Microservices vs Monolith Architecture


A microservice architecture is a special software development approach that has become quite popular during last few years. Many developers all over the world start using it for the enterprise app development.

Due to their scalability, microservices work best when it comes to providing support for various devices and platforms, such as mobile devices, wearables, and the Internet of Things (IoT), or in case you need to ensure the support of different device types in the close future. Key design principles of microservices imply creating a system divided into separate independent parts.


Evolution of Software Architecture


Principles of the software architecture have been evolutionizing for many years. At the beginning, they were focused on monolithic mainframes and then turned to microservices. It’s better to consider these types of the software architecture from a continuous improvement standpoint, rather than covering them independently.

Client-Side Updates

The era of mainframes was characterized by expensive hardware, the need for high-performance servers that are able to process large instructions and client connection to these servers via dumb terminals. The tables have turned when hardware became cheaper and dumb terminals were replaced by smart ones. Smart terminals had higher processing power compared to the one client-server models had.

There are different client-server models of how a client should process the server. For example, a client could act as centralized data directory. The main difficulty of such principle was managing and sending client-side updates to each user. Therefore, a user interface (UI) was rendered directly from a server as a result of the browser HTTP request.

Since servers had multiple tasks, such as maintaining UI, storing data, processing transactions, etc, software architects have started grouping these tasks into separate logical layers:

  • UI Layer;
  • Business Layer;
  • Data Model Layer;
  • Data Access Layer.

Therefore, these layers needed special solutions that would maintain them, such as Database servers, Web Servers, and so on. These layers were divided into tiers where another challenge appeared.


Structuring Tiers

Another task was how to structure tiers and what dependencies to set across layers in order to properly manage them. Many software developers started to use architecture styles that imply isolating of the software logic. When your business is independent of web services, a database, UI, and Web Services, teams can work more effectively, developers can easily manage changes in software packages with fewer dependencies, and it also makes easier to test the software.



With cheaper hardware and higher requirements for software performance, there were two ways of further scaling: using more powerful hardware or more hardware units. More powerful hardware was a simpler approach but a way more expensive while more hardware units were a cheaper decision but too complex because it required running one application on multiple computers with distributing data across them. As a result, development teams had to choose between data consistency and availability. The solution was to use database servers that are available and consistent and have no data partition tolerance. They contain NoSQL databases with specific dependencies and support both eventual and strong data consistency.



Modern technology systems often deal with contention when multiple users try to access to the same data piece. Scaling is an inconvenient approach to solve the contention problem as it even can exacerbate it by generating multiple records of the same data across your databases. So developers began to apply special architecture development approaches, such as Event Sourcing and Command Query Responsibility Segregation (CQRS).

The latter architecture style implies separating commands from queries. This allows providing the optimal design development for both command stores and models. Command stores usually utilize the Event Sourcing approach to get entity states for all transactions that then return to the read store to ensure the eventual consistency for read and write operations. Such approach needs proper processing and improvement to avoid any impact on the customer experience.


Advantages of Microservices over Monolithic Architecture


The benefits of the microservice architecture are so useful that a set of worldwide known enterprises have started applying this approach in their businesses. They include Netflix, eBay, and Amazon. Let’s cover the advantages of microservice architecture over monolithic design structures.

Fault Isolation

Microservices allow developers to easily isolate bugs. Large applications are much more difficult to improve than separate microservices.


Easy Technology Testing

A microservice architecture allows developers to avoid long-term commitment to particular technology stacks. In case you need to test a new technology stack, it’s better to do it on an individual service. With such approach, you will face fewer dependency concerns and it’s will be easier to discard changes than with a monolithic architecture, The less code you have to deal with, the more flexible your development process will be.



When a team tends to build microservices within a complex system, it will be much easier for developers to understand the service functionality and the code written by other programmers.


Microservices Architecture Pitfalls


Despite all benefits of microservices, they also bring some important challenges.

Complex Development

The development of distributed systems can be a more difficult task than building a complex system. Since microservices are actually independent, you should pay special attention to how requests flow between system modules. You can face the situation where some service may not respond, which will make you add an extra code to eliminate this issue.


Difficult Management

Another serious challenge developers often face when applying an architecture and design of microservices is the difficult management of different transactions and multiple databases. This requires especially careful and time-consuming code maintaining.


Difficult Testing

Those apps that use a microservice architecture are much more difficult to test than monolithic apps. With the monolithic architecture, you would have to launch your web application resource on your app server and connect it to the underlying database. However, in case of microservices, you should first confirm every particular service before testing them.


Complex Deployment

Deploying and managing microservices is a quite difficult task. They usually require optimization and coordination with various services. This process is obviously not that efficient as deploying your web application archive in a container.

With the wise automation and using convenient tools, all pitfalls of using a microservice architecture in applications can be easily eliminated. The advantages of microservices become even more obvious when we consider how popular they have become in last 5 years. Our highly experienced Unicsoft team will help you develop and deploy any application with a service-oriented architecture and provide your organization with an effective and well-optimized solution. Send us a note at jm@unicsoft.net and to upgrade your business with smart technologies.

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