TMCnet Feature
October 06, 2021

What is Microservice Monitoring & Why Is It Important?

As software companies adapt to DevOps and cross-functional teams, a new method of developing software systems found its way on the market. This technology is called microservice architecture (or microservices) and offers the possibility of breaking monolithic architectures into modular components.

In short, microservices make software systems more agile and flexible. The technology is still in its early adoption phase and has been implemented only by giants like Netflix, PayPal (News - Alert), or Amazon (in certain systems).

Therefore, let’s have a look at why microservices have a different approach to security and why they need monitoring.

Modern Solutions to Evolving Cybercriminals

The technology sounds attractive for both software developers and end-user customers as it promises shorter update times, lower editing costs, and quicker bug fixes. However, it also means that security teams must conceive new security patterns and practices, which may lead to all sorts of undiscovered vulnerabilities. This is even more important nowadays when cybercriminals use their own modern methods to break through advanced protection systems.

Therefore, to keep track of everything, companies also need a consolidated view of microservices logs before they can even consider implementing such a technology.

What Exactly is Microservice Architecture?

Microservices are designed to break apart the monolithic architecture and turn all software systems into scalable units, with a modular structure that can be easily modified without having to change the entire structure.

For instance, a monolith application is very difficult to update or customize because you have to do so with all the systems in the unit. Moreover, changing a small section of the code often means having to deploy a new version of the software (which implies a new round of costs and effort).

Microservices break the unit into modules. Put in simple terms, applications designed with this architecture work as a suite of small services, each running independently of the main application. Therefore, if the developer wants to upgrade or change a feature, they just have to identify the service that’s running it, make the change, and then deploy only that service.

Even more, not all services have to be written in the same programming language. This makes scaling an existing project incredibly easy. Additionally, each service can use a different data storage method, which makes it more difficult for cybercriminals to access the entire data structure behind the app.

In summary, here are the main benefits of the microservice architecture:

  • Easier to deploy
  • Simple to understand (the functions are less dependent so code is easy to follow)
  • Code can be reused in other apps
  • Quicker to identify a bug’s source
  • Accepts different technologies in the same system (easier to change out of date code by adding a module in a more modern language)

The microservice style works well with cross-functional teams because members don’t work on a single layer of the app; they work on a service. Additionally, the developer will own the app for its lifespan, so it can perform changes and updates as they feel necessary.

Microservice Monitoring

As we already mentioned, microservices can be used for both building new systems and rejuvenating old ones. This means that, in a short while, most software systems (online and offline) will work based on microservices.

This is good news. It means the world of software will be more flexible and agile, bringing the overall cost of production down. On the other hand, it’s fairly easy to lose control of your systems without proper monitoring. As the number of modules increases, it’s impossible to keep track of functions, features, and how these services interact with one another.

When this happens, it’s easy for cybercriminals to take over modules one-by-one, until they take hold of the entire system. The microservice architecture works like the human body - when one or a few of its components don’t function right or are taken over by pathogens, the entire body is in danger of failing.

Therefore, monitoring is a crucial element of the microservice architecture. When you have a well-designed monitoring system, you know the health state of the app and can easily isolate any malfunctioning modules until you identify the issue.

Key Takeaways

New technologies can be found in a wide range of domains, but it’s important to implement the proper monitoring tools to keep track of their behavior and progress. Also, when it comes to cyber threats, new technologies don’t deter ill-intended actors as much as we’d like to think.

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