The Top Go-To Microservices Frameworks for a Scalable Application

Confused about which microservices framework to use? Dive in to know about the latest frameworks, its features, and know if its the right fit for your business.

March 15, 2022
8 mins read
Last Updated July 05, 2022
microservices frameworks

The Top Go-To Microservices Frameworks for a Scalable Application

Planning your business application architecture is one of the first things you do after deciding the kind of application you want. You end up reading success stories of top successful or Fortune 500 companies in the world, and you learn how they have managed to transform their system by using a microservices architecture. Your eyes glaze over headlines like,

“Netflix, Amazon, Uber, Etsy… are reaching new heights of scalability by shifting from a monolithic architecture to microservices.”

And this is precisely when you believed in the absolute power of microservices.

To begin with the process, developers have to choose the right framework that has all the necessary integrated tools to build a successful and highly performant app. In addition, these frameworks determine the cost of development, the development time, ease of handling, and maintaining it in the long run.

Read ahead to know more about the popular microservices frameworks, their characteristics, and a checklist for selecting the right framework for your application.

Simform is a leading Microservices Consulting and Implementation company, helping organizations realize their business potential through reliable microservices architecture.  Contact us today to scale your application on-demand!

Let’s Get Started with Microservices Frameworks

1. Spring Boot

Spring Boot has become the modern and most used Java microservices framework for building microservices. It has 59.2k stars on GitHub, and the popularity is rising to date with no real competitors nearby to beat the stats.

Spring Boot, powered by Spring Cloud, allows developers to build a software architecture in components that are self-contained and give resilience and flexibility to your code. Developers starting with this microservices framework can quickstart their applications using Spring Initializr and then package them as a JAR. In addition, its embedded server model allows rapid development, giving it an upper hand in terms of time-to-market modern applications. However, in case of a large number of applications in production, Spring Boot isn’t an ideal choice of framework.

Moreover, the distributive nature of microservices has always posed a challenge for developers in maintaining different components simultaneously. Spring framework addresses this by providing an architectural style with several ready-to-run cloud patterns under Spring Cloud. Cloud gives resilience to an application, and with Spring Cloud, one can get the advantage of service discovery, circuit breaker, load balancing, monitoring, and distributive tracing.

Spring Boot Microservices framework architecture

Key Benefits:

  • Allows development of reactive microservices applications with rest API using Spring MVC.
  • Easy to integrate with leading frameworks owing to its Inversion of Control.
  • Comes with an optional instrumental framework ‘Micrometer’ for monitoring valuable metrics, distributed tracing, and insights.
  • Utilizes Cloud Foundry for horizontal scaling and connecting multiple backend services at ease.
  • Improved time-to-market for complex application architecture.

2. Golang

Go programming language has been gaining popularity amongst developers specializing in microservices for its Google-backed support and services. By integrating GoKit and GoMicro, which are designed explicitly for creating microservices on Golang, one can easily create a distributed architecture for any application. It’s an excellent microservices framework for creating REST and gRPC (Google Remote Procedure Call) protocols that let different services communicate with each other seamlessly.

One of the easiest ways to develop microservices using Go is by integrating GoMicro. It is a pluggable PRC library that provides the fundamental building blocks of microservices application development. Even though it’s not a framework per se, it quickly addresses the challenges of a distributed architecture and provides simple abstractions commonly known and used by developers universally.

Go micro microservices framework

On the other hand, Go Kit is a programming tool kit for creating microservices in Go. Go Kit is a zip containing co-related packages that build a framework for creating service-oriented applications. It can easily integrate JSON over HTTP, giving it the advantage of integrating with standard infrastructural components.

Go Kit Microservices framework components

Key Benefits:

  • The framework reduces friction while deploying applications and promotes interoperability.
  • A pluggable toolkit that can be used by developers utilizing Go for their app development.
  • Ready pre-defined templates for an easy start.
  • A web dashboard for exploring services and raising queries.
  • Easily testable microservice architecture supporting robust and complex apps.

3. Eclipse Vert.X

If you are looking for an event-driven microservices framework for building applications, then Eclipse Vert.X should be your first choice. It is a polyglot framework that supports Java, JavaScript, Ruby, Groovy, Kotlin, Scala, and Ceylon. In addition, the framework runs on a Java Virtual Machine, making it an ideal choice for complex applications with a service-oriented architecture.

Compared to traditional stacks and frameworks based on blocking I/O, Vert.X, built by Eclipse Foundation, has resource-efficient characteristics that simultaneously handle many requests. It can execute tasks in a constrained environment, especially in containers. Vert.X is primarily popular as a microservice framework for its flexibility in composability and embedded characteristics, making it a highly scalable toolkit than a framework.

Vert.X’s ecosystem consists of Web APIs, databases, event streams, messaging, cloud, security features, registries, and several other elements that make it easy to create complex modern applications. Furthermore, being an open-source framework also gives developers the advantage of adding new features from a pre-made repository.

Eclipse vert x ecosystem microservices framework

Key Benefits:

  • It is lightweight – with a core of 650kb.
  • It is a modular framework that allows developers to add bits as much as needed without adding anything extra.
  • Health checks can be easily performed through Vert.X web or an event bus.
  • Vert.XUnit runs asynchronous unit tests with a polyglot API.
  • It has a gPRC support that aligns with Google’s programming style.

4. Quarkus

When it comes to Quarkus, Kubernetes fans can vouch for this microservices framework!
Quarkus is a Kubernetes native Java framework by Red Hat, specially designed for OpenJDK HotSpot and GraavalVM. The framework offers a reactive and imperative programming model to address the challenges associated with microservices architecture.

Quarkus tweet microservices framework

Quarkus has always been a container-first and Kubernative native framework created to optimize low memory usage and fast startup time for developers (tens of milliseconds). The fast startup time enables automatic scaling of microservices on containers and Kubernetes. Meanwhile, low memory usage allows container density optimization within microservices, which have multiple containers deployed independently. But apart from this, amateur developers are wary of this framework because of its complicated GraamVM installation and verification of OS-specific binaries.

One of the advantages of using the Quarkus development model is that it integrates well for developing HTTP microservices, reactive applications, message-driven microservices, and serverless architecture systems. Developers’ productivity is highly enhanced with their minimalist features and highly intuitive system that gives them the space to focus on the business aspect of the entire application. In addition, unified configurations, live coding, DEV UI, and continuous testing enhance developers’ experience in creating the best microservices.

Quarkus microservices framework

Key Benefits:

  • Has a vast ecosystem of technologies, libraries, and APIs, making it easy to learn and use.
  • It is an Ahead-of-Time compilation platform that optimizes code for JVM and native code for improving app performance.
  • Boasts of faster boot time compared to other container-first frameworks.
  • Low RSS memory and high-density memory utilization.
  • Independently deployable guide available for Azure, OpenShift, AWS, Google Cloud.

5. Micronaut

Among the popular polyglot frameworks for building modular and creating microservices applications, Micronaut is among the top ones getting the most attention from developers. It is a JVM-based full-stack framework that allows developers to create modular applications. The founders’ aim was pretty simple – instead of integrating the right tool kits, build a full-stack environment with all the necessary built-in features necessary for microservices architecture.

The best qualities of a Micronaut lies in the fact that its start time and memory consumption are not bound to the size of the codebase. This results in an increased speed in start-up time, fast throughput, and a minimal memory footprint. While it might sound highly convenient, the framework has specific standards that are way different from others in the software development industry.

Configurations in Micronaut are quick, making it easy to choose and create your own data-access layer or import external APIs. Furthermore, it has a simple compile time with an aspect-oriented API that does not use reflection. But, one needs to remember that Micronaut does not support a lot of cache providers – except for Caffeine and Redis – so if you are depending on caches other than this, you might want to rethink using the framework.

Key Benefits:

  • Apps start within tens of milliseconds with GraalVM.
  • A smooth learning curve for new developers, utilizing the universal standards for coding.
  • An open-source technology that boosts productivity with improved runtime and memory utilization.
  • Ease in unit testing that runs instantaneously, thus reducing time in the testing cycles.

6. Ballerina

Moving away from traditional microservices frameworks, Ballerina is a distributed programming language for writing distributed systems. It is an open-source programming language that is native to cloud. Moreover, it is a structural style language that gives developers the flexibility for static typing within the program and describing its service interfaces.

Ballerina is data-oriented, graphical, and concurrent in nature, allowing devs to build a decoupled system from scratch. It’s designed to create network applications and systems that can provide networking services.

Ballerina fits within the modern application development lifecycle despite being a specific system with definitive requirements. Along with its built-in tools for the flawless development of applications, it can easily integrate CI/CD tools, observing and monitoring tools, and cloud orchestration systems. It even has an intuitive feature of alerting the developers about possible security threats, network failures, and communication gaps while devs are typing the codes for seamless deployment services in the later stages.

Ballerina microservices framework sequence

Key Benefits:

  • An open-source programming language that is highly accessible and easy to learn.
  • Interactive design through visual representations, making it easy to understand.
  • Makes the best use of diagrams for all-round integration.
  • Increased flexibility for developers to write codes in both Swagger and Ballerina.
  • Greater agility that is redefining the boundaries of app development and integration.

7. Oracle Helidon

In terms of popularity, Helidon is slowly taking over the microservices market for its lightweight and fast application development features. It is an open-source cloud-native set of Java libraries that can run on the fast web and is powered by Netty. The Helidon Reactive WebServer is what makes this library a functional programming model, providing a simple-to-use foundation for microservices.

Oracle Helidon microservices framework

Being a declarative programming model with cloud-native features, Helidon has multiple features that set it apart from its competitors. For example, it has full Eclipse MicroProfile support, CDI support, and database support that includes GraphQL, CORS, and gPRC. In addition, it has the minimal memory footprint with a minimum of 70 MB with Helidon and GraalVM Native and consumes a disk space of 92 MB with the same integration model.

Oracle Helidon supports some of the powerful and standard APIs like JAX-RS, CDI, JSON-P/B, making applications fast and responsive. Moreover, being a collection of Java libraries running on a Netty core, there is no extra overhead or bloat for an application that devs might face while using other frameworks. Health checks and metric observability tools support integration with Prometheus, Jaeger/Zipkin, and Kubernetes. Furthermore, with GaalVM Native Image Support, you can even compile your Helidon apps into small native executable files, as a jlink image, or as a traditional JAR application.

Oracle Helidon microservices framework architecture

Key Benefits:

  • The lowest startup time ranging from 0.09 seconds to 2.03 seconds.
  • Consists of an extensive cloud-native ecosystem with all the necessary and universal technology support.
  • Consists of two variants for definitive programming requirements – Helidon SE and Helidon MP.

Comparing the Chosen Microservices Frameworks

FRAMEWORK LANGUAGE GITHUB POPULARITY BUILD TOOLS HOT RELOAD LOAD BALANCING
Spring Boot Java 59.2K Stars Mavel and Gradle Yes Spring Cloud Load Balancer
Golang Go Go Kit – 22.2K Stars

Go Micro – 17.5K Stars

Module aware toolkit that can integrate standard modules tooling. No Integration with external load balancers
Eclipse Vert.X Polyglot 12.6K Stars Maven Yes Vert.X TCP Server
Quarkus Java 9.2K Stars Mavel and Gradle Yes Small Rye Stork
Micronaut Polyglot 5.2K Stars Gradle, Gradle Kotlin, and Maven No Netflix Ribbon
Ballerina Ballerina 3K Stars Ballerina CLI No HTTP load balancing endpoint
Oracle Helidon Java 2.6K Stars Helidon CLI No Apache httpd load balancer

Choosing the Best Microservices Frameworks

The list of microservices frameworks would keep on changing and increasing with time. While these frameworks might have similar characteristics and standards, the right apps are to be built around business capabilities, and this can only be achieved with an appropriate framework in place. For instance, there is a wide variety of programming languages, in-built key features for specific applications, database support, ease of integration, and much more to consider.

Here is a list of questions you need to think about and check out before choosing a microservices framework for your application.

  • Does your microservice framework have built-in supports for observable application metrics, health checks, and analytics?
  • Does your framework support standard or necessary APIs and technology required for the application development process?
  • Does your framework support automation and allow integration of automation tools for improved development time and speed?
  • Does your microservice framework support independent deployment over a distributed system?
  • Does your framework have decentralized components, and can it be customized separately?
  • Does your microservice framework support continuous integration, deployment, and continuous delivery (CI/CD) and allow integration of CI/CD tools for enabling DevOps?
  • Can the selected framework scale with changing business models or requirements?
  • Can the microservice framework carry out and run unit testing while the dev writes the codes?
  • Does the framework support the necessary database that you deem powerful for your application?

Microservices have become the backbone of a modern application with more demand for efficiency, productivity, delivery, and speed. Choosing the proper framework might come across as a tricky business because experimenting with random environments is an expensive affair. It requires an eye for detail and expertise to claim that the selected framework would deliver the expected outcomes.

Our cloud development team of experts at Simform knows that way through the intricacies of microservices and is highly skilled in taking any business to new heights. Consult with us today for implementing a new microservices framework for your budding business.

Hiren is VP of Technology at Simform with an extensive experience in helping enterprises and startups streamline their business performance through data-driven innovation.

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