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by Thijs Krooswijk

Headless CMS and machine learning are the different ways to adapt to changing business demands. Next to all being useful technologies, they also share the following trait: used as microservices. In contrast to a monolithic architecture, where a system is a single unit, modular application architecture uses microservices that allow agility without taking too many risks.

Modular design is a particular way of designing software that divides a system into smaller components, that can be created separately and used in different systems. Those smaller parts are known by the name of microservices, and are basically independent modules performing a single function and communicating with each other. This means they’re much less restricting than a monolithic design.

In our experience, microservices are a good way of aiding growth of businesses and rapidly responding to changing markets. Companies like Netflix and Amazon are already using microservices and this is why you should consider them as well:

1. They’re scalable

One of the most important reasons to implement microservices is their scalability. As they’re independent elements, microservices are easy to replace and augment. It’s also a good way to keep your software up to date, this process can be split up in phases and new microservices can be implemented step by step. And since the elements can be reused in different applications, they should be considered as an investment in the future of your business.

2. Easier & faster to develop

Because the parts of a modular system are loosely coupled and smaller than a monolith system, they allow to work with proof of concepts. The complexity of individual microservices is lower, which means they’re faster to develop and test, shortening the time-to-market.

3. Designed to handle failure

Another advantage of microservices is that they’re less susceptible to configuration mistakes. Even if one of them fails, the others will continue to work. As the system is made up of smaller parts, the code stays shorter and therefore cleaner. So even if errors pop up, they’re concerning specific tasks, making them quicker to fix. Although setting up the whole system does cost some time, once it is done, it will be an investment in the long term performance of your application.

4. Compatible with autonomous teams

Microservices are also perfect for cross-disciplinary, autonomous teams, allowing them to be responsible for the development and management of a single microservice, end-to-end. Small agile teams can be built around a microservice and deploy ideas more freely.

The benefits often weigh out the disadvantages, but before making the switch, keep in mind that as systems consisting of microservices include a lot of moving parts, it can be hard to decide on the dependencies of individual components. The choice of where to draw the line, such as deciding which microservice will be responsible for what, can be quite complicated.

Microservices are definitely not a one size fits all solution, but if you’re looking for a way to quickly respond to the ever-changing technology landscape without taking too many risks, then switching to a modular architecture might be worth looking into.

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