Monolith vs. Microservices: Choosing the Right Architecture for Your Organization

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  • By Surya Sharma
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  • clock 10 minutes MIN READ
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  • calendar Updated: June 21, 2022


Companies are as powerful as technology in today’s world, when “software has become a need for every organization” and “every company is becoming a tech company.”

How you approach software development may affect how successfully you service your clients, how productive your staff is, and how agile your firm is. Thus, taking appropriate architectural decisions early in the software development life cycle is crucial, as these decisions may have a long-term influence.

There are many methods to design a software program appropriate for your company. In contrast, the most common designs fall into monolithic or microservices.

Monolithic architecture is considered old-fashioned nowadays, whereas microservices are cutting-edge technology. Both architectural types may be utilized securely for various reasons; the only difficulty is how to choose the best one for a given situation.

In this article, you will learn the differences between monolithic and microservices architecture, the benefits and drawbacks of each, how to determine the perfect fit for your project, and deployment concerns.

What is Monolithic Architecture?

Ancient Greeks used the term “monolith” to denote a single, mountain-sized block of stone. Even though the term is now used more widely, the concept remains the same: a monolithic software product is a separate entity that will typically develop to an enormous size.

A monolithic product exists on the server in a conventional client-server design, where it processes HTTP requests, performs logic, and interacts with the database. In addition, it includes a single executable that executes all of an application’s server-side operations.

Example: A developer would use the same code base to adjust a product page’s behavior as they would add a new customer care feature or modify the functionality of a promotional carousel.

Everything is controlled and supplied from the exact location in a monolith. Monolithic software products have both merits and problems due to their size and simplicity.

Monolithic architectures were the foundation for many current websites and apps. In 2001,, for example, was a monolith. While the site had a two-tier design, it was closely connected and operated as a single giant monolith.

Strengths of the Monolithic Architecture

  • Less cross-cutting problems: Cross-cutting concerns, like logging, caching, handling, and performance monitoring, influence the whole program. This functionality section only affects one application in a monolithic program, making it simpler to manage.

  • More accessible debugging and testing: Monolithic programs, in contrast to microservices design, are significantly simpler to debug and test. Because monolithic software is a separate entity, thorough testing may be completed rapidly.

  • Easy to deploy: Another benefit of monolithic applications’ simplicity is their ease of deployment. When it comes to monolithic apps, you have to deal with one file or directory deployment.

  • Simple to develop: Because the monolithic method is a standard way of constructing apps, any engineering team with the necessary expertise and skills can create one.

Weaknesses of the Monolithic Architecture

  • Understanding: As a monolithic program increases in size, it gets more challenging to understand. A complex coding format inside a single software is also challenging to manage.

  • Making changes: Any code modification has ramifications across the system. Thus, it requires adequate preparation. This delays the whole development process.

  • Scalability: Only the whole application may be scaled, not individual components.

  • Barriers to new technology: Using new technology in a monolithic program is difficult since the whole application must be redone.

What is Microservices Architecture?

A monolith is a single, colossal unit, while a microservice architecture employs tiny, modular code units that may be deployed independently of the product’s components.

There are various techniques to create a microservices architecture, but they all have specific common characteristics:

Because the microservices components are modular, and service may be written, modified, and deployed independently of any other code.

  • Each microservice is exclusively in charge of one single activity or function.

  • Microservices take requests, process them, and respond to them.

  • Microservices strip away implementation details, exposing simply an (ideally) well-documented interface, allowing consistent consumption of APIs regardless of their development.

Netflix is an excellent example of a microservices application. Netflix’s first product—a website that lets you pick DVDs to be sent to your mailbox—started as a monolithic application produced and managed by a single team of over 100 engineers using a conventional development process. Netflix developed a microservices architecture as it migrated to a platform that offers streaming video to millions of consumers globally 24 hours a day.

Strengths of the Microservice Architecture

  • Independent components: Each service may be launched and upgraded individually for starters, allowing for more flexibility. And a problem in a single microservice affects just that service and does not affect the whole program. A microservice system is also simpler to introduce new features to a monolithic program.

  • Easier understanding: Microservice applications are easier to understand and maintain since they are broken down into smaller, simpler components. You focus on a single service tied to a specific business objective.

  • Better scalability: Another benefit of using microservices is that each component may develop independently. As a result, the whole procedure is less expensive and time-consuming than with monoliths, which need the entire program to be enlarged even if it isn’t required.

  • Flexibility in technology selection: The engineering teams are not bound by the technology they choose at the start. Each microservice may employ various systems and technologies.

  • The greater degree of agility: A microservices application’s error impacts just one service, not the whole solution. As a result, all adjustments and trials are carried out with fewer risks and mistakes.

Weaknesses of the Microservice Architecture

  • Extra complexity: Microservices architecture is a distributed system. All modules and databases must be chosen and configured. In addition, if an application has many independent services, each should be deployed independently.

  • System distribution: Microservices architecture is a complicated system with various modules and databases. All connections must be managed appropriately.

  • Cross-cutting concerns: When developing a microservices application, you’ll encounter many cross-cutting issues. Externalized configuration, health checks, logging, metrics, and other features.

  • Testing: Microservices-based testing requires a large number of independently deployable components.

Monolithic vs. Microservices

  • Performance: The circumstances would then decide whether the design performs better. We’ll talk about performance only in terms of latency to balance things out. Thus, the load times and other characteristics that determine end-user experiences are affected.

    The microservices design necessitates a continuous flow of data between services. Each communication call has a latency when it takes for information to be sent from point A to point B. With several communication routes between various services, individual latencies build up. The communication calls would run in parallel under ideal circumstances, and the net latency would be the same as the process with the most significant delay.

  • Complexity: When we talk about complexity, we’re talking about software creation and maintenance. To begin, consider the microservices architecture. A microservices system may expand rapidly with each new service that is added. Every microservice has its own set of codes.

    There are numerous frameworks, and the application might be built in several languages. Because the releases are not in sync, this is accompanied by the usage of several versions of libraries.

  • Testing: Monoliths make testing more easy. While testing and debugging, there is just one codebase to track. Comprehensive testing is always an issue.

    Each microservice the inter-microservice interactions need to be tested independently. Business processes often pass via several microservices, and QA teams must account for all potential interactions.

  • Time to market: The fast marketing time is one of the main reasons for microservices’ enormous appeal. The decoupled design makes it simple to regularly bring out new features and improve the current ones.

    Individual microservices are simpler to create and update since they are small entities. It implies that developers may rapidly generate a microservice based on a business capability and test it with the users. Depending on the scope of the application, additional changes to monoliths might be challenging. While adopting monolithic for MVPs is an intelligent concept, full-fledged apps built on this architecture will always take a long time to market.

  • Team structure: Traditional monolithic and microservices systems have diverse team arrangements. Smaller teams work on specific services as part of the microservices model, fully accountable for them.

    In contrast, monoliths are often huge teams with several developers contributing to the same codebase but no one responsible for the complete build. Ineffective communication is another concern with such a team organization.

Monolithic vs. Microservices Architecture

Monolithic Architecture Microservices Architecture
Basic The monolithic architecture comprises a single massive system with only one code base. Microservices architecture comprises tiny, self-contained modules that perform business functions.
Scale Demand-driven scaling is complicated.
Database It has a shared database. There is a database for each project and module.
Deployment The IDE becomes sluggish because of the large codebase, and the build time increases. Each project is self-contained and tiny. As a result, the total build and development time is reduced.
Tightly Coupled and Loosely coupled Because everything is interdependent, changing technology, language, or framework is exceedingly challenging. Because each module and project is self-contained, switching technologies or frameworks is simple.

Advantages of Microservices Over Monolithic

  • Independent components: First, the services may be installed and updated separately, giving you additional options. Second, a bug in a single microservice only impacts that service and not the whole application. A microservice application is also easier to expand than a monolithic application.

  • Simpler to comprehend: A microservice application is easier to understand and maintain since it is broken down into smaller and simpler components. You focus on a single service tied to a specific business objective.

  • Improved scalability: The microservices paradigm also gives each component the ability to grow independently. Consequently, the whole process is less costly and time-consuming than with monoliths, where the entire program must be expanded even if it isn’t necessary.

  • Flexibility in terms of technological selection: The engineering teams are not bound by the technology chosen at the beginning. They are free to utilize various technologies and frameworks for each microservice.

  • The higher the agility level: Any flaw in a microservices application only impacts one service, not the whole solution. As a result, all of the adjustments and trials are carried out with fewer risks and mistakes.

How to Pick the Correct Architecture for Your Application Between Monoliths and Microservices?

Despite the numerous benefits and drawbacks of these two architectural patterns, the most important thing to consider is which one is best for your application. There are a few things to think about before making your selection.

  • Nature of the application: First, you should determine the nature of your application and choose the most appropriate architectural pattern for it. This section may be aided by the use cases presented in the preceding paragraph.

  • Business risk: Because of the benefits of microservice architecture, many people believe it is the only way to go ahead. However, rushing to use microservices when they aren’t required might endanger a company. Go through the project’s future needs and dangers to guarantee that no development efforts are wasted.

  • Infrastructure: Before making a choice, you should look at your infrastructure. For seamless operations, microservices architecture demands excellent cloud-based infrastructure.

  • Cost: There is a price tag for infrastructure. Any app owner’s finances are always worrisome. The expenses of microservices may quickly spiral out of control with each update. If you decide to explore microservices architecture, ensure you have the financial resources.


Microservices architecture has gained immense popularity as a service architecture. However, evaluating your specific business context against the advantages above and drawbacks is crucial while determining whether to start with monolith or microservices.

For a small application, a monolithic system is ideal. The microservices architecture will be the best option for a complex, dynamic application with specified domains. The essential lesson is to concentrate on your company’s specific needs rather than the architectural approach. As a technical decision maker, this will aid you in clarifying and minimizing unnecessary complexity, as well as guiding you along the correct route.

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