Ahead of the Madding Cloud

Dom Selvon

Wed Feb 19 2020

Any paradigm shift comes with inherent complexity and a barrage of unknown challenges. We are in the midst of that shift right now, where more and more enterprises begin to recognise the benefits of a more flexible architecture born from microservices and the rise of the headless platform. 

The benefits of adoption of microservices are apparent; you get the freedom to experiment and a decreased time to market with enhanced speed and agility. Your development efficiency is compounded by the use of more focused development teams and modern practices and technology. Reactive changes such as a UX improvement to address a market opportunity can be made safe in the knowledge that the separation of concerns means other microservices will not be affected. Your channel adoption strategy becomes both more uniform and therefore simpler. Furthermore, with the benefits of a cloud infrastructure, the ability to scale as needed is yours for free.

However, it would be naive to think that we can get anything for free in this life. That is also true for headless. When you embark on a transformation project as extensive as a transition to microservices, the decisions and thought that need to be applied early on in the process can paralyse any business. You need to think about many aspects of your architecture, you will have many more questions than you would with a classical monolithic architecture. The flexibility and scope of the project being undertaken means that the smorgasbord of options can be overwhelming:

  • What cloud provider do I use?
  • Is serverless the right choice?
  • How will I monitor so many moving parts? How do I secure them?
  • Where does the data come from?
  • How do I roll out the changes?
  • How do I organise my code? Continuous integration? Deployment? 
  • Everyone says they are deploying new code 300 times a day - are they really??
  • What about ensuring all these moving parts play nicely with each other? How do I test everything?
  • How do I organise my teams for this style of architecture?
  • Does my own team know how to do this? Or do they just want to do this? Are they considering the cost-benefit?

This is just a snapshot of all the questions that will be floating about when starting the transformation to headless. We have spoken with many trail blazers who have already started this journey and know that this phase can take anything between 3 and 18 months, or sometimes even longer, before any real benefit of the move can be seen. 

Feature development is the goal of each and every enterprise. The ability to rapidly respond to changes in the market and keep the brand fresh makes a lot of sense for a growing business or an older brand seeking to retain relevance in a world of seemingly continual disruption. However, in addition to feature development, there is a raft of other non-functional areas of a system that need to be running smoothly as well, otherwise your customers cannot appreciate the new features because they’re slow, or simply unavailable.

Have you addressed: Scalability, Resilience, Deployment, API Definition, Service Outages, Version Upgrades, Service Versioning, Automated Testing, Server Provisioning, Secret Management, Infrastructure as Code, Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment, Monitoring, Auto scaling, Configuration, Rolling Updates, Data Sovereignty, Job Management, Disaster Recovery, Multivariate Testing, Threat Management, Resource Management, Operational Maintenance, Master Data Management, Environment Management?

Until your code is running in production, it is irrelevant

So, let’s say that the non-functional questions have been asked and answered, the development and deployment strategies are in place and the developers are all on board ready to churn out the high quality integration code your new platform deserves; What of the more functional decisions that now need to be addressed?

  • Do you build or buy?
  • What content management solution do you choose? What commerce solution?
  • Do you choose the payment services from your existing online solution or your point of sale, or do you take the opportunity to consolidate?

Let KATA take on that strain. This means you can focus on feature development rather than spend the next 18 months getting to a point where you can start delivering ROI to the business. We have answered many of the non-functional questions for you and provided integrations into class leading headless platforms including commercetools, Amplience and Cybersource.

KATA provides a suite of tools that quickly and reliably bootstrap a working and operational environment, facilitating the adoption of a service-oriented enterprise architecture.

Don’t … procrastinate at the hands of architects for months debating the merits of many suitable offerings.

Do … immediately start coding the things that make your business special.

Don’t … define a target architecture and then stumble on delivering changes to it.

Do … deploy to production immediately and rapidly with an enterprise Continuous Delivery approach.

With KATA, you get an out of the box, enterprise ready, operational backbone, that massively accelerates ‘time to business value’. This allows you to focus on feature creation from the start of a project by providing a ready to go tool set that addresses the parallel need for operational readiness.

With a custom CLI that abstracts the complexities of container management in Kubernetes and Helm away behind easy to learn commands. The CLI allows you to prepare a working cloud environment that uses Terraform behind the scenes to provision the relevant VMs and software. 

Development simplification is a KATA goal and you will be able to make use of tools and apps that allow you to automatically generate fully functional service code from an enhanced and customised OpenAPI service definition. This generated code will be CI/CD ready, with Jenkins pipelines pre-configured and key management baked in. Helm charts will be created based on the configuration in the service definition that will allow KATA to intelligently deploy the services to the correct environment.

With KATA, you focus on what makes your business unique, safe in the knowledge that we have leveraged 20 years of building the biggest, brightest and best commerce implementations for some of the most recognisable brands in the world. We have distilled that knowledge into something that will change the way you develop and operate your headless commerce solution. 

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