Speaker Details

Raul Leal


I am a designer working usually on backend systems. I often work on the facing out of legacy systems and help organisations to move towards a new way of working. I move between the fields of application architecture, information architecture, requirements analysis and organisational change.

Bol.com and the Accelerated Legacy Challenge


Bol.com started in a portacabin with a handful of employees and essentially one IT team. In less than 20 years Bol.com grew to over 1500 employees and with over 100 scrum teams. On the technology side bol.com started out with a monolithic architecture that could handle it all.

Due to the explosive growth of bol.com, the system quickly faced its limitations. On top of this, given the pace and competition in the e-commerce market requires bol.com to keep innovating rapidly to stay in business. All these factors imply that bol.com must keep innovating but systems built today will probably have difficulties satisfying the market requirements in less than 5 years. Yet, these systems are still essential to establish bol.com as the leading retailer platform in the Benelux.

In other words, even that we know that systems are going to be obsolete soon they still need to be built. This is what we call the Accelerated Legacy Challenge. In this talk we will present how bol.com faces the Accelerated Legacy Challenge. We will focus the talk on the backend systems.

First, we will discuss how we handle deprecations. Due to timing and cost, bol.com cannot “simply replace” those systems.

Secondly, we will illustrate the dynamic requirements new systems will have to handle. Our volumes and growth are so high that often we introduce different technologies in a system to handle differences of speed and volume at each stage of processing.

Finally, we conclude by providing our view on best practices to define an architecture that can handle this. Here we will illustrate how the cloud helps us to move from monoliths to a managed-service-architecture.

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