monolith vs microservices
Kateryna Monastyrska Kateryna MonastyrskaHead of Sales and Marketing

Monolithic vs microservices architecture: Which 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. 

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When is system architecture defined?

system architecture

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system architecture

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 are conditioned by the exposed inadequacies, while 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. 

Related article: Enterprise vs. solution vs. technical architects 

What is monolithic architecture?

This is the app development classic. Such apps are built as a single-block unit with 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  

Let’s figure out the good and the bad of monolith.  

Advantages of monolithic architecture 

Disadvantages of monolithic architecture 

Is this model still popular with organizations that choose it as a foundation for building their software products? 

Monolithic examples scrutinized

Despite its rather cumbrous nature, the monolith is employed by a number of blue-chip brands entirely or for vital elements of their IT environment. 

As you can see, many major-league brands still use monolithic architecture in their products, yet the general trend of harnessing microservices is evident.  

What is microservices architecture?

This is a younger technology, but during its years on the market, it has revolutionized 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 principles of the organization determine the advantages of microservices architecture sports. 

Advantages of microservices architecture 

This architecture type has certain shortcomings as well. 

Disadvantages of microservices architecture 

Given the weighty advantages of microservices over monolithic architecture, it is no wonder that companies embrace microservices en masse.  

Microservices examples showcased

The global microservices market is predicted to experience triple growth between 2024 and 2028, displaying an explosive CAGR of almost 23%.  

Definitely, it is due to the active adoption of the technology by multiple digitally driven businesses, including some behemoths whose growth and expansion are to a no less degree attributed to the timely adoption of microservices.  

As you see, organizations encountered various monolith-related issues that forced them to embrace microservices. Perhaps you experience similar problems, so you should consider monolith-to-microservices migration. 

Why should you switch over from monolith to microservices?

Here is a checklist of reasons that can help you understand when you need to refactor your monolithic solution into a microservices one. 

In case the abovementioned considerations are irrelevant to your current situation, you can continue using your monolithic app. But what if you don’t have any software product but are going to acquire one for your professional initiatives? What should you steer by while selecting the architecture type for it? 


How to choose the right software architecture?

How to choose the right software architecture

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How to choose the right software architecture

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. 


What is a monolithic architecture? 

In it, all the solution’s elements (typically, a databank, a client-side interface, and a server-side) are housed in a single block with a universal code base. Monolithic products are foolproof in development and deployment, fast in debugging and testing, and are cheaper to build. 

What is microservices architecture? 

This software organization scheme presupposes the existence of loosely coupled modules with their individual database, scope, and operation logic. To link the containers together, a system of APIs is employed, allowing for the flexibility, scalability, and high fault resistance of microservices solutions. 

What are the key differences between monolithic and microservices architectures? 

While all elements of a monolithic architecture are served in one place and function as a single mechanism, microservices are a sum of loosely connected modules that rely on APIs to communicate with each other. The former model is resistant to upscaling and lacks flexibility, whereas the latter allows for broad customization and is friendly to third-party integrations.

When to use microservices, and when monolith? 

Monolith is a better fit for simple apps that don’t require special flexibility or scalability. It is an ideal choice for cash-strapped small companies and startups without an in-house IT team. Enterprise-size organizations having qualified developers on their roster usually need and can afford more complex solutions with sophisticated business logic and multiple modules. For such projects, microservices architecture is the best option. 

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