Hello everybody and welcome back to the Cognixia podcast! Thank you for tuning in, we really appreciate it. Each week, we pick up a new topic from the world of emerging technologies and talk about it in a little detail to help our listeners learn something new. After all, learning should never stop, right?
This week, we will talk about cloud computing, AWS in particular. To be more precise, as the title of the episode says, today, we will talk about architecting a highly available serverless eCommerce platform using AWS.
Serverless Architecture is quite the buzzword these days. Serverless architecture, if we remember correctly, is a term that was added to the technological stack just a few years ago and has since then, it has gained immense popularity, especially after the debut of AWS Lambda in 2014.
One of the key reasons it became a promising reality from being just a hopeful concept is that it represents one of the most difficult aspects of software development – server administration. Simply put, the serverless architecture enables you to write the code and execute the apps without worrying about the server setup or management.
Over the years, many enterprises have moved to serverless to reap the massive benefits that it has to offer. The eCommerce sector has seen remarkable expansion. Because they frequently handle high volumes of traffic at various times of the day and during different periods of the year. This, in addition to establishing, administering, and sustaining IT infrastructure in on-premises data centers, can pose hurdles to the scalability and expansion of their enterprises.
Moreover, customers want to find and buy their favorite things online today more than ever. As a result, retailers must enhance the performance of their e-Commerce platforms to satisfy this rising demand.
Starting With a Monolithic First Approach
When you start developing an app, there are many unknown factors, beginning with how valuable it can be to users. It may be difficult to scale a poorly designed yet successful system. However, that is still a better choice than the alternative.
As a result, it is usually advised to begin with a small version or MVP and assess how well it works. And then add additional features in the form of microservices.
Let us understand how a typical on-premises eCommerce architecture with many tiers is set up –
- First, web servers host static files and act as proxy servers for queries to application servers.
- After that, the app servers process Ecommerce business logic & authentication logic.
- Next, the databases are utilized to store user as well as other dynamic data.
- Lastly, load balancers and firewalls provide load balancing & network security.
A monolithic architecture strongly links the application’s many elements. This precludes them from being deployed & scaled autonomously.
Modules based on microservices
Multiple modules are based on microservices. Let us try to understand more about some of them.
Order submission workflow module
This three-tier model may be implemented on the AWS Cloud by employing serverless components:
- The static content layer – Amazon CloudFront & Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) provides a static content layer. On Amazon S3, this tier stores static assets. You may distribute assets to consumers internationally with low latency and fast transfer speeds by placing CloudFront in front of the S3 storage cache.
- The authentication layer, i.e., Amazon Cognito or customer proprietary layer – eCommerce sites provide users with both authorized and unauthenticated content. You can oversee users’ sign-up and sign-in, as well as access controls using Amazon Cognito. So, this layer guarantees that only authenticated users are exposed to safe data.
- The dynamic content layer, i.e., AWS Lambda and Amazon DynamoDB – The dynamic content layer handles the business logic for the eCommerce site. The use of Lambda and DynamoDB guarantees that these elements are scalable and capable of handling high traffic.
By dividing the order submission procedure into these three layers, users can submit their order data and receive an order ID. This eliminates the need for them to wait for backend processing to complete. This relieves the strain on your infrastructure during high shopping seasons when the backend process might become overburdened.
DynamoDB then goes on to store the order details and allied information, such as credit card details in an encrypted form, delivery information, and so on. This operation starts an asynchronous process that is controlled by AWS Step Functions.
Product search module
The next module on the list is the AWS product search module is built with the below-mentioned serverless components:
- Amazon ElasticSearch Service (Amazon ESS) holds product information, which is updated anytime there is a modification in product-related data.
- Lambda is responsible for data formatting.
- Users may search Amazon API Gateway without logging in. Users do not need to log in to search for items on the eCommerce platform. All API Gateway traffic is unauthenticated.
If we are talking about architecting highly available serverless eCommerce platforms using AWS, we definitely need to talk about data replication across regions
If the eCommerce application is operating in various regions, the content and data may need to be duplicated. This is essential so the application can manage local traffic from different territories while also having a fallback option in place in case the app in a particular region fails. The content & data are duplicated using Amazon S3’s multi-region replication plus DynamoDB global tables.
A multi-region eCommerce platform built on AWS using serverless services employs different components to ensure that data across all regions are in synchronization for data/assets that do not require data residency compliance. These components include:
- Amazon S3 multi-Region replicating keeps static assets
- DynamoDB global tables for maintaining dynamic data
- Regional assets that are being held in buckets
The Amazon Route 53 DNS web service facilitates traffic failover across regions. Route 53 has many routing rules. You may select the failover routing policy based on your requirements or your company’s needs.
But how do we go about maintaining data consistency when architecting highly available serverless eCommerce platforms using AWS?
As microservices are designed with a ‘Database per Service’ paradigm, preserving data consistency is crucial. In the case of an eCommerce app, there can be numerous services that must assure data consistency between services. Things can sometimes become tricky when working with microservices. Because each microservice has its database, two-phase pushes can no longer be used to ensure database consistency across the system.
However, to resolve this you can structure each business transaction that covers many services as a saga.
If you are wondering what is a Saga, allow us to help answer that question.
A saga is a series of local database transactions that update the data in every service database. The initial trigger will be external, whereas future triggers will be triggered by the conclusion of the previous service.
Now, you can use the events/orchestration approach to design a saga transaction. There is no central coordination involved in this approach. The first service starts a transaction and then goes on to broadcast an event. Further, based on the necessity, this event is mentioned by the next service, which completed a local transaction and published an event.
Always remember that if a business rule is broken during this transaction, the system will run a sequence of compensatory transactions to reverse any previous modifications.
So, you can see that serverless eCommerce architecture is an excellent alternative for developing an e-commerce application due to its flexibility, independent scalability, event-driven nature, and robust encapsulation. However, successful serverless implementation for an e-commerce system would need a certain degree of knowledge and maturity in terms of monitoring, function observability, and automation. To successfully architect a highly available serverless eCommerce app using AWS, you need the right skills that you can get with the right AWS cloud computing training.
AWS offers all of the benefits of the cloud, including flexibility, shorter time-to-market, and elasticity, among other things. In terms of data availability and high transfer stability, AWS exceeds other cloud service providers on the market. It has been the leading cloud computing platform in the world, holding the largest market share in the market for so many years now.
Besides being the number one cloud computing platform in the world, AWS also offers a range of skill-based and specialty certifications for individuals validating their skills and expertise in various roles in cloud computing. The most popular AWS certification from them would be the AWS Certified Cloud Solutions Architect – Associate. Cognixia offers a hands-on live online instructor-led cloud computing with AWS training for individuals that covers all the important concepts to earn your AWS certification – from the fundamentals of cloud computing and AWS to more advanced concepts like the different cloud service models – PaaS, SaaS, IaaS; the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, etc. So, if you would like to, and we do strongly recommend, do get AWS certified with Cognixia. Talk to us today to get started with the online training, our career development team would be happy to guide you. You can drop us a line on any of our social media handles or reach out to us on our website through the chat feature.
With that, we come to the end of this week’s podcast episode. We sincerely hope you enjoyed listening to us as much as we enjoyed discussing today’s topic. Architecting highly available serverless platforms is a very important process, so if this falls in line with your current career goals or future goals, do work towards learning more about it. Until next week then! Happy learning, everyone!