Microservices Migration in Industry: Intentions, Strategies, and Challenges

Jonas Fritzsch, Justus Bogner, Stefan Wagner, Alfred Zimmermann

To remain competitive in a fast changing environment, many companies started to migrate their legacy applications towards a Microservices architecture. Such extensive migration processes require careful planning and consideration of implications and challenges likewise. In this regard, hands-on experiences from industry practice are still rare. To fill this gap in scientific literature, we contribute a qualitative study on intentions, strategies, and challenges in the context of migrations to Microservices. We investigated the migration process of 14 systems across different domains and sizes by conducting 16 in-depth interviews with software professionals from 10 companies. We present a separate description of each case and summarize the most important findings. As primary migration drivers, maintainability and scalability were identified. Due to the high complexity of their legacy systems, most companies preferred a rewrite using current technologies over splitting up existing code bases. This was often caused by the absence of a suitable decomposition approach. As such, finding the right service cut was a major technical challenge, next to building the necessary expertise with new technologies. Organizational challenges were especially related to large, traditional companies that simultaneously established agile processes. Initiating a mindset change and ensuring smooth collaboration between teams were crucial for them. Future research on the evolution of software systems will in particular profit from the individual cases presented.

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