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Monolithic architecture vs microservices – which one to choose?

Deciding between monolithic architecture and microservices is one of the most important choices during software development. Let’s look at which one is better.

Monolithic vs microservices: an ongoing debate. Developers interested in moving to microservices should seriously consider whether a monolithic approach might be more appropriate. Here are the main factors to consider.

monolithic architecture

The choice between monolithic architecture and its microservices-dependent counterpart remains a hot topic. Many IT departments are eager to embrace distributed applications. However, while the microservices approach has gained popularity in recent years, a monolith application remains a viable option in many situations.

Choosing the right architecture depends on several factors. First, management capabilities and developer expertise must be assessed. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of the monolith versus microservices.

You may also want to check out this article about monolithic architecture vs microservices to learn more.

Monolithic architecture

A monolith is designed as a large system, deployed as a single unit behind a load balancer. It usually depends on a single database. The monolith consists of four main elements: a user interface, business logic, a data interface and a database.

Monolithic systems offer several advantages, particularly in terms of operational cost management. Here are some of their basic advantages:

+ Simplicity: Monolithic architecture is simple to build, test and deploy. Applications that depend on it can be scaled horizontally, running multiple copies of an application behind a load balancer.

+ Cross-functional issues: With a single code base, monolithic applications can easily handle cross-functional issues, such as logging, configuration and performance monitoring.

+ Performance: Components in unified architecture share RAM, which is faster than service-to-service communication, which depends on mechanisms such as IPC (Inter-Process Communications) or others.

On the other hand, one of the main drawbacks of monolithic architecture is tight coupling. Over time, components become tightly coupled and entangled. This affects management, scalability and continuous deployment. Other disadvantages arise from this:

– Reliability: A programming error in one module of an application can bring it down entirely.

– Upgrades: Because there is a single large code base and a strong dependency between components, the entire application must be redeployed at each update.

– Technology stack: A monolithic application depends on a single technology stack. Modifications to this stack are costly and time-consuming.

Microservices architecture

In contrast, microservices consist of elements that are independent of each other. In essence, this type of architecture “divides” the components into small, autonomous services that can be deployed and industrialised separately.

The benefits of this architecture are:

+ Scalability: To industrialise an application based on microservices, it is sufficient to only scale those components which optimise resource consumption.

+ Low coupling: Microservice components are not interdependent and can therefore be tested individually. This also facilitates changes over time.

Moving to microservices requires a thought-through approach. It is necessary for you to pay special attention share of costs application monitoring and the burden it places on developers. Companies adopting this type of architecture will need to consider the following factors:

– Team expertise: the benefits of microservices are lost if staff are not prepared. You need to assess the skills of your team members before fully adopting this model.

– Testing and monitoring: Once you have the component applications, you will have more moving parts to track and fix. Without the right tools, things can quickly go wrong.

How to choose

Generally, monoliths are ideal when developing small and simple applications. You should also consider that moving to microservices will not benefit a team that does not have enough experience with distributed architecture.

On the other hand, microservices-based architecture is a good choice when you are developing complex systems, especially if you have developers who are familiar with this model and are motivated to adopt it.

We hope that you have found this article helpful and that it has helped you make the right choice. Be sure to go through more articles on our site, which can guide you through the software development process.