Modern digital architectures for Time-to-market acceleration

19 Jun 2021

Digital architectures are extremely important in today’s environment where digital products and processes set the pace. There are different approaches to building these systems, either through a microservices approach or the modular monolith approach and applying REST or Event-Driven communications.

New systems like these are born and growing constantly, with the percentage of companies building their applications based on microservices increasing from 40% to 60% last year. That said, analysis and application of digital architectures is important in almost every industry. Let’s dive into some of the characteristics of these structures, focusing on microservices and modular monoliths.

Microservices, Modular Monoliths, and Event-Driven Architectures

When dealing with digital architectures focused on generating small services devoted to quick software development, microservices in the name of the game.

On the other hand, these smaller units can lead to operational problems, which is where modular monoliths come into play as macro solutions. A hybrid solution between monoliths and microservices gives companies the best of both worlds.

Finally, if we’re talking about how different elements communicate, we arrive at the concept of Event-Driven digital architectures.

Microservices-based digital architectures

Monolithic solutions are currently evolving towards other architectures that allow for faster and more scalable development, creating greater independence. Microservices-oriented solutions are part of a growth stage in software design solutions that seek to improve three main points:

  • Reduce the time-to-market of the new business functionalities in development
  • Create a scalable solution that allows for an ever-increasing intake of information
  • Achieve independence in the development cycle of a solution’s individual elements

These digital architectures have a series of characteristics or advantages to achieve all this, although they also face some challenges.

Advantages of microservices architectures

Among the characteristics of these architectures, we find independence as a crucial point that gives rise to different advantages. For example, the language is independent for each microservice, enabling you to match the appropriate technology to your solution. Component scaling is also independent: the application logic is “chunked” into isolated sub-components that can be scaled individually.

The same is true for deployments, where each microservice can be deployed independently without affecting the rest. In addition, independence and automation allow the combination of different functions. Further advantages of such digital architectures include:

  • More resilient infrastructure and robust countermeasures
  • Faster development agility and speed due to recycling of functionalities between business processes
  • Better maintenance due to functional isolation, provided appropriate monitoring and error control methods
  • Individualized evolution of different microservices at different paces

Challenges of microservices architectures

Despite their many advantages, digital architectures based on microservices also face several challenges, such as a greater need for coordination of components than in a monolithic solution, greater need for coordination and automation of deployments, and necessity of a more complex infrastructure than is required for monolithic solutions.

Digital architectures based on Modular Monoliths

To reiterate, modular monoliths are hybrid solutions between monoliths and microservices that try to minimise the weaknesses of both approaches.

The idea of this architecture is to have a monolith distributed into typical layers, but with each layer sub-divided into totally decoupled modules. This allows the ability to easily dissociate each module into a microservice and scale it independently. If there is no need for scaling, everything will remain integrated.

This mobility is a huge advantage all on its own. At a single command, systems can be seamlessly integrated or split up to scale at the whim of the user.

Drawbacks include the need for greater capacity for context analysis and solution design, coupled with the need to keep track of decoupling rules as the product evolves.

Digital architectures in companies

Choosing the architecture for a company is not always easy, and other factors must be taken into account, such as the need to coordinate ideas between the technical team and the business team (for which Domain-Driven Design and techniques such as Event Storming can be used), as well as the type of communications to be carried out or the differences between REST and Event-Driven developments.

It should be noted that thanks to this type of modern digital architecture, companies can reduce their time-to-market, both with the use of the techniques used in software development and the agile and lean methodologies that accelerate all processes. This makes the choice of digital architecture a critical moment for any company, which is why at VASS we work to offer the best advice and accompany our clients throughout this process.

Juan Antonio Breña Moral

Cloud Architect Manager

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