Table of Contents
- What is Monolithic Architecture?
- How It Works
- Expectations of Monolithic Architecture
- Microservices Architecture
- How it Works
- Expectations of Microservices Architecture
- Comparison of Monolithic vs Microservices Architecture
Software development is on the increase as there is a need for companies to have their business online. Moreover, individual software applications and programs help enterprises to be more effective and productive. It for this reason that there is a push to create enhanced applications that will lead to business efficiencies and growth.
All software need an architecture for better understanding, communication, consensus, and negotiation for the various stakeholders. Software architecture is the foundation of the software project that determines the security, dependencies, guidance, and implementation of set guidelines.
Monolithic and microservices are popular and powerful software architectures used by most if not all software engineers today. The debate on functionality and efficiency continues to linger between the two. While some businesses are adopting the new microservices architecture, others still maintain the older counterpart, monolithic.
Here is a breakdown of monolithic vs microservices architectures to better understand the one that suits your organization.
What is Monolithic Architecture?
As the name “mono” suggests, this architecture is a single codebase to build an application. Monolithic is sometimes referred to as multi-tier architecture because it combines several parts in building an application.
Monolithic was designed for creating enterprise applications mainly for laptops and desktops. Additionally, such applications require to be related and thus have tightly coupled functions.
How It Works
The monolithic architecture works using several components that define it. These include:
• The business layer – This layer explains what the application is expected to do to meet the business logic.
• A database layer – It acts as a storage for all necessary data objects.
• Presentation layer – This layer helps in handling interface and browser communications. More specifically, the requests and responses in the application.
• Persistence layer – It handles object-relational mapping and other functions.
Typically, there are three or more divisions in developing a monolithic application. However, the database, client interface, and the server must be present. The database comprises numerous tables in a relational database management system (RDBMS).
In a monolithic architecture, all the layers act in isolation from each other. It implies that any change in any layer requires an update on the remaining layers to be executable.
Expectations of Monolithic Architecture
The use of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices are on the rise and slowly overtaking desktop devices. Since the monolithic architecture relies on desktop devices, many engineers and developers will move away from it. Therefore, they will switch to other favorable architectures such as microservices.
Advantages of Monolithic Architecture
• It is easy to test components of a single layer.
• Easy to develop for experienced engineers
• Easy to deploy data to the server
Disadvantages of Monolithic Architecture
• It requires an extensive learning curve, especially for beginners.
• It is not easy to scale monolithic applications
• Difficulty in continuous deployment
• It is slower as the size of the application becomes bigger.
• Challenging to integrate new technologies.
The microservices architecture has a completely different approach to the monolithic. Here, the application comprises small services, which are independent units. The units perform their own processes and communicate with each other using lightweight mechanisms.
The singular units are deployed independently and have their own databases. Additionally, a service may use any database that suits its purpose. Providing the elements with more resources helps to ensure that the application is faster and more agile.
How it Works
The microservices architecture works by dividing functionalities into smaller units called services. These services are configured to perform specific processes or tasks. Moreover, the database schema is such that every microservice has its own database or may share depending on the kind of data required to perform given tasks.
The microservices communicate among themselves through the use of an API. An application programming interface (API) is a set of instructions that allow users to call the application and receive requested data. The API delivers data from the various microservices to perform the intended requests by the end client on mobile or desktop applications.
Expectations of Microservices Architecture
To say the need for different business processes to merge for enhanced efficiency is an understatement. Currently, almost all enterprise functions are interrelated and thus the need to bridge the gap and remove data silos.
Moreover, many consumers today use mobile gadgets to access and pay for services. Engineers need to create both desktop and mobile-friendly applications for devices. That said, the use of microservices is on an upward trajectory, and its popularity continues to grow rapidly among developers.
Advantages of Microservices
• Enhances continuous development and integration of microservices since each has its own database.
• Reduces application complexity by dividing it into manageable services.
• Every microservice can be created independently.
• It is easy to scale up any microservice.
• Allows easy integration with new applications.
Disadvantages of Microservices
• Inconsistencies since you need to update multiple databases, which may be a challenge when having distributed transactions.
• It isn’t easy to test the application
• Implementation of alterations that span multiple services is a serious challenge.
• Deployment of services with different databases and running time is complex.
Comparison of Monolithic vs Microservices Architecture
Due to a single codebase, it is easy for experienced engineers to build and develop a monolithic application. Additionally, there is only one coding language used; therefore, it is easy to monitor the libraries used and sync the system.
The monolithic architecture may be challenging for beginners. Not only is it huge, but it isn’t easy to modify the application. Moreover, you require to be good in the programming language used since it is impossible to integrate many languages in this framework.
It is challenging to do any upgrade since all layers act in isolation. A single update in one component requires engineers to re-deploy the whole application. An update may cause the application to start wrongly. Therefore, the idea of continuous development and continuous integration is out in a monolithic framework.
On the other hand, the microservices are relatively friendly for engineers to create. The microservices act independently, and thus users do not require knowledge of only one language to create an application. This architecture allows for different languages in various releases. Therefore, developers can use a language of choice.
In microservices, the units are simplified and less intimidating for developers. This simplicity makes it easy to build services quickly, even for beginners.
Although it is easy to create a single service, this framework poses challenges. It is hard to sync the application due to the different languages, databases and even libraries used. Therefore, it is not possible to tell that the data is in sync.
With the above details, both the challenges and benefits of each can conclude that monolithic is easier to develop than microservices.
As the monolithic application grows in size, the more it becomes slower at launching. Although this is the case, calling such an application is fast since the data is local.
In microservices, communications happen over a network. The application sends calls to the API, which informs the server to execute the request. Afterward, the server sends data back to the API, which sends it to the client’s application. This process experiences some latencies and thus slower compared to monolithic. Monolithic is faster.
Microservices allow developers to integrate other applications and systems easily. This action allows the application to deliver additional services. The additional microservices have more resources making it easy to scale the application.
A monolithic application, on the other hand, has a single database. Therefore, if all the resources are in use, it is not possible to scale the application. It is also not easy to incorporate new software that uses different languages.
Microservices are new in the field but also complex to use. This architecture is simple for beginners and allows businesses to integrate multiple services in their web or mobile applications. On the other hand, monolithic is best for web-based applications only though it is hard to use them with other applications.