Tame microservices complexity with APIs

APIs not only bridge the gap between microservices and traditional systems, they make microservices easier to build and manage

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The Mule runtime can execute a microservice application artifact. The application artifact is a self-contained Zip file that contains all the required libraries and configuration. This makes it easy to bundle or layer runtime installation and application artifacts as a single container image.

anypoint mule microservice artifact

Anatomy of a Mule microservice artifact. 

When running in a microservices model, the Mule runtime and application are combined in a container. The Mule application container image can be layered atop the Mule runtime container image. Each service is a thin layer atop the runtime container, overriding MULE_INSTALL_DIR/apps. In this model, the Mule microservice lifecycle (start/stop) is bound natively to the container's lifecycle, making it easy to work with container orchestration management systems.

The Anypoint Runtime Manager provides a single operational plane to manage both the microservice implementations built with the Anypoint Platform and the API gateways. The Anypoint Runtime Manager can either be hosted by MuleSoft or deployed as part of the management layer of a PaaS infrastructure, providing an operational API to orchestrate microservice deployments, API monitoring, analytics-based promotion, and other concerns. 

There is no question that microservices are here to stay. The benefits of rapid, safe microservices deployments are too great to ignore. However, no approach is the right fit for all use cases. One of the major challenges will be learning to mix and match microservices with the many other architectural styles in the enterprise.

Enterprises must also learn to manage the speed and flexibility that microservices enable and the complexity that microservices create. Microservices encourage much more frequent iterations than traditional applications, with production changes in the tens to hundreds a day being common. The large numbers of microservices that make up successful deployments require an effective, automated means to manage them. Finally, few enterprises can completely replace their existing assets and investments with all-new, microservice-based architectures, so a coexistence strategy is required.

Managed APIs provide an effective, standardized option to manage microservices at scale, while also supporting and leveraging the rest of the enterprise’s assets. The value of APIs as the practical means to manage microservice complexity in the composable enterprise has never been clearer.

Conor Curlett is principal architect in the office of the CTO at MuleSoft.

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This story, "Tame microservices complexity with APIs" was originally published by InfoWorld.

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