Microservices vs Monolithic Architecture: The Future of Software Development
In general AI system architectures are not much different from any other IT system architectures.
As we discussed in our last blogpost: Microservices architecture is a modern way of building applications. In contrast to monolithic architecture, it’s built as a suite of small services. Each service runs its own process and usually communicates with other services using language-agnostic APIs, like REST or gRPC.
Every single service is independently deployable, scalable, and maintainable. Also, in comparison with the monolithic approach microservice architecture offers faster deployment times as developers only need to update an individual component when making changes.
In our last blog post, we describe what is microservices architecture & its challenges, so the time has come to dive deeper into monolithic architecture and the difference between these two architectures.
The monolithic architecture
Monolithic architecture is considered to be a traditional way of building applications. A monolithic application is built as a single and indivisible unit. Usually, such a solution comprises a client-side user interface, a server side-application, and a database. It is unified and all the functions are managed and served in one place.
Normally, monolithic applications have one large code base and lack modularity. If developers want to update or change something, they access the same code base. So, they make changes in the whole stack at once.
Strengths of the Monolithic Architecture
- Less cross-cutting concerns. Cross-cutting concerns are the concerns that affect the whole application such as logging, handling, caching, and performance monitoring. In a monolithic application, this area of the functionality concerns only one application so it is easier to handle it.
- Easier debugging and testing. In contrast to the microservices architecture, monolithic applications are much easier to debug and test. Since a monolithic app is a single indivisible unit, you can run end-to-end testing much faster.
- Simple to deploy. Another advantage associated with the simplicity of monolithic apps is easier deployment. When it comes to monolithic applications, you do not have to handle many deployments – just one file or directory.
- Simple to develop. As long as the monolithic approach is a standard way of building applications, any engineering team has the right knowledge and capabilities to develop a monolithic application.
Weaknesses of the Monolithic Architecture
- Understanding. When a monolithic application scales up, it becomes too complicated to understand. Also, a complex system of code within one application is hard to manage.
- Making changes. It is harder to implement changes in such a large and complex application with highly tight coupling. Any code change affects the whole system so it has to be thoroughly coordinated. This makes the overall development process much longer.
- Scalability. You cannot scale components independently, only the whole application.
- New technology barriers. It is extremely problematic to apply new technology in a monolithic application because then the entire application has to be rewritten.
Pros and cons of microservices architecture vs monolithic application
Monolithic applications are easier to develop since they require fewer integrations between components compared to microservices architecture. They can be developed quicker due to fewer moving parts.
On the other hand, microservices are more maintainable and allow developers to modify components with additional features. They also offer more scalability as individual services can be scaled up or down depending on your needs.
In comparison to SOA (Service-Oriented Architecture), microservices architecture offers better scalability, quicker deployment times, and is easier to manage. In addition, it's easier for developers to build software because of its modular structure.
But what is the main benefits are using software architecture in your business?
Using the right software architecture is important for any business, as it helps to ensure faster product development and time-to-market. It also allows you to create a scalable solution that fits your business needs. Additionally, with the right software architecture, you can easily maintain, modify and extend components in order to accommodate current requirements and future changes.
How to choose the best software architecture that fits your business?
Choosing the right software architecture for your business can be challenging. You need to consider many aspects such as budget constraints, timeline goals, and your development team’s expertise. If you don't have microservices experience in-house, you can find a software development partner with hands-on experience in building microservices architecture.
Choosing a monolithic architecture
- Small team. If you are a startup and your team is small, you may not need to deal with the complexity of the microservices architecture. A monolith can meet all your business needs so there is no emergency to follow the hype and start with microservices.
- A simple application. Small applications which do not demand much business logic, superior scalability, and flexibility work better with monolithic architectures.
- No microservices expertise. Microservices require profound expertise to work well and bring business value. If you want to start a microservices application from scratch with no technical expertise in it, most probably, it will not pay off.
- Quick launch. If you want to develop your application and launch it as soon as possible, a monolithic model is the best choice. It works well when you aim to spend less initially and validate your business idea.
Choosing a microservices architecture
- Microservices expertise. Without proper skills and knowledge, building a microservice application is extremely risky. Still, just having architecture knowledge is not enough. You need to have DevOps and Containers experts since the concepts are tightly coupled with microservices. Also, domain modeling expertise is a must. Dealing with microservices means splitting the system into separate functionalities and dividing responsibilities.
- A complex and scalable application. The microservices architecture will make scaling and adding new capabilities to your application much easier. So if you plan to develop a large application with multiple modules and user journeys, a microservice pattern would be the best way to handle it.
- Enough engineering skills. Since a microservice project comprises multiple teams responsible for multiple services, you need to have enough resources to handle all the processes.
To sum up, adopting a microservices architecture is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Despite being less and less popular, a monolith has strong and durable advantages which work better for many use cases.
If your business idea is fresh and you want to validate it, you should start with a monolith.
With a small engineering team aiming to develop a simple and lightweight application, there is no need to implement microservices. This way, a monolithic application will be much easier to build, make changes, deploy, and provide testing.
Are you interested in working with us? Contact us today, and let us hear your project goals. We’re excited to start an amazing journey with you!