Refactor a Monolithic Application to Microservices in Style

Accelerate your application modernization journey with Grainite
Kiran Rao
5 min to read

In challenging times like these, Engineering leaders have the impossible job of modernizing their legacy systems and applications with fewer resources. If budget, talent or tool limitations are getting in your way of driving real-time application adoption, it is time to consider Grainite 

The need for Application Modernization

Application modernization enables enterprises to protect their software investments and take advantage of modern technologies, architectures, and development practices. By embracing this, enterprises can unlock new efficiencies, improve scalability, and stay ahead of the competition while driving increased customer satisfaction.

Today, many enterprises are migrating from legacy monolithic applications to several intersecting technologies that are fundamental to application modernization such as Cloud Computing, Containers, Microservices, Orchestration, and Automation.

Application modernization provides several advantages including scalability, flexibility, resilience, continuous delivery, agility, and fine-grained ownership of individual services to an individual or small team. 

Steps to move from a monolithic to microservices architecture

Moving from a monolithic architecture to microservices is a significant undertaking for most enterprises and requires careful planning and execution. Recommended best practices for migration are:

  • Define the scope of microservices. Identify functions that will be broken down into smaller, independent services
  • Design microservices: Design each microservice independently with a well-defined interface and clear boundaries.
  • Deploy and test your microservices: Deploy each service separately and validate its functionality.
  • Manage your microservices: Lifecycle management of your microservices applications. 
  • Plan for data migration: A critical step in the journey is to plan for data migration to support microservices architecture.

Things to watch out for

When implementing a microservices architecture, applications and data pipelines might need to undergo several changes to accommodate the distributed nature of microservices and their unique data management requirements

  1. Decentralized data management: In a microservices architecture, each service manages its own data, leading to decentralized data management. 
  2. Event-driven data processing: Microservices often communicate through events, leading to an event-driven approach to data processing. 
  3. Data transformation and enrichment: As data flows between microservices, it needs to be transformed/enriched to meet downstream application requirements. 
  4. Monitoring and observability: Given the distributed nature of microservices, it's essential to have proper monitoring and observability in place for the data pipelines
  5. Resilience and fault tolerance: Data pipelines should be resilient and fault-tolerant to handle failures and integration issues. 

How are event-driven microservice applications built today?

The status quo for building microservice applications involves stitching together six to ten components from multiple vendors. This involves:

  • Connectors that act as a bridge to ingest data from sources
  • An event storage component such as Apache Kafka 
  • A data transformation component such as Apache Spark or Apache Flink
  • A database such as Cassandra to store materialized views and RocksDB to store intermediary state
  • Cache such as Redis to accelerate performance
  • An orchestration engine to design workflows such as Cadence
  • Tools to monitor the health of the data pipeline such as Datadog or Dynatrace

This architecture can be quite complex, require a specialized developer skillset, and can be hard to operate.

Application Modernization with Grainite

Grainite is a converged event processing platform that provides all the necessary capabilities to quickly migrate your monolithic application to an event-driven microservice application. Grainite’s developer-friendly platform ensures that your application modernization journey takes one-tenth (1/10th ) of the effort and fraction of the cost compared to building applications with traditional data pipelines.  

Benefits of Grainite

Grainite provides organizations with a single end-to-end platform to perform all the steps necessary to refactor legacy applications

Define the scope of microservices:

  • A large monolithic application can be broken into multiple event-driven microservices applications within Grainite with clear boundaries and interfaces.
  • Grainite integrates directly into your existing architecture and provides the flexibility to migrate the functionality one application at a time.

Design and Develop the microservices:

  • Grainite applications can be built using Docker images on developers' laptops or Virtual Machines without the need to set up any development clusters. 
  • Grainite provides simplified APIs that enable application development in any gRPC language such as Java and Python. 
  • Each Grainite application can create its own topics and tables to allow storage of incoming events and materialized views. 
  • Multiple Grainite applications can communicate with each other via messages. Grainite applications can also integrate with external microservices using their APIs.
  • Grainite can offload complex data operations (e.g. Joins initiated by queries) from your master database greatly reducing the load on those legacy systems.
  • Grainite provides strong platform Guarantees that enable developers to build applications quickly (1/10th the effort) by leveraging our simplified APIs.
  • Grainite supports Enterprise level security for data in motion and rest.

Data migration: 

  • Grainite can ingest data from the batch and streaming sources of data.
  • Grainite provides gRPC APIs allowing clients to push streaming data to Grainite applications in real-time.
  • Grainite can pull data from external sources using Tasks. Tasks run on the Grainite cluster, take advantage of platform guarantees, and read data continuously from external sources.
  • Action handlers (business logic written by developers) in Grainite can directly read and update external databases during application execution freeing you from forced migration of data at the beginning of your application modernization journey.
  • Grainite can push change data capture (CDC) to downstream components such as data warehouses to support existing downstream applications.
  • Grainite can be deployed in any public or private cloud environment which supports Kubernetes. This can help minimize data migration costs and integrate into existing environments.

Monitoring and Observability:

  • Application and System level monitoring is built into Grainite. Dashboards and reports can be directly generated from Grainite. 
  • Grainite provides a birds-eye-view of transactions as they flow through the system. This allows developers to quickly troubleshoot their application code.

Day-two operations:

  • Grainite delivers high resiliency and scalability to process a very high volume of data, and developers do not need to program for this.
  • Grainite can be upgraded with zero downtime drastically simplifying the lifecycle management of your microservices platform and applications. 

To summarize, Grainite provides a complete & unified platform to build secure modern applications that integrates very well into your existing environments. With our focus on developer velocity, operational simplicity, and flexible deployment, customers are not only able to accelerate their application modernization journey but also realize a very low total cost of ownership when building and deploying modern applications. 

About Grainite

Founded in 2019 by leaders from Google and Citrix, Grainite is backed by top-tier VCs. The team has over 200+ years of collective experience in building large-scale enterprise applications at leading data and storage companies. Reach us at to learn more and to schedule a demo.

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