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Historically, software was monolithic. In most cases, development teams would have to rewrite or rebuild an entire application to fix a bug or add a new feature. Building applications with any sense of speed or agility was largely out of the question, which is why software suites like Microsoft Office were generally released once a year.
Much has changed over the last decade or so. In the age of lightning-fast networks and instant gratification, leading software development teams are adopting DevOps workflows and prioritizing CI/CD so they can pump out stronger software releases much faster and much more frequently.
Monthly, weekly, or even more frequent releases, for example, are becoming something closer to the norm.
This accelerated release process is the result of the fact that—over several years—it’s become much easier to develop applications.
Today, many engineering teams are utilizing new technologies to build better applications in less time, developing software with agility. Let’s take a look at four of the key technologies that have largely transformed the development process in recent years.
Microservices enable development teams to build applications that—you guessed it—are made up of several smaller services.
Compared to the old-school monolithic approach, microservices speed up the development process considerably. Engineers can scale microservices independently of one another; updating or adding a feature no longer requires an entire rewrite of an application.
Beyond that, microservices also bring more flexibility to developers. For example, developers can use their language of choice, building one service in Java and another in Node.js.
The speed, flexibility, and agility microservices bring to the table have made it much easier to develop modern applications. Add it all up, and it comes as no surprise that a recent survey found that 91 percent of companies are using or plan to use microservices today.
Containers (think Docker) go hand-in-hand with microservices. Using containers, developers can create, deploy, and run applications in any environment.
At a very basic level, containers let developers “package” an application’s code and dependencies together as one unit. Once that package has been created, it can quickly be moved from a container to a laptop to a virtual server and back again. Containers enable developers to start, create, copy, and spin down applications rapidly.
It’s even easier to build modern applications with containers when you use Kubernetes to manage containerized workloads and services.
3. Open source tools
Docker and Kubernetes are both open source. So are Apache Cassandra™, Prometheus, and Grafana. There’s also Jenkins, too, which helps developers accelerate CI/CD workflows. With Jenkins, engineering teams can use automation to safely build, test, and deploy code changes, making it easier to integrate new features into any project.
Open source tools simplify the development process considerably. With open-source, engineering teams get access to proven technologies that are built collaboratively by developers around the world to improve the coding process.
Not only does open-source provide access to these tools, popular open-source projects also have robust user communities that developers can turn to when they get stuck on something.
4. Hybrid cloud
More and more companies are building applications in hybrid cloud environments because it enables them to leverage the best of what both the public and private cloud have to offer.
For example, with hybrid cloud, you get the scalability of the public cloud while being able to use on-premises or private cloud resources to keep sensitive data secure (e.g., for HIPAA or GDPR compliance). What’s more, hybrid cloud also increases availability. In the event one provider gets knocked offline, application performance remains unchanged—so long as you have the right database in place.
The same sentiment holds true for multi-cloud or intercloud environments where organizations use several different cloud vendors to take advantage of each of their strengths, avoid vendor lock-in, or reduce the risk of service disruption.
How does your development process compare?
If you’re not using microservices, containers, open source tools, and hybrid cloud environments to build applications, it’s time to reconsider your approach.
The rise of these new technologies has given development teams the ability to pivot at a moment’s notice, incorporating user feedback to build new features and respond to incidents quickly and effectively.
Give them a try. It’s only a matter of time before you’ll start wondering why you didn’t think of it sooner.