The evolution of technology has brought changes in the software development process. One of the most informative changes in software development is the shift from monolithic to microservices.
While monolithic architecture has been the traditional way of building applications for years, microservices have become increasingly popular over the past few years.
In this tutorial, we’ll delve into microservices and monolithic architecture, the key features of each approach, the factors to consider when choosing between them, and some use cases of using these architectures.
2. Monolithic Architecture
Monolithic architecture is a classical approach we can use while building software applications. It was the dominant approach to software development for many years and is still widely used today.
The monolithic architecture couples and runs all the application’s components as a single, unified system. Therefore, any modifications made to one part of the application can potentially impact the entire system.
The following figure shows the monolithic architecture:
3. Microservices Architecture
A microservices architecture presents a different methodology for developing software applications compared to classical approaches. It addresses the limitations of monolithic architecture.
In the microservices architecture, the application is broken down into small, independent services that communicate with each other using well-defined APIs.
Furthermore, each microservice is responsible for a specific feature or functionality of the application, and each service can be developed, deployed, and scaled independently of the other services. Therefore, allowing for greater flexibility and agility in developing and maintaining the application.
The following figure shows the microservices architecture:
4. Comparing Microservices and Monolithic Architecture
To make an informed decision when choosing the architecture for any software, the following table compares microservices and monolithic architectures, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each approach:
5. Microservices and Monolithic Architectures: Example Use Cases
In this section, we’ll explore real-world examples of companies and applications that have implemented either microservices or monolithic architectures.
One example of a company that uses a microservices architecture is Netflix. It has a large and complex application that serves millions of users worldwide.
Furthermore, to maintain high availability and scalability, they have implemented a microservices architecture that allows them to scale individual services independently. This enables them to add new features and functionality quickly and efficiently.
On the other hand, an excellent example of a company that uses a monolithic architecture is Shopify. It is an e-commerce platform that provides tools for businesses to create and manage their online stores.
Developers use a monolithic architecture because their application is relatively simple, and they don’t need the same level of scalability as a company like Netflix. Additionally, a monolithic architecture allows them to manage their applications more quickly and efficiently.
6. Choosing Between Microservices and Monolithic
When deciding on an architecture approach, it is crucial to consider the specific requirements of our business. This involves assessing factors such as the size and complexity of our application, our available resources, the IT team’s expertise and experience, and our plans for future growth.
Generally speaking, the monolithic architecture might be ideal for smaller, less complex applications or for businesses with limited resources to manage and maintain their IT systems.
In contrast, a microservices architecture may be more appropriate for larger and more intricate applications that demand greater scalability and flexibility.
In summary, deciding whether to use a monolithic architecture or a microservices approach is an important choice that requires careful consideration.
Both have pros and cons. The right choice will depend on our business’s specific needs and goals.