Microservices Architecture: Building software castles, one brick at a time

November 01, 2023
business solutions

Note: This is part 2 in our series of posts about Syndigo’s futuristic approach to its architecture benefits our customers.

Traditional architecture can’t help modern businesses

Speed, scalability, and adaptability are drivers for almost every commercial business. It is only logical that any good software vendor looking to be a source of positive impact for these businesses would adopt the same guiding principles in their software design and development.

Traditional approaches to development lose their effectiveness when catering to a modern commercial organization. Historically, vendors followed a monolithic architecture, where all the components of a software application were tightly integrated into a single codebase. This approach was characterized by its simplicity and ease of development, as there were no complex interdependencies or distributed systems to manage. While this approach worked well for small applications, it became increasingly challenging to manage as software systems grew in complexity and scale. This led to issues like slow development cycles, difficulties in scaling, and limited flexibility. While monolithic applications can be easier to develop and deploy initially, they can become difficult to maintain and scale as they grow in complexity.

Microservices architectures serve evolving marketplaces

The alternate approach to development that began to emerge is based on microservices architecture (MSA). The strategy behind this approach relies on the decomposition of large, monolithic applications into smaller, independently deployable services. Developers can work on individual microservices, enabling parallel development and deployment.

For example, in an e-commerce application, you may have microservices for catalog management, user authentication, order processing, payment processing, recommendation engines, and reviews. Each of these services can be independently developed, deployed, and scaled.

The visionary product team at Syndigo went through familiar struggles in the early approaches to the architecture of the MDM platform. The process would require the coordination of a massive number of services  – governance, data quality, integration, security systems, and so on, which would have to be built in sync for multiple data domains like product, customer, location, etc. This invariably led to delays and challenges with debugging but it also made for a highly ossified system that made it difficult to evolve rapidly. Updates and upgrades had to be made en masse and there was no reasonable way to keep up with the evolving market and changing business requirements of customers.

Instead, Syndigo took a microservices-based approach to platform architecture. It made use of the following microservices

  1. Reference Data Microservice: Manages reference data, including codes, classifications, and hierarchies used across the organization.
  2. Data Quality Microservice: Monitors data quality across the MDM system by performing data validation, cleansing, and enrichment. It helps in identifying and rectifying data anomalies and inconsistencies.
  3. Data Matching and Deduplication Microservice: Ensures data integrity and consistency by comparing and identifying similar or duplicate data entries within the PIM database. Detects redundant or overlapping product information, such as duplicate product listings, customer records, or supplier details. Enhances data quality, reduces redundancy, and improves overall operational efficiency within the PIM ecosystem.
  4. Data Governance Microservice: Enforces data governance policies, manages data stewardship workflows, and tracks data lineage and ownership. It ensures that data complies with regulatory requirements and organizational standards.
  5. Data Integration Microservice: Facilitates data integration between different systems and applications by providing APIs and connectors. It allows for seamless data flow into and out of the MDM system.
  6. Data Security and Access Control Microservice: Manages data access permissions, encryption, and data masking to ensure that sensitive master data is protected against unauthorized access and breaches.
  7. Data Auditing and Logging Microservice: Maintains audit trails and logs of data changes and access. It provides transparency into data activities for compliance and troubleshooting purposes.
  8. Data Analytics and Reporting Microservice: Offers analytical capabilities for deriving insights from master data. It allows for the creation of reports, dashboards, and data visualizations.

While these are broad descriptions of microservices that are typically used in our platform, at Syndigo, we take the view that when it comes to microservices, you can’t go granular enough. What some other vendors might develop as singular microservices, we design even those as combinations of much smaller services. This gives our customers the flexibility to call those smaller services as needed to be more precise in developing solutions for their users and to benefit their customers. During development, these services are developed independently of each other so that one team’s pace is not dictated by the slowing down of another.

Syndigo customers have seen tremendous value from microservices architecture

By embracing a microservices-based approach to architecture, Syndigo has seen significant benefits which in turn has generated tremendous value for their customers.

  • Scalability: Microservices allowed Syndigo to scale different parts of our application independently. This means we could allocate more resources to the parts that require it, improving overall system performance and cost-efficiency. For one customer, Syndigo was managing 350 million individual item prices which involved a lot of complexity.
  • Easier and faster development: Smaller, isolated services are easier to test, which can lead to higher software quality. Microservices architecture aligned with a DevOps culture, where development and operations teams have more autonomy and responsibility for their services. The ability to develop and deploy features faster led to a more responsive and innovative user experience
  • Flexibility: Microservices enabled agility in software development. Teams worked on individual services independently, allowing for faster development, testing, and deployment of features and updates.
  • Technology Diversity: Microservices helped us avoid being locked into a single technology stack for our entire application. Different services use technologies that are best suited for their specific tasks, promoting innovation and the use of the most appropriate tools.
  • Future-Proofing: As our application grows, microservices can adapt more easily to changing requirements. We can add, modify, or replace services without disrupting the entire system.

Syndigo’s current approach to development has helped our customers feel extremely confident about their partnership with us. Our customers can pursue their own strategic pursuits while knowing that Syndigo will be able to keep up with their evolving requirements. Contact us to learn more about how Syndigo’s approach to software architecture can bring you unique benefits to solve your business problems.

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