Introduction to composable infrastructures

Enterprise IT departments are not just about "keeping the lights on" anymore. The modern IT department is looking to ensure agility to meet new business demands on the fly. For businesses to deliver new products and services quickly in today's unpredictable global market, IT teams have tapped into a design approach qualified to increase agility and business resilience—composability.

What is composability?

In the context of enterprise application design, composability is simply explained as the rapid assembly of new apps using prebuilt, reusable components from a library. Each of these components addresses a specific business problem or use case. The individual components are selected and assembled (picture them stacked like Legos) to compose applications that satisfy unique business requirements while accelerating application development.

Why are companies adopting composable architectures?

Legacy applications running core business processes are exceptionally hard to replace. They have architectures that are too rigid to be agile and too intertwined with other systems to modify without impacting business. So, many companies still run these outdated systems in order to avoid the huge change management process they have to undertake to replace them. In turn, they run the risk of becoming the single point of failure for both the business and IT department.

Legacy architectures often lock enterprises in what Gartner calls a "static application experience". These architectures have huge code bases and minor changes can require reengineering the entire application.

The composable design model gives the enterprise a dynamic experience by breaking down large projects into smaller, modular components. Design and development is considerably faster because you're reusing existing components and not building from scratch. Expedited development cycles mean IT teams no longer have to play catch up with rapidly shifting business dynamics and customer expectations. The improved agility can also counter the technological impedance and any organizational sluggishness caused by legacy ecosystems.

What makes an application composable?

The principles of composability

The architecture of the a composable system operates on the principles of modularity, autonomy, and discovery.

  • Modularity and interchangeability for greater agility: Modular components of the system (or packaged business capabilities/PBC) are independent and swappable across applications. This gives enterprises the much-needed agility to quickly build, rearrange, and reorient as needed depending on external or internal factors like shifts in customer requirements.
  • Resilience through autonomy: The individual components of the system must be autonomous, i.e they should be self contained, and not dependent on other parts of the system. The business can achieve higher resilience through its autonomous or independent business components.
  • Faster discoverability: Teams should be able to quickly discover the components they're looking for as they need them to include them in solutions. A central catalog or library with metadata and descriptions to discern its purpose and limitations can help teams discover, use, and reuse them to assemble new apps.

Low-code platforms: The perfect app workbench for composable enterprises

How low-code platforms drive the composable enterprise.

Composable enterprises have become the need of the hour. As organizations move towards digital transformation, low-code development platforms are emerging as a great strategy that offers the flexibility and faster development speeds required to set up a composable architecture.

Low-code operates in a model-driven, drag-and-drop interface that relies on reusable components pretested for performance and security. This model fast tracks application development with greater efficiency. These functional components form the very core of the composable enterprise.

Low-code development provides teams with a sanctioned sandbox of composable microservices, and keeps it IT-governable. For an enterprise on the path to composability, low-code promises to be the perfect development workbench to build applications that can be easily plugged into an ecosystem with little to no disruption.

Low-code capabilities for a successful composable enterprise

Low-code platforms drive the creation of a composable enterprise in several ways:

What's next?

Setting up a composable enterprise is essentially a transformational journey and should be undertaken in phases—from choosing the right development platform, picking the right set of applications, and establishing early wins. Identifying the right low-code platform can go a long way in building momentum towards long-term goals. Have you explored composable architecture yet?

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