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Do you really need a Microservice?

Lately there has been two sets of advice around the use of Microservices. Some advise that Microservices should be built after the fact. Others advise the opposite solution. In conjunction there is a third option that deserves more attention. Do you even need a Microservice at all? A recent tweet sparked off the exact thought I have found myself conveying.

Creating a Microservice is no easy feat. Despite the limited code or functionality that is involved. There is a whole host of things that need consideration; source control, project setup, databases, project conventions, monitoring, logging, deployment, hosting and security to name a few.

The so called monolith or "application" as it was known before is a tried and tested way of structuring applications. One of the big criticisms levelled against monolithic applications is coupling. Having worked with some terribly coupled applications I agree fully with this complaint, but there are steps you can take to prevent this.

A whole application does not need to live inside one logical project, but instead can be split appropriately. In DDD a Bounded Context makes sense. Using this model you would end up with a Customer and Products project rather than a single project containing both.

An easy step is the correct use of namespaces that are structured by features rather than technology choices.

Education is also important, simply put in agreements across teams such as "nothing from the customer project will directly reference the products functionality". This can be taken a step further by introducing assertions into the build process that will fail if "project A references project B".

There is no correct answer on whether you should or should not start with a Microservice architecture. Each team will need to judge and base their answer on their needs which will most likely vary over time. As it has been said before - if you can't structure a monolith what makes you think you can structure Microservices any better?


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