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Modern Application Development Demystified

Modern Application Development Demystified

Today’s software applications need to handle millions of global users on demand and run on multiple platforms and environments. They also need to provide high availability and withstand increased cybersecurity threats. And they need to enable businesses to innovate and respond to changing market conditions.

Modern applications are built for scalability, agility, portability, and resiliency. They give organisations the ability to experiment and realize ideas at a much faster pace than traditional applications.

Modern application development uses agile delivery methods, DevOps, modular architecture, integrated security, and cloud infrastructure to enable development teams to release secure applications in faster development cycles. 

Here’s what you need to know about modern app development, including how it differs from legacy approaches.

Modern Applications vs. Legacy Applications

Legacy applications are typically built on tightly integrated architecture as single-tier software applications, with all the pieces built into one platform. There’s no clear separation between the elements of the application. Updates require a new release, and bugs in one component of the application affect the entire application. Legacy applications are typically developed and installed on physical hardware, which incurs greater costs and requires more maintenance. 

Modern applications, on the other hand, use modular architecture in the form of microservices that allow their components to be developed independently. Individual teams can be assigned to a single microservice that’s built using the best development language, database, and libraries for its specific functionality. Microservices are released and updated individually, without affecting other aspects of the application. This development model enables faster releases and reduces the application’s downtime. 

Foundational Elements of Modern Application Development

Modern applications are built for a wide variety of use cases but are founded on the same basic principles. Let’s take a look at some of the foundational elements of modern application development.

Increased Collaboration with Agile Practices

With a traditional development approach, requirements gathering occurs at the beginning of the process. There’s little to no further interaction between developers and users until the final stages of the project. 

In contrast, agile development processes involve frequent and incremental iterations on design, development, and deployment. This facilitates rapid responses to changes in requirements. Development and operations teams, business stakeholders, and users work in an integrated collaborative environment that can provide continuous feedback. 

Continuous collaboration within an agile environment encourages teams to share ideas and solutions. This leads to faster issue resolution and a clearer view of the objectives of the project as it moves through the stages of development. 

DevOps-Enabled

DevOps is a software development practice and culture that integrates the tasks of development and IT operations teams to shorten the application development life cycle. DevOps encompasses the adoption of agile and iterative software development practices, automation, and a culture of trust and cohesion between development and operations teams. 

DevOps environments include automated continuous integration and continuous delivery/deployment (CI/CD) tools, real-time monitoring, incident and configuration management, and cloud computing for the support of microservices and containers. 

Development teams ensure that the software delivered is robust and error-free. They work with operations teams in a continuous release cycle. Operations teams ensure that developers have a working environment that supports innovation and a rapid application development process. 

DevOps helps break down silos between teams and increase efficiency. DevOps integrates automation tools to manage builds, testing, configurations, deployment, and monitoring of the development environment. This enables teams to track, diagnose, and fix issues as quickly as possible.

Automation

Modern applications rely heavily on automation. In fact, processes like CI/CD, continuous testing, application performance monitoring, and security monitoring are all automated. 

Automation can be used to trigger code check-ins and build processes; run tests for code functionality, quality, coverage, and security; and automatically deploy applications to staging and production environments.

Tools are used to support end-to-end automation of the delivery pipeline, including operations activities such as provisioning machines, spinning up virtual servers, configuring networks and firewalls, and monitoring applications for performance and security.

As a result, automation enables consistency, speed, and greater accuracy and reliability in the development of modern applications. 

Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)

In modern application development, CI/CD creates pipelines for rapidly testing and releasing small code increments. Teams can deliver several small code releases with fewer defects. In contrast, in traditional application development, teams typically deliver only one or two code releases per year.

Application code changes are merged into a central repository, triggering an automated build process. The build process also runs validation and integration tests, allowing developers to detect and resolve bugs and integration issues early in the development process. 

Continuous deployment follows continuous integration. Code changes are deployed to testing and production environments. CI/CD allows development teams to operate on the assumption that the code is stable and error-free as it moves through the development chain.

Use of Microservices, APIs, and Containers

Modern applications are built on a framework that includes microservices, standardized application programming interfaces (APIs), and containers. 

Microservices break applications into loosely coupled, independent services that can be deployed individually. This modular architecture allows developers to scale or update applications without disrupting other services.

Modern applications use decoupled datastores with a one-to-one mapping of microservices and databases. This means that each microservice can use its own purpose-built database, preventing bottlenecks at the central database (an issue found in traditional monolithic development). 

APIs are used as gateways for interacting with microservices. They are available over HTTPS and provide access to the data and functionality of a microservice. APIs support the reuse of existing code to decrease development effort and application bloat. 

Containers are small software packages that provide the supporting environment for a microservice. They contain everything the microservice requires, including code, runtime, system tools, libraries, and dependencies. Containers isolate microservices from the surrounding environment to ensure consistent performance across  environments (e.g., development and staging).

Developed Using Cloud Architecture

In modern application development, applications are abstracted from the underlying hardware using cloud technologies. The cloud supports virtualisation, serverless technologies, and as-a-service solutions, such as software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). These solutions provide scalable infrastructure and eliminate the need to set up development environments with physical hardware. 

Cloud-based services can provision several virtual resources for modern application development, including servers, network infrastructure, storage, CPUs, and memory. By storing project assets and resources in the cloud, modern app development processes enable better collaboration between teams and stakeholders.

Modern applications can run in several cloud environments, including public, private, hybrid, and multicloud. This gives organisations the flexibility to use multiple cloud providers and combine environments as needed. 

DevSecOps

DevSecOps extends the DevOps process and is often referred to as “shift-left security.”  This approach aims to incorporate security earlier in the development process, making it an integral part of the application’s design. As a result, security is no longer the sole responsibility of the security team. 

DevSecOps introduces enhanced automation through the software delivery pipeline to eliminate vulnerabilities that increase the potential for security attacks. Security is integrated into the development process using tools like code repositories, build management programs, and deployment tools. Security controls and processes are applied to both the development pipeline and the software being released through the pipeline. 

DevSecOps helps application development teams avoid the delays created by the testing and issue resolution processes that occur at the end of a traditional development cycle. Incorporating security into modern application development helps teams release software faster, without compromising security. 

Pure DevOps Solutions Support Modern Application Development 

Modern applications drive innovation, reduce time to market, lower total cost of ownership, and offer greater application security. Pure Storage® DevOps solutions can help you:

  • Accelerate your CI/CD pipeline with self-service development environments for faster time to market.
  • Code faster with self-service development environments and container-based PaaS.
  • Build automated and repeatable processes with infrastructure as code (IaC) for continuous delivery.

Learn more about how Pure DevOps solutions enhance your company’s competitive advantage by supporting your CI/CD pipeline and modern application development practice.

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