What I Infer as 4 Fundamental Attributes of Modular Architecture

My friend loves to read the last chapter of a book first. This she tells me, allows her to understand how the author ties the knots together and if they are interesting, she then goes through the other chapters.

While personally I like to read the books in a linear fashion, I do see the merits in this non-linear reading pattern. One obvious reason to her of course is that if the ending is not to her liking then she quickly browses through the book and gets it done with. Now applying that method to this blog, it would be interesting to clearly visualize the end state of what we would like to achieve if an ideal modular architecture is implemented. We can use that clear goal to chart the path and the steps that need to be taken along that towards that destination.

Applying such an approach to this blog, the one quintessential query that if answered encapsulates that reason for a change to modularity would be:

“What benefits do we want for ourselves and for our customers with a modular architecture?”

Working closely with our customers and understanding their pain points I inferred 4 basic and fundamental core tenets that are important to both me and my customers.

4 fundamental attributes of modular architecture

  1. Choice – Being a good representative for our customers, we certainly know that it is essential that our customers do not get locked in to just one vendor. Our customer’s scale and need for continuity of business operations clearly drives the need for choice. We understand this and we vouch for this attribute. So having an open and common ecosystem needs to satisfy this fundamental tenet, where multi-vendor interoperability is possible. In addition, having a variety of building blocks that can be configured to address a diverse set of workloads is also an absolute element of choice.
  2. Innovation – Open and Innovation go hand in hand as the ecosystem allows for easy transfer of ideas to products among highly talented and motivated participants who believe in that ecosystem. A common modular ecosystem needs to contain building blocks that can be applied to different existing ecosystems and seamlessly extend those environments, and build on them to allow for innovation to thrive.
  3. Agility – Our customers cover a diverse spectrum of workloads driven by a diverse set of requirements. This means that having the ability to test a new product feature or a new architecture quickly through the application stack is very important. If the feature is providing a significant advantage, then being able to productize quickly will determine our customer’s ability to monetize the feature or the new architecture. A common modular ecosystem that achieves this attribute is thus essential.
  4. Cost – If a change in architecture is being initiated, then it needs to be to realize a lower cost or Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Lower TCO could be due to either a lower upfront capital expense or lowered Operational expense to achieve a similar performance. A modular common architecture that allows for us and our customers to realize this attribute is essential.

So there it is – the 4 pillars that support that end state of the modular architecture are ChoiceInnovationAgility, and lower Cost. It would be great if you can share some of your thoughts, your own experience, and insights on this topic. We are keen to know whether the tenets that we are considering for a modular platform are relevant to you and if so, in what ways? We would love to hear your feedback in the comments section below.

In the next blog we will look at some of the drivers of differences that act as an impediment to achieving a common modular architecture.