Transforming a Legacy Monolith Platform: A Strangler Fig Approach to Microservices on the Cloud: A Case Study
In the rapidly evolving landscape of online photography and image-sharing, a leading USA-based photography company with a rich history spanning nearly two decades found itself at a crossroads. Originally developed as a monolithic application based on Java 6, the platform had grown organically over the years, incorporating numerous features, sub-modules, and enhancements. As the business continued to thrive, the monolithic architecture became increasingly challenging to develop, maintain, and scale.
To adapt to the changing needs of the business and alleviate the burdens of managing a complex codebase and sharded databases, the company embarked on a transformation journey. The objective was to transition from the monolithic architecture to a modern, microservices-based system, taking full advantage of cloud-native technologies. This case study explores the client's successful adoption of the Strangler Fig Application pattern, its move to microservices, and the consequential benefits realized.
Strangler Fig Application Pattern:
The Strangler Fig Application pattern is an architectural approach that gradually replaces components of a legacy system with new, more efficient ones. In this case, the company began by identifying specific modules within its monolithic application that were prime candidates for microservices. These modules were "strangled" out of the monolith, refactored into standalone microservices, and integrated into the existing ecosystem. https://developer.ibm.com/articles/cl-strangler-application-pattern-microservices-apps-trs/
Microservices and Cloud-Native Transformation:
The company leveraged microservices architecture to break down the monolithic application into smaller, manageable components. Each microservice was designed to address a specific business capability, promoting modularity and agility.
CI/CD Pipeline Transformation:
Concurrently, the Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines were overhauled to support the transition to cloud-native microservices. This involved containerization and orchestration, making it easier to deploy and manage services in a cloud environment.
Migration to the Cloud:
The client opted to host their microservices on cloud infrastructure, benefiting from the scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency that cloud platforms offer. They migrated their existing on-premises applications to the cloud, replicating their previous infrastructure and data architecture.
The transformation from a monolithic architecture to a microservices-based system on the cloud yielded a multitude of benefits for the client:
Faster Development and Deployment:
With microservices, development teams could focus on smaller, independent modules, accelerating development cycles. Deployments became more frequent and efficient, reducing time-to-market for new features and updates.
Scalability on Demand:
Microservices allowed the company to scale individual components as needed, optimizing resource allocation and reducing operational costs. This "right-sizing" approach ensured efficient resource utilization, avoiding over-provisioning.
Modular microservices were easier to maintain and update compared to the monolithic codebase. This reduced the complexity of troubleshooting, debugging, and making changes, leading to increased system stability.
Cloud-native microservices offered high availability and redundancy, minimizing downtime and ensuring business continuity. The Green-Blue application release model allowed for seamless transitions during updates, ensuring a smooth user experience.
By moving to the cloud and adopting microservices, the company could optimize costs by paying only for the resources they used. This eliminated the need for substantial upfront investments in infrastructure.
In conclusion, the client's transition from a monolithic application to a microservices architecture on the cloud, following the Strangler Fig Application pattern, delivered substantial benefits. This transformation empowered the company to respond rapidly to evolving business needs, reduce operational overhead, enhance scalability, and improve overall system reliability. It serves as a compelling example of how established organizations can successfully modernize their core infrastructure to remain competitive in a dynamic digital landscape.