Building a Modern Application Stack: Best Practices
for CTOs

N
Nishant Patil 29th May 2023 - 7 mins read

The rate at which companies update their products and services has been dramatically impacted by digital transformation. Companies are progressively developing items that are either technology itself or highly influenced by technology - every company is becoming a technology company. To compete in this new world, businesses must create better digital products at an increasing rate. Many companies are innovating more quickly by changing how they design, construct, and maintain apps, a process known as modern application development. Modern application development improves team agility and your programs' dependability, security, and scalability. It automates or abstracts away operational overhead, allowing teams to focus on defining business logic. It fosters an environment conducive to experimentation because minor failures do not result in system outages. It also necessitates a fundamental transformation in how you approach value creation.

Best practices for modern application Stack

1. Componentize applications using microservices

2. Update applications quickly by automating the release pipeline

3. Model and provision application resources using infrastructure as code

4.Simplify infrastructure management with serverless technologies

5. Improve application performance by increasing observability

6. Secure the entire application lifecycle by automating security

1. Componentize applications using microservices

Although a monolithic app may be simple to run now, difficulties such as distributing ownership of the app across your teams sometimes develop as you grow. You can have a strong ownership culture while still struggling to scale if your application architecture involves complex dependencies restricting groups from claiming ownership of the final output. We propose microservices designs for apps that expand and change quickly.

Microservices are the architectural manifestation of an ownership culture; they neatly break complicated applications into components that can be owned and run independently by a single team. With a monolith, several developers submit changes through a single release process, causing friction at numerous points throughout the lifecycle.

You encounter additional costs when you push the changes through the delivery pipeline after development. Engineers must plan their changes, merge their code, handle conflicts between releases, rebuild the entire app, run all test suites, and then redeploy. This is true even when only one line of code needs to be changed.

A shift to microservices allows you to deconstruct a monolith into minimal function services that may be deployed together to achieve a broader use case. The teams constructing each microservice become owners who architect, implement, production support, troubleshoot, and, most importantly, care about quality. This overhead and sluggishness are unacceptable for a fast-growing company seeking to develop and compete.

Independence has its advantages. Because the monolith has been broken down, each microservice has its own fully decentralized datastore. There is no corporate service bus, single database, or anything top-down. Each component can also be altered and updated fast without significantly influencing the overall application. With the impact of every single modification lessened, you may begin experimenting with new ideas more frequently and with less risk.

Eight reasons modern applications are built with microservices

1. Pick the right tool for the job

2.Improve application resiliency

3.Provide granular scaling to control costs

4. Optimize team productivity

5. Simplify rewiring of services into new compositions

6. Enable your teams to experiment with lower risk

7. Support faster adoption of new technology  

8. Integrate new features safely and quickly

2. Update applications quickly by automating the release pipeline

Microservices architectures allow teams to work faster, which means you have more content to release - excellent! However, if your release pipeline is clogged, you cannot provide new features to your customers as quickly as possible. Traditional release pipelines are slowed mainly through human processes. Each step that needed to be automated posed the possibility of delays and manual errors. You'll need a technique to automate each stage to speed up the process. You can automate a repeated motion that accelerates your flywheel. Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) are the names given to these techniques. Using CI/CD to automate the release pipeline allows teams to quickly and frequently release high-quality code.

CI/CD pipelines have replaced the manufacturing floor in the development of modern apps. We started utilizing CI/CD at Amazon to enhance release velocity, and the benefits have been dramatic—we have millions of deployments per year and are growing faster every year. We created a suite of developer tools based on the tools we use internally to enable organizations to benefit from our experience and deliver code more quickly.

3. Model and provision application resources using infrastructure as code

There are a lot of moving components when your application architecture is modular, and you release things quickly. When you manually upgrade your environment, you risk breaking your application. Furthermore, when the scale of your application grows, scaling your infrastructure may become challenging. It would help if you had a consistent environment that you could quickly scale or change based on application requirements to ensure that all your resources continue performing as anticipated. This problem is addressed by coding all application resources and infrastructure.

Infrastructure as code allows you to supply and alter resources programmatically. It serves as your source of truth, allowing you to standardize infrastructure components, ensure configuration compliance, and diagnose issues more quickly. Traditional infrastructure was hardware, and standard source code was websites, applications, business logic, back-end services, transactions, and the like. Model and deliver application resources using infrastructure such as code websites, apps, business logic, back-end services, commerce, etc. However, anything - servers, firewalls, routers, load balancers, identity rights, monitoring alerts - may be source code. Everything in the cloud can be accessed via an API and provisioned on demand, and elastically - you can automate everything with code.

You may provision your resources in a safe, repeatable manner by using infrastructure as code, allowing you to construct and rebuild your infrastructure and applications without conducting manual tasks or writing custom scripts. Instead, Your teams can modify source control and let the pipeline test and deliver the updates. This minimizes error rates and significantly speeds up the infrastructure deployment process.

4. Simplify infrastructure management with serverless technologies

As your architectural patterns and software delivery methods evolve, consider implementing an operational model that allows you to offload any job that isn't your company's core competency. We propose developing microservices architectures utilizing serverless technologies whenever possible to improve agility that can enable rapid innovation. Serverless technologies allow you to create and execute apps and services without server provisioning and management. Serverless solutions provide a functional architecture that eliminates server management, allows flexible scaling, allows you to pay only for what you use, and automates high availability. This model enables you to design and manage the portions of your application that provide client value while ignoring the underlying details. The four tenets of a serverless operational model are:

1. No server management

2. Flexible scaling

3. Pay for value

4.Automated High availability

5. Improve application performance by increasing observability

Full observability aids in getting answers quickly and necessitates metrics, logs, and traces. To boost observability, have your services disclose fundamental metrics such as response rates, error rates, and so on so that you may collect and aggregate as much as possible. You can monitor the microservices to monitor the application and then utilize aggregation to get the broader picture. It is also necessary to understand what healthy looks like, and standardization is essential: You must consider the system as a whole. When you have a unified picture of your resources—and that view is available in real-time—you can respond quickly to application and customer issues, improving overall performance.

6. Secure the entire application lifecycle by automating security

This best practice is stated last, but make no mistake: application security is the top concern. Security and compliance should be considered at every level of the app development lifecycle and in every app component. You want to ensure that your applications perform as intended - and only as intended - so that you can protect your business and your consumers.

Microservice architectural patterns can improve application security by providing fine-grained control over the security policies of each microservice. A microservices design, on the other hand, brings new issues due to the expanded surface area that must be protected. We can overcome this difficulty by automating security. Securing cloud apps entails integrating security features deeper into software engineering and addressing security across the entire program lifecycle rather than at checkpoints. Automating the process of verifying that security features are functioning as intended aids in keeping applications secure while also speeding up the development cycle.

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