O'Reilly logo

Microservice Architecture by Mike Amundsen, Matt McLarty, Ronnie Mitra, Irakli Nadareishvili

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required


Microservice architecture has emerged as a common pattern of software development from the practices of a number of leading organizations. These practices includes principles, technologies, methodologies, organizational tendencies, and cultural characteristics. Companies taking steps to implement microservices and reap their benefits need to consider this broad scope.

Who Should Read This Book

You should read this book if you are interested in the architectural, organizational, and cultural changes that are needed to succeed with a microservice architecture. We primarily wrote this book for technology leaders and software architects who want to shift their organizations toward the microservices style of application development. You don’t have to be a CTO or enterprise architect to enjoy this book, but we’ve written our guidance under the assumption that you are able to influence the organizational design, technology platform, and software architecture at your company.

What’s In This Book

This book promotes a goal-oriented, design-based approach to microservice architecture. We offer this design-centric approach because, as we talked to several companies about their programs, we discovered one of the keys to their success was the willingness to not stick to a single tool or process as they attempted to increase their company’s time-to-market while maintaining—even increasing—their systems’ safety and resilience.

The companies we talked to offered a wide range of services including live video and audio streaming service, foundation-level virtual services in the cloud, and support for classic brick-and-mortar operations. While these companies’ products vary, we learned that the principles of speed and safety “at scale” were a common thread. They each worked to provide the same system properties in their own unique ways—ways that fit the key business values and goals of the company.

It’s the properties and values that we focus on in this book, and the patterns and practices we see companies employ in order to reach their unique goals. If you’re looking for a way to identify business goals for your microservices adoption, practical guidance on how to design individual microservices and the system they form, and tips on how to overcome common architectural challenges, this is your book!

The Outline

The book is organized into three parts. The first part (Chapters 12) identifies the principles and practices of microservice architecture and the benefits they can provide. This section will be valuable to anyone who needs to justify the use of microservices within their organization and provide some background on how other organizations have started on this journey.

The second part (Chapters 34) introduces a design-based approach to microservice architecture, identifies a series of common processes and practices we see repeated through successful microservice systems, and provides some implementation guidance on executing the various elements for your company’s microservice implementation.

The third and final part (Chapters 57) provides a set of practical recipes and practices to help companies identify ways to introduce and support microservices, meet immediate challenges, and plan for and respond to the inevitably changing business environment ahead.

Here’s a quick rundown of the chapters:

Chapter 1, The Microservices Way

This chapter outlines the principles, practices, and culture that define microservice architecture.

Chapter 2, The Microservices Value Proposition

This chapter examines the benefits of microservice architecture and some techniques to achieve them.

Chapter 3, Designing Microservice Systems

This chapter explores the system aspects of microservices and illustrates a design process for microservice architecture.

Chapter 4, Establishing a Foundation

This chapter discusses the core principles for microservice architecture, as well as the platform components and cultural elements needed to thrive.

Chapter 5, Service Design

This chapter takes the “micro” design view, examining the fundamental design concepts for individual microservices.

Chapter 6, System Design and Operations

This chapter takes the “macro” design view, analyzing the critical design areas for the software system made up of the collection of microservices.

Chapter 7, Adopting Microservices in Practice

This chapter provides practical guidance on how to deal with common challenges organizations encounter as they introduce microservice architecture.

Chapter 8, Epilogue

Finally, this chapter examines microservices and microservice architecture in a timeless context, and emphasizes the central theme of the book: adaptability to change.

What’s Not In This Book

The aim of this book is to arm readers with practical information and a way of thinking about microservices that is timeless and effective. This is not a coding book. There is a growing body of code samples and open source projects related to microservices available on the Web, notably on GitHub and on sites like InfoQ. In addition, the scope of this domain is big and we can only go so deep on the topics we cover. For more background on the concepts we discuss, check out our reading list in Appendix A.

While we provide lots of guidance and advice—advice based on our discussions with a number of companies designing and implementing systems using microservice architecture patterns—we do not tell readers which product to buy, which open source project to adopt, or how to design and test component APIs. Instead, we offer insight into the thinking processes and practices of experienced and successful companies actually doing the work of microservices. If you’re looking for simple answers, you’re likely to be disappointed in some of the material here. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for examples of successful microservice companies and the kinds of principles, practices, and processes they employ, this book is for you.

Conventions Used in This Book

The following typographical conventions are used in this book:


Indicates new terms, URLs, email addresses, filenames, and file extensions.

Constant width

Used for program listings, as well as within paragraphs to refer to program elements such as variable or function names, databases, data types, environment variables, statements, and keywords.

Constant width bold

Shows commands or other text that should be typed literally by the user.

Constant width italic

Shows text that should be replaced with user-supplied values or by values determined by context.


This element signifies a tip or suggestion.


This element signifies a general note.


This element indicates a warning or caution.

Safari® Books Online


Safari Books Online is an on-demand digital library that delivers expert content in both book and video form from the world’s leading authors in technology and business.

Technology professionals, software developers, web designers, and business and creative professionals use Safari Books Online as their primary resource for research, problem solving, learning, and certification training.

Safari Books Online offers a range of plans and pricing for enterprise, government, education, and individuals.

Members have access to thousands of books, training videos, and prepublication manuscripts in one fully searchable database from publishers like O’Reilly Media, Prentice Hall Professional, Addison-Wesley Professional, Microsoft Press, Sams, Que, Peachpit Press, Focal Press, Cisco Press, John Wiley & Sons, Syngress, Morgan Kaufmann, IBM Redbooks, Packt, Adobe Press, FT Press, Apress, Manning, New Riders, McGraw-Hill, Jones & Bartlett, Course Technology, and hundreds more. For more information about Safari Books Online, please visit us online.

How to Contact Us

Please address comments and questions concerning this book to the publisher:

  • O’Reilly Media, Inc.
  • 1005 Gravenstein Highway North
  • Sebastopol, CA 95472
  • 800-998-9938 (in the United States or Canada)
  • 707-829-0515 (international or local)
  • 707-829-0104 (fax)

To comment or ask technical questions about this book, send email to .

For more information about our books, courses, conferences, and news, see our website at http://www.oreilly.com.

Find us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/oreilly

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/oreillymedia

Watch us on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/oreillymedia


The authors would like to thank Brian MacDonald, Holger Reinhardt, Ian Kelly, and Brian Mitchell for helping to clarify, focus, and structure the content of the book. We would also like to thank John Allspaw, Stu Charlton, Adrian Cockcroft, Mel Conway, James Lewis, Ruth Malan, and Jon Moore for helping to guide our thinking along the way.

A number of early microservice adopters provided insight for the book. We would like to thank Greg Bell, Ken Britton, Beier Cai, Steve Cullingworth, Bill Monkman, Mike Sample, and Jeremy Skelton of Hootsuite; Chris Munns of Amazon; Clay Garrard and Patrick Devlin of Disney; and Christian Deger of AutoScout24.

The book would not have been completed without the support of CA Technologies. We would like to thank Alex Jones, Jeff Miller, Ryan Blain, Jaime Ryan, Sam Macklin, and many others for their help. We would also like to thank Leia Poritz, Heather Scherer, Rachel Roumeliotis, Sharon Cordesse, Kristen Brown, Christina Edwards, and the team at O’Reilly Media.

Finally and most importantly, the authors would like to thank their families. Mike thanks Lee, Shannon, Jesse, and Dana for putting up with his usual travel and writing shenanigans. Matt thanks Chris, Daniel, and Josiah for their love and support. Ronnie thanks his father for putting him in front of a computer. Irakli thanks Ana, Dachi, Maia, Diana, and Malkhaz for their unconditional support and encouragement.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required