place multi-layered systems using various interfaces for operations between the single service-oriented abstraction layer. This will allow every system, including the cloud-based ones, to communicate with microservice interfaces, either from containerized apps or not.

Microservices and containerization for ops simplification is the endgame, but that may prove challenging for most enterprises since no best practices are available to explain the way databases, devices, platforms, applications, or other older systems should be microservice-activated.

Why Containers and Microservices are a Match Made in Heaven?

Given the sheer demands placed upon enterprises by today’s competitive market, DevOps methodology and microservices have come into play. Also known as cloud-native applications, microservices are a whole new set of application architecture that decomposes bigger, monolithic apps of the past into smaller, discrete processes and functions that are created and evolve separately from their peers.

Every single microservice stays self-contained, incapable of sharing data with other microservices and being accessible only through its API. The immutable nature of microservices means they cannot be updated as well and scale-out for every independent function.

Microservices help enterprises grow by delivering services, features, and solutions independently on separate delivery timelines. This design methodology makes it simpler to create systems containing reusable component parts so that multiple services and apps throughout the organization can use them, saving precious time for operations and software development teams.

Microservices may be run individually using containers, which serve as lightweight, useful “envelopes” that permit software to be entirely portable. It is possible to dynamically create or destroy as many or as few containers as required for each microservice based on load. Thus, automation is important since the rapid creation of the containers allows for the scaling and high availability of microservices.

Containers usually include the code necessary to execute a specific microservice instance, enabling them to deconstruct a problem into smaller pieces and arrive at isolated, efficient and decoupled execution engines for every service and application.

Arguments have been forwarded regarding the capacity of virtual machines (VMs) to service the same or better purpose as containers. But this line of thought is a dead end since virtual machines – despite having their share of benefits including isolation and security – are not as suited as containers for the microservice dynamic. This could have something to do with their rapid separation and provisioning from the underlying operating system.

Advantages of Agile Development and Containers

If you consider containers to be the portable code envelope and decompose applications into several microservices that can be independently developed and deployed, the final pillar of the latest applications is DevOps processes. Through the encouragement of rapid integrations, regular communication between team members, and a constant flow of technology where operations and QA are interwoven in a predictable and precise way, an agile form of development can offer shorter release cycles, quicker time-to-market for essential new capabilities, better quality software, minimally intrusive updates for customers, and better user experiences.

DevOps methodology allows for:

Constant QA: If an enterprise wishes to ship software at a faster rate but in smaller quantities via microservices and containers, it will demand modular and comprehensive testing executed in parallel. Automation supports continuous sandbox and unit testing at the microservice level, making it ideal for minor changes. Enterprises should make it a point to test often and early to diagnose and resolve errors more easily. Automation is a must for efficiency and thoroughness.

Performance Testing: Customers nowadays value user experiences above everything else. If a software change makes the system less responsive or slower, companies must detect the problem as quickly as possible before it is deployed live and affects customers. It is too late to detect usability and performance problems at the end of a big release. Teams must evaluate the performance impact of minor tweaks when they’re made and resolve the situation fast, thereby correcting any performance or user experience issues at once.

aStaging Automation: Mistakes usually occur when operations teams go from staging to the live development phase, especially when teams conduct this process manually. By embracing DevOps completely, operations teams can automate the move from staging to production and support Green/Blue deployments. This technique not only reduces downtime but minimizes risks by operating two identical production environments running staggered versions, supporting roll backwards and roll forward in case of recovery from problems.

Enterprises can enjoy a whopping ROI on microservices, DevOps and containers, irrespective of the industry. Cloud-scale apps are no longer mere background engines driving and coordinating a business; they now deliver actual services being purchased by customers, which promises better quality, engineering, and real-time user experiences.

Concluding Remarks

The use of modern development process and application software design like DevOps methodology and container-based microservices allow organizations and their respective IT teams to support new software capabilities and services in a more efficient manner, all the while detecting and testing for user experience anomalies constantly.

Author : Rahul Sharma