Gareth Thomas


Software Delivery (A) 2020
Software Delivery (A)
Thursday 16.15 - 17.00

Session type: Lecture

Quietly Strangling the Monolith – a real-world migration of a high traffic monolith

From the classroom computer of an A-Level teacher in Skegness, ScholarPack has become the fastest-growing School Management System in England. A typical school day sees us taking around 50,000 class registers, serving 30,000 users and in excess of 65k requests/second.

That rapid growth has been driven by the continuous rollout of new features to meet the evolving needs of schools and stay ahead of the competition. The result has been a sprawling monolith at the backend, based around a legacy framework.

Schools may love the product, but it’s a different story for the developers working on it and the DevOps keeping it running.

Over the last three years, we have embarked on a program to “strangle the monolith”, moving from the sprawling mess to a scalable, maintainable series of services that are more secure and a pleasure to work on. All this whilst making the transition invisible to the end-user.

In this talk, I go through the experience of architecting the new world, the technologies and techniques employed, motivating and upskilling a team and how iterative development and architecture lead to a stable and scalable path.


CTO of one of the fastest-growing EdTech businesses in the UK, Gareth brings engineering best practice to the world of software development.

Originally an Electrical Engineer with a background in Process Control and Lean Manufacturing, Agile felt like the natural way to work as he followed his passion and moved into the world of Software Development.

He is now spreading the message of small batch sizes, continuous improvement and self-organisation and has implemented Scrum in diverse industries.

At ScholarPack he has brought Agile practices into the entire organisation, maintaining reliability through a tripling in the customer base with only a minimal increase in team size.


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