A Quantitative Assessment Method for Microservices Granularity to Improve Maintainability

Famke Driessen*, Luís Ferreira Pires, João Luiz Rebelo Moreira, Paul Verhoeven, Sander van den Bosch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


The popularity of microservices has increased over the past decade due to their potential benefits for distributed enterprise applications. Developing and maintaining a microservices architecture (MSA) is challenging, amongst others because the size (granularity) of the microservices has an impact on most system properties, such as, e.g., maintainability, performance, and scalability. Currently, architects determine the granularity of the microservices by identifying bounded contexts or business capabilities, which is mainly based on their experience. This paper presents a quantitative assessment method to evaluate the granularity of the microservices for improved system maintainability. The method is based on a set of metrics that are relevant for maintainability, namely change coupling, structural coupling, weighted service interface count, lines of code, service interface data cohesion, and change frequency. By evaluating these metrics, focusing on coupling, cohesion, and size, the method can assess refactors of an architecture in which microservices are merged or decomposed. We validated our method with three open source microservice-based projects with different sizes and structures. Our method can substantiate the design decisions concerning the granularity of microservices, identifying services that are candidates for merging and decomposition towards maintainability evolution, with clear benefits particularly for enterprise applications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnterprise design, operations, and computing
Subtitle of host publicationEDOC 2023 Workshops
EditorsTiago Prince Sales, Sybren de Kinderen, Henderik A. Proper, Luise Pufahl, Dimka Karastoyanova, Marten van Sinderen
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-54712-6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2024
Event27th IEEE International Enterprise Distributed Object Computing Conference, EDOC 2023 - the Bernoulli Institute at the University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Duration: 30 Oct 20233 Nov 2023
Conference number: 27

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Business Information Processing (LNBIP)


Conference27th IEEE International Enterprise Distributed Object Computing Conference, EDOC 2023
Abbreviated titleEDOC 2023
Internet address


  • NLA


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