Startups are faced with major decisions mainly during the initial phase of creating their applications. Choosing the right tech stack is important not only because it will last the life of the startup, 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 technology stack
Start with an assessment of your business needs, your goals, and your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Consider your current needs and your needs as your business grows. The technical choices you make now will impact the business for years to come, from the developers on your team to cost 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 technology stack
Your tech stack has many parts. Although the stack may vary from company to company, most organizations start with server and cloud computing services, operating systems, programming languages, database management systems, and performance monitoring services.
Servers and cloud computing
Planning your project infrastructure starts with the hardware needed to meet your computing needs. Many companies choose an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider to distribute computing resources over the Internet, including networking, storage, and other infrastructure components. It eliminates the need to maintain the physical hardware itself and provides more flexibility as you grow and evolve. Most businesses use the IaaS model because it’s easy to use, scalable, and cost-effective.
The operating system (OS) manages computer memory and processes and allows you to interact with computing functions. It associates hardware with programs running on the computer. When choosing an operating system, consider the versatility, security, and cost of each, as well as what is most familiar to you and easiest to use.
Programming languages are responsible for running 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 the implementation of 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’re building and the experience of your team.
Database management systems
A database is a structured collection of data. Although data can have many uses, you need a database management system (DBMS) to access, interpret, and manipulate the data as needed. The DBMS will allow system administrators to track changes, identify errors, and implement backup and recovery systems, in addition to managing data.
Performance Monitoring Services
Performance monitoring services help you ensure that your software is working properly and that your users are getting the best experience. Tracking things like application load and response times, CPU usage, and consistently documenting errors will help provide the best experience for your users.
Managed or self-managed technology
Most 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 in-house, self-management gives you more insight and control than a managed solution. However, if your team doesn’t have the deep 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.
Choosing a managed implementation option means paying a vendor to build and manage that part of your technology. Although managed services come at a cost, the benefits are often well worth it. For example, choosing a managed database option means users have a simple setup process and don’t have to worry about database updates and maintenance. The need to provision, configure, and maintain databases constantly demands developer time and expertise. A vendor-managed database takes all that maintenance out of the hands of developers, saving time and relieving stress.
(The author is Mr. Mohan Ram, Head of Global Field Marketing at DigitalOcean and the opinions expressed in this article are his own)