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No Free Lunch: Microservice Practices Reconsidered in Industry

by   Qilin Xiang, et al.

Microservice architecture advocates a number of technologies and practices such as lightweight container, container orchestration, and DevOps, with the promised benefits of faster delivery, improved scalability, and greater autonomy. However, microservice systems implemented in industry vary a lot in terms of adopted practices and achieved benefits, drastically different from what is advocated in the literature. In this article, we conduct an empirical study, including an online survey with 51 responses and 14 interviews for experienced microservice experts to advance our understanding regarding to microservice practices in industry. As a part of our findings, the empirical study clearly revealed three levels of maturity of microservice systems (from basic to advanced): independent development and deployment, high scalability and availability, and service ecosystem, categorized by the fulfilled benefits of microservices. We also identify 11 practical issues that constrain the microservice capabilities of organizations. For each issue, we summarize the practices that have been explored and adopted in industry, along with the remaining challenges. Our study can help practitioners better position their microservice systems and determine what infrastructures and capabilities are worth investing. Our study can also help researchers better understand industrial microservice practices and identify useful research problems.


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