Start-ups face major decisions primarily during the initial phase of building their applications. Choosing the right technology stack is important not only because it will last the duration of the start-up, but also because it will bring benefits to your business. It should allow you to build and maintain your applications on time. The stack you choose should be strong, flexible and scalable.
Future proofing your tech stack
Begin with an assessment of your business needs, goals and your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Consider what your needs are right now and your needs as your business grows. The technical choices you make now will have an impact on the business for years to come, from the developers on your team, to costs or time to market. By carefully considering what your team needs from your technology stack, you can set your business up for success.
Key components of your tech stack
There are many parts to your tech stack. While the stack can vary from business to business, most organisations start with server and cloud computing services, operating systems, programming languages, database management systems and performance monitoring services.
Servers and cloud computing
Planning the infrastructure for your project starts with the hardware needed to meet your computing needs. Many businesses choose an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider to distribute computing resources over the Internet, including networking, storage and other infrastructural components. It eliminates the need to maintain the physical hardware itself and allows for more flexibility as you grow and scale. Most businesses use the IaaS model since it is easy to use, scalable and cost-effective.
The operating system (OS) manages the computer’s memory and processes and allows you to interact with compute functions. It associates hardware with the programmes running on the computer. When choosing an operating system, consider the versatility, security and cost of each, as well as what’s most familiar and easiest to use for you.
Programming languages are accountable for executing your application code, communicating with the database and much more. Programming languages generally fall into three categories: procedural, functional and object-oriented. Procedural languages follow a set of commands in sequence. Functional programming languages are based on implementing sequential functions to solve complex problems. Object-oriented programming languages are built on the concept of objects that contain both data and code to modify the data. Each language has different properties and features, and the programming language you choose will depend on the type of application you are building and the experience of your team.
Database management systems
A database is a structured collection of data. While the data can have many uses, you need a database management system (DBMS) to access, interpret and manipulate the data for your needs. The DBMS will allow system administrators to track changes, pinpoint errors and implement back-up and recovery systems, in addition to managing data.
Performance monitoring services
Performance monitoring services enable you to ensure that your software is running smoothly and that your users have an optimal experience. Tracking things like application load and response times, CPU usage and consistent error documentation will help provide the best experience for your users.
Managed vs. self-managed tech
Many of the technologies you choose for your tech stack can be self-managed. If you have the time and expertise to maintain your entire infrastructure internally, self-management offers you more insights and control than a managed solution. However, if your team does not have the extensive experience often required to maintain these technologies, or if you want to save time and focus on developing your application, you can choose a managed implementation option.
Selecting a managed implementation option means paying a provider to build and manage that part of your technology. While there is a cost to managed services, the benefits are often worth it. For example, choosing a managed database option means that users have an easy setup process and do not have to worry about database updates and maintenance. The need to provision, configure and maintain databases consistently takes developers’ time and expertise. A provider-managed database takes all that maintenance out of the developers’ hands, saving time and relieving stress.
(The author is Mr. Mohan Ram, Head of Global Field Marketing at DigitalOcean and the views expressed in this article are his own)