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5 Benefits of a 3-Tier Architecture

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insightsoftware is a global provider of reporting, analytics, and performance management solutions, empowering organizations to unlock business data and transform the way finance and data teams operate.

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To keep up with the pace of change required to deliver a compelling software product and to leverage emerging technologies, a microservices or three-tier architecture provides numerous benefits. It allows a developer the opportunity to extend, modularize, and be able to configure their application.

The architecture shortens time to market and reduces the cost to integrate new features into software as a service (SaaS), Cloud, and on-premise applications. It can also maximize user adoption through the flexibility it provides when integrating analytics into existing infrastructure and application workflows. Why is this is important?

What is a 3-Tier Architecture?

According to Techopedia, “3-tier architecture is a client-server architecture in which the functional process logic, data access, computer data storage and user interface are developed and maintained as independent modules on separate platforms.”

A “tier” in this case can also be referred to as a “layer”. The three tiers, or layers, involved include:

  1. A Presentation Layer that sends content to browsers in the form of HTML/JS/CSS. This might leverage frameworks like React, Angular, Ember, Aurora, etc.
  2. An Application Layer that uses an application server and processes the business logic for the application. This might be written in C#, Java, C++, Python, Ruby, etc.
  3. A Data Layer which is a database management system that provides access to application data. This could be MSSQL, MySQL, or PostgreSQL, etc.

As a simple example of 3-tier architecture, suppose you are looking to find movie times in your area using a web application. First, the presentation layer displays a web page with some fields for you to enter, like the date you want to view the movie and your zip code. This information is then passed to the application layer, which formats a query and passes it to the database layer. The database system runs the query and returns the results (a list of movies available within your geographic area) to the application layer, which formats it into a web page. The page is then sent back to the browser, where the presentation layer displays it on a laptop or other device.

Here’s a diagramed look at our platform’s 3-tier architecture:

Here are 5 benefits of separating an application into 3 tiers:

  1. It gives you the ability to update the technology stack of one tier, without impacting other areas of the application.
  2. It allows for different development teams to each work on their own areas of expertise. Today’s developers are more likely to have deep competency in one area, like coding the front end of an application, instead of working on the full stack.
  3. You are able to scale the application up and out. A separate back-end tier, for example, allows you to deploy to a variety of databases instead of being locked into one particular technology. It also allows you to scale up by adding multiple web servers.
  4. It adds reliability and more independence of the underlying servers or services.
  5. It provides an ease of maintenance of the code base, managing presentation code and business logic separately, so that a change to business logic, for example, does not impact the presentation layer.

With 3-tier architecture, you have the ability to utilize new technologies as they become available. This ensures your product is ready to adapt; ready for the future. You have the opportunity to redesign your product or application and actually look not only to today’s needs but into the future. Stay ahead of the game and maintain a competitive advantage.

We designed our platform around a 3-tier architecture with the future in mind. Learn more about our purpose-built embedded BI platform.

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