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The role of Azure Microservices.


Competitive business pressures continue to demand that applications evolve to maintain an edge. Yet, it is still an ongoing challenge for many companies to make their applications available, scalable, and agile, even with the latest technology and resources. A 24×7 assessment of features and functionality is often required in conjunction with regular operations. For example, it no longer makes sense to have a maintenance window to perform website updates. A site that is even temporarily down may not deliver what the customer wants when they want it, which may drive customers to competitors’ sites for faster results. Failure to meet customer demands can mean the difference between keeping or losing business.

Integration and the ability to scale and remain competitive happens when connecting Azure Microservices together in a workflow at cloud scale. Azure Microservice applications are composed of small, independent, and scalable customer-focused services that communicate with each other using standard protocols with well-defined interfaces. They are independently deployable units of code that are the opposite of the traditional massive and complex approach to integration. Microservices help you maintain the edge needed in our increasingly competitive business world.

Monolithic application models

For decades, application development has been dependent on the cost, time, and complexity of provisioning new hardware, whether physical or virtual. The impact on mission-critical applications is even more pronounced because high uptime requires an available infrastructure. When IT infrastructure is static, applications are written to be statically sized and designed for specific hardware. For example, when virtualized and when applications are minimized to reduce the hardware impact, it is often into a three-tier model: the web, business logic, and data tiers where each tier is still its own monolith. When load causes an application to outgrow its hardware, upgrades are often required to add capacity.

A scheme of a three-tier monolithic application

The monolithic application model results in inefficiencies and workarounds. Developers create tight connections between unrelated application services within tiers. A change to any application service, even small ones, requires its entire tier to be retested and redeployed. A hardware failure can send the entire application into a spiral.

Another challenge facing monolithic applications that took advantage of a tiered approach was the ability to deliver fast performance with data stored in the backend tier. A typical approach was to introduce intermediate caches as a buffer against the inefficiencies caused by separating compute and data; however, unused hardware resources also raised costs and added development and update complexities.

Microservices architecture and the cloud

Monolithic architecture still makes sense on some limited scales; however, microservices are far more suited to the agility, scale, and reliability requirements of most modern cloud applications. A microservices application comprises many independent components that complement and support each other to deliver the application’s overall functionality. The term microservice focuses on services small enough to reflect a single function. Each service has well-defined contracts to communicate and share data among other microservices. Microservices also version and update independently of each other.

An infographic of a Monolithic to Microserices architecture

Microservice-based applications enable the separation of the application from the underlying infrastructure on which it runs. Unlike monolithic applications where developers declare resource requirements to IT, microservices declare their resource requirements to a distributed software system known as a cluster manager that schedules, or places, them onto machines assigned to the cluster to maximize the cluster’s overall resource utilization. Because microservices are commonly packaged as containers and often fit within a single server or virtual machine, their deployment is fast, and they can be densely packed to minimize the cluster’s scale requirements.

Microservice application platforms

Experience running cloud-scale Microsoft services like Bing and Cortana have shown firsthand the complexities associated with designing, developing, and deploying large applications at cloud scale. Frequent updates to large-scale, always-on applications are a challenge, no matter how well designed the application. Just dropping microservices into virtual machines or even containers does not enable the full potential of the microservices approach, which requires a microservices application platform with DevOps-focused tooling.

A full-featured microservices application platform provides all the microservices architecture benefits of cost efficiency, scalability, and 24×7 availability.

To keep microservices running well, the platform automatically moves instances to healthy VMs or servers when the software or hardware on which they are running fails or must be restarted for upgrades. A microservices platform must be deployable in private and public clouds to support hybrid scenarios where workloads surge from a private cloud to a public one, and to enable public cloud dev/test with production deployment in a private cloud.

An infographic of a Microservices Platform structure

BizTalk features as microservices

Existing BizTalk service and server features are also hosted as microservices. Any of the SaaS connectors may be used to leverage BizTalk Microservices with their existing protocols to build an application integration and workflow engine to microservices.

An infographic of BizTalk features as Microservices


The computing world has changed forever with the advent of the cloud. Cloud gives developers access to infrastructure instantly, cheaply, and at infinite scales. The demands of modern business have strained monolithic architectures and resulted in the rise of microservices-based applications. With a comprehensive cloud microservices platform, developers can create applications that support massive scale with high performance, high availability, cost effectiveness, and independent lifecycle management, across public clouds and private clouds. In summary, microservices are an application revolution.

The TwoConnect Edge

TwoConnect leverages Microsoft Azure to integrate cloud services and on-premises applications and models, and creates, tests, and deploys custom APIs. We help you achieve a smooth transition from initial start-up to steady-state operations, after which we provide you with the full complement of documentation and training you need to run your environment effectively.

Our team of amazing Microsoft MVPs, Azure Developers (all certified in latest exam AZ-203), development managers, trainers, and our extended worldwide community of integration experts with whom we’ve partnered for over two decades are here to help you build world-class solutions.

Read more on Azure Microservices and Service Fabric.