Distributed Architecture: The future of public sector digital transformation

As the UK public sector continues to adopt cloud technology, the importance of distributed architecture becomes even more apparent. Its ability to power applications with multiple servers provides greater scalability, reliability, and flexibility – without having to reinvent the wheel. In this edition of Tech Bytes, we’re covering the basics of distributed architecture and the benefits it offers to the public sector.

What is distributed architecture?

Distributed architecture is a system that separates elements of an application into smaller chunks and spreads them across multiple servers. This approach differs from traditional, centralised architectures, where all application components are hosted on a single server. In a distributed architecture, each server is responsible for a specific set of tasks, with multiple servers working together to perform more complex processes.

This capability is essential for public sector organisations facing increasing digital and regional demands. It allows for a more efficient and cost-effective approach to handling large volumes of data and sharing it (be that between internal disparate systems, or with other public sector organisations). As distributed architecture allows us to divide an application across multiple servers, we can process large amounts of data quickly, improving response times and reducing the risk of overloading a single server. We can also create a secure pathway to share data across public organisations working collectively, such as within ICSs, with community cloud structures.

Distributed architecture is often associated with cloud technology. It’s a key enabler of cloud-based applications because it allows for the efficient use of resources across multiple servers, enabling organisations to achieve greater levels of efficiency and cost-effectiveness. While distributed architecture is not exclusive to cloud technology, it is often used in conjunction with it. Organisations can choose to utilise a combination of on-premise and cloud servers within a distributed architecture, making the very best use of their existing infrastructure while optimising efficiency and scalability.

Why is distributed architecture essential for cloud technology in the public sector?

The UK public sector has been making significant strides in adopting cloud computing technology in recent years. With the shift towards cloud technology, the public sector has been able to improve service delivery and reduce costs significantly – resulting in better experiences and services for citizens. However, as public sector organisations face increasing demands, the need for a reliable and scalable infrastructure that utilises both new technology and existing infrastructure becomes even more crucial.

Distributed architecture provides greater scalability, allowing organisations to handle increased demand without the need for expensive new hardware or software. This scalability is especially critical for the public sector, where demand for services can vary greatly depending on the time of day or year.

Secondly, distributed architecture provides greater reliability, ensuring services remain available even if individual servers go down. This is crucial for the public sector, where service disruptions can have severe consequences, such as delays in payments or the inability to access vital services.

Thirdly, distributed architecture provides greater flexibility, allowing organisations to add or remove servers as needed. This flexibility is essential for the public sector, where demand for services can fluctuate significantly depending on external factors such as changes in policy or unexpected events. In a complex landscape where disparate systems are commonplace, this benefit is critical – allowing organisations to combine multiple servers and operate them as one system, no matter what existing infrastructure looks like.

Digital transformation supporting distributed architecture

The NDL Evolve Digital Transformation Platform is specifically designed to support distributed architecture and cloud-based applications. The platform provides a range of features and tools that enable organisations to build and deploy distributed applications quickly and easily. These include:

  • Cloud-ready: Evolve is designed to be deployed in the cloud, allowing organisations to take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing, such as elasticity, scalability, and cost-effectiveness.
  • Integration capabilities: NDL Connect provides integration capabilities straight out of the box, including pre-built connectors for common public sector systems and services. This enables organisations to easily integrate existing systems with new cloud-based applications.
  • Agent-Server architecture: Organisations can work collectively through community cloud applications, restricting and securing data sharing as ‘agents’ pass encrypted information from one server to the next.
  • Low-code and no-code development: Evolve includes low and no-code development studios, enabling developers to build and deploy applications across servers quickly and easily, without the need for extensive coding expertise.

Want to see Evolve in action? Take a look at our library of real-life public sector use cases, and don’t hesitate to book your free demo. Need to get up to date with the latest public sector digital transformation news and trends? Take five with NDL blogs.