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The entire world
of traditional big
support is dead.
“big” software and the liberators of
new “small” software. In 20 years very
few of us will recognize the software
architectures of the 20th century or how
software in the cloud enables ever-changing business requirements.
1. Andriole, S. Who owns IT? Commun. ACM 58, 8 (Aug.
2. Andriole, S., Cox, T. and Khin, K. Technology Adoption
& Digital Transformation. CRC Press, 2017.
3. Annenko, O. Breaking down the monolithic:
Microservices vs. self-contained systems. DZone, June
4. Boisvert, G. Cost of Server Ownership: On-Premise Vs.
IaaS. Sher Web, Sept. 2015; http://bit.ly/2z3Sg9l
5. Brown, S. What is agile software architecture,
Coding the Architecture, 2013; http://www.codingthe
6. Charette, R.N. U.S. Air Force blows $1 billion on failed
their cloud providers to another provider for any number of reasons. Containers enable clients to retain control
over their applications just as emerging application architectures enable
them to retain control over their software-enabled business processes. 19
This means that dependencies are
shrinking. So the combination of
microservice-based architectures and
container technology may be the response to monolithic applications.
ERP project. IEEE Spectrum, Nov. 2012; http://bit.
7. Clark, T. Microservices, SOA, and APIs: Friends
or enemies?: A comparison of key integration and
application architecture concepts for an evolving
enterprise. IBM Developer Works, Jan. 2016; https://
8. DeRemer, F. and Kron, H. K. Programming-in-the-large versus programming-in-the-small. IEEE
Transactions on Software Engineering, 2 (June 1976);
9. Erl, T. et al. Next Generation SOA: A Concise
Introduction to Service Technology & Service-Orientation. Prentice Hall, 2015.
10. Gorton, I. Cyberinfrastructures: Bridging the divide
between scientific research and software engineering,
Computer 47, 8 (Aug. 2014); 48, 55; http://bit.
11. Kimberling, E. Key Findings from the 2015 Report.
Will the big software vendors respond? Yes.
Panorama Consulting, Apr. 2015; http://bit.
12. Lee, J. 9 VERY scary ERP and ERP system
They will milk the current big enterprise revenue streams for as long
as they can and then systematically
make their offerings to look more
and more like their small software
competitors. Many of them, like SAP
and Oracle, have already by necessity begun this process through small
business and mid-market cloud offerings that are much cheaper than
the gold-plated goliaths they sold for
years. They began to cannibalize their
own products because they too know
that the days of big software are numbered. But they have not fundamentally rearchitected their applications.
implementation statistics. ERP/VAR, Oct. 2014; http://
13. Leibowitz, J. I T project failures: What management
can learn. IEEE IT Professional (Apr. 2016); http://bit.
14. Lynch, J. The Chaos Report. The Standish Group,
This quarterly publication is a
quarterly journal that publishes
refereed articles addressing issues
of computing as it impacts the
lives of people with disabilities.
The journal will be of particular
interest to SIGACCESS members
and delegates to its affiliated
conference (i.e., ASSETS), as well
as other international accessibility
15. Madan, A. 100 open source big data architecture
papers for data professionals. LinkedIn, (June 2015);
16. McLarty, M. Microservice architecture is agile
software architecture. Infoworld, May 2016; http://bit.
17. Proctor, S. From monolith to microservices: Big
rewards from small software architecture. I T World
Canada, (Aug. 2016); http://bit.ly/2iglbgk
18. Tomkins, B. SaaS solutions 77% cheaper than on-premises. Information Week, (May 2010); http://ubm.
19. Townsend, K. Containers: The pros and the cons of
these VM alternatives. TechRepublic, Feb. 2015; http://
They have shrunken them.
20. Wailgum, T. 10 famous ERP disasters, dustups and
disappointments. CIO Magazine (Mar. 2009); http://
The Death and Resurrection
Stephen J. Andriole ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Thomas
G. Labrecque Professor of Business at the Villanova
The entire world of big software design, development, deployment and
support is dead. Customers know it,
big software vendors know it and next
generation software architects know it.
The implications are far-reaching and
likely permanent. Business requirements, governance, cloud delivery and
architecture are the assassins of old
School of Business at Villanova University where he
teaches and conducts research in emerging technologies,
requirements modeling and business technology strategy.
His most recent book is Ready Technology: Fast Tracking
Emerging Business Technologies (CRC Press, 2014).
The author thanks the reviewers who significantly
improved the article. With their help, the “death of big
software” message was clarified especially regarding the
discussion of microservice-based architectures.
Copyright held by author.