Understanding and deciding on an underlying architecture is crucial before developing an application. Some use multiple layers and tiers while others are composed solely of ready-to-use services. These include Monolithic and Microservice architecture.
Both of these architectures have separate working and systems. While one acts as a singular entity, the other has independent components. We will discuss what these architectures are and how each of these is different from the other. We will also discuss their architectural differences and their pros & cons.
What is Monolithic Architecture?
Mono means single or one, and lithic means stone-like and rigid. As the name suggests, monolithic architecture creates applications in which all components and modules are packaged and deployed as one. All the modules and tiers are tightly bound together, acting as a singular body.
A monolithic architecture mostly has three layers: User Interface, Business Logic, and Database, where each layer can communicate with only the subsequent layer. The whole application uses one programming language and a single database.
Pros of Monolithic Architecture
● It is easy to develop, especially from scratch.
● It is simple to test
● It is simple to scale small-size applications based on monolithic architecture.
Cons of Monolithic Architecture
● It creates a more complex application.
● Monolithic applications are hard to maintain and debug
● Change in a feature or a part of the application requires the complete application to deploy again, creating new versions of the application even for small changes.
● An increase in application size increases complexity, making it hard to scale after some time. Moreover, scalability in a module requires scaling the whole application.
What is Microservice Architecture?
In a microservice architecture, an application is built with small, independent, loosely coupled components, where each module acts as a separate application or service. Each service can work solo but interact with another module as and when needed.
Microservice architecture is an SOA. It means that all services within an application are interoperable as well as reusable. The services connect through interfaces provided by SOA. Each service in a microservice application controls a unique function with its data.
Instead of sharing a single database, each service in a microservice-based application has a separate database. Although this may cause redundant data, it ensures loose coupling. It comes in handy for the teams handling different services to perform independent actions. Additionally, each service can be written in a different language and may use a different type of database to suit its need.
Pros of Microservice Architecture
● It reduces the complexity of the application by dividing it into independent app-like services.
● Each service is usually managed by a different team.
● If a module requires changes or debugging, we can debug only that module.
● The microservice architecture mixes well with DevOps and Cloud Computing, allowing scalability and agility.
Cons of Micro-service Architecture
● Each service can have several sub-modules. Adding to the services increases the application size.
● Testing microservice-based applications are difficult.
● Redundant data in databases.
Feature Differences between Monolithic and Microservice Architectures
Monolithic and microservice applications are entirely different in regards to their architecture. Monolithic architecture requires a single interface, one business logic, and a single database. In contrast, modules in microservices get packaged like separate applications with unique interfaces and different databases. All the service packages — which act like small applications, work under one singular interface.
Following are some feature differences between Monolithic and Microservice architectures:
Monolithic applications are easy to develop from scratch, but if the size of the application is beyond a certain point, they become more complex and harder to implement. On the other hand, microservices create a complex distributed system, but it is still easy to implement each service separately.
Monolithic architecture follows centralized implementation, which is easier to implement. However, it does come at the cost of complexity and difficulty in making changes. The microservice architecture uses a decentralized approach towards implementation. Despite the complexity in implementation as a whole, implementing a single module becomes trouble-free.
Initially, applications in monolithic architecture are easy to deploy, but as the size grows, it becomes hard to deploy the application. Moreover, even the smallest require deploying the complete application. Large-size applications also become slower to deploy. So, monolithic applications cannot adapt to continuous deployment sequences. Contrary to this, deploying an application in microservices is easy. Each module can deploy independently without compiling the whole application. It makes it easy to apply continuous implementation /continuous deployment (CI/CD).
Monolithic applications are easy to scale, but it is hard to scale large applications. Scalability in a single component requires the whole application to scale. It is in contrast to the agile practices that enterprises follow. Microservice applications have independent services, which we can scale individually. The whole application does not need to scale.
Scalability is the key to incorporate additional services and agility in an application. Because of this, it becomes easy to include DevOps practices and web services like AWS in microservice applications.
Maintenance and Administration
Just as a function makes it easy to maintain a program, smaller modules make it easy to maintain a complete application. In the case of monolithic applications, it becomes hard to maintain and administer if the size of the application is extremely large. Monolithic applications are centralized and it is easy to communicate the problems between developers. Although, maintenance is not easy.
Microservices create a decentralized application that increases complexity, but it is easier to maintain. The communication between modules can become an issue in a distributed system, but microservices are much easier to maintain and debug.
Modern-day businesses are more aligned toward the idea of microservices. Since microservices are based on SOA which is specifically designed for an enterprise system. Monolithic systems are still used in large or are part of existing business models. The choice of architecture depends on the business model, but microservice applications are more business-oriented.
Combination with other services
Monolithic applications are complete and tightly packaged. They act as a single entity and may interact with other services externally. However, it is difficult to make communicate because services must interact with each module of the application together. This becomes easy in the case of microservices as external applications and services can easily interact with singular modules instead of the whole application.
Monolithic and Microservices, both architectures are used depending on what the system requirement is. Monolithic architecture is part of many large systems around the globe. Microservice architecture is relatively new and is quickly getting adopted by major firms like Netflix, Lyft, Uber, and Amazon.
How does Algoscale use Microservices?
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