Monitoring is a vital component of a microservices architecture. While breaking applications into component microservices offers many benefits, it also creates complexity. Microservices need to communicate with one another, and each individually created and updated component must work with other components, with a minimum of latency. So when managing an application composed of microservices, you're managing a network of interrelated components. Effective management of that network is essential to overall reliability.
Monitoring and observability are easier for developers who already have a DevOps/Agile mindset. As with those approaches, microservices rely on automation and collaboration across all facets of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Config management, CI/CD servers, APM, network monitoring, dashboards, alert automation and incident management are basics for teams running microservices.
Two essential components of microservices monitoring are basic monitoring and rapid application deployment.
- Basic monitoring: It's essential to be able to quickly detect problems that were not caught in the testing phase. The baseline here is detecting technical issues (counting errors, service availability, etc.) but it's also worth monitoring business issues (such as detecting a drop in orders). If a sudden problem appears, you can quickly roll back independent services and operating systems.
- Rapid application deployment: With so many services that need managing, administrators need to be able to quickly deploy them — both in test environments and in production — and generally in no more than a couple of hours. Some manual intervention is all right in the early stages, but you'll be looking to fully automate it soon.
These capabilities imply an important organizational shift — close collaboration between developers and operations — seen in DevOps Culture. This collaboration is needed to ensure that provisioning and deployment can be done rapidly. It's also important to ensure you can react quickly when your monitoring indicates a problem.
With distributed systems, different teams can work toward a culture of observability — including better orchestration, load balancing and fault isolation.
Of course, monitoring is the forward-positioned response to maintaining a microservices architecture. When an anomaly is detected, you also need to respond. It's important to have an alerting process and incident response plan that lets you respond promptly and effectively.