I’m in the lucky position of talking to prospects and customers every day, a true privilege. A consistent topic of conversation is the changing dynamics of maintaining applications as technology becomes increasingly more loosely coupled, composed with microservices from multiple vendors to assemble business capabilities that become the foundation of the next generation of enterprise applications.
According to the Annual APIs and Integration Report 2021, 81% of the 950 organizations surveyed use microservices today and 95% of organizations believe that microservices are or would be extremely or very important to their operations.
At this point, we are rarely discussing why microservices, but rather how to employ them successfully in the enterprise. From those conversations, there are three primary themes that I consistently hear:
Elastic Path is the only vendor in that it addresses each of these.
- Security – Elastic Path offers the only SOC2 compliant microservices platform for Commerce.
- Integration – We announced the Composable Commerce Hub last year, offering business-ready Pre-Composed Solutions and integration Accelerators to simplify the process on connecting multi-vendor approaches to eCommerce.
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Let's Consider Risk
One of the biggest changes in this new, composable approach to microservice-based applications is the shift in responsibility for the application risk. What actually is application risk? It’s the risk of an issue, a bug, or an outage that impacts application performance in production.
When a company purchases a monolithic commerce platform, one of the primary benefits is the vendor typically delivers all the capabilities of that commerce platform. There are always integrations, but the bulk of the capabilities come from a single vendor. As a result, the vendor assumes all of the application risk for the commerce platform. If there’s a problem, the customer calls the vendor and the vendor assumes the responsibility to respond, triage and find a resolution.
This clear chain of responsibility changes with loosely coupled applications composed of microservice APIs from multiple vendors. In this new world, there is a substantive shift in application risk – moving from the monolithic software vendor to the application owner.
In this new approach, the application owner maintains business relationships with multiple vendors. Support is typically limited by each vendor to the boundaries of their microservice. In most cases, a systems integrator fills in the gaps – selling billable hours to manage integrations and the “application” itself.
In this case, ultimately the application risk is shouldered by the application owner themselves, rather than any single vendor. When a problem arises, members of the application owner team must:
- Determine, on their own or with their systems integrator, where the problem resides
- Triage the problem at hand
- Identify the vendor(s) responsible for the issue
- Determine how the issue impacts other connected microservices in the application
- Find a path to resolution to get the store up and running
Assurance for the Best Commerce Experiences
Assurance for the Best Commerce Experiences Composable Commerce XA™ (experience assurance), addresses this challenge straight on by being the first-and-only solution to reduce the application risk of multi-vendor solutions. Composable Commerce XA™ is a new offering that combines a multi-vendor architecture review, proprietary integration data flow monitoring, and a holistic approach to resolving issues for applications composed from multiple vendors.
With Composable Commerce XA™, Elastic Path changes the dynamic between API microservice vendor and consumer of that service, shifting to partner with our customers. Rather than raise our hands and say, “it's not our problem”, we work closely with our customers to find a solution together.
This change from service provider with a “use at your own risk” approach to an application partner with a “we are in this together” mindset is powered by both technology and approach.
As part of each customer’s onboarding, Elastic Path completes an architecture blueprinting review where a customer’s multi-vendor solution is identified. This process ensures our team is aware of all the components that make up their Composable Commerce solution so that we can accurately identify services and monitor the application should any issues arise.
An API gateway will facilitate integrations through the Elastic Path Commerce Cloud suite of services to ensure active data connections and monitor connections for issues that may impact the overall application experience.
In the event an issue occurs, Elastic Path will partner with our customer to identify the source of the issue, work proactively with our customer across their multi-vendor solution to bring all parties to the table, and assist our customer in returning the store to expected operation quickly.
Composable Commerce XA™ addresses the third of three common enterprise concerns when they consider microservice-based solutions for their digital commerce applications. By partnering with customers to respond to issues when they arise, rather than draw lines where a service boundary ends, Elastic Path builds trust with our customers, so they know that we are on their side. Our application blueprint review and integration monitoring service give us and our customers the visibility and insights we need to resolve issues quickly, eliminating the time-consuming and often frustrating process of figuring out all the moving pieces in a multi-vendor solution during a crisis. Working together with our customers, we are focused on delivering great customer experiences.