Broadening your Backend Architecture: Delving into Actor Model Systems published 9/24/2023 | 3 min read

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What are Actor Model Systems?

At its most fundamental level, the Actor Model System represents a design pattern for dealing with concurrent computation. It encapsulates the complexities of concurrent procedures within self-contained computational units known as 'actors.'

These actors, which function in response to received messages, can perform tasks concurrently, enabling a highly scalable, performant, and resilient system architecture. It has found a place amongst popular technologies such as Erlang/OTP and the Akka toolkit in Scala and Java.

public class MyActor extends AbstractActor {
  public Receive createReceive() {
    return receiveBuilder()
        .match(String.class, s -> {
          System.out.println("Received String message: "+ s);
        .matchAny(o -> System.out.println("unknown message"))

The simple Java code snippet portrays an invocation of an actor within the Akka toolkit.

The Benefits of Actor Model Systems

Here are some reasons why Actor Model Systems are beneficial for backend architecture:

Scale-out Capabilities

In an era where backend systems exponentially scale to match the demands of their users, the Actor Model System provides a robust approach towards implementing concurrent processes. As more actors are easily added during runtime, scaling out becomes a seamless affair.

Failure Tolerance

The Actor Model System's approach to error handling is another critical benefit. Instead of letting an entire system fail due to errors in one actor, these systems neatly isolate issues. This trend enhances resilience, propagates errors to supervising entities, and provides self-healing capabilities to the system.


By using light-weight actors that exude fewer resource demands than traditional threads, Actor Model Systems can enhance performance, particularly in systems requiring vast amounts of concurrent processes.

Musing Over Actor Model Systems

Actor Model Systems provide a compelling option for managing concurrency in backend systems. By exploring its benefits and delving into the underlying mechanics, developers can construct more robust, scalable, and resilient systems.

-export([start/0, loop/0]).

start() -> 
    spawn(?MODULE, loop, []).

loop() ->
        {Sender, Message} ->
            io:format("Received ~p~n", [Message]),
            Sender ! "Reply from actor",

This Erlang code depicts how easy it is to design a simple actor that can receive and respond to messages.

While new patterns and technologies continue to emerge in the ever-evolving landscape of backend architecture, the importance of understanding and leveraging established models like the Actor Model remains indisputable.

Stay tuned for more insightful articles on backend architecture here on Devspedia.

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