What is a stack, and why is a stack used?

Stack as the basis for online platforms and portals

For many who are not directly involved in IT, the term "stack" is not very meaningful. It is an approach from the technical field of IT that describes a combination of software. Together, this results in a platform with desired features. We explain what a software stack is and what advantages such structures have for you.

What exactly is a stack?

The term "stack" comes from English and means something like "stack" or "software stack". It refers to a collection of software components that are coordinated with each other. 

cloudtec platform stack

The individual components in the stack complement each other with the functions or cover specific task areas. The modular structure is characteristic. A software stack always consists of different systems. Each of them represents a closed environment. Often the systems also come from different companies.

Together, a stack of different software components forms a platform. For this reason, we also speak of a software stack.

Which components does a stack have?

A stack consists of several independent software components. They provide individual functions that together deliver all the required properties for a specific task. At the example for a Stack, which is particularly well-known, LAMP shows up the composition of a Stack well. LAMP consists of the following components:

  • Linux (operating system)
  • Apache (web server)
  • MySQL (database software)
  • PHP (programming language)

Thus, LAMP is an environment with which it is directly possible to put a web application online. Basically, a stack can consist of many other components. These are the usual components:

  • Programming languages
  • Frameworks
  • Databases
  • Front-end tools
  • Back-end tools
  • Applications integrated via APIs

What roles do front-end and back-end play in the stack and development?

The development of online platforms, software and websites is divided into two areas: the front-end and the back-end. The two areas can be easily distinguished using examples. In a CMS, the visible user interface is the front end. The back-end, on the other hand, is the administrative area where you maintain and create content.

According to this scheme, all platforms have two areas. In the front-end area, this is, for example, the creation of graphics, web design or even tasks in the SEO area. The back-end requires database creation, data integration and architecture design.

Software development companies will handle the programming of these areas for you. Stacks play an important role in this area as well. There are basically different solutions that can be used to achieve similar results. To the mentioned example LAMP, WIMP is an alternative. Websites and online portals can also be created with WIMP.

The difference is that WIMP is built on other structures. These are Windows as OS and IIS as web server. Thus, developers would have to deal with other systems, programming languages and programs. The consistent use of stacks, on the other hand, results in a focus on specific environments. This allows the specialization of all employees in a software company on very specific solutions.

In this context, the term Full Stack Developers is also used. These are developers who can handle the various software solutions in a stack. We from cloudtec have also made this specialization on a stack. Thus, our employees are very familiar with the stack and can deliver high-quality results accordingly. This applies to front-end and back-end. The specialization on one stack also has the advantage that not too many different technologies are used in-house, which simplifies the know-how transfer and greatly increases the compatibility between projects, thus reducing the dependency on a single developer.

What is a stack used for?

A software stack is used to create a platform that provides all the necessary functionality for a specific task.

Generic Architecture cloudtec Platform
Platform architecture built on a platform and software stack

A customer portal, for example, requires an infrastructure with various functions. This includes a web server, an operating system on which the server is installed, a virtualization layer e.g.: Docker, a programming language and database management, and an application framework. With a software stack, a unified environment is created that provides all these functions in the base. The individual components of the stack need to be aligned. If one has compiled an ideal Stack setup, this is one of the reasons, why with a software Stack software projects are successfully converted. One eliminates a large part of the technical risk. The software stack then also specifies on the basis of which software and standards extensions are made. In addition, the solutions used determine how efficiently such a system works. It is also important that all components work together without any problems. In most cases, information must be transported between them. The composition of a software stack is therefore of central importance. 

We also use software stacks. We have compiled and perfected our own software stack over the years. Based on these solutions, we create powerful platforms for our customers that are flexible and technically up-to-date. This includes online platforms, websites and also individual software solutions.

What are the advantages of Stacks?

As a user and end customer, platforms based on software stacks bring numerous advantages to you. That's why it makes sense to rely on a partner who internalizes this concept when developing online platforms and websites. 

cloudtec Tech Stack

At cloudtec, we rely on established open source software and technology components that are used in our stack. This gives us a stack that is designed for long-term operation and is future-proof, but also remains flexible enough to make adjustments and changes to individual components.

Our software stack builds on the infrastructure stack. Again, there are countless technologies to choose from. We rely heavily on Docker. With Docker, the operating system is "containerized" and abstracted. Even the PHP version is defined encapsulated per container. There are so-called Docker images that serve as a basis and template. The individual applications, portals, websites, etc. are imported into these. Docker containers can be migrated to other infrastructures "without any problems" (although there are always some things to keep in mind).

Since our stack is continuous from the software layer to the platform layer to the infrastructure layer, we have the advantage that installation is simplified and standardized to a considerable extent. This simultaneously reduces the complexity of platforms and also simplifies management.

Standardized components can also improve the security of platforms. Routines can be created for tests that run globally and regularly. Security gaps are closed once centrally.

How we take advantage of Stacks

As a specialist in the realization of online platforms, software and web solutions, we use software stacks to your advantage. This includes the great experience we have gained over the years with the individual software environments. Thus, we are familiar with all functions down to the last detail. You benefit from this by receiving a powerful, stable and secure end product exactly according to your requirements.

These are the advantages of Stack in summary:

  • Clear definition of the technology used
  • Standardization increases efficiency and reduces errors
  • Internal know-how transfer is easier to manage
  • Specialized developers who are familiar with all functions
  • Greater compatibility between individual projects
  • Less dependence on individual developer resources
  • Reliable and secure operation, thanks to standards
  • Standardized deployment
  • Optimal performance thanks to coordinated software

What solutions does cloudtec offer you based on Stacks?

We offer a wide range of services built on our own software stack. This includes software solutions based on Symfony.

We approach each project individually and plan it together with our customers. This is how we realize the most diverse projects. Thanks to our flexible and powerful stack, we are able to deliver solutions quickly and professionally.

Are you interested in a new online platform? Then use our contact form and explain your project to us. We design a flexible solution for you based on our software stacks.