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Composable Architecture: Everything You Need to Know About Composability

Esat Artug
Esat Artug
May 9, 2023 · 14 min read
Growing the MACH Architecture Ecosystem, One Microservice at a Time

As companies grow, they tend to use more and more apps to manage different areas of their business.

According to recent research, companies are using 130 apps on average, and this number is only going to grow.

It’s no surprise to see that this situation leads to data silos where different parts of the company are not able to share information easily. It can also lead to workflow silos where different parts of the company are not able to work together efficiently.

This is where the composable architecture enters our lives as a solution to these problems.

With composable architecture, companies can create a unified system where all data is accessible across different tools, and all workflows can be executed seamlessly - thanks to APIs.

This not only improves the speed of development, increases efficiency, and saves time and money but also creates a more cohesive user experience.

If you're interested in learning more about composable architecture and how it can help you build better solutions faster, this post is for you.

In this blog post, we'll explain everything you need to know about composable architecture.

What Is Composable Architecture?

Composable architecture is a powerful and flexible approach to designing and developing software systems. In the context of modern cloud-based systems, composable architecture, also known as modular architecture or component-based architecture, allows developers to quickly create complex applications by combining multiple smaller services rather than having to build them from scratch.

At its core, composable architecture is all about breaking large applications down into smaller components that can be reused and combined in different ways to create new functionality.

There are several characteristics that define composable architecture:

  • Components are independent: Each component is self-contained and performs a specific function, and can be used in multiple configurations without relying on other components.

  • Components have well-defined interfaces: The interfaces between components are clearly defined, allowing them to communicate and exchange data with each other.

  • Components can be easily combined and recombined: Components can be easily combined and rearranged to create different configurations, allowing organizations to adapt their systems to changing needs and requirements.

  • Components can be developed and tested separately: Because components are independent and have well-defined interfaces, they can be developed and tested separately from the rest of the system, improving the efficiency and speed of the development process.

By leveraging composable architecture in your development efforts, you can not only speed up your time to market but also reduce the overall cost and complexity of building software systems. This is because composable architecture allows you to focus on creating reusable components that can be assembled together in different ways rather than having to reinvent the wheel each time.

Building Blocks of Composable Architecture: APIs and Microservices

APIs and microservices are two key building blocks that are often used in composable architecture.

APIs are sets of protocols, routines, and tools for building software applications. They provide a way for different software components to interact with each other, allowing them to exchange data and functionality.

In a composable architecture, APIs are used to define the interfaces between components, allowing them to communicate and exchange data with each other. This helps to ensure that the components are interoperable and can be easily combined and recombined to create different configurations.

Microservices, on the other hand, are small, independent units of functionality that can be developed, deployed, and maintained independently. They are designed to be lightweight and modular, making them easy to reuse and scale.

In a composable architecture, microservices can be used to build the individual components that make up the system. By dividing the system into small, independent microservices, organizations can create a more flexible and adaptable system that can be easily modified and reconfigured to meet changing needs and requirements.

Using APIs and microservices as building blocks in a composable architecture can help organizations create systems that are more flexible, adaptable, and efficient. They can also make the development process faster and easier, as components can be developed and tested separately from the rest of the system.

In today's fast-paced, constantly changing business environment, the ability to quickly adapt and respond to new challenges and opportunities is becoming increasingly important.

Composable architecture provides a way for organizations to build systems that are more flexible, adaptable, and efficient, helping them to stay competitive and meet the needs of their customers and stakeholders:

  • Flexibility and adaptability: Composable architecture allows organizations to build systems that are more flexible and adaptable, as they can easily reuse and repurpose existing components to meet changing needs and requirements.

  • Improved efficiency and speed of development: By dividing the system into small, independent components that can be developed and tested separately, composable architecture can improve the efficiency and speed of the development process.

  • Reusability of components: With composable architecture, organizations can reuse and repurpose existing components rather than starting from scratch each time they need to build or modify a system. This can save time and resources and improve the overall efficiency of the organization.

  • Ease of maintenance: Composable architecture can make it easier to maintain and update systems, as components can be modified and replaced individually rather than having to make changes to the entire system.

Benefits of Composable Architecture

Flexibility and Adaptability

The composable architecture allows organizations to build systems that are more flexible and adaptable, as they can easily reuse and repurpose existing components to meet changing needs and requirements. This can help organizations respond more quickly to new challenges and opportunities and stay competitive in a fast-paced business environment.

Reusability of Components

With composable architecture, organizations can reuse and repurpose existing components rather than starting from scratch each time they need to build or modify a system. This can save time and resources and improve the overall efficiency of the organization.

By building a library of reusable components, organizations can reduce the time and effort required to develop new systems and make it easier to modify and update existing systems.

Improved Efficiency and Speed of Development

By dividing the system into small, independent components that can be developed and tested separately, composable architecture can improve the efficiency and speed of the development process.

It can also make it easier to identify and fix issues, as problems can be isolated to specific components rather than requiring changes to the entire system. By developing components in parallel and using automated testing, organizations can speed up the development process and get new systems and features to market faster.

Ease of Maintenance

Composable architecture can make it easier to maintain and update systems, as components can be modified and replaced individually rather than having to make changes to the entire system. This can save time and resources and reduce the risk of disruptions to the system.

By breaking the system down into smaller, independent components, it becomes easier to identify and fix problems and make updates and improvements without affecting the rest of the system. This can help organizations keep their systems running smoothly and efficiently over time.

How to Implement Composable Architecture

If you're interested in using composable architecture in your organization, there are several steps you can take to get started:

When Should You Start Using Composable Architecture?

The right time to start using composable architecture will depend on your organization's specific needs and goals. There are a few situations in which it may be particularly beneficial to consider using composable architecture:

  • If you are building a new system from scratch: If you are starting from scratch and building a new system, composable architecture can be a useful approach. By breaking the system down into small, independent components, you can create a flexible and adaptable system that can be easily modified and updated over time.

  • If you are planning to significantly modify an existing system: If you are planning to make significant changes to an existing system, composable architecture can help you to make those changes more efficiently and effectively. By breaking the system down into smaller, independent components, you can make changes to individual components without affecting the rest of the system.

  • If you need to integrate multiple systems: If you are integrating multiple systems and need to exchange data and functionality between them, composable architecture can be a useful approach. By using APIs and other tools to define the interfaces between the systems, you can create a more seamless and efficient integration.

On the other hand, if you are simply making small updates or improvements to an existing system, it may not be necessary to switch to a composable architecture. In some cases, the cost and complexity of implementing a composable architecture may not be justified by the benefits. In these situations, it may be more appropriate to stick with the existing architecture and make the necessary changes.

Identify the Components That Make Up Your System

The first step in implementing composable architecture is to identify the components that make up your system. These components should be small, independent units of functionality that can be developed and tested separately. They should also be reusable, so that they can be easily combined and recombined to create different configurations.

To identify the components that make up your system, you should start by examining the functions and features of your system. Consider breaking the system down into smaller, independent units of functionality that can be developed and tested separately. You should also consider the reuse potential of each component - how likely it is that the component will be needed in multiple configurations or systems.

It may be helpful to create a diagram or model of the components and their relationships to help you visualize the system. This can help you to identify any dependencies or connections between the components and ensure that you have a clear understanding of how they fit together.

Once you have identified the components that make up your system, you should document them in detail. This should include a description of the component's functionality, any dependencies or connections to other components, and any specific requirements or constraints. This documentation will be useful as you move on to the next steps in the implementation process.

Determine the Relationships Between Those Components

When determining the relationships between the components of a system, you are essentially trying to understand how the different parts of the system interact with and depend on each other. This can involve identifying the dependencies between the components, which means understanding which components rely on others to function properly.

For example, if component A relies on component B to provide certain information or perform certain tasks, then component A is dependent on component B.

Defining the interfaces between the components is also an important part of this process. An interface is essentially a way for two components to communicate with each other and exchange information. This can be done through various means, such as APIs, which allow different software components to talk to each other.

By understanding the dependencies and interfaces between the components of a system, you can better understand how the system as a whole functions and identify potential areas for improvement or optimization.

Implement the Components and Test Their Integration

Once you have defined the interfaces between the components, you can begin implementing the components themselves.

It is important to test the components individually and as part of the overall system to ensure that they are working correctly and that they are interoperable. This will involve writing automated tests to ensure that the components are functioning as intended.

Challenges and Considerations with Composable Architecture

Complexity of Implementation

One of the challenges with composable architecture is that it can be complex to implement, particularly for large, complex systems. This is because it requires careful planning and coordination to ensure that the various components of the system work together effectively and can be easily combined to form the desired functionality.

Ensuring Interoperability Between Components

Another challenge with composable architecture is ensuring that the various components of the system are interoperable, meaning that they can work together seamlessly and without requiring significant additional effort. This can be particularly challenging when integrating components from different vendors or that were developed using different technologies.

Maintaining and Updating the System Over Time

Maintaining and updating a composable architecture over time can also be a challenge, as it requires careful coordination and planning to ensure that changes to individual components do not have unintended consequences on the overall system. This can be especially difficult for systems that have a large number of components and that are heavily reliant on integration between those components.

The Bottom Line: Is Composable Architecture the Future of Enterprise Software Architecture

It is possible that composable architecture will play a significant role in the future of enterprise software architecture.

One of the main benefits of composable architecture is that it allows developers to quickly create complex applications by combining multiple smaller services rather than having to build them from scratch. This can greatly speed up the development process and allow organizations to more quickly develop and deploy new applications and features.

In addition, composable architecture can also help to reduce the overall cost of development by allowing organizations to reuse pre-existing components rather than having to build everything from scratch. This can also help to improve the maintainability and scalability of enterprise systems by allowing components to be updated or replaced individually rather than requiring changes to be made to the entire system.

Overall, the use of composable architecture is likely to continue to grow as organizations seek to more quickly and efficiently develop and deploy complex systems, and as the use of microservices and other component-based approaches becomes more widespread.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are Composable Architecture and MACH Architecture the Same?

Composable Architecture and MACH Architecture are similar concepts, both involving the use of smaller, independent components that can be combined to form a larger system.

In both cases, the goal is to allow developers to easily build complex applications by reusing pre-existing components rather than having to start from scratch.

However, MACH Architecture is more specific in that it refers to a software architecture that is built using microservices and is API-first, cloud-native, and headless.

Composable Architecture, on the other hand, is a more general term that could potentially refer to any system that is built using independent components that can be combined in various ways.

What Is the Relationship Between Composable Architecture and Packaged Business Capabilities?

In the context of modern cloud-based systems, composable architecture, also known as modular architecture or component-based architecture, allows developers to quickly create complex applications by combining multiple smaller services rather than having to build them from scratch.

Packaged business capabilities, on the other hand, refer to pre-built business functions or features that can be easily integrated into a larger system. These packaged capabilities may be provided by external vendors or may be developed in-house and made available for reuse in other projects.

There is a relationship between composable architecture and packaged business capabilities in that both concepts involve the use of pre-existing components that can be combined to build a larger system. In the case of composable architecture, the smaller components are services that can be combined to form a complete application. With packaged business capabilities, the components are pre-built business functions or features that can be integrated into a larger system.

Using both composable architecture and packaged business capabilities can help to speed up the development process and reduce the need for developers to start from scratch when building complex systems. This can allow organizations to more quickly develop and deploy new applications and features, and can also help to reduce the overall cost of development.

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