Explore by Category:
This article is made available through our valuable partnership with Brave Bison as part of our collaborative efforts.
SAP Commerce Cloud's approach to microservices offers enterprises a clear path to enhance commerce operations. By segmenting complex systems into distinct, manageable services, businesses can streamline workflows, improve system resilience, and adapt more quickly to changing demands. In this article, we untangle the specifics of building microservices with SAP Commerce Cloud and highlight its practical advantages for eCommerce.
What are microservices?
Microservices are modular, self-contained software units designed to execute specific functions within a larger application ecosystem.
Unlike monolithic architectures where components are tightly interwoven, microservices operate independently, ensuring that a failure in one doesn't bring down the entire system. They communicate and interact with other services predominantly through APIs, ensuring a decoupled yet cohesive system.
An illustrative example from our own work might be a site map generator microservice: it autonomously gathers data from different sources, such as a commerce platform or a CMS, and then compiles this data to generate comprehensive site maps.
The beauty of microservices lies in their flexibility. They can be crafted in virtually any programming language, scaled individually based on demand, and updated or replaced without disrupting the broader system. In the context of platforms like SAP Commerce Cloud, microservices offer the agility to adapt to changing business needs while maintaining system robustness.
How to approach microservices architecture with SAP Commerce Cloud?
First, it's worth taking a moment to first understand how microservices relate to the broader SAP Commerce Cloud ecosystem. SAP Commerce Cloud is designed to be a robust and adaptable platform, capable of integrating with various software solutions. The key point here is that microservices aren't built directly within SAP Commerce Cloud. Instead, they're constructed around it.
This distinction is crucial because it underscores the flexibility and extensibility of the platform. SAP Commerce Cloud serves as the core, while microservices act as satellites, enhancing and extending its capabilities.
One of the most significant recent advancements in the SAP ecosystem concerning microservices is the introduction of the Kyma Runtime. Based on the open-source project "Kyma," this fully managed Kubernetes runtime offers a platform for building cloud-native applications. It provides developers with a comprehensive set of tools and services, allowing for rapid creation, deployment, and management of scalable, resilient, and secure applications.
Kyma Runtime's key components include a service mesh that manages service-to-service communication; serverless functions that allow developers to run stateless functions in a managed environment; an API Gateway acting as a secure, centralised point of entry for external clients to access internal services; and a flexible eventing infrastructure, enabling the creation and management of events within applications.
Integrating with SAP Commerce Cloud
The integration of microservices with SAP Commerce Cloud, especially when leveraging Kyma Runtime, revolves around events and triggers. For instance, when an order is placed within SAP Commerce Cloud, an event can be published. A microservice, developed to process this order, can capture the event, process the data, and then reintegrate the processed data back into SAP Commerce Cloud. This event-driven approach ensures real-time responsiveness and enhances the overall user experience.
Best practices in SAP Commerce Cloud microservices
Whether you’re using SAP Commerce Cloud headless, with its built-in frontend, or some other commerce platform as part of your e-commerce build, the rules around deploying microservices remain largely unchanged. If you’re planning to use microservices anywhere, some key best practices include:
Loose coupling: Ensure that microservices are loosely coupled. This means changes to one service shouldn't necessitate changes in others.
Consistent communication: While microservices can be written in different languages, it's crucial to maintain consistent communication protocols, often RESTful APIs with JSON payloads.
Monitoring and logging: Given the distributed nature of microservices, robust monitoring and logging are essential. Tools like Prometheus and Grafana, often used in conjunction with Kyma, can provide insights into the health and performance of microservices.
Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD): Adopt CI/CD practices to streamline the development, testing, and deployment of microservices. This ensures that new features, updates, or fixes are seamlessly integrated and deployed without disrupting the overall system.
Are there typical microservices set-ups?
Microservices architecture has become a staple in modern software development, and while the essence of microservices is to be modular and independent, there are common patterns that developers often gravitate towards, especially within the context of platforms like SAP Commerce Cloud. The foundational principles that guide microservices—including single responsibility, decentralised data management, independence, and communication through lightweight protocols—mean that there are often many similarities between setups.
Some of the most common features or trends you’ll see related to microservices in the context of SAP Commerce Cloud include:
- Event-driven architecture: Given the event-centric nature of e-commerce operations (like order placements, inventory updates, or user registrations), many microservices setups in SAP Commerce Cloud are event-driven. Tools like Kyma Runtime facilitate this by capturing events and allowing microservices to process and react to them.
- API Gateway pattern: To manage the numerous service-to-service communications, an API Gateway is often employed. This acts as a single entry point for external requests, directing them to the appropriate microservice. In the SAP ecosystem, this is facilitated by tools like Kyma's API Gateway.
- Service mesh: In more complex microservices architectures, a service mesh like Istio can be used to manage service-to-service communication, ensuring secure, fast, and reliable data exchange.
- Decomposition of monolithic systems: In the context of SAP Commerce Cloud, businesses often start with a monolithic architecture and gradually decompose it into microservices. For instance, functionalities like payment processing, inventory management, or customer relationship management might be spun off into separate microservices for better scalability and maintainability.
- Serverless functions: With the rise of serverless computing, many microservices setups now leverage serverless functions for event-driven tasks. Kyma Runtime offers this capability, allowing developers to execute specific functions in response to events without managing the underlying infrastructure.
- Custom microservices: While SAP Commerce Cloud provides a plethora of out-of-the-box functionalities, businesses often have unique needs. Custom microservices can be built around SAP Commerce Cloud to cater to these specific requirements.
Integrating microservices enables event-driven approaches that enhance real-time responsiveness and user experiences. Overall, embracing microservices within the SAP Commerce Cloud ecosystem empowers businesses to adapt, scale, and innovate while maintaining the core system's robustness.