Microservices Architecture - What Is It?

Microservices Architecture - What Is It?

Microservices architecture is a development method that breaks down software into smaller more manageable modules. It does this with specialised functions and detailed interfaces.

In this article, we will be discussing microservices architecture - what it is, how it is used, along with some examples of microservices architecture and what modern-day companies use it to help them operate successfully.


What Is Microservices Architecture?

Microservice architecture, also referred to as just ‘microservices’, refers to an architectural style for application development. This is where the application is developed as a collection of services and is a development method that breaks down software into modules. It features specialised functions and detailed interfaces.

Microservice architecture is also a service-oriented architecture style (SOA) and is an architectural pattern that arranges an application as a collection of loose and fine-grained services - instead of a rigid design communicating through lightweight protocols.

It is separated into smaller and independent parts. Each part has its own responsibility which includes serving a single user request. This type of application can signal to many internal other microservices to compose its response.


What Is an Example of Microservices Architecture?

Containers are an example of microservices architecture. They let businesses focus on developing the services without worrying about the dependencies. Applications that are modern cloud-native types are usually built as microservices using containers.


Containers - What Are They?

Containers are an operating system virtualisation. One container may be used to run a smaller microservice or software process for a large application. Inside a container, there will be all of the necessary files/programs, libraries, binary code and configuration files.

Containers help the development team move quickly, use software efficiently and operate at an unprecedented scale.


Cloud-Native - What Does This Mean?

Cloud-native refers to a type of computing approach in software development where it utilises cloud computing to run scalable applications. This is in modern and dynamic environments such as public, private and hybrid clouds - and the term ‘cloud services’ refers to a wide range of services delivered on demand to companies and customers over the internet.

These services are designed to provide affordable and easy access to applications, without the need for hardware or internal infrastructure.


How Microservices Architecture Are Used

Microservices are used to speed up application development. Microservices are often built with Java and some microservice architecture examples and what they are commonly used for include:

  • Website migration
  • Media Content
  • Data processing
  • Transactions and invoice

It is not unusual to compare microservices architecture with service-oriented architecture which is a type that focuses on discrete services instead of rigid ones.

This is because they both have the same objective, which is to break up applications into smaller parts, however, they have different approaches to be able to do this.


Website Migration

A website that is complex and hosted on a single-tiered software application can migrate to a cloud-based and container-base platform.


Media Content

Using microservices architecture, the images and video assets can be stored in a scalable storage system and then served to the web or mobile directly.


Transactions and Invoices

Payments and online ordering can be separate as independent services. This helps in times when payments can continue to be accepted even if the invoicing is not working.


Data processing

A microservice platform can extend cloud support for existing modular data processing services.


The Main Characteristics of Microservices Architecture

Below you can learn about some of the main characteristics of microservices architecture, so read on to discover more.


Split Into Numerous Components

Broken down into several component services. Each service can be worked on, created and updated without compromising application integrity. Different services can be tweaked without the whole application being taken down.


Simple Routing Process

Microservices consist of intelligent components capable of processing data and applying logic. Microservices work by receiving requests, processing them and producing an appropriate output to be transferred.


Robust and Resistant to Failure

It is harder for an application built on microservices to fail, whilst individual services can but it should be able to reroute the traffic away from itself while allowing its own services to continue.


Decentralised Operations

Microservices architecture leverages numerous platforms and technologies. This makes traditional centralised governance methods inefficient. Microservices favour decentralised data management every microservice application manages its unique database.


Built for Modern Businesses

Lastly, microservices architecture is created largely for modern and digital businesses. Microservices are cross-functional and are used for creating specific products.


The Real Company Examples That Use Microservices Architecture

Some of the leading tech companies use microservices architecture for several reasons. These include reducing the complexity of their architecture, speeding up their development and making applications more responsive and easier to update.

Below you will find some of the best examples that we have put together from market leaders, to help you better understand all about microservices architecture. These companies have adopted microservices to enhance their operations.



First up we have Amazon. Amazon’s website used to be formed of tight-knit connections. Software developers in this case had to be careful to make sure nothing was damaged each time they upgraded or upscaled the site.

As Amazon grew, it divided its monolithic applications into small, independent specialised applications to address any issues.

A single service was developed and applied for the instant ‘Buy’ button on the product page, allowing users to instantly purchase a product with ease. Each independent service on Amazon was assigned to a team of developers.



Netflix is another microservices giant in the online space. The streaming service faced scaling problems in 2008, which caused complications for the company. Netflix realised it was time to migrate to microservices architecture.

Netflix chose reliable cloud-based distribution systems to achieve its migration goals. Adopting this form allowed Netflix to overcome its challenges and considerably reduce costs. Netflix continues to grow to this day without significant operational challenges - thanks to its microservices architecture.



Uber is another business that benefited from making the shift to microservices. This was again, due to growth hurdles that Uber needed to overcome. Individual microservices were developed for the business functions. Uber can now update individual services without disrupting the rest of the application.


Blacklight Software

Contact Blacklight Software for more information. We are software development experts providing services to help you in many areas in order to make a digital transformation happen for your company. Our contact details can be found on our website.

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