Introduction to Microservices Principles

Sathya Molagoda
  • March 24, 2024
  • 6 min read
Play this article


In the ever-evolving landscape of software architecture, microservices have emerged as a transformative approach reshaping the way applications are designed and deployed. At its core, microservices architecture embodies a set of guiding principles that redefine traditional software development practices, offering organizations a pathway to agility, scalability, and resilience. In this article, we embark on a journey through the foundational principles that underpin microservices architecture, exploring how each principle contributes to the agility, robustness, and adaptability of microservices-based systems. From the autonomy of services to the importance of high cohesion and low coupling, we unravel the key elements that shape the design and behavior of microservices, shedding light on how these principles lay the groundwork for innovative and efficient software solutions in today's dynamic digital landscape.


The term "principles" in the context of microservices often refers to the core ideas or principles that govern the creation, implementation, and use of microservices architectures. These guidelines are frequently regarded as best practices or directives that should be followed when developing and overseeing microservices.

A Sample Image to Showcase Principles

In this diagram, it's evident that the user service's independent control over its states prevents any of its failures from affecting other services. This showcases the autonomy of microservices, where each service is responsible for a specific task. For example, the email service solely handles sending emails, resulting in high cohesion of microservices. Furthermore, it highlights the adherence to the single responsibility and business capabilities principles of microservices. These services operate independently of each other, showcasing low coupling. The deployment unit for the invoicing service encapsulates all its features, as depicted by the invoice node. This demonstrates the discrete boundaries principle, where each service is associated with its own database. Consequently, data decentralization ensures the autonomy of each service.

The following are some popular microservices principles:

1. Autonomous Services

Each component in a microservices architecture may be created, launched, run, modified, and redeployed without impacting the integrity of other services or an application. Simply the ability of a component to behave and operate independently. This increases the reliability of the service and guarantees the quality of the service to the consumer.

2. High Cohesion and Low Coupling

Microservices should have high cohesion and low coupling. This means each service should do one thing and do it well, which is that it should be highly cohesive. Also, these services should not depend on each other, which means they should have low coupling.

3. Single Responsibility (Single concern microservice)

A microservice ought to do just one task. A service should have a single purpose. For instance, if the microservice is intended to handle authentication, authentication should be its only function. This enhances flexibility, extensibility, and maintenance while lowering the microservice's complexity.

4. Discrete Boundaries

A microservice must have clear boundaries to segregate it from its environment, or the microservice should be well encapsulated. This means that all logic, data, and functions related to a microservice's single concern must be encapsulated in a single deployment unit.

5. Business Capabilities

For each distinct business capability, a separate microservice should be in charge. Therefore, we ought to design our microservices around functionalities for businesses. As a result, all of the services should be able to provide the application with all of its essential business features.

6. Scalability

Microservices offer dynamic horizontal scalability across service boundaries since they are distributed by design and may be implemented in clusters. New instances of the microservice can be quickly deployed to the coordinating cluster to ease the strain if a microservice approaches its load limit.

7. Decentralization

A microservice should be designed to have its own copy of data. In other words, each service has its own database. It is not the right practice to set up multiple services to access the same database, as it spoils the autonomy of the service.

8. Resilient Services

Resilient services are important parts of a microservices architecture. They are designed to be strong and handle failures without causing the whole system to break. Resilient services have special features that help them recover from failures, such as quickly detecting and fixing problems, having backup plans, and gracefully adapting to changes. They also use tools to monitor and measure how well they are working.

9. Availability

The availability principle of microservices is about making sure that even if one microservice has a problem, the other microservices can still keep working and the whole system doesn't break down. It's like having backup toys in a toy box, so that if one toy breaks, there are still other toys to play with. Microservices may have backup plans or extra copies to ensure that the system can still work properly even if one part has an issue. It's like having a Plan B to keep things running smoothly, just like you would still have fun with other toys if one of them breaks in your toy box!

10. Continuous delivery through DevOps Integration (Process automation)

Process automation is an important design principle of microservice architecture. Unlike a monolithic application, you have several deployment units to manage in a microservice application. As a result, you ought to be able to automate the deployment of your application built using microservices. You may do this by implementing a DevOps culture throughout your business and utilizing the appropriate technologies, such Azure DevOps or Jenkins.

11. Continuous Monitoring

In a microservices architecture, identifying errors manually is hard because it has many independent parts. That's why automated monitoring is important. Microservices are designed to be independent, making monitoring complex due to different technologies and frameworks. Each microservice has multiple instances, so monitoring should capture and analyze data to generate useful metrics.

12. Inter-Service Communication

Unlike a monolithic application, as we separate each business module into individual microservices, we have to communicate with each other for different purposes. There are several ways to implement inter-service communication in microservices. One solution is to use an event-based approach, where one service publishes an event that another service can subscribe to and react accordingly. Another option is to use a messaging protocol such as HTTP or AMQP so that messages can be exchanged between services without requiring any knowledge about their implementation details.

13. Design for failure (Fault tolerance)

In microservice architecture, the goal is to make software systems that can handle problems and keep working even if one part has issues. Services are like separate pieces that can work independently, and if one has a problem, it won't affect the others. Microservices can use a "circuit breaker" pattern to stop talking to a service that's having issues, so that the rest of the system can keep working smoothly.

14. Real-Time Load Balancing (Manage traffic)

In an application, the amount of traffic going to different microservices varies. The network demand for one service may be extremely high while it is low for another. Performance has a significant role in all traffic situations. Use circuit breaker patterns and autoscaling to increase performance to balance the load in such scenarios.


In this article, we've delved into the foundational principles that underpin microservices architecture, a paradigm revolutionizing modern software development. From autonomy and scalability to resilience and continuous delivery, each principle plays a crucial role in shaping the design and behavior of microservices. By embracing principles like high cohesion, low coupling, and single responsibility, developers can create agile, robust systems capable of handling today's complex demands. With an emphasis on decentralized data management, fault tolerance, and inter-service communication, microservices offer a pathway to building flexible, scalable applications fit for the dynamic digital landscape. By adhering to these guiding principles, developers can unlock the full potential of microservices and pave the way for innovative, efficient software solutions.