Self-contained systems with microservices
In 2018, we have been pursuing our evolution towards increased modularization and continuing to work on self-contained systems with microservices deployed as Docker containers on Kubernetes. We have recently announced Red Hat OpenShift as the single supported Kubernetes platform for running Avaloq applications. Each self-contained system handles a single business function and provides its own UI building block, business logic and persistence.
We combine this technology with scalable low-latency read caches for efficient handling of digital scenarios. Digitalization leads to many more read requests via APIs, and this approach helps us ensure fast response times, cost-effective scaling and high availability.
Among the capabilities already available in this technology are Goal-Based Wealth Management, initially developed in conjunction with Thurgauer Kantonalbank, and Front Workplace Global Search, a powerful search function that has been implemented at Raiffeisen. The advantages for our bank clients include greater business agility, thanks to the modular adoption of self-contained systems.
Containerization, the key to our SaaS strategy, brings with it a number of benefits for on-premises clients. These include:
- Simplified and standardized deployment on private and public clouds
- Risk reduction, with smaller modular upgrades
- Shortened time-to-market, through the use of more frequent online deployments
- Higher infrastructure utilization and better horizontal scalability
Existing middle-tier components, such as web banking, Front Workplace and Avaloq Core adapters will be containerized. Most new software components, including Avaloq open APIs, SEPA direct debit pain.008 and IFRS9 impairment will be implemented as microservices and deployed as containers.
To facilitate deployment, we will provide a full reference implementation, complete with documentation and consulting services. Avaloq will also maintain the container infrastructure for SaaS and BPaaS clients.
Browser-based and mobile UIs
In line with the new persona-based user journeys, we are building dedicated browser-based and mobile UI front-ends to simplify lightweight UI integration of content from multiple systems and vendors and improve the user experience. Clients no longer need to deploy Liferay to take advantage of this and can instead use HTML pages loaded from any web server or content management system. We plan to open source our UI framework, AFP-JS, in 2019, and we will be adapting the UI framework to support modular, containerized deployment.
For mobile devices, we are developing more dedicated content, in both native and HTML formats. We are also adding offline capabilities to our mobile applications for Android and iOS.
For the desktop, we favour browser-based HTML5 UIs over native clients, as these make integration of content from multiple sources easier and require no local deployment. The .NET SmartClient will be retained for the time being, especially for existing clients’ back office operations.
An evolutionary approach for a new architecture
We will implement the new architecture using an evolutionary approach, with many small projects that each individually add value for our clients. We will work module by module and address REST APIs and containerization for each module.
Avaloq is introducing industry standard semantic versioning for all components outside the Avaloq Core database and the core APIs. This approach will support a healthy, vibrant ecosystem in which components from different vendors can evolve separately and compatibility is governed by a well documented scheme. To avoid unwanted ripple effects, we will retain backward compatibility of APIs even longer than in the past.
The 12-month Roadmap
Within the next 12 months, Avaloq will roll out several additional REST APIs with read caches on ACP 4.5 and above. Many fintechs will be introducing innovative solutions, integrated via our REST APIs.
Our browser-based UIs will be faster and better than ever before, thanks to the elimination of most iFrames and the upgrade to Angular 6+. Our mobile apps will become even more popular with users, thanks to the addition of more dedicated content.
The 12 to 24-month Roadmap
Within the next two years, we will complete our full programme of planned REST APIs. We expect that most clients will be starting to run Kubernetes. The first components of the Avaloq Core, such as portfolio management and advisory, will be available as self-contained systems. The old PL/SQL implementation will be maintained, but only marginally extended, for as long as our clients need it.