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What Are Microservices? – Part 1: An Interview With Matt Miller Of Sequoia

9/25/17

By Peter High, published on Forbes

As I work with chief information officers, the topic of microservices has risen in importance and curiosity. What is it? How does it differ from containers or service-oriented architecture? Is it primarily a weapon in the arsenal of start-ups? Given the level of curiosity, but also differences in understanding, this seemed like a topic ripe for further investigation.

Matt Miller is a Partner at Sequoia Capital, and he is among the foremost experts on microservices. He has invested in many leading companies in the space, and maintains a microservices ecosystem roadmap that highlights the various aspects of the topic and the leaders in each aspect. He seemed like the perfect person to ask the question, “What are Microservices?”

Peter High: As a partner at Sequoia and someone who has been investing in this space for some time, how do you define microservices?

Matt Miller: Microservices is the easiest way to go big by going small. It is taking what may have been a large traditional application and breaking it into many smaller autonomous pieces. Those pieces are defined as services that operate uniquely across the different use cases you have. Microservices provide a lot of benefits for the startup community Sequoia works with, as well as the corporate Fortune 500 Global 2000 community we work with, since many of our companies are our startup community’s vendors. Going to smaller applications makes you far more scalable because it is easier to scale smaller pieces. It is also significantly faster to iterate and make changes on small pieces. Additionally, the smaller pieces are far more resilient because the systems are designed to be completely independent. Meaning, if there is a failure in one of the pieces, the rest of the system continues to operate. The result of all of this is a better user experience. It is also significantly less expensive than maintaining the monolithic applications people have worked with for years.

High: You have argued that microservices represent the biggest disruption we have seen in enterprise technology this decade. Can you elaborate?

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