5 Tips for Transitioning from a Monolith to Microservices and Micro Frontends

Looking to transition away from your legacy monolith application architecture? Here are 5 tips to help you in the transition.

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Entando - Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Tags: Micro Frontends Microservices

Microservices and micro frontends play a key role in modernizing web applications, particularly when an enterprise grows and a monolithic structure begins to hamper the organization’s technology goals.

When decisions are slowed and updates are delayed due to the complexity of your organization, your code, or both, you may consider transitioning away from your legacy application’s current architecture.

Modernizing your application architecture to consist of microservices and micro frontends will benefit your increasingly complex enterprise in a number of ways. For example, you will be able to empower autonomous teams to make decisions quickly and without having to contend with red tape. You will also be able to take a more iterative approach to updates to increase the speed of innovation, as well as reuse certain services across multiple applications to increase overall efficiency.

Your organization may have the goal of transitioning from a monolith to microservices and micro frontends, but the modernization process presents any number of challenges.

Here are 5 tips as you make the move.

1. Begin with the end in mind.

Before you set out to transition from a monolith to a microservices and micro frontends architecture, decide what capabilities you want to decouple into microservices and micro frontends. Decoupling certain capabilities will be more important than others.

Your specific company needs and goals will determine how small you want to shrink your monolith. You may not want to transition certain capabilities at all, depending on the level of challenge a microservice or micro frontend will present relative to the added efficiency it would provide.

Intentionality is key. Think strategically about which microservices and micro frontends would give you the best ROI for your team’s effort. This new architecture will add a layer of complexity to your application’s code, so you’ll need to ensure that the added complexity comes with added benefits.

The capabilities of your application that are vital to your business and that are likely to change frequently should be developed as microservices and micro frontends.

2. Transition gradually, beginning with the least complex functions.

While adopting a “big bang” migration methodology may give your organization a clean slate by building an entirely new application from scratch, it also involves a considerable amount of risk. A more measured approach is to transition your legacy application incrementally.

Decouple capabilities gradually, beginning with the functionalities that are the least complex and vital to your application. Then continue transitioning capabilities with increasing levels of complexity, eventually moving to your most difficult transitions.

3. Develop new features as microservices or micro frontends.

One of the best times to implement a new architecture is when you are developing something new from scratch. While it may not be feasible to build an entirely new application with a microservice and micro frontend architecture, you can add new components in this way.

When your team develops new features for your application, it serves as an excellent opportunity to develop them as microservices and micro frontends, decreasing the relative size of your monolith.

By adding new capabilities as services rather than as part of the monolith, you will begin to experience the benefits of a microservice and micro frontend structure. And at the very least, you won’t add any more complexity to the monolith that you’re already seeking to make more manageable.

4. Focus on automating testing and deployments.

In order to prepare your organization for the intricacies of a microservice and micro frontend architecture, you will need to focus on building automation and testing into every phase of development, deployment, and release cycles.

This will mean implementing a pipeline wherein automated tests and deployments allow for continuous integration and delivery. Once you have established these systems with your monolith, you are able to more easily extend them to microservices and micro frontends.

Given its added complexity, the application should be developed to tolerate the failure of a given service. Each service should be closely monitored in real time by the responsible team, and, if possible, the process of detecting a failure and restoring the service should be automated.

5. Establish an organizational culture around DevOps practices.

A successful transition from a monolithic structure to an ecosystem of microservices and micro frontends requires changes to your organizational structure. Without embracing a DevOps philosophy, your organization will not be able to effectively make the move.

Take some time to think about any organizational structures, policies, or procedures that serve as barriers to collaboration across teams. You may need to reimagine how decisions are made. Focus on cultivating cross-functional teams that are empowered to develop their own creative solutions and react quickly to problems and opportunities as they arise.

Your application architecture and organizational culture needs to work in tandem to enable development methodologies that produce modern applications. This transition will require as much emotional intelligence and organizational leadership as it does development expertise. 

Build apps with micoservices and micro frontends on Entando.

When release cycles take months instead of weeks, your business is left unable to deliver modern online experiences. Development bottlenecks slow your ability to make application updates, keeping you from iterating and innovating. And outdated or clunky UX keeps you from winning customers over and retaining them.

So that’s why we created a platform to help you get your ideas to market faster.

Entando is the leading micro frontend platform for building enterprise web apps on Kubernetes. We want to change the way enterprises think about building their apps, sites, and portals in order to innovate more quickly.

With Entando, you can leverage customized blueprints to quickly create micro frontends and assemble them onto a single page. Then reuse UI/UX components across multiple projects via the Entando Component Repository, saving money and increasing development speed. Scale quickly and effectively with Entando’s custom Kubernetes operator, automating the deployment of scalable, self-healing applications.

Entando is open source with available enterprise support. Begin developing on the platform today, and get a quote to see how we can help your enterprise build better apps, sites, and portals--faster.

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Learn How To Create Better Apps, Portals, & Websites--Faster.

This white paper outlines how your organization can accelerate UX innovation by developing with micro frontends on Kubernetes, as well as how a micro frontend platform can help you execute this methodology more effectively.