Monolithic Vs Microservices Architecture: Key Differences
Updated 28 August 2023
Monolithic and microservices are the two different architectures that software engineers or developers may use during a software or application development process. There can be several key differences between these architectural styles. Learning about monolithic and microservices can be helpful in developing user-friendly and operable applications. In this article, we outline the differences between monolithic vs. microservices architecture in terms of their general definition and various other factors, explain their disadvantages and provide helpful practices for microservices architecture.
Monolithic Vs. Microservices Architecture
Here are some basic comparisons of monolithic vs. microservices architecture based on their definitions, cost, reliability and overall benefits:
The term ‘monolith' may refer to something huge or large. In terms of software and applications, monolithic is the collection or blocks of codes combined together that may have more than one module. You can build monolithic applications or software as a single unit. A developer can implement changes in the system by deploying and building an updated version of the server-side application.
Many developers use microservices architecture in building business-oriented applications. Developers may use microservices architecture to build an application as a collection of multiple components. You can develop more functional and easier to maintain products by using this architectural style. Microservices architecture can also help you develop applications that offer a core business capability and focus on the services that a company provides.
Developing and testing applications can be simple in a monolithic architectural style as you can build an application with one code base. This architecture style allows you to develop a single and centralised application where you can perform faster end-to-end testing. Another benefit can be easy debugging. It means you can easily identify an issue as all the code is present in one place. Microservices architecture can help you build projects with easier scalability and improved resiliency.
Many developers use this architecture style to scale applications and implement changes in functionality. You can respond to single issues without updating the entire application. It can also help in developing independent services or parts of the application. Microservices architecture helps in building an application or a service in which developers focus on splitting the entire application into several manageable microservices. Each one of the microservices can be small in size making it easier for developers to maintain and execute every single service.
Microservice applications can be more reliable than monolithic applications. The major issue with monolithic applications can be that the entire application may go down if a deployment fails. On the contrary, the entire microservice application can remain unaffected even if a single service fails. In a microservices architecture, developers may use various tools to check and find issues with every service independently. This can be the reason microservices applications are more reliable than monolithic applications.
The scalability of an application can tell its capacity to handle the growth of tasks. When scaling a monolith application, it is possible to deploy the code multiple times. After implementing changes, developers may also retest the whole monolithic application. On the contrary, a microservices application gets divided into several microservices which makes it easier for the developers to scale them separately.
In addition, microservice applications are scalable in both vertical and horizontal ways. Microservices architecture can be easier to scale and allow you to use resources in a much better way as compared to monolithic architecture.
Time to reach the market
Monolithic applications may have higher dependencies due to their size and bulkiness. This can make the building and deployment process more complicated than that of microservices applications. On the contrary, microservices applications can be better in terms of scalability and resource sensibility. Applications running on microservices architecture may take less time to reach the market. The reason behind this is that the microservices applications are more agile in nature.
In monolithic architecture, software components may completely depend on each other. For example, for an e-commerce application, all the services may directly connect with each other. These may include customer, product and cost services. If a developer wants to change something, all the services may require change.
Many businesses evolve from monolith to microservices architecture. Some examples may include online retailers or video streaming applications. Businesses that use service-oriented architecture can benefit from using a microservices architecture. A video streaming application offering its application programming interfaces to different types of devices may use a microservices architecture style. Businesses can turn their projects into microservices and scale their operations.
Disadvantages Of Microservices Architecture
As a distributed system, microservices applications can add more complexity to the entire project. Handling failures separately may require the implementation of intercommunication methods. Testing a microservices application can be much more complex than testing an application based on monolithic architecture. During the testing of a microservices application, launching a service and all the other services dependent on that particular one can be important.
Another disadvantage is that it can be difficult for a developer to introduce some new changes to an existing microservices application. This is because these applications can have more than one service. Introducing something new may require developers to plan and find the end results for each service separately. Deploying a microservices application can also be tough. In the microservices architecture, developers may configure, scale, deploy and monitor each service separately. A high level of automation can also be essential to deploy a microservices application.
Disadvantages Of Monolithic Architecture
The process of implementing modifications and changes can be slow because of the large size of monolithic applications. Their big size can also result in slowing down the start or launch time. Another major issue with applications running on monolithic architecture is the process of deployment whenever the developer introduces an update.
A monolith application can have different modules with conflicting resource requirements. Due to this, developers may face some difficulties in the process of scaling. These applications can be less reliable for introducing new technologies. In addition, a single memory leak in any module of the application can bring down the entire application as a whole.
Helpful Practices For Microservices Architecture
If you are planning to use microservices architecture, then knowing various practices can help you during the development process. Consider using these best practices:
Keep small app domain
Developers can easily update the application by keeping small domains. It can help you reduce any impact of a microservice. You can limit the responsibility of a single microservice and make it easier to maintain.
Use an API gateway
An application programming interface (API) gateway is a management tool that developers can use to create and deploy a simplified experience for the user. By using an API gateway, you can avoid unnecessary traffic. An API gateway can also help you in improving the speed and responsiveness of the application.
Focus on decentralisation
With the help of decentralisation, you can divide a project into several components. It can help in improving the security and data management of the project. You can also use a separate database for storing microservices and separate all the services.
Create different teams
You can create different teams for different microservices. When you use the microservices architecture style to develop a project, each microservice may work as an independent application. Building separate teams can help in the effective monitoring of microservices. Make sure each team has developers with relevant skills and tools. Having a team of skilled developers can help you develop, deploy and handle all the microservices without wasting time.
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