6 Ways to Prep Your Database for a Microservices Architecture


Many organizations today are turning to microservices to ensure greater, always-on availability for their applications. While many understand the benefits, most don’t know where to start.

A plane is cruising at 36,000 feet when suddenly, one of the engines fails. “Not to worry,” says the pilot over the system, “the three remaining engines are working just fine, so you can go back to your movie.”

This is one of the boons of microservices. For an application that features articles, a shopping cart, order processing functions, recommendations for more content and a comments section, all of these independent functions can be put on their own engine, or server. If one of these were to fail, it’s like the four-engine 747 facing a blowout on the far-left wing – everything else will continue to operate consistently and the plane, or in this case, the application, will continue to run.

Because of this, many organizations today are turning to microservices to ensure greater, always-on availability for their applications. While many understand the benefits, most don’t know where to start.

It’s easy. Let’s start at the beginning – with the database. Below are a few ways organizations can enhance their database to ensure high-availability in a microservice-based application.

1. Ensure easy deployment and management.

When setting up a database, you don’t have much time. Not only does it need to be set-up quickly, but once ready for deployment, it must also be able to run unattended. A microservice is small and self-contained. To move rapidly with each independent microservice, the database must be equipped with the right tools, functions, and services to allow for that. After all, organizations cannot afford to spend a lot of time, or money, at the database layer when releasing to production several times a week.

2. Simplify the scaling process.

The objective of an app is to drive traffic. As attention, popularity, and demand for a project rise, businesses need to scale out. A database should make this a painless process, enabling users to add more cash registers and service desks to your store without having to disrupt any ongoing operations.

3. Run operations in the same environment and manage them with the same tools.

If a microservice, or application for that matter, runs on Docker or Kubernetes, the database has to be able to run on that as well. Any plans to run the application on other environments moving forward? Make sure the database can also adapt. Having a single way to manage and deploy the entire stack frees ops people to do actual work, rather than boring, manual labor.

4. Empower your database to extract, transfer, and load.

For most businesses, they’re preparing and deploying at least one application that includes some service that takes in customer orders, which will likely require a Document Database. From there, the recommendations service will be powered by a Graph Database, while analytics and reporting will use a column store and financial details are recorded in a relational database.

While each of these services themselves run independently, the data collected at the end of each function will likely be passed on to another database and shared throughout your organization. This requires a seamless extract, transfer, and load (ETL) ability that can move data across various models and frameworks (e.g., NoSQL to SQL) without any pauses.

5. Make it multi-model.

To produce as many instances as needed throughout each of these services, invest in a multi-model solution to avoid having to buy multiple databases. While it will save time, money, and lots of pain, it will also minimize the need for third-party plugins, making your database a one-stop solution for all troubleshooting issues.

6. Consider a shared-nothing architecture.

Organizations used to have a single, large database like Oracle or MS SQL Server for all their application data. However, unlike those large databases, a microservice model operating on a shared-nothing architecture can help to ensure strict isolation between services, meaning a user can manage, deploy and update each service independently from the others without any single point of failure.