What Is NoSQL? How Is It Different Than the Traditional Databases and What Are the Types of NoSQL Databases?


As the computers progressed through different stages, computer scientists realized that the real-life information of humans could be stored through a digital solution called database. With the rising processing and storage demand, pen and paper were not enough to handle the requirements of mankind. As a result, relational databases made an entry in the 1970s. All the information was saved on the databases through a query language called SQL (Structured Query Language).

Relational databases were a massive hit, and businesses of all scales began designing schemas, relations, and database designs to manage their clients and customer bases. However, data continued increasing at a rapid pace.

As more technologies emerged and the web and mobile platforms accelerated, discussions were held about the feasibility of relational databases in today’s world. Similarly, the ability of DBMS systems to handle a massive number database request was also part of the discussion where real-time interactions like those of social media platforms have increased the data requirements.

What Is NoSQL?

NoSQL stands for ‘Not Only SQL’. NoSQL database is an approach where the traditional concepts of database management systems are not followed. NoSQL databases are required when enterprise systems have issues related to the performance and scalability of their application.

NoSQL has been especially deemed suitable and fit for the requirements of modern day web applications where it is a part of the MEAN (MongoDB Express Angular Node JS) and MERN (MongoDB Express Angular Node JS) technology stacks. These web development stacks have been insanely popular in the recent years where the NoSQL database models are either slowly used as an additional tool or are used to completely replace the RDBMS systems.

Types of NoSQL Databases

There are four key types of NoSQL databases that store information in different ways.

Key-Value Data Store

In key-value DBs, data is stored through a distinct series of key-value pairs, which is similar to the concept of dictionaries. This means that a key can only be linked with a single value of a collection. As a result, the simplicity of the application is increased as a simple query that can generate the required result with a key-value data store.

Additionally, it also negates the need of a query language like SQL. Now the question arises, when should you use the key-value data store? Well, if you have are developing a social media platform, then you can save the profiles of the users through key-value data store.

Similarly, if you are managing a blog, then the comments of your fan following can be stored through a key-value data store. Social media platforms like Twitter and Pinterest are already using key-value data store for their newsfeeds and user profiles.

See the following example where our key is a list of countries that have cities as their values.

Key Value
USA {“New York, San Diego, Seattle”}
India {“Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi“}
Canada {“Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal”}

Example of KeyValue store

These are Key-value store options.

 AerospikeApache IgniteArangoDBBerkeley DBCouchbaseDynamo,  FoundationDBInfinityDBMemcacheDBMUMPSOracle NoSQL DatabaseOrientDBRedisRiakSciDB,  ZooKeeper

Column Store

Traditional DBMS always store and process data horizontally using rows. However, the rows are not stored together in the disk and, thus, accessing different rows can be slow for the database retrieval purposes.

In the case of a column store, the horizontal concept of storing and retrieving data is completely changed. Instead, a new approach has been designed where data can be stored in columns. These columns are combined together into column families. A column family can have countless columns that may either have to be generated at the runtime or at the time of specifying a schema. Column store is useful because the disk saves the column data continuously, which makes searching and accessing data for retrieval purposes easier and faster.

Column DBs is used by Spotify to manage the metadata related information of the music industry. Facebook also uses Column stores for searching mechanisms and personalization.

Example of Column store

These are Column options.

 AccumuloCassandraDruidHBaseVertica.

 

Document Store

In a document store DB, different data formats can be saved. These include the common JSON (JavasScript Object Notation), XML (Extensible Markup Language) or BSON (Binary Encoding of the JSON) data.

Hence, the document store provides a level of flexibility that was previously unimaginable with the relational database approach. It is similar to the key-value store in its storage mechanism of key-value pairs, but here all the values are called ‘documents’.

Additionally, the values also have encoding and structure related information. For example, see the following instance where our values are stored in the form of a document. All of the following instances are related to the address of offices. However, you can see how they can be represented in different formats.

 

{officeName:”ABC 1”,

{Street: “B-329, City:”Mumbai”, Pincode:”806923”}

}

{officeName:”ABC 2”,

{ Block:”A, 2nd Floor”, City: “Chennai”, Pincode: 400452”}

}

{officeName:”ABC 3”,

{Latitude:”60.257314”, Longitude:”-80.495292”}

}

We can also query our searches through the details of the data in the document. For instance, in the above example, we can use the city ‘Mumbai’ for all the data related to the “ABC offices”.

The popular gaming franchise SEGA utilizes the document store approach through MongoDB for its management of more than 10 million gaming accounts. Similarly, the real-time weather functionalities in Android and iOS are provided through the document store model.

Example of Document store

These are document store option

Apache CouchDBArangoDBBaseXClusterpointCouchbaseCosmos DBIBM DominoMarkLogicMongoDBOrientDBQizxRethinkDB

Graph Database

As the name suggests, graph databases use a graphical representation. Like the CS algorithm of the graph, there are nodes, edges, and other related components in graph databases. A graph database is useful to tackle the scalability issues of the applications. In graph databases, entities are represented by the nodes, while the association is linked through relationships. Each node contains records of relationships. For example, suppose a social media network where users know each other.

 

graphdb

Example of Column store

These are Key-value store options.

 AllegroGraphArangoDBInfiniteGraphApache GiraphMarkLogicNeo4JOrientDBVirtuoso

Final Thoughts

With the rising application development needs and demands, NoSQL databases serve as an excellent solution. Whether you are managing an e-commerce store or you are intending to create the next big app, the traditional databases may not always fulfill your needs. With the help of a NoSQL database, you can get an instant performance boost, and your applications will be able to handle requests with enhanced optimization.

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What Is Spring Boot and Why Should It Be Chosen Over Spring?


Do you wish to speed up your web development? Are your projects unable to meet the deadlines set by the clients? Do you want to fast track your applications?

Why was Spring Boot Needed?

Before understanding Spring Boot, you will have to understand why it is needed? For Java developers who choose Spring over the older and more complex Java EE, Spring provides speed and scalability along with various components in its ecosystem that eliminate redundancy from coding.

Spring introduced concepts like dependency injection, REST, Batch, AOP, and others, etc. Spring was also easily integrated with other frameworks like Struts and Hibernate. However, there were still qualms related to the configuration complexities of the Spring projects. Since Spring is mainly used for the development of enterprise and large-scale projects, these projects require external Java files and need to be configured heavily.

For developers who work on small projects, the difference in the configuration of enterprise projects is noticeable. As a developer, it is undesirable to spend a lot of time on the configuration when that time can be utilized in the coding of business logic.

Hence, with the arrival of Spring Boot, developers have received a much-need boost that eases up their development complexities. The important thing to note with Spring Boot is that it is not a web framework and, therefore,  cannot be viewed as a complete replacement for Spring framework. Rather, it is a solution or an approach for web development in Java that minimizes the heavier configurations and dependencies. This means that as soon as you start a Spring Boot project, you can run it instantly without many configurations. Because of this, it has become one of the most popular tools in the development of Spring projects.

What is Spring Boot?

With the emergence of Spring Boot, Java developers are able to center their attention on the application logic. This means developers are saved from the complexities and difficulties associated with the configuration of web projects. The important thing to note with Spring Boot is that it is not a web framework. Rather, it a solution or an approach for web development in Java.

Why Spring Boot Over Spring?

The questions that come into mind with the mention of Spring Boot are, “Why should I use it when there is Spring? Is it an extension of Spring?”

Starters

Are you tired of searching Google for the source codes of different dependency descriptors? Spring Boot has a certain feature called ‘starter’. These starters are available for a number of use cases, which is handy for quick configurations. With a starter dependency for the most used Java technologies, these starters are highly productive for the POM management and help in the development of production-ready applications. Some of these are the following.

Web

Suppose you are building a REST service. You may need to use Spring MVC, Jetty, and Jersey for your web project. All of these technologies require their own set of dependencies. So will you add all of them?

Fortunately, with the Spring Boot starter, you will only be required to type a single dependency known as ‘spring-boot-starter-web’. Now, you can proceed to write your REST service without adding any further dependency.

Test

Whether you use JUnit or Spring Test for your testing, you will have to add all of them one-by-one in your project. However, with the help of ‘spring-boot-starter-test’, all your testing dependencies can automatically be managed. If the need for the upgrade of the Boot library arises in the future, then you will just have to make a single change for the Boot version.

JPA

Persistence is a common feature of Java’s web projects. Mostly, it is Java Persistent API (JPA) that requires its own set of dependencies. However, with a single line addition of spring-boot-starter-data-jpa, all of the required dependencies are automatically managed.

Opinionated Default Configuration

Whether you are working with Groovy or Java, Spring Boot provides convenience with the help of the coding conventions of the opinionated default configuration. This means that developers do not have to spend time in the writing of boilerplate code. Likewise, the XML annotations and configuration complexities can also be reduced significantly. As a result, the productivity of a project increases considerably.

Integration

Spring’s projects need to be configured so a developer can get its ecosystem’s necessary features. The use of Spring Boot does not mean leaving the Spring’s ecosystem. In fact, Spring Boot helps with the integration of Spring technologies like Spring JDBC, Spring Security, and others to your development toolbox.

Scripting

Spring Boot comes with a command line module that can be used for Spring scripts. These scripts are written in the JVM language, Groovy. Groovy adopts various features from Java, and thus it provides convenience for Java developers to use without meddling with the boilerplate coding conundrums. The tool can also be used with Spring’s Batch, Integration, and Web.

Type-Safe Configuration

Spring Boot also comes with the support for type-safe configuration. This helps in the validation of the configurations of web projects.

Externalize Configuration

Do you consistently need to modify your configurations as you write a code in a variety of software environments? With Spring Boot, developers have the ability to externalize their configuration and write the same code for all the environments. As a result, reusability is increased in the projects.

Logging

Spring Boot also helps common logging for internal logging. This means that all the dependencies of a web project are set by default. However, developers can customize these dependencies if needed.

Embedded Servers

Spring Boot provides Embedded Servers. This means that you can eliminate the need of WAR files from your toolkit. Instead, you can now create JAR files and put your Tomcat Web Server inside the JAR file. This JAR file is called an embedded server. Now this embedded server can be run on any machine that recognizes JVM.

First Spring boot application

Before you start building spring boot application you need to have some tools ready.

  • Java 8 and above
  • Apache Maven 3.3.9
  • Spring STS/eclipse

 

  1. Open STS IDE select New-> Maven project. Select your workspace location.
  2. In New maven project explorer select maven-archetype-quickstart
  3. Enter Name of your application (Let say “myFirstSpringBootApplication”) and click the finish button.
  4. Open pox.xml and add spring-boot-starter-parent and the spring-boot-starter-web dependency.

<parent>
<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
<artifactId>spring-boot-starter-parent</artifactId>
<version>2.0.3.RELEASE</version>
</parent>

<dependency>
<groupId>org.springframework.boot</groupId>
<artifactId>spring-boot-starter-web</artifactId>
</dependency>

  1. Go to App.java which was created by default and add @SpringBootApplication               import org.springframework.boot.SpringApplication;
                   import org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.SpringBootApplication;              @SpringBootApplication
  2. Create a new class TestMyFirstSpringBootApplicationController and write the code like this.

import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RequestMapping;
import org.springframework.web.bind.annotation.RestController;
@RestController
public class TestMyFirstSpringBootApplicationController {
      @RequestMapping(“/”)
      public String firstMethod() {
             return “yey .I wrote my first application!”;

}

}

 

  1. Start your application by clicking on Run As-> Java Application
  2. Test your application. Open the web browser and type http://localhost:8080. You should see the message “yey. I wrote my first application!”;
  3. Write your comment on my blog and suggest if you want to update /add anything

 

Final Thoughts

Are you exhausted with the management of dependencies? Do you hate to continuously write boilerplate code? Well, then you should certainly think about using Spring Boot, especially for small projects.

What Are the Types of Cloud Computing Services


Are you planning to switch to the cloud?

If you are planning to move your existing services on the cloud, you will have to take a lot of things into consideration. You will need to brainstorm with the top-tier leadership and specify your IT requirements. Depending upon your business, you may have to outsource your hardware. In other cases, it may be more suitable to have cloud development environments for your business. Thus, it is important for you to understand the basic cloud computing classifications. Cloud computing is divided into three main services.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS refers to the outsourcing of the servers and machines to a cloud service provider. With IaaS, businesses do not have to purchase hardware for their software, networking, processing, and storage needs. This helps vastly in the saving of expenses, especially for non-IT businesses. As computing hardware requires a great deal of space, therefore the consideration of their allocation is a major factor in the expansion of a business.

Similarly, these hardware devices are involved in the high consumption of energy resources, resulting in extremely high bills.  Hence, IaaS appears as a game changer as it minimizes these expenses. Now businesses can get their hands on powerful hardware equipment of cloud providers. This remote hardware can help in the running of operating systems, development of virtual machines, and other important IT assets.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Do you manage a software development company? Are you faced with challenges in the configuration and installation of your software requirements? PaaS is especially helpful for developers as it provides an environment in which coding projects can be easily developed and deployed. Developers only have to concern themselves with the application layer’s configuration and administration while the cloud services manage both the OS and the hardware needs.

The services offered by PaaS can include middleware, databases, development tools, and any other utility that can speed up the coding of applications. As a result, developers do not have to over think about the intricacies of the hardware and OS level complexities, and they can attend to their critical application layer logic.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Have you ever used Google Drive for storing your personal data? Well, then you have used a SaaS service.

Often, organizations have to deal with downtime which shutdowns their operations. As a result, the customers are unable to receive support. With the arrival of SaaS-based solutions, both the employees and customers of an organization would be able to access the organization’s digital platforms through the internet.

SaaS is a service in which a cloud provider hosts software apps and allows users to use them in return for a fee. With the emergence of SaaS, businesses no longer need to engage themselves in the installation and running of software applications. Instead, they can ask a cloud provider for the provision of a service, allowing them to focus more on their operations and to increase their revenue.

Types of Cloud

Now that you have been acquainted with the types of cloud services. We will now move on the different types of cloud.

Public Cloud

Have you ever used Amazon’s EC2? It is an example of a public cloud.

Public cloud is the cloud that provides cloud computing services like IaaS and PaaS for the general public. This means that both the individuals and businesses use the public cloud. In a public cloud, the IT hardware and computing resources are located at the provider’s location, and the clients are restricted in their control of the IT management.

Public clouds are usually shared by a wide range of users where organizations and individuals may be using the same remote machines for their uses. However, they are properly separated so a client’s data is not exposed to another one. A public cloud is a good option for storing data, hosting applications, etc.

Private Cloud

The application of a private cloud is reflected through its terminology. A private cloud is one in which a separate IT infrastructure is provided to a business. Thus, it eliminates the sharing of computing resources to another business. Moreover, the control and management of the infrastructure is given to the organization by the cloud provider.

The location of the IT infrastructure of a private cloud varies. Sometimes, it is located at the data center of the cloud provider. On other certain occasions, virtualization is applied to the IT assets that are located at the company’s facility. As a result, businesses are able to be more flexible in their configuration and can enhance their performance through a private cloud.

However, it should be noted that the costs are higher for a private cloud as it requires the buying and maintenance of the required resources. Hence, private clouds are not favored by small businesses. They are more suitable for organizations that require greater privacy and security.

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud has the best of both worlds. This means that it combines the positives of both the public and private clouds. In a hybrid cloud, there is a minimum of a single private and public cloud. Depending on the company’s requirements, there can be countless public and private clouds.

This means that organizations can save costs by utilizing public clouds for a number of their computing requirements and by using the private cloud when the organizations require privacy and security.  On the other side, organizations will have to make sure that the different clouds are seamlessly connected without any compromise on the integrity of the data.

Final Thoughts

The final decision regarding the choice of the right service and cloud model depends upon your business and personal requirements. Whether you require assistance on the application or the hardware layer, these cloud services can help fill your gaps easily.

Businesses can either choose a local reputable provider or use cloud platforms that are offered by global platforms, such as Amazon’s Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform etc.

Message-Driven Architecture


A message-driven architecture can have the following components.

  • Producer – The one that generates a message and then forwards it ahead.
  • Consumer – The one for whom the message was intended; who will then read it and process accordingly.
  • Queue – A communication model that saves the messages so they can be sent ahead to other services for processing.
  • Exchange – It is a queue aggregator. This means that it can apply abstraction on the queues and manage the messages so they can be sent to the right queues.
  • Message – It consists of the headers which contain metadata as well as a body. The body entails the actual contents of the message.

A message-driven architecture also needs a message broker. This message broker decides who should send the message or who should receive it.

Surely, the benefits of the microservices outweigh those of monolithic applications but the paradigm shift means that you will have to look into the communication protocols and processes between various components of your application. By using the same mechanisms of monolithic systems in a microservices application, it may impact the performance of the system and slow it down, particularly if you are coding distributed applications.

To counter such problems, the isolation of the microservices architecture can be helpful. For this purpose, asynchronous communication can be utilized to link microservices. This can be done through the grouping of calls. The services in a microservices application are often requires interaction through protocols like HTTP, TCP etc.

The general opinion of the developers regarding the microservices architecture is to inject decoupling in applications while maintaining the cohesiveness of the system. A true microservices applications is one in which each service has its own data model and business logic.

A protocol can be either asynchronous or synchronous. In the synchronous protocol, a client can forward a request. The system will then listen for a response. The entire process is independent with client code execution. An example of such messaging is the HTTP protocol. In asynchronous protocols, the sender will not listen or wait for a response.

Types of Message Brokers

There are many message brokers that are used for message-driven architectures. Some of these are the following.

RabbitMQ

RabibtMQ is perhaps the most popular message broker out there. It is open-sourced and uses the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) with cross-platform functionality. Whether you are a Java developer or a C# one, all of your microservices can be used to communicate the message with different microservices.

Azure Event Hub

This one is a PaaS (Platform as a Service) related solution that is offered by Microsoft Azure. It does not need any management and can be easily consumed by a service. It also uses AMQP. It basically has an Azure Event Hub that works with partitions and communicates with consumers and receivers.

Apache Kafka

Kafka is the brainchild of Linkedin and was made open-source in 2011. It is not dissimilar to Azure’s solution and has the capability to manage millions of messages. However, the difference stems from the fact that unlike the Event Hub, it works with IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). Though, newer solutions are also integrating Kafka with PaaS.

There are two types of asynchronous messaging communications for message-driven architectures.

Single Receiver

Single receiver message-driven communication is particularly helpful when dealing with asynchronous process while working with different microservices. A single receiver is one in which a message is sent only once by its consumer. After forwarded, it also will be processed only once. However, it must be noted that at times a consumer may send the message more than once. For example, there is an application crash; the application will try to repeat the message. In the case of an event like an Internet connectivity failure, the consumer can send a message multiple times. However, it must be noted that it should not be combined with the HTTP communication that is synchronous. Message-driven commands are especially useful when developers scale an application.

Multiple Receivers

To get your hands on a more adaptable technique, multiple receivers message-driven communication can be proficient. This communication utilizes the subscribe/publish strategy. This refers to an approach where a sender’s message can be broadcasted to multiple microservices in the application. The one who sends a message is called the publisher while the one who receives it is called the subscriber. Additionally, further subscribers can be added to the mix without any complex modification.

Asynchronous Event-Driven

In the case of asynchronous event-driven communication, a microservice will have to generate an event for integration. Afterward, another service is fed with the information. Other microservices engage in the subscription of events so messages are received in an asynchronous manner. Subsequently, the receivers will now have to upgrade their entities that entail information regarding the domains so further integrations events can be published.

However, here the publish-and-subscribe strategy requires tinkering with event bus. The event bus can be coded in such a way that it occurs as a means of the interface while dealing with API (Application Programming Interface). To be more flexible with the event bus, other options are available through processes like a messaging queue where asynchronous communication and the publish-and-subscribe strategy are fully supported.

However, it must be noted that all the message brokers have different levels of abstraction. For example, if we are talking about RabbitMQ, then it has a lower level abstraction if we compare it with solutions like MassTransit or Brighter. Brighter and others use RabbitMQ for abstraction. So, how to choose a message broker? Well, it depends on your application type as well as the scalability needs. For simple applications, a combination of RabbitMQ and Docker can prove to be enough.

Though, if you are developing large applications then Microsoft’s Azure Service Bus is a powerful option. In the case of desiring abstraction on a greater level, Brighter and MassTransit are the good options. If you are thinking about developing your own solution then it is not a good idea since it is time-consuming and the cost is too high.

What Is Event-Based Architecture?


Before reading about event-based architecture, you will need to understand what an event is. An event can be termed as any ‘change’ that occurs between two states. For example, a module in application sends a message to another component. This message can be the event that will trigger a change in the processing of the system. Event-based architectures are favored because they help software development of asynchronous and scalable applications.

What Is Event-Based Architecture?

Event-based architecture is a type of software architectural design in which the application component receives the notification of an event. As a result, a response is generated. In comparison to other paradigms, event-based architecture is considered loosely coupled. EDA can be considered as an approach for coding software solutions where the heart of the architecture lies in ‘events’ which process the communication between different components.

How Does Event-Driven Architecture Work?

The architecture has several components that help to speed up the development process of an application.

Queue

In an event-based architecture, the requests accumulate into queues called event queues. From these queues, the events are then sent to the services where they are processed.

The events in this architecture are collected in central event queues. For example, check the following diagram.

queue

 

 

 

S here denotes the service. The queue will provide an event for each service accordingly.

Log

The event log exists on the hard disk. It consists of the messages that were written for the event queue. An event queue is useful because in case of an unexpected system shutdown or crash, rebuilding can be eased through the contents of the event log. The following diagram will help to explain the event log’s place in the architecture.

 

log

 

 

 

The event log can also be utilized for any future back up. This back up can take the entire state of the system which can be critical in testing. The comparison between the performance of both the old and newer releases of an application can be analyzed through this backup.

Event Collector

Okay so far we have talked about the collection of the events in the event queue but how exactly are the events received? Well, the answer lies within the term ‘event collector’. These collectors get requests from protocols like HTTP and forward them to the event queue. Further understanding can be gained through the following diagram.

eventCon

 

Reply Queue

Not all the events can be categorized as same. Sometimes, an event does not require a response. For example, a user has entered some data in a feedback form. In this case, the system does not require sending a response. However, some events require the system formulating a response for a request. The request here will be called as an ‘event’ in our architecture. For this response, a reply queue is needed which will utilize the event queue. The collectors that forward the events can also provide the response back. However, it must be noted that the event log does not record the contents of the reply queues. The following diagram can explain the reply queue.

 

 

replay

 

Read vs. Write

When all the requests from the collectors act as an event to trigger a function, then all of them are added in the event queue. In the case, this queue is linked to the event log. All the requests are persisted which slows down the system. If some of the non-important requests can be eliminated then the event queue’s processing can be increased considerably.

The core concept behind this persisting of events is the rebuilding of the former states of a system. This means, events that actually modify the state of the system, need to be persisted to the event log. This can be done through the classification of events into write and read events. A write event is one in which the states of the system are modified while a read event does not modify any state. As a result, the application can now only persist during the write events which in turn will provide a much-needed boost to the management and processing of the event queue.

Ratios between both read and write events can be drawn to further gain an understanding of the difference. For instance, our system has 10 events. Out of the 10, only 2 events are actually changing the state of the system. Without classification, we can find all of them to be slowing the speed of the event queue through persistent to the log. However, by dividing them between read and write events, only 2 of our events require to be persisted. Subsequently, the other 8 read events cannot risk the speed of the queue.

Now a question arises. How to distinguish between these events? Events should be distinguished through the collectors. If a collector does not separate them, then the event queue will be unable to make a decision of its own.

Another approach is to divide an event queue. One event queue will be responsible for dealing solely with the read events while the second one can look after the write events. This saves the resources as no other component in the system has to decide on the persistence of the events. The following example shows the idea behind this approach. Some may feel that it may make the system more complex but in reality, it is reducing the workload of the application.

 

event

 

Final Thoughts

The main benefit of event-based architectures is seen while working with scalable enterprise applications. Event-based architecture also particularly assists in the testing phase and can generate productivity in test driven approaches which means that each core component of an application can be designed and developed separately. Additionally, with low to no coupling, the architecture stands as an excellent choice for the removal of complexity in applications.

What Is Cloud Computing? What Are the Challenges Faced by the Cloud?


The word ‘cloud’ has gained significant traction over the past decade. Traditionally, businesses had on-premises architecture. This meant that all the hardware, storage, networking, and other IT assets of an organization were physically located in the organization’s premises. However, this meant that many businesses had to deal with issues related to their IT setups.

For instance, a software development company that worked on the application level was riddled with hacking attempts. As a result, instead of focusing on their core competency, the company had to focus on security solutions. With the advancement of Computer Science and IT technologies, businesses now have the option to outsource their IT requirements to a cloud computing service. So what is cloud computing?

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing refers to the sharing of a wide variety of computing resources that are located remotely. These services are offered by cloud providers. They charge a monthly or yearly fee in exchange for the required services. The word cloud here refers to the Internet through which users can access these services. This means that organizations no longer have to spend a huge sum of money on their IT assets and can focus more on their operations through the enhanced security, speed, mobility, etc.

Cloud Migration Strategies

While moving to the cloud, a number of strategies can ease the transition.

Rehosting

Rehosting means the relocation of a company’s physical servers through IaaS. This means that if a company intends to quickly migrate its systems and architecture, it can do so through rehosting. Hence, it is one of the most common strategies for companies after their management finalizes the decision to adopt the cloud. However, since it is IaaS, the company does not fully delegate its computing needs. As a consequence, OS and application level needs like patching and testing will still be the company’s responsibility.

As an example, consider a Java Spring application which was previously hosted on your Linux environment on a physical server. Now, you can utilize a cloud platform like AWS or Microsoft Azure where you can set up and customize your own Linux and Java environments. The hardware and lower level complexities and abstractions would be handled by the cloud platforms. This will remove the requirement for a physical server for your application. You will only need some modification with the DNS settings, after which your website can become live again.

Replatforming

Replatforming means that an application is upgraded from an onsite software platform to the cloud without any compromise or change in its functionality. This can include moving a RDBMS to the cloud using a database-as-a-service. Similarly, application servers can also be moved to the cloud. This can be extremely helpful in minimizing licenses fees.

For example, consider that you are paying for an application server in Java. If you will ‘re-platform’, then the cloud can run a variety of application servers like the open-source Apache Tomcat which can boost your project.

Adopting re-platforming for your business means a slower migration strategy as compared to rehosting but it offers the best of both worlds as it can strike a fine balance between rehosting and refactoring. As a result, businesses are able to profit through cloud fundamentals and cost optimization, limiting the need for the costs and resources that are needed in the refactoring strategy.

Refactoring

Traditional IT architectures and processes may have been successful earlier but today’s IT world is a different place. The changes and evolutions in development tools and technologies are occurring at a rapid pace. This means that a legacy system that was built with the best tools of its time in early-2000s will not function well with the business requirements of the present-day world.

Replatforming assists companies to reduce their expenditure without modifying their software environments and applications altogether. However, refactoring goes a step ahead. Refactoring deals with the complete transformation of business processes by using cloud-native platforms and features. Thus, the cloud controls the entire software lifecycle including development and deployment of a project.

While refactoring is slower as well as more expensive as compared to other migration strategies, it helps to shift from a monolithic architecture to a serverless one. As a result, the investment can go on to generate greater profits for a business in comparison to a business that still relies on previous IT setups.

Challenges Faced by the Cloud

Despite its benefits, cloud computing faces challenges.

Reluctance

Long before the cloud emerged as a leading technology, businesses relied on traditional IT practices. Many of these businesses were able to maintain their revenues without the need for any major IT adoption. However, with the passage of time, the computing requirements increased with the huge influx of data, and thus the previous strategy of on-premises IT architecture incurred heavy expenses. Therefore, businesses adopted the cloud, which increased their productivity.

However, not all businesses accepted the change. For non-tech savvy management, this meant a giant leap. The decision to completely revolutionize the IT structure of a company is unappealing to many and there are still businesses that are hesitant to adopt the cloud.

Service Quality

When businesses ponder over the decision to move to the cloud, they contact cloud providers for their services. These providers issue a SLA (Service Level Agreement). Some of the questions that businesses need to address in most SLAs are:

  • What are all the cloud services and features that will be provided to the business?
  • What will the provider do in case of an IT failure?
  • Will the business operations run 24/7 even in the case of an IT issue in the provider’s data center?
  • What are the cybersecurity measures for the protection of the company’s data?

Often businesses are not satisfied with the SLAs and consider them to be limited for their business requirements.

Dependability on the Internet

Since cloud services are accessible over the Internet, 24/7 connectivity is vital for smooth operation. This means that as a business goes offline, the Internet-based cloud features and services would be unavailable for the business and its clients. Thus, businesses have to make sure that their cloud provider has backup solutions that can help in the provision of continuous services.

Bandwidth Cost

With the advent of the cloud, businesses no longer have to purchase a server or spend money on the repair of their hardware. However, another cost has emerged. This cost is related to the bandwidth cost. These may be negligible with small applications but when it comes to data-intensive applications, businesses will need to increase their bandwidth expenses.

Final Thoughts

While cloud computing technology deals with a number of technologies, the selection of the appropriate cloud migration strategy can help to minimize the risks explained above and provide a much-needed boost to businesses.

Producing High-Quality Solution Architecture


Following solution architecture may seem too intensive and time-consuming in the beginning, but the rewards of adhering to solution architecture are unlimited, which can be realized during all phases of software lifecycle as well after the post-deployment period. Solution architecture helps in incorporating industry standards in the project’s lifecycle, which can save valuable resources that may have been consumed without its use.

For example, there is a project in which a social media platform requires to be developed. Now, the IT team may choose a certain language named as A due to its ease of use and cheaper developers. The application may function well in the beginning, but as the number of profiles on the network increase, performance can be affected.

Likewise, the application also may be attacked by a DDoS attack or brute force attack where multiple security vulnerabilities can be identified.  Solution architecture can help to illustrate and understand that a language like Java can be better for scalability and security purposes, especially if the application is like a social media platform where the number of users is expected to increase with time.

A solution architecture can be seen as the blueprint of a project that can address all the considerations and requirements of the project before a line of code can be written. As a result, the IT team can streamline effectively in the production of the best possible solutions. In order to follow the best tips and practices to design a high-quality solution architecture, have a look at the following details:

Dedicated Resources for Non-Functional Requirements

Non-Functional Requirements in solution architecture involve a methodological approach for improving the “quality” in a system. Quality can refer to security, performance, accuracy, and other attributes— depending upon the project.

Sometimes non-functional requirements are not treated with the same level of attention and detail as the functional requirements. This may be practical for designing a basic web page –– making use of WordPress or JavaScripting your way out –– but projects of higher scale demand a solution architect to view non-functional requirements with better attentiveness and commitment.

Due to the lack of focus on NFRs, their technical documentation is not up to the required industry standards. Subsequently, the development team can wrongly misinterpret the Software Requirement Specification document. As a result, the project begins with the wrong step, and passing other stages of the project lifecycle may result in an irrecoverable loss— either through client dissatisfaction or through an application’s crash.

Hence, as a solution architect, you will have to ensure that the activities of NFRs –– communicating and collecting details from a client to the documentation process –– are performed adequately. As a rule of thumb, follow the software quality characters from ISO9126: functionality, reliability, usability, efficiency, maintainability, and portability.

Prototyping

In most cases, an initial design can be built where the prototype can provide a peek into the operations of the application. You have to ensure that the fundamentals of the application are followed.

For instance, a client asked for a business website that sells sports equipment. Now, one of the fundamental functionality of the project includes the customer order module. This should work in the prototype rather than giving importance to components of lower priority like a feedback form or a contact page. Another object of a prototype is the selection of the right tools. This includes:

  • Deciding if a database like Oracle can be needed for the storage of data.
  • Working with multitiered applications for isolating functional requirements for working on the client tier, middle tier, and the data tier in the Spring ecosystem.

All the tools required for a project’s component can be documented with information about their versions, type of APIs, and other relevant information so that everyone in the team can have a clear perspective about the project’s toolset.

Maintainability – Making Post-Deployment Modifications Easier

You would be surprised that how commonly developers ignore the maintainability factor. Sometimes when a project starts, the application is designed and developed with timing as the driving factor behind all the hassle. After the project is successfully implemented, testing follows to match client specifications; subsequently, the project is deployed into the client’s systems.

However, later the client calls in to add a newer functionality. This functionality may be too simple, but due to the earlier negligence of the maintainability factor, it can lead on to become a major headache for software engineers. Therefore, all the efforts to save time lead to a bigger consumption of resources, where facing the client criticism furthers lowers the morale of the entire team.

Businesses prefer solutions that could be maintained easily by either the in-house IT team or a third-party provider –– other than the software provider. Hence, maintainability is mandatory for solution architecture where it can be adhered to in the software practices, patterns, and designs. Maintainability can also be incorporated through specific tools that can restrict a developer in the submission of an unmaintainable piece of code.  A solution architect has to ensure that the maintainability standards are documented and confirmed by the team.

Collaboration

Suppose you handle a project where you:

  • Compile a list of non-functional requirements.
  • Highlight the key features for a prototype.
  • Mention the use of maintainable code through a specific tool.

But what if your team does not follow it or is not experienced enough to understand it?

An application can be as good as its developers. Documenting and formulating guidelines for a solution is one thing; having them followed by the developers is another. The input of the software development team is necessary. They have to be involved in the planning and analysis of both functional and non-functional requirements. Likewise, the decision to use a new tool can also be agreed upon through coordination.

If a developer is inexperienced with writing maintainable code, then training and workshops can be arranged for the promotion and adoption of the best architectural tools, practices, and patterns.

Likewise, confidence is the key. You should know the strength and weaknesses of each member so that you know where they should be trusted with complete faith for the design and development of any module of the application.