6 Efficient Ways To Implement Flexible And Scalable Platform Architecture
IT professionals and web and app developers are frequently asked to create scalable and flexible platforms. This is a common requirement among their clients, but most of them lack the basic knowledge of what those concepts involve.
Scalability usually refers to a number of operations, transactions, and sessions, that can be successfully accommodated by a whole system.
Building scalable and flexible platforms is mandatory due to a series of reasons. The most important one is that this type of platforms allow millions to use it without any downtime. Sometimes, even reputable organizations struggle with disorganized applications, with zero conformations to a set of standards, without an organized deployment structure, and pattern. This makes their apps and platforms to lack cohesion and reduces their ability to properly use the system. Subsequently, this leads to issues in business productivity and profitability.
#1. Dive Deeper into Architectural and Design Patterns
Application and platform developers know they don’t have to come up with new principles with every new application they build. Reinventing the wheel is not necessary for this field. It can be counter-productive, time-consuming and very expensive.
This is why reuse is a core-principle in platform development. Software architects use patterns to implement and deploy the same solutions to some of the most common design and usability problems. Design patterns can be categorized as it follows.
Structural or architectural patterns are those offering platforms and apps flexibility and scalability.
Typical platforms and could solutions consist of the following.
- Clients – desktop, web and/or native mobile apps;
- Servers – databases, web servers, services, microservices, etc.;
- Data storage.
Remember all this information, it will be useful later when diving deeper into the topic.
#2. Understand Network Communication and Information Transfer
To understand how specific patterns can help developers create better, scalable and flexible platforms, we must discuss how information is distributed between different networks and users.
All data travelling through local networks and the Web is encoded according to a specific protocol. The most common network protocols are HTTP/HTPPS, TCP/IP, UDP, and IPv4/IPv6.
All browser-server requests rank HTTP and TCP/IP protocols. Now, that we know the basic information transfer protocols, let’s dive deeper into platform architecture and related patterns.
#3. Get a Good Hold of Client-server, Layers, and Tiers
Most applications today are client-server applications. The client makes requests to a server, and the server supplies a suitable response. Commonly, both the client and server are seen as independent applications that interact with one another through a well-structured interface.
The code for both applications is separated into two layers, treating different concerns. Some of the most common layers designed by application architects are the following.
- Presentation layer;
- Service layer;
- Business/domain logic layer;
- Data access layer.
- Database layer.
All these different layers are used to offer a well-defined structure to applications and grow scalability and flexibility. In terms of software architecture, software solutions are separated into tiers, most commonly. A tier designates a part of the web solution, running on a different computing instance. They are split into different categories, typically.
- Presentation tier;
- Domain logic tier;
- Data storage tier.
To increase flexibility and scalability, web architects must follow a standardized protocol for the entire application, with all the elements described above.
#4. Services, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), and Microservices is a Top Architecture
Up until today, it has been proven that one of the most efficient platform architectures is the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). This type of architecture is mainly suitable for businesses and enterprises and it can be leveraged for many uses. “SOA structures seem to offer the highest functionality and scalability levels, and limit network failure and high latency”, says Martin Hernandez, software architecture engineer at Trust My Paper. According to him, the highest advantages offered by SOA structures are the following.
- It represents logically and accurately a business activity with a specified result.
- The system is self-contained;
- It consists of several other services;
- It stores all the data about its consumers.
A more targeted version of this type of system is known as microservices. Although they are similar to SOA, they have several particularities that will help developers and web architects improve scalability and flexibility.
- They have smaller and finer interfaces, being incredibly useful for business applications;
- They are modular and loosely coupled.
- They can be easily replaced.
- It is specialized around a specific application capability.
- It is more adequate for deployment.
- It is better suited for continuous delivery and agility.
#5. Pay Attention to Specific Solution Architectures and Patterns
Now, that we built around effective and scalable platform architecture concepts a lot, we can get more specific.
The structure is and solutions that put emphasis on the separation of concerns are referred to as layered or tiered. Separation of concerns (SOC) is an important process because it separates different concerns of code bases or solutions to improve code reuse. Other purposes for which SOC is used are improving testability and maintainability and reducing coupling.
Web and app developers should aim to create layered systems to increase flexibility and scalability, and they should avoid at all costs monolithic structures. Aim for platforms and apps with numerous components and modules. These result in loosely coupled systems, with interchangeable yet wonderfully integrated modules. This is what you want to achieve with your platforms.
When it comes to shared memory, developers should look forward to using the blackboard patterns and the associated blackboard, knowledge resources and the control shell.
#6. Proper Use of Adaptive and Distributed Systems
Adaptive and distributed systems also determine how functional, flexible and scalable a platform or app is.
In the adaptive systems category, look into plug-ins, the microkernel pattern, and integrations. Simply put, web architects should use apps and extensions, whenever they want to increase a platform’s scalability.
- On the other hand, the microkernel pattern is an OS-level pattern and it can perfect and simplify the system as a whole and increase its usability.
- Plug-ins and integrations make it possible for users to add functionality features as needed. They can be only used on customizable platforms. Most clients usually want this type of platforms because of the ease of use and high level of customization they have.
- Integrations are apps that can also grow the functionality of a platform like plug-ins do. However, they are standalone services, unlike plug-ins.
Distributed systems are systems using more than one compute instance to offer functionality. One of the most efficient and scalable models of distributed systems is the Space-Based Architecture Pattern. It increases performance goals and scalability. It is useful especially in instances when there might appear a large number of concurrent and unpredictable loads on the systems. Think of different requests, in this case.
This is a general overview of some of the most efficient ways to implement scalable platform architecture. Finding proper use of the instances and notions above will help web developers improve the quality of their products. the tips and tricks above will help software architects increase the functionality, flexibility and scalability of their platforms. They will help them create and install suitable solutions for each of their clients and their business needs.