What The eCommerce CTO Needs to Know About Microservices

  • Posted by: Recode

eCommerce CTOs these days often find themselves struggling to enable seamless, omnichannel digital-first customer experiences. Just as they introduce a new feature, they realize that a new trend is now taking the world by storm.

We’re here to tell you that quickly adapting the eCommerce website to align with these innovations won’t come easily without embracing the world of microservices! 

What are Microservices?

Microservices has been defined as “an approach to application development in which a large application is built from modular components or services”. Instead of building an application or website in a monolithic manner, teams can build different modules using a simple, well-defined interface, such as an API, to communicate with other sets of services.

Unlike monolithic architectures, where the different modules or processes are tightly coupled and run a single service, a microservices architecture allows applications to be built as separate components. Since each service runs independently and performs a single function, it is easier for teams to update or scale it to meet evolving demands. This is an enormous improvement from the monolithic era, where any spike in demand or change in the feature set required teams to recode the entire application. Imagine the complexity as the code base grows! 

Why Should eCommerce CTOs Care About Microservices?

Despite the increasing footfall in brick-and-mortar stores, eCommerce continues to be a preferred mode of shopping for millions of customers across the globe. But with new trends, technologies, and delivery options growing, eCommerce CTOs are having a tough time keeping their boat afloat. Growing cyber and data security challenges, the increasing focus on omnichannel consistency, and increased competition has made eCommerce operations extremely tricky.  

In a highly dynamic and competitive landscape, how can eCommerce CTOs attract and retain customers? How do they outdo the competition? How do they quickly and securely launch new features? How do they streamline their return and refund policies? How do they keep up with the slew of new payment and delivery options? 

Well, the answer to all these questions is microservices. Let’s consider a use case.  

  • Imagine an eCommerce company offering different digital modes of payment for customers to purchase products. But as customers get increasingly interested in blockchain, the company feels the pressure to enable blockchain-based payments as well. 

  • In a traditional monolithic scenario, this would have meant making complex changes to the underlying code and testing and deploying them in a live environment. Not only does this risk the performance of the overall eCommerce application, but it also increases the chances of downtime or, worse still, a crash. 

  • In contrast, in a microservices scenario, teams need to pick up the payment component, integrate necessary blockchain elements into it, and launch the new feature on the eCommerce site – without risk of interruption. Even if any disruption occurs in the payment module, it won’t disrupt the performance of the entire application. Teams can proactively take steps to resolve the malfunction.

What Benefits Do Microservices Offer in the eCommerce Context?

eCommerce CTOs have several responsibilities on their shoulders — from managing technology budgets to updating and modernizing the website to meet evolving market and customer demands. Add to it the need to supervise all technology-related functions, including the design and development of the eCommerce site, quality assurance, testing, technical support, and more. And the requirement to oversee security, disaster recovery, and business continuity operations of the organization. 

For today’s CTOs, staying on top of technological advances while ensuring the eCommerce website continues to meet the needs of the customer base seamlessly and securely isn’t easy. Thankfully, microservices bring forth capabilities to handle all these responsibilities with ease. 

Here’s an example. With over 232.5 million subscribers, Netflix is one of the world’s fastest-growing streaming services companies in the world. As it embarked on an unstoppable growth path, it soon realized the need for a reliable infrastructure with no single point of failure. In addition to migrating the IT infrastructure to the cloud, Netflix also began replacing its monolithic programs with small and manageable microservices components. 

Microservices allow the streaming company to break big programs into smaller software components via the separation of concerns and efficient data encapsulation. This helps the company easily change services, enabling faster deployments while preventing issues from affecting other running services. 

Adopting a microservices architecture can empower eCommerce CTOs to: 

  • Quickly make changes to their website and address evolving customer needs to the T. 

  • Integrate new features into the eCommerce site while ensuring a beautiful design and easy-to-use user interface. 

  • Build different services or modules simultaneously without worrying about performance issues or downtime. 

  • Rebuild and modernize their website in a phased manner, replacing each business function with a microservice while boosting overall functionality. 

  • Make transformative changes to different modules by creating, modifying, testing, and implementing them independently and evolving the eCommerce presence gradually.

  • Leverage cloud-native capabilities to host microservices on different cloud instances based on their bandwidth requirements and optimize the overall infrastructure.

In a Nutshell

Changing trends in shopping behaviors and omnichannel expectations have put eCommerce CTOs in a tight spot. Monolithic architectures make evolving and extending eCommerce capabilities a herculean task. A microservices architecture, on the other hand, allows CTOs to experiment with new functionalities, technologies, and capabilities and respond to new trends with increased agility and minimal downtime. 

Build a seamless digital-first eCommerce website today and witness a huge improvement in availability, latency, scalability, and resilience with microservices. Talk to our experts to learn more.

Author: Recode

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