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Selecting Microservices Design Patterns for Your Business
Selecting Microservices Design Patterns for Your Business

Ever wonder why some businesses can rapidly adapt their software to new market demands while others struggle to keep up? The secret often lies in the realm of microservices architecture, a promising solution for modern software and business application development. This architectural style presents a host of advantages such as heightened scalability, agility, and flexibility, making it a cornerstone of many successful digital transformation strategies. However, to truly harness its power and improve your IT operations, it's crucial to possess a deep understanding of the appropriate microservices design patterns. These patterns serve as a critical framework for ensuring the successful design, implementation, and management of microservices-based applications. In this article, we'll explore the most important patterns for microservices architecture that every software engineer and IT professional should be familiar with. By mastering these patterns, you'll be well-equipped to create robust, resilient, and manageable software with ease. Ready to unlock the potential of microservices for your business? Let's begin!

Principles of Microservice architecture

To fully comprehend the intricacies of microservices design patterns, it is imperative to understand the foundational principles that underpin microservice architecture. These principles are non-negotiable and define the essence of this architectural style:

Independent and Autonomous Services: The fundamental tenet of microservice architecture is the independence of services. Each service is designed to operate independently and can be deployed in isolation, eliminating interdependencies and facilitating more agile development and deployment processes.

Scalability: Microservices architecture inherently supports scalability. Each microservice can scale based on demand, enabling the system to respond efficiently to varying load requirements, thereby optimizing resource utilization and cost-effectiveness.

Decentralization: This architecture champions the principle of decentralization, eliminating the monolithic approach that constrains development teams. This empowers development teams to work independently, enhancing productivity and mitigating the risks associated with a single point of failure.

Resilience: A resilient system is a cornerstone of microservice architecture. This means that in the event of a service failure, the software has the capability to recover quickly, minimizing downtime and ensuring the continuity of service.

Real-Time Load Balancing: Microservices architecture should efficiently distribute incoming traffic across multiple backend servers, preventing overloading of a single server and ensuring an equitable distribution of workload.

Availability: High availability is another crucial principle of this architectural style. Regardless of potential failures, the system should consistently deliver uninterrupted service to its clients. Achieving this requires careful configuration and stringent adherence to best practices.

Continuous Delivery through DevOps Integration: Microservices architecture mandates an automated approach to the software development lifecycle. By integrating DevOps practices, modifications can be seamlessly built, tested, configured, and deployed, accelerating time to market and improving software quality.

Seamless API Integration and Continuous Monitoring: To maintain operational excellence, microservices architecture necessitates continuous monitoring of system performance, availability, and functional correctness. This necessitates the seamless integration of APIs and the application of robust monitoring tools.

Auto-provisioning: This principle involves each service functioning autonomously within its dedicated container, enhancing the isolation of services and contributing to improved system stability and security.

Fault Tolerance: Microservice architecture must ensure the system maintains functionality even in the event of service failure, promoting system robustness and improving the user experience.

Adherence to these principles is critical for the successful implementation of microservice architecture. Deviation from these principles may compromise the integrity of the system and negatively impact the benefits offered by this architectural style.

Design Patterns for Microservices

Microservices design patterns are fundamental to creating robust, scalable, and easily maintainable microservices-based applications. The implementation of these patterns streamlines development and significantly improves the quality and maintainability of the resulting applications. Recognizing and applying these patterns effectively can often be the difference between the success and failure of a microservices-based project. However, it's important to remember that each pattern comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. In the forthcoming discussion, we will delve into each of these design patterns, providing an in-depth exploration to equip you with the knowledge to leverage them effectively in your own projects.


Decomposition Patterns

The process of decomposition entails the partitioning of a monolithic application into microservices that are organized according to functional boundaries. The objective of this pattern is to enhance maintainability and resilience by enabling each microservice to operate autonomously.

  1. Decompose by Business Capability

    The term "business capability" is a fundamental concept utilized in business architecture modeling. Value generation is a fundamental objective of business operations. A business capability typically aligns with a business object.

  2. Decompose by Subdomain

    This task involves defining services that align with the subdomains of Domain-Driven Design (DDD). Domain-Driven Design establishes the application's domain or problem space. Domains have subdomains. Each subdomain is associated with a distinct segment of the business. Subdomain classifications include:

    Core - The enterprise's core is the software's most valuable part.
    Supporting- "Supporting" activities or features are related to core business operations but do not provide a competitive advantage. These solutions can be internal or outsourced.

    Generic- Generic solutions use readily available software and are not tailored to a specific organization.

  3. Decompose by Transactions / Two-phase commit (2pc) pattern

    Services can be decomposed based on transactions. A distributed transaction involves two critical steps:

    Prepare Phase: In this step, all parties involved in the transaction commit and inform the coordinator about their readiness for closure.

    Commit or Rollback Phase: The transaction coordinator instructs all participants to either commit or rollback.

    It's important to note that the 2PC protocol tends to be slower than single microservice operations, making it less suitable for high-load scenarios.

  4. Strangler Pattern

    This strategy results in two applications co-existing within the same URI space. Over time, the newly refactored application 'strangles' and replaces the original one. This process involves three steps:

    Transform: Develop a new site that runs parallel to the existing one using modern techniques.

    Coexist: Temporarily maintain the existing site and redirect traffic from it to the new site to gradually implement functionality.

    Eliminate: Remove the obsolete features from the existing site.


  5. Bulkhead Pattern

    To ensure consistent operation of an application, components should be divided into isolated pools. If one pool malfunctions, the remaining pools continue to operate normally. The name 'Bulkhead' comes from the segmentation seen in a ship’s hull. Categorizing separate service instances based on the consumer load and availability requirements helps isolate failures and maintain service functionality for some users during a failure.

  6. Sidecar Pattern

    For isolation and encapsulation, each application component is deployed into a separate container. This pattern resembles a motorcycle sidecar, where a supplementary application is attached to a parent application to extend its capabilities. The sidecar component shares the lifecycle with the parent application, being created and decommissioned concurrently. This pattern is also known as the sidekick pattern.


Integration patterns

Integration patterns are a key aspect of a microservices architecture. They provide a roadmap to enable multiple microservices, possibly employing different protocols like REST or AMQP, to function in harmony. These patterns aim to provide an efficient way for clients to interact with individual microservices without having to handle the intricacies of various protocols. Let's delve into the primary integration patterns:

  1. API Gateway Pattern

    In this pattern, an API gateway serves as a reverse proxy that routes client requests to the relevant microservice, thereby minimizing the need for the client to interact with multiple microservices directly. The API gateway also consolidates the results from different microservices, enhancing security by being the single point of contact for users.


  2. Aggregator Pattern

    It is essential to consider how to coordinate the data generated by each service when decomposing business functionality into smaller logical units of code. This cannot be held accountable to the consumer. The Aggregator pattern is a useful remedy for this problem. This demonstrates the potential for integrating data from multiple services to provide a comprehensive response to the customer. There are two options available.

    • The composite microservice is intended to invoke all required microservices, acquire the data, and transform the data prior to transmitting the output.
    • The API Gateway distributes requests to multiple microservices and aggregates the resulting data before transmitting it to the consumer.

    When implementing any business logic, it is advisable to choose a composite microservice. The API Gateway is a popular alternative solution.


  3. Proxy Pattern

    This pattern involves creating a proxy microservice that invokes other services based on business requirements, eliminating the need for an aggregator on the consumer end.

  4. Gateway Routing Pattern

    The Gateway Routing pattern exposes multiple services through a single endpoint, subsequently routing the requests to the relevant backend microservices. For instance, an e-commerce application can use this pattern to offer a range of services like customer search, shopping cart, discounts, and order history.


  5. Chained Microservice Pattern

    In cases where a single service has multiple dependencies, the Chained Microservice pattern can be used. It enables a sequence of synchronous calls between microservices, ensuring a unified result in response to a given request.

  6. Branch Pattern

    The Branch microservice pattern is a combination of the Aggregator and Chain design patterns. It allows simultaneous processing of requests and responses from multiple microservices, making it an excellent fit for microservices that need to pull data from multiple sources.


  7. Client-Side UI Composition Pattern

    This pattern becomes essential when user experience services need to fetch data from various microservices. Unlike monolithic architecture, where a single call from the user interface fetches data from a backend service, this pattern requires a user interface design segmented into different sections, with each section retrieving data from a distinct backend microservice.

Integration patterns are vital in microservices architecture. They help in the organization of microservices and assist in defining the communication between them. Understanding these patterns will prove invaluable in designing a robust and efficient microservices system.

Database patterns

Database design patterns play a pivotal role in shaping the microservices database architecture. These patterns provide the framework for whether each service should have its own dedicated database or share a common one. Microservices architecture breaks an application into loosely coupled services, which can be independently developed and deployed. Let's explore some of the key database patterns:

  1. Database per Service

    In this pattern, each microservice manages its own database. Communication between the databases of different microservices occurs via well-defined APIs. The database per service pattern promotes scalability, loose coupling between databases, and simplified impact analysis.


  2. Shared Database per Service

    Here, microservices share a common database, with each service accessing it using local ACID transactions. However, sharing a database can counteract some of the core benefits of microservices such as loose coupling and service independence. A single point of failure can crash the entire system if the shared database fails.


  3. Command Query Responsibility Segregation (CQRS)

    The implementation of database-per-service necessitates querying that involves retrieving data from multiple services. This requires the combination of data from different services. The CQRS pattern suggests splitting the application into two components: the command side and the query side.

    • The command side processes Create, Update, and Delete requests.
    • The query side utilizes materialized views to handle the query component.

    The utilization of the event sourcing pattern is common practice in conjunction with it, in order to generate events for every alteration in data. Materialized views are maintained in a current state by subscribing to a continuous stream of events.


  4. Event Sourcing

    This pattern stores the aggregate data as a series of state-altering events. Any changes or additions to the data generate a new event. These events can be stored in a list and replayed at a later time, thereby allowing services to subscribe to and retrieve events via APIs.


  5. Saga Pattern

    To maintain data consistency across services, it is crucial to address the challenge of having separate databases for each service while dealing with business transactions that involve multiple services. Compensating requests are triggered by failed requests. There are two possible implementation methods:

    • Choreography

      Without central coordination, each service produces and monitors events from other services and decides whether any action is needed. Choreography facilitates information and value sharing.


    • Orchestration

      An orchestrator sequences the business logic and makes decisions in a saga. Orchestration is used when all participants in a process are under a single control domain, such as within a single organization.


      Understanding these database design patterns is crucial for designing a robust and efficient microservices system. They help developers make decisions about how to structure and manage data across multiple services.

Observability patterns

Observability in microservices is crucial as it provides development teams with necessary data to identify problems and detect failures. This data is collected using various observability patterns:

  1. Log Aggregation

    In applications comprising multiple services, requests may span across several service instances. Each service instance generates a standardized log file. A centralized logging service aggregates these logs, allowing users to search and analyze log data. Alerts can be set up based on specific log messages to notify users of particular events. For example, the Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) platform includes a log aggregator that collects logs from all its components as well as from applications.

  2. Performance Metrics

    As a microservice architecture expands, monitoring and alerting become crucial for observing transaction patterns and detecting issues in a timely manner. A metrics service collects statistics on individual operations, and these metrics should be aggregated for reporting and alerting. There are two metric aggregation models:

    • Push - the service sends metrics to a metrics service like NewRelic or AppDynamics.
    • Pull - the metrics service retrieves metrics from a service, like Prometheus.
  3. Distributed Tracing

    In microservices architecture, requests often span across multiple services. For effective troubleshooting, it's useful to have end-to-end request tracing. This can be achieved by generating a unique identifier for each incoming request (called a trace ID or transaction ID), which is then propagated across all services and incorporated into all log messages.

  4. Health Check

    In a microservice architecture, a service may be operational but unable to process transactions. Each service should therefore have a health endpoint (like /health) to verify its status. This health check API should assess the status of the host, connectivity to other services/infrastructure, and specific logic.

By implementing these observability patterns, development teams can gain a better understanding of their system's performance and reliability, helping them identify and address issues more effectively.

Cross-Cutting Concern patterns

Modifications to the configuration properties of services and databases may necessitate the developer to rebuild or redeploy the service. This design pattern enables configuration changes without requiring code modification.

  1. External Configuration

    This pattern enables developers to make changes to the configuration properties of services and databases without needing to modify code or redeploy services. All configurations are externalized, allowing the application to load endpoints URLs and credentials when needed. This approach is beneficial when there are variations in the endpoint URL or certain configuration attributes in different environments such as Development (Dev), User Acceptance Testing (UAT), and Quality Assurance (QA).

  2. Service Discovery Pattern

    Unlike in monolithic systems where services are centrally deployed and hosted, the network locations of microservices are constantly changing due to auto-scaling, making it hard to predict their deployment. The service discovery pattern solves this issue by maintaining a "service registry", a centralized server that keeps track of the network locations of microservices. There are two main service discovery patterns that can be used to implement service discovery for microservices:

    • Client-side service discovery
    • Server-side service discovery
  3. Circuit Breaker Pattern

    This pattern addresses the issue of a service being unavailable when called upon to retrieve data. In such scenarios, a request can keep going to the offline service, using bandwidth and slowing things down. The circuit breaker pattern uses a proxy that acts like an electrical circuit breaker, tripping after a certain number of consecutive failures to prevent further issues and allowing time to fix the problem.


  4. Blue-Green Deployment Pattern

    To avoid significant downtime when deploying newer versions of services, the blue-green deployment pattern can be used. This involves having two identical production environments, Blue and Green. At any given time, only one environment is active and handles all production traffic. When a new version of the software is ready for release, it is deployed to the inactive environment and thoroughly tested. Once it's ready to go live, the router switches all incoming requests to the new environment. The old environment remains operational and can be quickly switched back to if a problem is discovered in the new environment, significantly reducing the risk of downtime.


    These patterns provide a comprehensive approach to handling cross-cutting concerns in microservice architectures, improving both the development process and the performance of the resulting system.

How to Choose Microservices Design Patterns?

The selection of appropriate microservices design patterns is reliant upon the specific needs, objectives, and constraints of your application. Each pattern has unique advantages and trade-offs. The key is to carefully choose the patterns that are best suited to your particular use case. Below are some steps that can assist you in selecting the appropriate microservices design patterns:

  1. Assess Your Application's Requirements: Begin with an analysis of your application's functional and non-functional requirements, including performance, scalability, maintainability, and security.
  2. Identify Potential Challenges: Identify potential obstacles and issues that your application might face, such as data consistency, fault tolerance, and inter-service communication. Look for patterns that can effectively address these challenges.
  3. Evaluate Pros and Cons: Consider the implications of each design pattern, including increased complexity, resource usage, or latency. Determine whether these trade-offs are acceptable for your application.
  4. Prioritize Patterns: Choose patterns that align with your application's main objectives.
  5. Consider Your Technology Stack: Opt for patterns that integrate well with your current technology stack and are supported by the tools and platforms you plan to use. This will allow you to leverage your existing expertise and resources.
  6. Analyze Existing Implementations: Look at how microservices design patterns have been implemented in similar applications or industries. Learn from their experiences and adapt the patterns to suit your specific needs.
  7. Test and Refine: Before deploying the chosen patterns across your entire application, test them in a small, controlled environment to validate their effectiveness and make necessary adjustments.

Discover the optimal microservices design patterns for your application to ensure seamless scalability while preserving its maintainability, flexibility, and reliability. Keep in mind that deciding on the best patterns is an ongoing process that calls for regular assessment and adjustment to stay abreast of the evolving demands of your application.

Choosing the right microservices design patterns can ensure scalability while preserving maintainability, flexibility, and reliability. However, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather a dynamic approach that necessitates consistent evaluation and fine-tuning. If you are looking for an enterprise grade microservices solution to take your business to the next level, Simply drop us an email at