An enterprise software architecture works as a backbone for your business software system. If there’s no software architecture pattern in place, the development falls back to traditional n-tier architecture (standard traditional layered architecture pattern). Such implicit layers do nothing but result in a collection of unorganized source-code modules without clear roles, responsibilities, and relationships to one another.
A software architecture pattern helps in defining the root characteristics and behavior of an application. It simplifies the inner-working patterns of each component and module, thus contributes to determining the app’s building blocks. As a result, questions related to deployment and maintenance appear easy to answer, such as: Does the app architecture scale? What are the key performance characteristics of the application? How does the application respond to changes? What are the app deployment characteristics? How responsive and adaptable is the app architecture?
To clear any possible vagueness, here’s what is a software architecture pattern in a layman language: it is a structure (similar to any physical structure built on a substantial foundation) that combines different quality attributes of the enterprise software to transform it into a solution. It is required to fulfill the company’s particular technical requirements and business demands.
Above all, the architectural approach’s motive is to make the software modular, maintainable, and extendable. So the enterprise software can evolve quickly and parallelly with the business no matter how aggressive the marketplace is. However, multiple software architectures exist for enterprise apps to choose from with the distinctive code of nature. For example, some architecture patterns tend to create highly scalable applications, while others are meant for highly agile applications.
Therefore, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the architecture pattern is necessary to: first, choose the right one that lives up to your business-specific goals and objectives; second, to comprehend the impact of the architecture design on the system functionality and quality; and third, to justify your architecture decision.
Tip: If you don’t have the required expertise in-house, it’s good to partner with a Custom Software Development Company.
So let us answer how to choose the software architecture by explaining some common architectural patterns.
TYPES OF SOFTWARE ARCHITECTURE PATTERNS
The microservice architecture pattern is an architectural style to structure an application as a collection of services that are;
Highly maintainable and testable
Organized around business capabilities
Owned by a small team
It makes your application robust and provides excellent scalability as major application components are split up into separately deployed micro-units (service). Further, the architecture allows an organization to expand its technology stack as well.
Ideal for software that needs to scale, maintain, and deploy various services separately without overloading the entire system.
New services can be integrated into an enterprise application based on the scope of work.
Prevent the whole enterprise system from collapsing in case some microservices fail.
You can use multiple programming languages to create different microservices.
The technology stack can be updated with its latest upgrades.
Structuring the right level of microservices granularity is challenging.
Coding microservices in multiple languages can cause issues in debugging the application.
You need tech geeks to design and maintain a system with the ever-changing technology stack.
So many unique services contribute to the codebase that makes it challenging for an enterprise to interlink and operate all services seamlessly.
The microservice approach is for enterprise software with a small number of services. It also works well for distributed system teams worldwide.
Layered (N-Tier) Architecture
Layered, Multilayered, Multi-Tiered, onion architecture, N-tier architecture, and many more are names of industry-proven software architecture models that support enterprise-level client-server applications. As the name suggests, the architecture is classified into four different layers: presentation, business logic, persistence, and database.
It’s the conventional architecture approach used by many startups and established enterprises. It lets software developers create scalable, reusable, secure, fault-tolerant, and maintainable solutions.
The development team can work independently on individual layers without impacting one another.
Layers are not affected by changes in other layers makes the refactoring process seamless.
Ideal for enterprise applications that need to be developed quickly and in a traditional way.
Management costs may be higher if there are too many layers.
Adding more layers can slow down the performance of applications.
Any modification can require deploying the app all over again, as despite the layers being independent, the version is installed as one unit.
The Layered (n-tier) architecture is best when you want to develop new software rapidly and/or your software demands strict maintainability and testability standards.
The Event-driven architecture is a software designing model that supports two parts of the working equation, event producer and event consumer. It’s a paradigm that promotes the production, detection, consumption of, and reaction to events. Unlike N-tier architecture that calls for the code flow top-to-down, the event-driven approach supports the activated modules when an event occurs.
Such events are defined as a change in state. For example, when a customer buys a Television, the television’s state changes from for sale to sold.
The model is highly adaptable to real-time changes, which are best for asynchronous software that runs on asymmetric data flow.
It’s made of loose coupling and single-purpose event processing components that result in greater operational efficiencies.
Highly suitable for IoT deployments to make information correspond easier between event producers and consumers in real-time.
Error handling can quickly turn into a nightmare, specifically when multiple modules are responsible for one event.
Developing a systemwide data structure is complicated.
Overhead messages can slow down the entire software’s operational speed.
Event-driven software architecture is perfect for enterprise software that needs to leverage the data in real-time, and individual data blocks interact with multiple modules.
The software architecture pattern has two types of architecture components, plug-in modules, and a core system. The architecture is a natural approach for implementing product-based software. Microkernel architecture-based software typically contains only the functionality required to make the system operational. Later, you can add extra features in the form of plug-ins to the core app with extensibility and feature separation and isolation. Therefore, the model is also called a plug-in architecture pattern.
One of the examples of the architecture is the Eclipse IDE. You can download the basic version of the Eclipse with minimum features. However, it can be highly customizable when you start adding plug-ins.
The architecture pattern offers significant flexibility and extensibility and avoids potential downtime during deployment.
You can also implement new plug-ins while the application is in the running state.
You can test and demonstrate a plug-in or a feature prototype with few or no changes to the core system.
The software tends to be smaller in size; hence, it is not highly scalable.
A number of plug-ins dependent on the core make it challenging to execute the architecture.
Contract versioning, internal plug-in registries, and the vast options available for plug-in integration only add to the complexity involved with implementing this model.
Microkernel architecture is generally good for software like workflow, tasks, job scheduling, and web browsers.
The software architecture patterns you just come through are some of them. It means a few more are there, which we might cover in the upcoming post. However, the above are widely used architecture approaches for enterprise applications, which may work well for you. Still, it never goes without saying, the architecture decision should be based on your specific technological and operational needs.
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