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Architecting the Modern Enterprise: 10 Key Technologies for a Strong Foundation

An API is a customizable software interface that enables disparate individual software components to communicate with each other. The API exposes how to interface with a program or component allowing any other programs to interact with it as long as it understands the API. It is an interface for software-to-software communication, not a user interface.

Applications use APIs to talk to each other without any end user intervention. APIs make it easier to integrate and connect systems, data, and algorithms, share data and information, authenticate people and things, utilize third-party algorithms, and create new products, services and business models.

An example of a successful API approach is the RESTful interface. A RESTful API uses HTTP requests to GET, PUT, POST, and DELETE data. It is based on representational state transfer technology, which is an architectural style and approach frequently used in developing web services.

DevOps and Continuous Delivery Address the Need for Speed

Modern software development teams increasingly use a continuous delivery approach based upon DevOps and agile development techniques. Unifying software development and software operations, DevOps applies agile and lean principles across the entire software supply chain thereby enabling an enterprise to improve time-to-market for application delivery.

A compelling benefit of the DevOps approach is that it results in small and frequent code changes instead of the monolithic, infrequent delivery model of the past.

DevOps requires changes to both technology and personnel. From a technology perspective, DevOps relies on software for orchestration and automation of application deployments through your environments. Done well, it also embraces database change management as an integrated aspect of application change management. From a personnel perspective, a DevOps approach requires a collaborative development approach and usually involves adopting an agile development methodology. Training is required to ensure that developers understand and embrace this different type of development.

The benefits that can accrue from a DevOps approach include a shorter lead time for changes, a lower failure rate, and a reduced mean time to recovery when errors are encountered.

Microservice Architectures Gaining Ground

Microservice architecture is another software development approach that is gaining momentum.  Using this approach, applications are designed as a suite of small, independently-deployable, modular services. Each service runs a specific process in service of a business goal. Microservices communicate with each other through a lightweight mechanism such as an API.

With microservices, applications can be constructed as a collection of loosely-coupled services that act together to achieve business requirements. Microservices work well with a continuous delivery approach. Complex applications can be delivered in stages, instead of all-at-once, with microservices.

Application development can be done in parallel with microservices by enabling small autonomous teams to develop, deploy, and scale their respective services independently. Such an approach can result in faster application deployment with fewer errors.

Blockchain for Business Transactions

Blockchain is a distributed, shared, permissioned ledger for recording transactions with consensus, provenance, immutability, and finality—and is perhaps best-known as the technology that drives virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. However, its potential spans many more industries and use cases than just virtual currencies.

How does blockchain work? Think of a distributed peer-to-peer network wherein participants contractually agree to trade goods and services. This network facilitates a market, which can be public or private and requires at least two participants but can be many more.  Blockchain provides the system of record for the business transactions.

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