Composability is becoming more and more accessible. “Achieving composability a decade ago was difficult, expensive, and proprietary,” said Janakiram MSV, analyst at Janakiram & Associates. In this atmosphere, not making changes can cost more. The main benefit is flexibility and it delivers results in both the short and long term.
Composable infrastructure is based on containerization—individual packaging of software with only the necessary OS components—and allows IT to quickly and easily make changes, large and small, to the overall architecture. The IT department uses a container management tool like Kubernetes to organize and automate containers.
Kubernetes is an open source platform that bundles a solution into a single pool of resources. IT can replace or customize the container with minimal impact on the rest of the ecosystem. “Containers are a Lego-like approach to infrastructure and application management,” notes Janakiram. “With open source, Kubernetes has become the universal gold standard for container management.”
By making it easier to make changes, a composable approach reduces technical debt—the cost of additional technical work when teams use shortcuts to meet deadlines, prioritizing speed over design. “The ability to selectively update, manage, and scale individual components is a key benefit of composability,” says Janakiram.
New technical paradigm
According to Janakiram, composable architecture-based modernization puts legacy software into containers. Changes to scale up and down or fix bugs can be addressed at the component level. Features can be added or removed in a modular way.
Dividing the infrastructure into smaller building blocks allows components to be reused for different purposes. For example, software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies use multi-tenant applications, where one instance of the software is used by several separate clients for different users. These companies save money and increase productivity, Janakiram says.
Using containers, companies can set up a multi-tenant environment for a single customer without having to start from scratch. “A multi-user application designed for different users and clients realizes significant cost and performance benefits through a containerized and composable architecture,” explains Janakiram.
This content was prepared by Insights, the user-generated content division of MIT Technology Review. This was not written by the editors of the MIT Technology Review.