Key Factors for an Efficient System Architecture Design
One of the most intriguing aspects of software architecture is trying to bring structure to areas that can’t be structured easily. Whenever an architect designs a system, service, or feature, they are formulating a typical yet comprehensive solution to a unique problem.
The key concepts outlined here are valuable in designing an efficient, scalable, accessible, secure, and cost-friendly architecture.
Integrity and Consistency
The integrity of the data the system operates on is of the highest consideration when designing a reliable and fault-tolerant architecture. The system should be designed to provide redundant backups that maintain data integrity and all-around consistency.
Performance and Scalability
Modern web applications are built to scale, and an elastic architecture that scales as the traffic grows ensures business needs are not impacted by a large customer base. The architecture should encompass scalability approaches in the design, code, and infrastructure phases.
A deployment process, whether in the cloud or on-premises, should be an integral part of the architecture design. Deployment methodologies such as continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) should ideally be a fabric of this design to streamline the deployments of builds.
In today’s world of ubiquitous and pervasive computing, a user’s sensitive information and overall data security is of paramount importance. An architectural design should insist on incorporating security procedures as a pattern and enforce strong security practices via configuration or convention.
User Experience and Inclusivity
Pertinent to user-facing systems, the end-user experience is paramount in architecture design. Experience architecture (XA) is the process of articulating the user’s journey from one subsystem to another within an application, and is vital in providing the user with helpful controls, hints, and other methods to navigate. The system architecture should also include accessibility design as a part of the user experience, so they can navigate an application thoroughly regardless of physical or cognitive differences.
Recovery and Planning
Data recovery (DR) and business continuity planning (BCP) should be vital parts of an architectural design that ensures business needs are not largely affected when an unforeseen event occurs.
A resilient architecture should incorporate unit testing as an essential component of its design. A code coverage report generated on each build provides opportunities for code reviews within the team where any inconsistencies can be discovered quickly. Automation should be explored as an integral element of the architecture wherever possible, and not as an afterthought.
Application Performance Monitoring
Even the best engineered systems fail. And when they do, the architecture should be robust enough to offer the end-users and the development teams support information with what went wrong, when, and why. Application performance monitors (APMs) are particularly useful in providing detailed insights on application issues.
Overall, a system architect’s role and performance is defined by the concept, design, development, and maintenance of the application they architect.