Event-driven architecture (EDA) is the next big thing in composable commerce. Here's how it differs from SOA and what the benefits are from a developer and business perspective.
What does event-driven architecture mean in the context of digital commerce?
Event-driven architecture (EDA) in digital commerce refers to an architectural approach where the system's behavior and processes are driven by events. These events represent incidents or changes within the commerce system, such as user actions, system events, or external triggers, such as requests from connected systems.
In an event-driven architecture, components within a modular system are designed to react to events and perform specific actions based on the events. The components can be services, microservices, or modules that handle specific commerce tasks or functionalities. In this respect, EDA is quite similar to SOA, service-oriented architecture.
“One of the key benefits of EDA I see is the great flexibility that allows you to customize business rules and features very quickly and easily.” — Didier Caroff, VP Engineering at Akeneo
Event-driven architecture builds on composable commerce’s ability to add features or swap out applications seamlessly, and further accelerates and automates commerce processes by supporting truly real-time, event-driven actions.
Event-driven architecture versus service-oriented architecture - what’s the difference?
EDA and SOA are both architectural concepts used in commerce software systems, but they differ in characteristics and operating principles. Here are three key differences, that need to be considered when setting up or realigning a commerce technology strategy:
In SOA, communication between services is typically based on synchronous request-response patterns. One service sends a request to another service and waits for a response before continuing its execution. In serial or more complex operations this can lead to problems if single components fail.
“If we compare service-oriented architecture to a soccer team, then each player is a unit of software which delivers some service. When one player fails, the whole team fails” — Tomasz Pindel, CEO & Co-Founder at Voucherify
Communication between components in an EDA is typically asynchronous. Components don't need to wait for immediate responses and can continue processing other tasks while waiting for events. This is beneficial in terms of the system's performance, scalability and flexibility.
SOA combines different services to build extensive functionalities. However, composition and orchestration of services can cause hard-to-handle complexity, as it requires coordinating multiple interactions and data exchange between multiple services.
In contrast, EDA is built on loose coupling between components communicating through events, whereas they don’t tightly depend on each other. This loose coupling can simplify the architecture and reduce the complexity associated with tight integrations.
Commerce system scalability
In SOA, scalability is often achieved through service replication. When there is a need to handle multiple service requests, additional instances of a particular service can be deployed to handle the increased load - an adjustment that can/must be automated.
Event-driven architecture allows for dynamic scalability by adding or removing components as needed. The ability to scale individual components independently can make the architecture more flexible and easier to manage than a similar service-oriented architecture.
In summary: When comparing both architectural concepts, it is obvious that EDA enables more resilient, scalable, and responsive architectures for composable commerce due to the loose coupling of components and asynchronous communication between them.
Why should businesses care about event-driven commerce architecture?
“The shift from service-oriented to event-driven is seen as beneficial from an engineering perspective.” — Shannon Aviña, Community Lead at MACH Alliance
Beyond the technical advantages of EDA, such as high performance, scalability, flexibility and resilience, this approach also offers significant benefits from a business perspective, for example to establish excellent marketing and sales operations:
Improve customer experience: EDA system's high responsiveness allows any kind of data and services to be made available to customers fast and reliably.
Personalize buying experience: Data from disparate sources can be aggregated and used to handle individual queries and provide personalized storefront behavior.
Predict customer behavior: Use retrospective behavioral data together with current event analysis to predict and respond to customer behavior properly.
Ensure multi-channel consistency: Provide a unified experience for channel agnostic buyers, rather than building services and business logic for each channel.
Merge technology stacks: Overcome integration issues in decentralized environments where heterogeneous stacks need to be aligned or merged.
“One of our customers operating 15 offices in 15 countries worldwide, each with its own ERP and infrastructure, has benefited greatly from EDA by reducing the complexity of integrating with a commerce platform and unified product data and content management, simplifying and accelerating the entire migration process.” - Stefan Schmidt, CTO at Emporix
Accelerate innovation: Less worry about dependencies between services and systems gives development teams the autonomy it needs to experiment and fail fast.
No doubt, all these features for state-of-the-art digital commerce can also be realized via best-of-breed SOA. However, the loose coupling of components and decentralized communication in EDA offers remarkable benefits, which we have mentioned above.
How does Emporix help businesses realize their event-driven commerce architecture?
Using Emporix as the basis for your EDA gives you the freedom to choose the services and software you want to use, whether they are existing technologies or new, cloud-based or on-premise, and allows you to adapt and scale your IT ecosystem to meet tomorrow’s demands – while maintaining full control of your digital commerce operations at all times.
If you're ready to rethink your approach to digital commerce, then contact Emporix to find out how we can help you make your business more agile and future-proof.
All quotes taken from a recent expert chat hosted by MACH Alliance - find link below.
Learn more about event-driven architecture in commerce
Event driven architecture - IT trends from a business perspective - Expert chat hosted by MACH Alliance
Event Driven Architecture for eCommerce - Emporix Whitepaper