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Microservice Architecture vs. Monolithic Architecture

Navdeep Singh Gill | 03 Jul 2023

Microservice Architecture vs. Monolithic Architecture

What are Microservices?

A microservices architecture divides a program into smaller, independent units called microservices rather than building a single, extensive program. Software applications can be created and organized using microservices. Each microservice specializes in carrying out a particular function or service. Instead of creating a single, complex program, a microservices architecture divides a program into smaller, autonomous pieces called microservices. These microservices can be independently designed, deployed, and scaled, specializing in tasks or services. 
For instance, individual features like user administration, product catalog, shopping cart, order management, and payment processing might be structured as independent microservices in an e-commerce platform. Each microservice manages a particular function within the program, such as user authentication, product information, or payment exchanges. The application can be divided into more minor services to increase maintainability, fault isolation, and development efficiency. The simultaneous work on many services by various teams boosts productivity. It can be difficult to control how different services communicate with one another, guarantee data consistency, and address potential network problems.

Organizations must carefully weigh the trade-offs and invest in the right operational, monitoring, and infrastructure practices when introducing microservices. Microservices are desirable for complex and changing requirements systems because of their scalability, adaptability, and increased productivity.

Develop your Spring Boot Application with a microservice architecture and deploy it on your local Kubernetes cluster. Taken From Article, Developing and Deploying Spring Boot Microservices

What is Microservices Architecture?

In a microservice architecture, an application is divided into small, autonomous services that are sporadically connected. Each service in a microservice architecture focuses on a particular business function and can independently develop, deploy, and scale. The following characteristics of microservice architecture are essential: service independence, single responsibility, decentralized governance, communication through APIs, autonomous deployment, scalability and resilience, technology diversity, and compatibility with continuous delivery.

Microservices run independently and employ various data storage and technology platforms. Each service focuses on a particular business function, allowing teams to select their technological stack. APIs, messaging queues, or lightweight protocols communicate between services, ensuring loose coupling. The ability to independently deploy and upgrade services improves scalability and robustness. Quick releases are made possible by microservices, which facilitate continuous delivery practices and a variety of technologies. Microservices can be flexible and scalable and enable faster time to market, but managing connectivity and guaranteeing data consistency can be difficult. The microservice architecture fits complex applications with dynamic requirements for independent scalability, agility, and quick development and deployment.

What is Monolithic?

The term "monolithic" describes a traditional software architecture paradigm in which an application is created as a solitary, independent entity. In a monolithic design, every feature and component of an application is closely associated with one another and functions as a single, integrated application. An application is created as a cohesive unit under a traditional software design called monolithic architecture. Each feature and component is closely connected to the others and works as a single integrated application.  

Let's look at a straightforward example of a web-based e-commerce application to grasp better how a monolithic architecture functions. All features, including user administration, product catalog, shopping cart, and payment processing, are developed in a single codebase in a monolithic design. The application's components are user management, product catalog, shopping cart, and payment processing modules. These functions are interconnected and share the same resources and database in a monolithic design. For instance, the shopping cart and payment processing directly communicate with the database.

Monolithic architectures are appropriate for smaller applications with modest scaling and functionality needs. However, alternative patterns like microservices are frequently more appropriate as systems get more sophisticated or need flexibility and scalability.

A model or an architectural paradigm for software that supports the production, detection, consumption of, and reaction to the event or a significant system state change. Taken From Article, Event-Driven Architecture and its Microservices

What is Monolithic Architecture?

Monolithic architecture is a traditional software architecture style in which an application is created as a single, cohesive unit after being planned. A single codebase and execution environment houses the application's features and components, all closely connected under this design. An application is designed as a single, integrated unit under a classic software design known as monolithic architecture. A similar technical stack, tight coupling between components, the deployment of the complete application as a single unit, and the usage of shared memory for communication are only a few of its salient characteristics.

Consider a straightforward web-based e-commerce application to show how a monolithic architecture functions. The application's software includes separate modules for features like user management, the product catalog, the shopping cart, and payment processing.

All modules and components are merged and delivered as a single unit in a monolithic architecture. The entire monolith must be redeployed, even if only one functionality needs scalability or modification. Inefficiencies may result from the scaling's need for more specificity. Deployment complexity also develops when components have various deployment requirements or dependencies.

Monolithic architectures work well for smaller applications with detailed functional specifications and modest scaling requirements. Alternative architectural techniques like microservices may be more appropriate if programs are more sophisticated or need to be flexible and scalable.

What is the role of a Container in Microservices?

Containers are essential for deploying and administering microservices and have several advantages. To ensure security and fault tolerance, they first offer isolation between microservices and the dependencies they depend on. Second, containers enable portability, enabling the deployment of microservices across diverse platforms and infrastructures. By including all required runtime environments and libraries inside each microservice's container, they also make dependency management simpler.

Containers enable autonomous replication and scaling of microservices, enabling horizontal scaling, which optimizes resource usage and reduces costs. Additionally, they promote reliability by ensuring uniformity throughout the development, testing, and production environments. The administration of several containers in a microservices architecture is simplified by automating tasks like load balancing, service discovery, and health monitoring by container orchestration platforms like Kubernetes. Containers simplify microservices' deployment, scaling, and management, enhancing operational effectiveness and enabling companies to develop, deploy, and expand their applications successfully.

Design Patterns available in Microservices

The requirements and characteristics of the microservices system being designed determine the pattern to be used.

Distributed Design Pattern

This technique entails creating microservices that can be deployed across some servers or nodes. It is deploying microservices across multiple servers or nodes, enabling scalability, fault tolerance, and flexible deployment.

Single Node Container Pattern

This approach involves the deployment of several microservices inside a single container. A single container can host numerous microservices, streamlining resource management and deployment.

Sidecar Pattern

The sidecar pattern entails joining a secondary microservice container to a different sidecar container—increasing functionality without changing the original container by attaching a secondary microservice container.

Multi-node Container Pattern

This pattern is employed when a single microservice needs to spread across numerous nodes or servers. It distributes a single microservice across several servers or nodes, allowing for resource control and horizontal scaling.

Leader Election Pattern

The leader election pattern is used in a distributed microservices context to choose one leader among many microservices. Choosing a single leader from a group of microservices to coordinate and make decisions guarantees consistency and prevents disagreements.

What are the Challenges of Monolithic and Microservices Architecture?

In monolithic architecture, tight coupling and scaling can be complex, resulting in ineffective resource use. The need for flexibility makes it challenging to implement new frameworks or technologies. A monolithic application grows more difficult to maintain and modify due to the strong connection between its components. Deployment is also challenging due to the need to deploy the complete program at once, as well as the need for rollbacks and different deployment requirements.

In microservices architecture service coordination becomes more difficult in a microservices architecture since services must cooperate and interact with one another to carry out intricate business activities. Data consistency across numerous services and databases presents issues for data management. Managing several services, maintaining high availability, monitoring, logging, and coordinating deployments across various environments increase operational overhead. A microservices architecture must focus on reducing network latency, guaranteeing fault tolerance, and handling eventual consistency while designing and maintaining distributed systems.

Managed Microservices solutions improve fault isolation, deploy components independently, increase agility, and fast time to market. Managed Microservices and Integration Solutions


The microservices design provides flexibility, scalability, and rapid development by separating applications into separate services. However, it makes monitoring communication and data consistency difficult. Contrarily, monolithic architecture is adequate for smaller applications but can be challenging to scale and maintain. Microservices rely on containers to provide isolation and streamline management. Different design patterns tackle particular problems and help the system be fault tolerant and scalable. The choice relies on the application's needs, and each architecture has difficulties. Monolithic design is ideal for more straightforward applications, while microservices are suitable for large applications with dynamic needs.