Modern Application: definition, methods, and governance

Published: April 15, 2024

What is a Modern Application? As more and more companies transition into becoming tech companies, the imperative to create superior digital products, and do so rapidly, becomes essential. Rather than designing solutions and then seeking problems to solve, we must examine the customer journey from their perspective and develop new functionalities that enhance their experience. 

Through this iterative process of listening to the customer, identifying their challenges – oftentimes unknown to them – and continuously improving, great innovations are born. According to Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS, “Innovation requires two things: the ability to conduct multiple experiments, and not having to live with the collateral damage of failing experiments.”

With this mindset emerges what we refer to as Modern Applications, which encompass a combination of technologies, architectures, software delivery practices, and processes that empower teams to deliver faster, more frequently, and more consistently.

According to research by Gartner, 67% of executives believe that they need to accelerate innovation to remain competitive, and this development approach enables them to achieve this important goal. In this article, we selected 8 main themes within modern application development that you should keep an eye on.

1. Ownership Culture

One of the greatest challenges in contemporary application development lies not within the technology, but elsewhere. Innovation, after all, is driven by people. Therefore, it all starts with providing autonomy and accountability to the teams.

At this point, it’s imperative to shift the perspective from projects to products, and the teams responsible for developing a product should also be accountable for its maintenance. This autonomy and accountability foster motivation, creativity, and enable a safe environment for risk-taking. 

When the development team is responsible for the entire product lifecycle, from gathering customer input and planning the roadmap to development and application operation, engagement and accountability are heightened.

2. Microservices Architecture Standard

Managing a monolith may seem simpler at first, however, as an application grows, it becomes a challenge. By breaking an application into microservices, you empower teams to independently develop and operate the components they are responsible for.

In a monolith, developers need to be cautious when making changes to avoid interfering with another team’s code, such as when performing a library update. Additionally, deploying a new significant feature requires coordination with everyone to merge and deploy, even for a small change in a single line of code.

In a microservices’ architecture, each service has its specific purpose and operates independently, communicating with others through well-defined interfaces. Considering application growth, this also offers a significant scalability advantage. In a monolith, if one part of the application experiences heavy usage, the entire application needs to scale. With microservices, only that specific component needs to scale, resulting in cost savings.

Here are the primary distinctions between a monolithic approach and a microservices’ architecture:




All application functions are in a single unit


Each component is responsible for a specific function




One technology for the entire application


Ideal technology for each microservice




Deployment of the entire application


Separate deployment, conjoint interaction




One database


Each microservice with its own database




Organized by technology layers


Organized by business needs


State Management


Status management in each instance


External status management

3. Decoupled and purposeful data management

With the transition to microservices, a change in data storage is also necessary. If we have multiple microservices but a single database, we will continue to face a single point of failure and bottleneck for the system. In the past, we dealt with data volumes in the order of GBs and even TBs. Today, we have demand for TBs and PBs, as well as consumption in various locations.

Additionally, each part of the application has specific data requirements and a more suitable format for consumption. A shopping cart may require a quick response, using a key-value database, while the recommendation algorithm may need a graph database. In this context, purpose-built databases also emerge. In modern applications, we use a specific type of database according to the application’s needs, instead of using a single structure to meet different requirements, which incurs unnecessary costs and loss of performance, as was done previously.

In this diverse database context, a crucial topic for companies is Data Lakes. By adopting them, even with data separation according to microservices, it is possible to have a reliable source of data for the entire organization.

4. Containers and Serverless

With the change in architecture standards, new technologies are aiming for maximum benefits. As different services have different dependencies and even programming languages, new ways of packaging systems arise, with great examples such as containers and serverless.

  • With containers, engineering teams have more flexibility and portability of applications. This approach has been the primary method for modernizing legacy applications. In recent years, Kubernetes adoption has grown and become almost a standard for this approach.
  • Meanwhile, with serverless, there is greater simplicity in the development and operation of applications, as cloud providers take care of most of the infrastructure.

5. Agile Development

With microservices-oriented architectures and technologies such as serverless and containers, development teams can work faster, enabling a greater number of deployments and, consequently, new features and improvements for customers. However, to take advantage of this benefit, it is necessary to have an efficient and automated process for publishing new versions.

Manual processes for code validation, testing of new versions, and deployment are among the main barriers to the speed of new releases. It was in this context that some DevOps practices emerged, such as Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD). In addition to automation for application code validation, Infrastructure as Code (IaC) technologies also emerge to bring the same benefits to changes in infrastructure, reducing the risk of human errors.

According to studies from Puppet, companies that implement these practices have a 5x lower error rate, commit-to-deploy speed 440x faster, and deploy frequency 46x higher. As a result, teams spend 44% more time creating new features and code instead of managing processes and tools.

6. Operational Model 

Up until this point, we discussed serverless technologies for development and microservices-oriented architectures, but this approach also brings a significant advantage when it comes to operations. By using serverless, the cloud provider becomes responsible for much of the availability, security, resource allocation, and scalability of the service. It is worth reinforcing that in the cloud, we always have the Shared Responsibility Model, and some activities need to be performed by engineering teams, maintaining the operational gain significantly.

7. Governance and Management

Before cloud technology, companies were faced with the dilemma of prioritizing either speed or security. With new technologies, it is possible to have both. To achieve them, the concept of guardrails is being increasingly implemented. This involves creating standards that can be used by developers, such as Infrastructure as Code (IaC) to provision resources following configurations and architecture already validated by infrastructure and security teams, allowing for fast development while ensuring compliance with established company practices.

8. Acceleration with AI

Finally, the most modern applications benefit from AI technologies to bring greater speed in development and standardization of practices. With AI assistants for code generation, it is possible to accelerate development. Furthermore, with modern and performant programming languages, such as Rust, it is possible to deliver more efficient systems.

In conclusion, the transition to modern applications signifies a pivotal shift in the digital landscape, where agility, innovation, and customer-centricity become crucial. With e-Core as your trusted partner, navigating this transformative journey becomes not only achievable but also immensely rewarding. Our team of experts is here to propel your journey forward. 

Reach out to us to elevate your approach to application development!

Filipe Barretto is AWS Practice Leader at e-Core and AWS Community Hero. Today, his main goal is to help companies better use cloud computing technologies to stand out.


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