In the programming world there are two basic methods of service development. One of them is called monolithic architecture, and the other microservices. What is the difference between them and what are the pros and cons of both solutions?
What’s a monolith?
Deploying a monolith is the classic method of service development. In this model all of the modules are interconnected in a single unit. This means that the entire code exists within a single codebase. In this type of development, scaling can be achieved by adding extra nodes. This is why monoliths are recommended for simple applications rather than more complicated ones. As an app grows, it requires more and more updates and features, which in this type of approach may result in severe problems. In the monolithic model, all elements of the system, such as interfaces, databases, data supports etc., exist in one body, and this is why introducing major changes can be difficult – or even barely manageable. When the monolith grows too big, it may be difficult to ensure its security and stability.
If you are not sure whether the monolithic approach is the right solution for you, we recommend contacting a professional software development company which will explain all of the differences between monolithic architecture vs microservices in detail.
What are Microservices?
Creating microservices means splitting one big system into smaller modules. So, microservices are simply collections of small services, each of which is developed separately. In such a structure it’s much easier to implement changes without impacting the whole body. When you implement changes in microservices, you can focus only on the particular modules which require changes, without influencing the others. This ensures complexity, flexibility and scalability. This is why this approach is recommended in more comprehensive projects. All microservices are then connected in order to work together and provide a kind of functionality. The end user does not really notice any difference – no matter if they deal with microservices or a monolith, they still use a single interface.
Monolith or Mocroservices – which one to choose?
If you’re wondering how to build a service, you will most probably need to choose between the monolithic and the microservices approaches. How do you do it right? Let’s take a glimpse at the comparison.
The main benefit of a monolith is that it allows you to have direct control over each aspect of the service. Whatever you want to modify or implement, it influences the entire app. As you need to prepare only one set of code including all components, your lead time might be a bit shorter. This means that a monolith can be appealing for companies producing uncomplicated solutions which are not going to be scaled. Growing a monolith might become too risky, as it may require a lot of effort and resources to maintain its core functionality.
On the contrary, microservices are much more modern. In this approach, services are split into smaller parts which can be modified and developed independently. This means that technical issues are usually easier to fix without the risk of damaging the rest of the service. Modifications are much easier and faster to introduce into smaller segments than into one huge codebase. This ensures great flexibility. As each microservice can be controlled separately, it is possible to take a closer look at all of the issues and fix them faster. Moreover, this approach helps to improve safety and prevent bugs, as they cannot spread across the whole codebase, but infect only its smaller parts. However, microservices obviously have some cons. To build them efficiently and correctly, you need to figure out the ties between them to make sure they will work well together. This is why, in the case of simple services, it may turn out that this approach requires too much knowledge, effort and investigation; so, going for a monolith could be more cost-efficient.
Both of the solutions have their place in the world of development, however, they are dedicated to very different services. Due to difficulties with scaling and maintenance, monolithic systems are becoming rare as they are frequently replaced with microservices. However, the approach you choose should finally depend on the scope and specifics of your project. The right match will allow you to get your desired performance and get your project done with efficient use of your resources.
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