Modular software creates agility -- and complexity

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Good things may come in small packages, but microservices can present big challenges for software application design. Here’s how to make the most of modular design without sweating the small stuff.

With its 11 sprawling theme parks, 47 resorts, 13 vacation properties and four luxury cruise liners, The Walt Disney Company isn't exactly known for thinking small. But the multinational entertainment juggernaut is making an exception when it comes to application design.

Disney is one of an increasing number of companies to embrace microservices as an innovative approach to application development. Essentially, microservices involves designing software applications as small packages of independently deployable services. By building these self-contained components, CIOs can get innovative services to market more quickly, easily and affordably.

"Microservices is about building higher-quality, complex systems and evolving them faster and more cost-effectively," says Al Hilwa, an IDC analyst. "The key principle is to [break down] the system into functional components that are small enough to be worked on by small teams."

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