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App Development
10 minutes read

AWS Microservices Explained

By Jose Gomez
By Jose Gomez
App Development
10 minutes read

The term AWS microservices is a bit of a misnomer. AWS, also known as Amazon Web Services, is a cloud platform created and powered by Amazon.

There are several AWS services, but they can be broadly divided into three product offerings, EC2, the virtual machine service, Glacier, the cloud storage service, and S3, Amazon’s storage system.

AWS can be used for several different things, including remote computing, cloud application development, storage, email, and more. 

Microservices is a term that refers to a type of architecture. Microservices architecture is characterized by several independent modules working together to form one application instead of traditional monolithic architecture.

The main benefit of implementing microservices architecture is that each component or feature is separate, making scaling, updating, and deploying features easier and more cost-effective. 

So, there is no such thing as an AWS microservice, but many developers would tell you that AWS is the best platform for implementing microservices architecture.

This post will take a closer look at the tools and resources available to developers for implementing microservices architecture on AWS. 

Microservices AWS Resources 

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is arguably the most comprehensive platform for implementing microservices. AWS has the tools and resources to support any microservices architecture regardless of complexity or scale.

The resources and tools provided by AWS services can be broadly divided into a few categories:

  • Compute 
  • Networking 
  • Storage 
  • Messaging 
  • DevOps
  • Monitoring 

Compute 

The compute resources provided by AWS provide valuable processing power to microservices architecture. There are two main tools to discuss here:

  • Amazon ECS
  • AWS Lambda

Amazon Elastic Container Service

ECS stands for elastic container service. Amazon ECS is a container management service that offers a high degree of performance and scalability

Amazon Elastic Container Service supports Docker containers and makes running applications on a managed cluster of Amazon EC2 instances simple. 

AWS Lambda 

If you want to run code without provisioning or managing servers, Lambda can handle it. Upload your code, and AWS Lambda will handle every aspect of running and scaling your code so you can focus on your business logic.

In addition, Lambda allows you to go serverless and ditch Microsoft SQL server costs in favor of an event-driven model. Lambda is an essential service for microservices architecture on AWS.

Networking 

The networking resources and tools on the AWS platform give developers the ability to manage their microservices on AWS and their performance levels. The networking tools of note are:

  • AWS Cloud Map
  • AWS App Mesh
  • Load Balancer 
  • Amazon API Gateway 

AWS Cloud Map

Cloud resources are dynamic and can be challenging to manage during mobile and web developmentAWS Cloud Map is a service discovery tool to help developers manage cloud resources

Cloud Map gives developers the ability to name custom cloud resources being used in their app, and it maintains the locations of these dynamic resources. 

When utilizing a microservices architecture on AWS, managing cloud resources and other AWS services is critical, which is why a service discovery tool like Cloud Map is so important.

AWS App Mesh 

The significant difficulty presented by the microservices architecture on AWS is managing communications between services. App Mesh standardizes the communications between your app’s microservices on AWS.

This gives developers greater control and visibility over their microservices architecture and ensures a high level of availability. 

When there is a communication breakdown between microservices on AWS the User Interface and experience of your application can be negatively impacted.

Load Balancer

AWS includes separate load balancers for the application and the network. This ensures low latency speeds, ensuring a faster, more reliable User Experience. 

AWS elastic load balancing ensures that incoming traffic is automatically distributed so your microservices architecture is never overwhelmed by user demand.

Microservices architecture on AWS benefits greatly from using a network load balancer to manage traffic. Without an application load balancer, the scalability of the microservices architecture is significantly diminished.

Amazon API Gateway 

Microservices are connected via API. Your microservices app likely has hundreds or thousands of well-defined APIs in use. Amazon API Gateway offers developers everything they need to comprehensively manage their APIs.

This tool can process hundreds of thousands of concurrent API calls and manage traffic, authorizations, live monitoring, and API updates. Without an API gateway, implementing a microservices architecture on AWS would be next to impossible.  

Storage 

Data storage is a significant part of any application, website, or microservices architecture on AWS. AWS is popular because of the secure, scalable storage solutions it provides organizations.

The storage tools that are most important to app developers interested in implementing microservices architecture on AWS are:

Amazon ElastiCache

Information retrieval speed is one of the critical facets of app performance in software development. ElastiCache improves performance by retrieving information from in-memory caches.

This enhances the performance of applications considerably when compared with disk-based relational databases

Developers choose microservices architecture to deliver the best possible performance levels. Elasticache is a critical component of microservices architecture on AWS.

Amazon S3

Object storage is a crucial part of any app using microservices architecture on AWS. S3 provides developers with secure, scalable object storage.

In addition, Amazon S3 provides highly reliable storage for all data, no matter the size. 

Without secure, scalable storage, business capabilities are hampered. Modern software development relies on secure data storage. When building microservices on AWS, developers choose S3 for their storage needs.

Messaging 

Since microservices are a collection of features working together, inter-process communication is vital to ensure the app’s functionality and User Interface. Developers can utilize the following tools for messaging:

Amazon SNS

SNS (Simple Notification Service) is Amazon’s fully managed publishing and subscription messaging service. Developers rely on this service to simplify the decoupling of microservices on AWS and scale serverless applications and distributed systems. 

Amazon Simple Notification Service is a fully managed pub/sub service that is vital to the performance of microservices on AWS.

Amazon SQS

SQS (Simple Queue Service) is Amazon’s fully managed message queuing service. SQS is also used for many of the same things SNS is used for, mainly decoupling microservices and scaling distributed systems and serverless applications. 

However, Amazon Simple Queue Service is mainly used for message queuing in distributed systems, serverless applications, and microservices on AWS.

DevOps

Amazon Web Services’ DevOps tools give software development teams the ability to comprehensively manage the lifecycle of their code with two essential resources:

  • AWS Developer Tools 
  • Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR)

AWS Developer Tools 

AWS Developer Tools is a complete suite of services that enables DevOps teams to continuously deliver software and updates. Using AWS Developer Tools, quality assurance teams can easily version control their code, build, test, and deploy their microservices app to their on-premises environment or AWS. 

When using a microservices architecture on AWS, continuous integration and delivery are simplified. Keep your applications and other services updated and ensure your users always have the latest version of your application.

Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR)

Amazon ECR is fully integrated with ECS making the development to production workflow for containers secure and straightforward. ECR is a managed Docker container registry that developers use to store, manage, and deploy Docker container images. 

With Amazon ECR, developers can deploy artifacts and images anywhere they are running their application. This is a significant benefit to a microservices architecture on AWS and gives development teams more flexibility.

Monitoring 

Finally, monitoring real-time performance levels is often critical for developers. AWS has a set of tools to help teams monitor their microservices on AWS. These tools include:

  • AWS X-Ray
  • Amazon CloudTrail
  • Amazon CloudWatch 

AWS X-Ray

AWS X-Ray gives developers a complete overview of requests as they travel through their apps. The X-Ray can also be used to display a map of an app’s underlying components.

Since multiple microservices work together to handle a single request, this comprehensive overview simplifies monitoring and troubleshooting complex microservice interactions. 

Typically, building microservices comes with operational complexity as several independent services communicate and work together to provide a singular application.

Without the ability to simply view all microservices on AWS and how they are related to one another, implementing microservices architectures becomes far more complicated and time-consuming.

Amazon CloudTrail

CloudTrail is used for logging and monitoring activity across the infrastructure of your microservices app. This tool dramatically simplifies security analysis, but it can also track resource changes and troubleshoot issues with your microservices workflow. 

Without AWS CloudTrail securing AWS microservices for an entire application would be difficult and add additional layers of operational complexity.

AWS customers build microservices in many different ways. However, they typically use several AWS microservices and AWS tools to create a single service for their users.

CloudTrail makes it easy to manage AWS microservices in one place.

Amazon CloudWatch 

CloudWatch is used to monitor log files, track metrics, and automatically react to changes to your services. If your microservices architecture is complex, CloudWatch can help you simplify the management and security of your resources. 

CloudWatch lets development teams monitor the individual microservice building blocks of their entire application. Microservices architectures can be difficult to manage without a comprehensive monitoring tool.

Additional AWS Services

While we have covered some of the best AWS services for implementing microservices on AWS, we have hardly scratched the surface of every tool and service AWS has to offer.

Some of the other services that are popular with AWS microservices architecture are AWS Fargate, Amazon Aurora, Amazon RDS, AWS CloudFormation, and Amazon CloudFront.

If your organization is interested in implementing microservices on AWS, you will want to thoroughly explore all of the services AWS has to offer. There are hundreds of services on AWS that can be helpful when implementing microservices.

The Benefits of a Microservices Architecture

Microservices describe an architectural and organizational approach to software development. There are several benefits to this development approach, including:

  • Scalability
  • Fault tolerance
  • Easy deployment
  • Tech agnostic
  • And so much more

If you want to encourage a development culture of continuous integration and continuous delivery, microservices implementation is the best choice for your business.

With an AWS microservices architecture, your app will scale automatically to meet the real-time demands of users.

Your application will be less susceptible to a fault since every component of the application functions independently. If one microservice fails, your entire app won’t crash.

With an AWS microservices architecture, deployment is a simple matter of updating the latest code you want users to have. Your organization doesn’t have to wait for users to make updates on their end to ensure they have the latest version of your product.

For many developers choosing the right programming languages and frameworks can be difficult. While certain technologies might be great for one aspect of an application, they might not be great for other components.

An AWS microservices architecture wins for development teams because each component is independent. Your development team can use different programming languages and frameworks for each microservice to deliver the best technology for the service and match your development team’s skill set.

The microservice architectural and organizational approach is perfect for modern organizations that want to deliver winning experiences.

Final Thoughts 

AWS is the leading platform for microservice app development. As you can see, there are many quality resources on the AWS platform that make creating, managing, and securing a microservices app easier.

If you need help creating an app that uses microservices architecture, reach out to a development partner. A partner will help your organization utilize and understand all available AWS microservices resources. 

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