By Aaron Shepherd
It’s often said that the only constant in the technology industry is change. As businesses and industries evolve and adapt to user demands, the software that powers their internal and external processes must also evolve. Microservices are one of the architectural trends which more and more organizations are adopting. Many enterprise companies like Netflix, Amazon, PayPal, Uber, Airbnb, and essentially every other digital business have moved away from monolithic architectures and migrated over to this microservice approach.
According to Market Research Future, the market is increasing at a CAGR of 17%, putting it on pace to reach $33 billion by 2023. However, in certain industries, continued reliance on legacy technology and outdated systems can obstruct the path to necessary technological innovation. This has emerged as a prevalent theme across the hospitality realm as hotel, and travel brands often struggle to scale and grow in tandem with guest and staff demands due to the limitations of their existing infrastructure. Oftentimes, legacy platforms are unable to seamlessly integrate with other applications or offer system updates that effectively address the full suite of needs that a growing hotel or travel brand has and will continue to have. Fortunately, this is where microservices.
What are Microservices?
Microservice architecture is defined as “an architectural style that structures an application as a collection of loosely coupled services, which implement business capabilities.” Beyond the monolithic design of legacy platforms, microservices allow businesses to break up their software into individual components with disparate functionality, which can be connected (loosely coupled) via APIs to form the larger application ecosystem. In the case of hospitality, this approach allows hoteliers to adopt a “plug-and-play” approach to their hotel technology stack, empowering long-term scalability with cost-effective applications and seamless upgrades, precise functionality, and enhanced processing power. This approach also allows businesses to future-proof themselves to the ever-changing technical landscape of travel.
Benefits of microservices architecture include:
- Reduced costs
- Reduces risks of fail
- Single point of contact
Scalability Drives Success
While businesses are often quick to facilitate consumer-facing upgrades, the technology side of the brand is often neglected, and viewed as a cost to doing business rather than a means to continuously enhance revenue and demand. To this effect, when looking at hotel and travel brands specifically, the biggest barrier to the continued growth is often a lack of technological scalability. After all, if a businesses’ technology can’t scale, how can the business expect to scale?
Simply stated, as consumer demand grows and expectations change, businesses must not only invest in the development of their staff, but also invest in the continued development of the technology their staff uses to do their job effectively. Leveraging a microservice architecture empowers autonomous functionality; applications run independently of each other, which means businesses can add, remove, or update each microservice based on that component’s unique demands. Moreover, by selectively scaling microservice components that require an update, businesses can save money and resources.
Perhaps the most relevant and prolific example of this design can be found in Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS provides on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs to individuals, companies, and governments on a metered pay-as-you-go basis. These services offer brands of all sizes and scale various technical, cloud-based applications and fully featured services that can be used as digital building blocks to empower enhanced agility and innovation. This modern approach to the traditional technology stack allows businesses to create, in theory, any application they need with deep functionality and performance potential.
Eliminate Data Silos and Application Inefficiencies
When we compare the legacy systems of the past to the cloud-based, next-generation platforms of today, it’s easy to identify the limitations of the former. Monolithic systems often adhere to the “jack of all trades, master of none” framework, in which granular functionality is compromised due to the all-encompassing, generalized nature of the platform.
Moreover, when businesses look to build out their technology stack and add in new platforms, legacy systems often cannot integrate with other applications. Without the cross-application functionality offered by open APIs and microservice infrastructure, businesses can fall victim to data silos that negate the efficacy of their digital ecosystem. When considering platform flexibility, microservices architecture empowers horizontal scalability and allows firms to implement components in different programming languages or other technologies.
In the case of system failure, microservices architecture helps to protect the more extensive application through component isolation. Within this loosely coupled environment, if one microservice fails, it’s easy to identify and ensures other parts of the application remain unaffected. For industries and businesses that often deal with a high volume of requests or the exchange of sensitive data across various applications, the pro-active mitigation of platform inefficiencies and failure by way of microservice autonomy is increasingly valuable. Moreover, the isolation of independent platform components makes it easier for businesses to monitor, identify, and solve security issues independently of other parts of the platform when they do arise.
Across industries, we recognize a common theme: those brands that frequently win consumer favor and industry praise are those which continuously push the envelope for innovation. In fact, studies reveal that 89% of technology leaders think the failure to adopt microservices will hurt their company’s ability to compete. Moreover, three quarters of them expect serious professional ramifications (such as being fired, losing out on a promotion or missing out on a bonus) for failed modernization initiatives. The writing is on the wall — we live in an increasingly tech-driven society, and to deny consumers and staff of the digital convenience and enhanced automation offered by a web service-based multi-cloud platform will only serve as a bottleneck to great service and long-term growth. Leaders cannot future-proof their respective businesses without technology that continuously powers evolution and innovation.
Harnessing the power of microservices architecture, businesses can finally tap into deeper functionality from a service-layer perspective, and empower continuous development, integration and refinement of their critical processes in a way that can truly transform and propel their business forward. Microservices aren’t just a thing of the future — they are the future.