The what, the why and the how of Unit4 ERP Microservices Architecture
Unit4 ERP is underpinned by an innovative microservices architecture. Holger Mueller, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research described by saying: “Unit4 has one of the most innovative ERP platforms in the market”. Enterprise Times spoke to Claus Jepsen, Deputy CTO at Unit4 to discuss the architecture and why it is so different and beneficial.
Jepsen explains that a true microservices architecture needs to have independent components, be scalable, stateless, and multi-tenanted. It is not a simple thing to do and unless you begin with the right vision and strategy it is almost impossible to retrofit. He explains how data stores exist for each microservice rather than a traditional central SQL database. He explains how it is important to identify the system of record for each piece of data. Services are then able to inform other services about changes.
ET asked Jepsen what a micro services architecture is and how it is different to a company that adopts API centric architecture. He provides questions to ask software vendors about their architecture and how to identify this difference.
Jepsen talks about how Unit4 created the architecture and the challenges he faced. These included both the business and the development function. He explains why it is the best architecture for cloud-based software, leveraging the elastic capabilities of Azure in a very cost effective way. Jepsen also argues that the term microservices may be a misnomer, but nanoservices and macroservices architecture might give the wrong impression. He explains how the development is organised and the benefits that appropriately sized teams bring.
Jepsen talks about the advantages and the potential disadvantages that adopting a microservices architecture offer. He compares it to a monolithic architecture which is the more commonly used for software. It requires governance over the development function and he talks about this in detail.
He also explains how the architecture enables Unit4 to provide on-premise solutions especially for public services organisations that require it. Also how they can still leverage the latest technology solutions that Unit4 has developed.
To hear what Jepsen had to say, listen to the podcast.