Microservices design patterns and tools to watch in 2021

Throughout 2020, application architects have sought out new design methods and tools to ease the transition from monolith to distributed architecture design – and they’re not done yet. Specifically, they seek to address issues of consistency in the management of distributed services, incremental migration to microservices, and granularity of services.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these distributed architecture trends and take a look at how these changes will affect the development landscape in 2021, including the microservices design patterns and the tools that are top priority for architects.

The modular monolith reigns

Despite the flexibility and scalability benefits associated with microservices, this type of architecture imposes significant hurdles up front, especially with respect to observability, inter-service communication, and complex deployment cycles. As such, architects must find a way to continue microservice design patterns while maintaining the reliability of their existing monolith. In 2021, architects will continue to pursue the modular monolith and establish a bounded context by segmenting code, limiting dependencies, and isolating data stores. This allows them to introduce the desired cohesion and loose coupling found in microservices, but avoids the headaches of handling multiple runtimes and asynchronous communication.

Loose mating becomes essential

While microservice design patterns require a granular separation of services and responsibilities, development teams continue to apply traditional MVC patterns that require tight component coupling. To successfully introduce distributed architecture design, more architects should strive to implement hexagonal architecture models in 2021. This model allows developers to create coarse-grained services that can progressively analyze individual functions into individual services, but uses proxy components to generate those services without affecting the underlying process logic.

Distributed services, centralized management

Teams managing distributed systems must spend considerable time repetitively performing the same management tasks for hundreds of services, such as deployments, monitoring, logging, and release management. In an effort to eliminate waste, teams are likely to adopt more and more service models and scaffolding tools in 2021. The hope is that these tools will foster consistency across microservice collections by providing preconfigured service designs and applying standardized management practices.

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Abdul J. Gaspar

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