Microservices are at the heart of Conductor’s flexibility
Complex systems are necessarily fragile. One change can throw everything into chaos. Like the puzzle game Jenga, a technology stack might fit together to form a beautiful structure. But if someone takes away a piece or adds another to a wrong place, disaster can ensue. Too many fund administrators have nightmare stories of that happening.
That’s where microservices come in. Sometimes compared to strangler vines because they’re often implemented slowly to ensure system integrity, microservices are self-contained functions that can replace other elements of an application or technology stack.
Microservices are essential to Conductor, Harmonate’s flagship program for processing data to yield insights for fund managers and administrators.
Traditionally, developers write systemic functions, like analyzing numbers across different forms and data sets, comparing values and cross-checking information, into a main program. The Problem is that a change in such a monolithic system – even tweaking where and how the date and time appear in an application, for instance – can bring the whole thing down.
Harmonate Chief Technology Officer Richard Scheffrin describes the phenomenon as “everything in that one application is dependent on everything else in that one application.”
Microservices are a breakthrough because they are program that attach to the outside of a host system in much the way a strangler vine attaches itself to the outside of a tree. Microservices are discrete but cling to the larger system. That means they can be used to tailor special functions to a fund administrator’s unique needs. Developers can also add them slowly and gradually to a system to make sure they don’t produce serious negative side effects.
Some Conductor microservices search for proper names. Some find dates. Others target other identifying signatures. By operating outside the system, there’s less risk that a bad piece of code or conflict in logic will disrupt the system. If it doesn’t work the way the fund manager needs, it can be quickly retailored without disruption.
Microservices allow Conductor to be ever evolving and always customizable.
“You pay for what you use,” Richard says. “It’s a lot cheaper. I make that one change to that one service. I just have to test that one service. I just have to guarantee it works perfectly, and I’m good. Microservices are brilliant because they gives us that ability to be so granular and in control.”
Less disruption means higher efficiency. That’s at the heart of Conductor’s flexibility.