In the fall of 2017, Red Hat conducted a microservices-focused survey among Red Hat JBoss Middleware and Red Hat OpenShift users. The goal of the survey was to better understand how real-life users are using microservices, what major advantages they are seeing from using microservices, the challenges that come with microservices, how to overcome these challenges, and finally the leg up that microservices can give over the competition.
While microservices can certainly be used for greenfield projects, the survey suggests that this is not the sole source of value. In fact, more than half of respondents indicate that they are also using microservices to re-architect existing projects. The reality we see is that microservices can offer value to users along their IT transformation journey — whether they are just looking to update their current application portfolio or are gearing up for new initiatives.
Another key detail that the survey uncovered is that there is no one "right" runtime, platform or framework to be able to develop microservices. Respondents understand the need for using the right tool for the right task, and 87 percent understood that microservices can be used successfully in tandem with other technologies.
In terms of the benefits of microservices that respondents anticipate seeing, the top six according to survey respondents are:
1. Continuous integration / continuous deployment (CI/CD) (64%)
2. Agility (64%)
3. Improved scalability (61%)
4. Faster time-to-market (56%)
5. Easier debugging and maintenance (44%)
6. Increased resilience (41%)
Some respondents have been able to begin realizing these benefits in as short as six months.
Unfortunately, like all new technologies, microservices do not come without its own set of challenges. Specific challenges identified by respondents include:
1. Corporate culture and organizational challenges (57%)
2. Microservices management (47%)
3. Diagnostics and monitoring (44%)
4. Implementation time and resources (33%)
Microservices represents a shift in how software is developed, which means that it can disrupt both technical workflows and organizational processes. Before incorporating microservices, organizations should first understand whether or not they have the necessary skills in-house, and also honestly answer how much change the organization can accommodate. Then they will be in a better position to determine whether to re-train employees to build the skills necessary to successfully implement microservices or further reorganization is needed.
Bringing in a third-party to help with this evaluation and transformation can objectively provide advice and best practices for a successful journey. In fact, some respondents indicated that they are using vendor subject matter experts as trusted advisors for microservices.
Microservices have been gaining acceptance across IT organizations and are a good fit for cloud-native development, and the faster you can start the process of introducing them into your organization, the faster you can see the benefits they can bring come to life.