Modern Application Development

Reinventing how your business delivers value

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Rapid Innovation

Companies are looking to become more agile so they can innovate and respond to change faster. This requires a different kind of application than what was common years ago. Applications now need to scale quickly to potentially millions of users, have global availability, manage petabytes if not exabytes of data, and respond in milliseconds. We call these modern applications, and they cover use cases from web and mobile backends, IoT applications, AI/ML workloads, batch processing, PaaS solutions, microservice backends, and more. Modern applications are built with a combination of these new architecture patterns, operational models, and software delivery processes, and they allow businesses to innovate faster while reducing risk, time to market, and total cost of ownership.

Benefits of modern application development

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Faster to market

By speeding up the release cycle and offloading operational overhead, developers can quickly build new features. Automated test and release processes reduce error rates, so products are market-ready faster.
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Increased innovation

With a modular architecture, changes to any individual application component can be made quickly, and with a lower risk to the whole application, so teams can experiment with new ideas more often.
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Improved reliability

By automating test procedures, and monitoring at every stage of the development lifecycle, modern applications are reliable at deployment. Any issues can be evaluated and addressed in real time.
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Reduced costs

With a pay-for-value pricing model, modern applications reduce the cost of over-provisioning or paying for idle resources. By offloading infrastructure management, maintenance costs are also lower.
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Elements of modern applications

  • Architecture
  • Software Delivery
  • Data
  • Operations
  • Security
  • Architecture
  • Architecture: Microservices

    Monolithic applications are popular because they are fast to develop. However, they become difficult to scale and update as the code base grows because each aspect of the application is tightly coupled. When applications are built with modular independent components, called microservices, release velocity can increase because changes to any component are easier to make. Microservices make applications easier to scale and faster to develop, enabling innovation and accelerating time-to-market.
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    In this architecture, we use 3 distinct services to manage a simple web application. The Amazon Amplify Console hosts static web resources including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and image files which are loaded in the user's browser via S3. JavaScript executed in the browser sends and receives data from a public backend API built using AWS Lambda and Amazon API Gateway. Amazon Cognito provides user management and authentication functions to secure the backend API. Finally, DynamoDB provides a persistence layer where data can be stored by the API's Lambda function.
    Scale with microservices
    Decouple your applications and building them as independent microservices.
    Read the guide 
    Refactoring a monolith: Yelp
    Yelp gained performance and flexibility by safely transforming a monolithic business-critical application to serverless microservices. With 10 years of development, Yelp’s monolith was functional but cumbersome. By refactoring it into a microservices architecture, Yelp gained the flexibility to evolve legacy systems, while improving their ability to monitor applications.
    Learn more 
  • Software Delivery
  • Software Delivery: Automated & Standardized

    In a decoupled microservices architecture, teams are organized around a single service, and each team releases updates independently, getting new features to customers faster. Automated release pipelines, including continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD), enable teams to rapidly test and release lots of code while minimizing errors. Standardization through infrastructure as code templates provisions the entire technology stack for an application through code, ensuring teams meet central requirements.
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    In this architecture we use a CI/CD stack for Fargate to release an application (for the full application architecture, try this getting started tutorial). We’ll use the AWS Command Line Interface to execute commands that create the required infrastructure components, which includes a fully managed CI/CD stack utilizing AWS CodeCommit, CodeBuild, and CodePipeline. We will also complete the development tasks required all within a browser by leveraging the cloud-based IDE, AWS Cloud9. 

    Test, release, repeat
    Evolve your development process by moving DevOps to the cloud.
    Read the guide 
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    Improving development times: Cathay Pacific
    Cathay Pacific now moves 67% faster running their application in AWS and using DevOps practices. Cathay Pacific was relying on manual processes for making website improvements, and wanted to increase their rate of innovation. By rebuilding their development organization into small, autonomous teams, and adding automated deployment tools, they can now bring features to customers faster.
    Read the full story 
  • Data
  • Data: Decoupled & Purpose Built

    Much like a monolithic application, a single database is also difficult to scale. It can become a single point of failure with fault tolerance challenges. Modern applications take advantage of decoupled data stores in which there is a one-to-one mapping of database and microservice. By decoupling data along with microservices, teams are free to choose the database that best fits the needs of the service – choosing a database that is purpose built for the task at hand.
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    In this architecture a gaming company uses two databases to perform different functions on unique components of the gaming application. Amazon DynamoDB persists player data with scalability, and Amazon Aurora optimizes microtransaction efficiency.
    Pick the right tool for the job
    Use the database that meets your application needs.
    Read the guide 
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    Cutting costs with a serverless database: Alpha Apps
    Alpha Apps reduced database costs by 97% by migrating to a serverless database, and cut content delivery costs by 80% through a CDN service. DynamoDB, a purpose-built database on AWS, delivers an easier, more cost-effective way to run real-time queries on millions of records.
    Read the full story 
  • Operations
  • Operations: As Serverless as Possible

    Modern applications have a lot of moving parts – many microservices with unique databases, all releasing features frequently. Operating applications with serverless services eliminates environment management, easing that burden. There are serverless services for the entire application stack: compute, storage, and integration. These services run without the need for infrastructure provisioning and scaling, have built in availability and security, and use a pay-for-value billing model.
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    In this architecture we use serverless technologies to process and visualize data in real time. We’ll use AWS Lambda to process real-time streams, Amazon DynamoDB to persist data, Amazon Kinesis Data Analytics to build a serverless application to aggregate data, Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose to archive the raw data to Amazon S3, and AWS Athena to run ad-hoc queries against the raw data.
    Ease the burden of infrastructure management
    Offload operational heavy lifting by adopting a serverless operational model.
    Read the guide 
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    Moving faster with AWS Lambda: FINRA
    FINRA improved processing times by 67% and reduced costs by 50% by using serverless services with their stock trade validation system. Before adopting a serverless model, FINRA’s on-premises Hadoop clusters were hard to maintain, only ran in batches, and couldn’t scale easily. Their serverless application took just three months to get off the ground, and scaled to handle up to half a trillion validations every day.
    Read the full story 
  • Security
  • Security: Everybody’s Responsibility

    In modern applications, security is no longer the sole responsibility of the security team – it is deeply integrated at every stage of the development lifecycle – everyone has a role to play. Security is integrated within tooling like code repositories, build management programs, and deployment tools. With serverless services, security posture is easier to maintain because the underlying infrastructure security is built in.
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    In this architecture we use AWS WAF filtering rules to control traffic to a serverless web application. With WAF we can create custom rules that block common attack patterns, such as SQL injection or cross-site scripting.
    Create a culture of security
    Explore the guiding principles of ruggedly secure organizations.
    Read the guide 
    Ensuring compliance while moving faster: FICO
    Using a serverless operational model FICO now releases software in one day instead of several weeks, while meeting the stringent security and compliance requirements of the financial industry. FICO was running their infrastructure on premises and looking for a way to increase their pace of innovation. By adopting serverless services, they not only move faster but also ensure financial data is in compliance.
    Read the full story 

Customer stories of modern application development

  • Customer News

    Thomson Reuters

    Thomson Reuters deployed a new services in 5 months
    Needing to capture, analyze, and visualize usage-analytics generated by its various digital offerings, Thomson Reuters deployed a serverless architecture using AWS Lambda that now processes up to 4,000 events per second.
    Read the full story
  • Customer News

    The Washington Post

    The Washington Post reduced time to release
    The Washington Post reduced the time to release new products and features by refactoring its monolithic platform into a microservices architecture and taking a rapid, infrastructure-as-code (IaC) approach to application development.
    Read the full story
  • Customer News

    Bynder

    Bynder increases their focus on innovation with AWS
    By offloading infrastructure management requirements to AWS—and automating product-release cycles—Bynder grew by 200% and decreased its time-to-market for delivering innovative new features from a year to a single month.
    Read the full story
  • Customer News

    Lululemon

    lululemon athletica accelerates the app pipeline
    Relying on AWS CloudFormation, S3, and CodePipeline to automate, simplify, and accelerate its dev and test environments, lululemon decreased the development time for new production accounts from two days to a matter of minutes.
    Read the full story
Modernize applications with AWS Training
Accelerate your journey to modern applications with AWS Training & Certification.
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Attend the modern development workshop
Learn best practices for automating containerization of monolithic applications.
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Build value with serverless
Lower operating costs and increase productivity with serverless technologies. Read the full IDC Whitepaper.
Generating Value Through IT Agility and Business Scalability with AWS Serverless Platform 
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