microservices vs monolith
Iryna Kravchenko Iryna KravchenkoChief Editor

Microservices vs monolith: Which architecture is better?

In the IT-powered world of the 21st century, people use dozens, if not hundreds, of digital products every day. We read emails, look through the newsfeed of our social media accounts, pay for groceries using e-banking, click on apps to access various services, etc. The involvement of computer technologies is even higher in our professional activities, none of which can do without respective software. And all the programs you use – even the most primitive ones – rely on architecture of a kind. 

The notion of software architecture denotes the system’s organization that encompasses the list of components, the way they interact and integrate with each other, the environment in which they function, and the underlying principles of the system’s design. Moreover, visionary software architects see to it that the system has the evolution potential with room to grow. 

Small apps involving boxed solution elements can be built without specified and documented architectural decisions. For more complex and professional systems, the explicit definition of a system’s architecture has to be laid out fair and square otherwise, the project is doomed to failure. 

Learn more:

Who is a solution architect: Role and responsibilities

When is system architecture defined?

Microservices vs monolith

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When experts design the architecture of a software product, they do it with an eye to its mission as well as its basic safety and availability requirements. It is also critical that the system’s operations shouldn’t interfere with the operation of other devices or tools. Naturally, such a mission must be outlined before the project gets actually launched, so some overarching architectural decisions are made at this initial stage. However, having a decade-long experience in software development, we at DICEUS know well that system architecture is conceptually evolving as long as the project lasts. Why?  

While coding and engineering are being implemented, there are always some corrections and improvements to the original plan. Certain approaches don’t live up to expectations and the viability of other concepts turns out dubious. Customers come up with new ideas as to the products’ look, feel, and functionalities. Fresh requirements and novel tech stack crop up, necessitating fine-tuning or total revamping of some components. 

Even when the product is launched and has been running for years, architectural changes may also be introduced. Some of them are conditioned by the exposed inadequacies others aim to modernize the solution, make it compatible with innovations, or sustain its functioning (while it is still worthwhile or cheaper than replacing the legacy system with new-generation software). 

Yet, whatever possible alterations of the initial design might creep in, all of them must take into account the underlying architecture type. Various digital products can have microkernel, event-based, or other architectural patterns at their foundation. For application development, the principal choice that software architects have to make is related to solving the microservices monolithic dilemma. What is the difference between microservices and monolithic architecture and when should either type be preferred? Let’s zoom in on each of them.  

What is monolithic architecture?

This is the app development classic. Such apps are built as a single-block unit having a universal code base for all modules. The number of modules depends on the complexity of the project and its prospective features. Typically, such solutions contain a database, a server-side app, and a client-side UI. All their functions are served in one place.  

Monolithic architecture pros and cons  

What perks does such an arrangement entail? 

Despite evident merits, there are some disadvantages of monolithic architecture vs microservices. 

What is microservices architecture?

This is a younger technology, but during the seven years of its presence on the market, it has done much to revolutionize app creation endeavors. The major difference between monolithic and microservices architecture is that the latter contains a collection of independent modules that run every process as a separate service. Each has its scope, database, and operational logic, but they communicate via APIs. Basically, they can be treated as independent software products, which determines microservices’ benefits over monolithic structures.  

Microservices architecture pros and cons 

The different principle of the organization determines the advantages of microservices architecture sports. 

This architecture type has certain shortcomings as well. 

As you see, each type of architecture has both advantages and drawbacks. What should you steer by while selecting the one for your project? 

How to choose the right software architecture?

Microservices vs monolith

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There is no universal answer to the question: is microservices better than monolithic? First off, you should rather ask when to use microservices vs monolith. Secondly, to select the architecture type that will be the best fit, you must have a close look at what you have and what you want to obtain.  

If you are a small startup on short commons and plan to launch an app of yours as soon as possible, a product with a monolithic architecture is just what the doctor ordered. This option is also good for simple apps that don’t have to be over flexible nor scalable and don’t require superior business logic. Finally, you may lack the expertise to create such a complex product as an app with microservices architecture, so monolith will be the only choice for you. 

If you own a full-fledged business and bargain for a scalable app with many modules, functions, and user journeys, you can bet big on microservices. You must remember, though, that such projects can be successfully accomplished only if you can ensure communication — both between services technologically wise and between development teams operationally-wise.  

Yet, whatever architecture type of your app you will eventually opt for, it is the implementation that will ultimately bring its triumph – or failure. DICEUS has specialists with sufficient skills and experience to see through an app development project based on any architectural pattern that will impress you with affordability and superb quality, and exquisite design.  

Planning to create an app, you should solve several basic organizational and technical problems, one of the most serious of which is choosing the architecture type. To make the right choice between monolith and microservices, it is necessary to review your goals and requirements for the final product as well as gauge the expertise level you can engage to accomplish a project of either type. 

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