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From Monolith to Serverless Microservices: How Disrupts $1.52 Trillion Student Debt Industry with New Technology

Challenge brings student loan repayment benefits to the nation’s best companies to free their employees from student debt. With such a fantastic mission, the company realized that the current technology doesn’t support rapid growth and scale. The current V1 system had several disadvantages:

Outdated Monolithic Architecture

The current solution was a monolithic system built on Laravel PHP running on a large number of legacy EC2 machines and many separate database servers. The monolithic structure wasn’t stable, it was error-prone, expensive to run, and inefficient to scale.

Low Visibility Into The System

Due to high data fragmentation, there was no easy way to get crucial business metrics across the company. In addition to it, a lengthy ETL process was introducing a data processing delay preventing the company from answering some crucial business questions fast.

No Streamlined Process

Several major business functions required manual intervention from an engineer. This, in turn, slowed down feature development and introduced more communication overhead between some team members.

The V1 infrastructure helped the company in the early days to be agile. To take the business to the next level, a technological transformation needed to take place.


To set up the business for success, needed a streamlined system built with the latest technology. Once the major business processes are streamlined, most of the engineering resources can be spent on developing new features delivering more value to the customers. The look and feel of the product needed to be updated to delight the customers. In addition to it, providing visibility into the system with a simple and intuitive web and native mobile interface without requiring engineering intervention is key to be able to scale.

Bob Wall

“In this day and age, the speed of delivery is everything. What took months to deliver now takes days and hours on the V2 system.”

Bob Wall, VP of Engineering @


When it comes to moving from a fragile monolithic system to microservices with increased resiliency and scalability, there are 2 major approaches: a full rebuild or a gradual migration. Since the look and feel of the product also needed to be changed in addition to increasing the scalability of the product, it made sense to go with a full rebuild of the product. Over 12 months, The Right Balance and the engineering team worked together to rebuild the current system.

Componentized Front End

Starting from a stunning look and feel on the front end, most of the components were modularised allowing to reuse the existing code, decreasing the ongoing maintenance. Once the foundational components were built, it was very straightforward to achieve a consistent look of the product throughout the website as well as on the mobile app for iOS and Android. We used a Monorepo to be able to share the same components across different websites and it worked beautifully. Customer support representatives, the end-users, as well as the clients, can now see some consistent UI across the board which makes operations so much easier.

Serverless Microservices on the Backend

On the backend, a comprehensive data model laid out the foundation for a modular service layer and an easy to use API. Each microservice is independent and can solve its task efficiently. Microservices communicate between each other forming a strong resilient system where an outage of a single component allows the rest of the system to function as normal. Using Serverless and AWS Lambda lowered the AWS bill to the minimum. It also set up the company to handle any imaginable scale.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery

In addition to the development tools, a state of the art CI/CD pipeline was implemented allowing developers to focus on coding and utilize a continuous integration technology to run 1,342 unit tests, 320 API tests, 43 UI tests on every code push and to deploy multiple times a day on demand.

Data Migration

Once the new system was built, the migration tools were implemented to migrate the existing clients from V1 into V2 system seamlessly maintaining the data integrity. Once the data was transformed from the old format into the new format and loaded automatically, the users were able to log in seamlessly, enjoying the whole new look of the site as well as the new exciting features.


Since the web apps were written in Vue.js, using NativeScript for mobile apps was a natural choice. Using the same programming language and technologies everyone on the team is already familiar with, the new apps delivered some great experience for the users. iOS and Android users were able to log in to their accounts and manage their student loans from the convenience of their mobile phones. Important to note that both native apps (iOS and Android) were produced from a single codebase which reduces the maintenance overhead.


Today, runs on the new system constantly onboarding new clients, servicing millions of dollars of student loan debt each month. The system is built with the latest technologies including AWS Lambda, API Gateway, Vue.js, Node.js with Typescript, and NativeScript for mobile apps. The company was also able to cut their AWS AWS bill by 74% using Serverless technology. With Serverless, only pays for resources used as opposed to paying for idling servers in the past. Company engineers enjoy working in a modern technology stack producing some high-quality code every day. In addition, the product has a great smooth user experience with high visibility into the data. Employees have a clear picture of their student debt situation. Employers understand how their employees are doing in terms of their financial wellness. operational staff can solve customer support issues as well as onboard new clients effectively without requiring some manual intervention from engineering. Data Analysts have a clear view of the business allowing the stakeholders to make data-driven decisions.

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