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How to Choose the Best Software Architecture for Your Enterprise App?

By Shrikant Srivastava
July 21, 2020 5. min read
Last update on: July 21, 2020

Software Architecture is the founding stone of enterprise application development. Think of it as the blueprint of a real-estate that you must design foremost, in order to provision the layers of the house, how will the residents interact with it, how would you enter and exit the premises, so on and so forth. 

Only in technological terms, the house is substituted by the software architecture pattern, the residents are replaced by the source code and the floors of the house are replaced by the application architecture layers that an engineer puts in place. 

What Does a Good Enterprise Architecture Signify?

The question is akin to asking, what role does a healthy mind play in the development of your body? It’s interlinked isn’t it! So are software processes to the running of an enterprise. It is mission-critical, that IT teams agree on a malleable and adaptable enterprise software design for the following obvious reasons, beside the fact that a sound architecture is how enterprise mobile apps are able to increase ROI.: 

  • It makes the life of a programmer much easier while debugging the software.
  • Project stakeholders such as the management, IT teams as well as the user side will benefit from a finely grained enterprise software architecture that permits code enhancement at advanced stages of the software development process.
  • A good software architecture pattern makes implementing the code easy and project coordination a seamless procedure. 

The beauty of software development engineering is that you can integrate multiple architectural patterns within one system for optimization. But choosing a pattern for your enterprise, without taking the help of an enterprise app development company can be a tedious task, considering the options at an architects’ disposal. 

Today we’ll pick our top choices for enterprise application architectures so you can cut down on not just immediate but future project costs and use enterprise apps to grow your business

[Further Read: Explained: Mobile App Architecture – The Basis of App Ecosystem]

Top Software Architecture Patterns

A.  Layered Architecture

One of the most common, and efficient, models deployed by enterprises is the Layered Architecture, also called the n-tiered pattern. It packs similar components together in a horizontal manner and is self-independent. What does that mean? 

It implies that the layers of the model are interconnected to each other but not interdependent. Similar components stay at the same level allowing the layers to be separated inadvertently based on the nature of the code. It is this isolation, that lends the software layers an independent nature. 

Consider an instance, wherein you’d want to switch from an Oracle database to an SQL. This shift may cause you to upend the database layer but will not have a domino effect on any other layer. 

Evidently, it serves a challenge for an enterprise software architect to create layers that separate from each other. Nevertheless, since the roles of each layer are clearly distinct, it accredits this software development architecture the following qualities:

  • It is easily maintainable as enterprise software developers with limited, or should we say pertinent, knowledge can be assigned to operate on a single layer.
  • You can test changes in layers separately from each other. 
  • Upgraded versions of the software can be implemented effortlessly. 

The flow of code is top-down, meaning it enters the presentation layer first and trickles down to the bottom-most layer that is the database layer. Each layer has a designated task based on the nature of the components it preserves. These could be checking the consistency of values within the code or reformatting the code altogether. 

Refactoring – a key way to lower frontend maintenance cost – is a software development process by which developers change the internal shape and size of the code. They do it without affecting its external attributes can also be carried out in an n-tiered model.

Layered Architecture 

This software development architecture can be customized to add layers to the presentation, business, persistence, and database levels. Such a model is called a Hybrid Layered architecture.

Benefits

  • Amongst the various types of software architecture, the layered variant suits enterprises that don’t want to go overboard with experimenting and want to stick to the traditional software architecture design patterns. 
  • Testing components become relatively easier as inter-dependencies are negligible in this format of software development engineering.
  • Considering many software frameworks were built with the backdrop of an n-tiered structure, applications built with them, as a result, happen to be in the layered format as well. 

Potential Drawbacks 

  • Larger applications tend to be resource-intensive if based on this format, therefore for such projects, it is advised to overlook the layered pattern. 
  • Although the layers are independent, yet the entire version of the software is installed as a single unit. Therefore, even if you update a single layer, you would have to re-install the entire apparatus all over again. 
  • Such systems are not scalable due to the coupling between the layers. 

Ideal For

The Layered architecture pattern suits the niche of LOB i.e. Line of Business Applications. These are applications that are essential to the functioning of the business itself. For instance, the accounts department of an organization needs software such as QuickBooks, Xero, Sage or Wave Accounting for keeping financial data. 

Similarly, the marketing team would demand a customer relationship management software slash tool to help them cope with the volume of interactions. In short, applications that do more than just CRUD (create, read, update, and delete) operations are suited to the layered architecture pattern. 

B.  Event-Driven Architecture 

An event is described as an alteration in the hardware or the software. And Event-Driven Architecture has two parts to the working equation i.e. an event producer and en event consumer. Let us understand how this application architecture works: 

It all begins with the event producer, that identifies the emergence of an event, and labels the same as a message. 

  • The subsequent step involves this event to be broadcasted to an event consumer. 
  • The message travels through the respective channels and is interpreted by a centralized event processing platform. 
  • This platform is programmed to decide upon the follow-up action to be taken on the event. 
  • Once it matches the event to the corresponding response within its directory, it forwards the same to the respective consumer. 

This last step determines the final outcome of the event that has been generated. The brightest example of this pattern can be found on a web page. 

The moment you click a button, the browser interprets the event and surfaces the programmed action, such as video playback, matching the input with the right output. In contrast to the layered architecture, where the code must flow top-down and filter through all the layers, Event-Driven architectures deploy modules that are activated only when an even connected to them is generated.

Event-Driven Architecture  

Benefits

  • Among the different types of architecture in software engineering, the Event-Driven Architecture is suited to applications that have a tendency to scale. It adds to the response time of the architecture eventually leading to better business outcomes. 
  • This system is very adaptable to real-time changes and is suited to asynchronous systems that run on asymmetric data flow. 
  • They play a huge role in defining how IoT works. They are widely applicable across networks and applications where devices that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT) must exchange information between even producers and consumers in real-time.

Potential Drawbacks 

  • Developers might face bottlenecks while managing error handling, particularly in cases where multiple modules are responsible for a single event. 
  • You must use a recommended software architect tool, to backup the central processing platform. This, to deter the failure of a module to result in system collapse. 
  • The operational speed of the entire system could be slowed down if the processing platform is programmed to buffer messages as and when they come. 

Ideal For

Event Driven Architecture can be deployed for applications that leverage instant data communication that scales on-demand as in the case of website tracking or stream processing. 

C.  Microkernel Architecture 

Many third-party applications, in view of software architecture best practices, make avail software packages as downloadable plug-ins or versions. It is to this particular type, that the Microkernel Architecture is most suited as a result of which it is also called the plug-in architecture pattern. 

With this style, enterprise application development services can add pluggable features to an erstwhile version of the software providing for extensibility. The architecture is formulated of two components, with one part dedicated to the core system and the other to the plug-ins. Minimalism is followed while designing the core of the architecture, that stores just the right proportion of components to render the system effective. 

Microkernel Architecture

The most relatable example of the Microkernel Architecture would be any internet browser. You download a version of the application, that is essentially a software, and depending upon the missing functionalities, download and add plug-ins. Enterprise software development services rely on this pattern for designing large scale, complex applications as well. An example of such a business application could be a software for processing insurance claims. 

Benefits

  • This design has proven its worth as one being highly flexible. Operational possibilities arising from the capability of plug-ins make reacting to such changes in near real-time critical to sustenance. Such changes can be dealt with in isolation with the core system regaining its stable state, for the most part, therefore requiring less developmental updates over time.
  • An enterprise application development company could face a downtime issue at the time of deployment but that can be minimized or altogether avoided by adding plug-in modules to the core dynamically. 
  • An enterprise software development company could test plug-in prototypes in isolation and see for performance issues without affecting the core of the architecture. 
  • Microkernel Architecture is most appreciated for maintaining high-performance applications as the software can be customized to include only those capabilities that are needed the most. 

Potential Drawbacks 

  • Apps such as those conceptualized by enterprise mobile app development services, have a non-negotiable scope to scale. However, the Microkernel Architecture is grounded on designs of the product and naturally suited to apps that are smaller in size. 
  • An enterprise app development company could find the Microkernel pattern rather hard to execute due to the vast number of plug-ins compatible with the core. This calls for drawing out governance contracts, updating plug-in regitaries and so many formalities that the implementation becomes a challenge. 

Ideal For

Microkernel Architecture is best suited for workflow applications in addition to those that need job scheduling. As pointed above, like a web browser, any application that you want to release with just the right amount of specs but want to leave room that can be filled in by installing additional plug-ins can be built with this design pattern. 

D.  Microservices Architecture

Microservices are defined as a self-regulating, and independent codebase that can be written and maintained even by a small team of developers. Microservices Architecture consists of such loosely coupled services with each service responsible for the execution of its associated business logic. 

The services are separated from each other based on the nature of their domains and belong to a mini-microservice pool. Enterprise mobile app developers leverage the capabilities of this architecture especially for complex applications. 

Microservices Architecture allows developers to release versions of software thanks to sophisticated automation of software building, testing, and deployment – something that acts as a prime differentiation point between Microservices and Monolithic architecture. 

Microservices Architecture

Benefits

  • Since the services are bifurcated into pools, the architecture design pattern makes the system highly fault-tolerant. In other words, the whole software won’t collapse on its head even if some microservices cease to function. 
  • An enterprise mobile app development company working on such an architecture for clients can deploy multiple programming languages to build different microservices for their specific purpose. Therefore the technology stack can be kept updated with the latest upgrades in computing. 
  • This architecture is a perfect fit for applications that need to scale. Since the services are already independent of each other, they can scale individually rather than overloading the entire system with the need to expand. 
  • Services can be integrated into any application depending upon the scope of work. 

Potential Drawbacks 

  • Since each service is unique in its ability to contribute to the whole codebase, it could be challenging for an enterprise mobile application development company to interlink all and operate so many distinctive services seamlessly. 
  • Developers must define a standard protocol for all services to adhere to. It is important to do so, as the decentralized approach towards coding microservices in multiple languages can pose serious issues while debugging. 
  • Each microservice with its limited environment is responsible to maintain the integrity of the data. It is up to the architects of such a system to come up with a universally consistent data integrity protocol, wherever possible. 
  • You definitely need the best of breed professionals to design such a system for you as the technology stack keeps changing. 

Ideal For

Use Microservices Architecture for apps in which a specific segment will be used heavily than the others and would need a sporadic burst of scaling. Instead of a standalone application you may also deploy this for a service that provides functionality to other applications of the system. 

It Does Not End Here 

While the enlisted architectures above definitely signify the most favored design choices for organizational software development, there are plenty of others, equally interesting and perhaps more befitting to your project. At Appinventiv, we have the pedigree to help small scale companies, medium-sized businesses and enterprises come up with state of the art tech solutions. Spare a minute or two and let us help you realize the potential your next architectural project deserves.

Shrikant Srivastava
Shrikant Srivastava
VP Technology
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