Factors to consider when architecting systems that uses third party systems

Most of us are building systems that sit on top of other third party systems. This is common in the FinTech ecosystem that I am currently involved with. Most Neo-banks are built on modern core banking systems like Mambu, Thought Machine, etc. Core banking systems are not the only third party systems you need to build a modern bank. You also need a CRM, lending management system, payment switches, AML/fraud prevention system, Engagement platform, CMS, KYC,  and a few others. Once you have selected all the ecosystem partners you have to do custom software development to build new and innovative customer journeys and integrate these systems into a working neo-bank. In this post, I will talk about important factors you should consider when architecting systems that are powered by third party systems.

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Notes on Gradle Microservices Monorepo setup

The product I am building/architecting at work these days uses Monorepo[1] for all our Microservices. Our Microservices are primarily built using Java 17 and Spring Boot 2.6.x. For frontend and platform code(Terraform, Helm charts, configuration files, etc) we have different Git repositories. We use Gradle 7.3 as our build tool. We also make use of shared libraries for code reuse. I know people suggest you should avoid using shared libraries in Microservices but as I discussed in an earlier post[2] I think there are valid reasons to use shared libraries in Microservices.

I prefer Monorepo for three main reasons:

  • Better visibility and control. 
  • Atomic code refactoring across Microservices. This is common in the initial phase of development. 
  • Easy Code sharing between Microservices
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Building a Spell Checker in Clojure using IntelliJ Idea

Today, I decided to play with a new language so I gave Clojure a try. I have previously played with Lisp so I expected some fun with brackets.

I decided to build a simple spell checker.


Install the Cursive plugin in IntelliJ. Refer to the docs.

Once installed start by creating a new project.

Next choose the location on the file system and press the create Finish.

It will install the Clojure and Leign. Once project is setup you will see the structure as shown below.

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What happens when teams integrate their work?

Integration is the real thing. It is when rubber meets the road. Your teams can do their work in isolation but it has limited value until it is integrated with your application. The whole DevOps(CI/CD) movement is about integration. You want to integrate often and deliver value faster to the customer. You can’t deliver value if you don’t integrate. 

It is sad that in 2022 still we are struggling to integrate our work. We have all the tools and processes that promote integration yet I work with so many teams struggling to integrate their work. 

In this post I will cover things that are uncovered when you integrate. I am not giving any advice on how to integrate. The only advice on how part is that you have to make it your top priority and do it. The sooner you do the better. 

Let’s come back to the main topic of this post. Following is a list of things that I see happen when teams integrate their work.

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Useful Stuff I Read This Week

Here are 10 posts I thought were worth sharing this week.

Service Mesh has evolved over the years. We started from a library based approach, then moved on to the sidecar containers, and finally service mesh capabilities will become part of Linux via eBPF. We use Istio at work. I was aware that there is some overhead of Istio as you have a proxy with each workload. As per this post, sidecar container based service meshes add 3-4 times of latency. This is a huge cost. For a 500 node cluster where each node runs 30 pods this adds up to 1TB of memory used by all sidecar proxies. This assumes each proxy adds 70MB of overhead. eBPF is a technology to watch. It looks like it is the technology that will make service mesh efficient and performant. It is still in early days so we will have to wait before it becomes mainstream.

I have also seen this working. Most of the time teams don’t know and understand how they should go about achieving a large goal. Then, you as a leader have to break a large goal down to small, manageable goals that the team can aim to achieve. I prefer goals to be realistic. They don’t have to be easy but they don’t have to be too difficult as well. You have to build the team’s confidence and that is built when they achieve realistic goals. It requires a leader to have clarity and they should be good at decomposing problems.

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