michael-dam-mEZ3PoFGs_k-unsplash.jpg
blocshop
August 14, 2020
0 min read

Microservices or monolithic – which is better?

Microservices or monolithic – which is better?.jpeg

If you’re about to begin a new project, you might be asking yourself whether you should go with a monolithic or microservices architecture. Or at least you should be asking yourself that question. We’re going to give you some reasons to think seriously about going with microservices.

What is monolithic vs. microservices architecture?

Monolithic applications are built and deployed as a single unit. This is the traditional approach to creating applications: all modules are combined in one self-contained codebase.

All developers work on the same codebase and are committed to a single development stack, including languages, libraries, tools, and everything else used to create the application. Changing any of these elements is a major challenge in a monolithic architecture. Any changes or fixes have the potential to cause problems for everyone involved.

Microservices take the opposite approach. With a microservices architecture, you divide an application into discrete components that can be developed and deployed completely separately. Any coding language can be used and the development teams can be small and autonomous. Each service represents a particular functionality in the application. If one service has a problem, it won’t take down the entire application and fixes can be quickly rolled out by the relevant team.

Monolith vs. microservice: the showdown

Let’s look at ten aspects of applications and see where monolithic and microservices architectures differ.

1. Size

A monolithic application is a single self-contained unit. Monolithic applications can get very big over time and your developers can end up dealing with a huge mass of code.        

In contrast, microservices aim to be small independent services that focus on delivering a specific business objective.

2. Granularity 

All the elements within a monolithic application are tightly coupled and interconnected. Changes made to any part of the application can have effects everywhere. A single bug can mean that the whole application fails.    

Microservices are loosely coupled by design. If there’s a fault, they can be isolated and fixed.

3. Ease of deployment

Monolithic applications are not easy to deploy. Making changes can be complicated and deployment is a big deal, involving the entire application.

Microservices have small teams that can develop and deploy independently. They don’t have to coordinate with everyone else involved in the project.

4. Speed of deployment 

Not only are monolithic applications more difficult to deploy – they’re also slower. It can take a lot of time to wait for all the changes to be ready and for large development teams to make sure that everything is ready to roll out. Those delays can be very costly, especially if your competitors have made the switch to microservices.

Again, microservices are designed to be the opposite. Leaner teams developing and deploying their own part of the application mean that microservices can indulge in rapid deployment. Some microservices can even go with continuous deployment and deliver really quick responses to feedback and feature requests.

5. Communications volume   

Here’s where monolithic applications have an advantage over microservices. Because everything in the application is self-contained, there’s no need for remote calls between services.

Microservices can end up with significant communication overheads because of all the extra remote calls. While this isn’t catastrophic, it does mean that communication between the microservices has to be designed and managed carefully to avoid bottlenecks because of overly chatty services.

6. Persistence of data

All components in a monolithic application share data storage. A single database sits at the lowest level of the architecture of the application and serves information to the entire application. That’s a lot of work for one database and it can mean problems as it gets bigger over time.

One of the basic principles of microservices is that each service is free to choose its own data storage and to manage its own data. In fact, you should make sure that services don’t share a data store so that you can avoid too much unwanted coupling between services. Like with communications, this can be a challenge. You especially need to rely on domain-driven design to make sure that no microservice can modify the databases of another. Keep each microservice focused on its own business objective.

7. Ease of onboarding

A monolithic application can become so complex that it becomes daunting for new hires to understand it all before they get started. It can be difficult for old hands to even explain how everything works!

With microservices, your new developers just need to understand the code used for their own service. Which means you get them onboard and coding faster and safer.     

8. Polyglot programming

With a monolithic application, you’re stuck with a single development stack for the whole thing. You can’t decide to use a different programming language for one component or experiment with new approaches to storage solutions.

Microservices give you the freedom to use a different technology stack whenever you want. You can experiment, optimize, and keep up with new ideas.

9. Communication method    

Monolithic applications communicate with in-process calls and local method calls. As with everything else, it’s all kept internal and dependent on the language used to develop the application.

Microservices make use of APIs and a modern RESTful approach to communicating with each other. The architecture is lightweight and technology-neutral, so again you end up with more freedom.

10. Scalability   

So what about when your application needs to grow?

Monolithic applications can only scale horizontally. You can run multiple copies of the application. Additional servers, additional resources, and a lot of waste.

Microservices can be scaled individually as and when needed. Fewer resources get wasted and real business objectives determine where you add them.

At Blocshop, we’ve both converted monolithic applications to microservices and designed and built microservices from scratch. While we believe that the benefits of microservices are clear, we also know that there are horror stories out there about companies that underestimated the task of building or migrating. Contact us to find out how you can avoid making the same mistake. We’ll guide you through how you can make the change, from quotation to deployment.

Free ebook: From monolith to microservices

From monolith to microservices (ebook): How to break a monolith application into microservices.png

Learn more from our insights

Top 15 micro-SaaS ideas for your startup in 2023.png
December 06, 2021

Top 15 micro-SaaS ideas for your startup in 2022

What exactly do we mean by micro SaaS? Micro Saas solutions use a web browser or mobile app interface. Micro SaaS solutions usually come about through the effort of an individual or very small team. It aims to solve precise problems. Micro SaaS projects have small budgets and overhead. Customers use Micro SaaS solutions on a monthly or yearly subscription basis. Micro SaaS projects target a small niche of the consumer market.

Software engineer hourly rates in 2021 (based on experience and location).png
November 22, 2021

Software engineer hourly rates in 2021 (based on experience and location)

Region influences salary more than any other factor. Taxes rates, cost of living, and government benefit programs affect the rates software developers charge. Software developers in the USA  and Canada earn more than software developers in other countries.

The best programming languages for app development in 2022.png
November 15, 2021

The best programming languages for app development in 2022

Software developers usually have three main ways to create an app. They can choose to code a native app, a hybrid app or a progressive web app. Developers create native apps to function on one specific platform, usually either iOS or Android. They create these apps using Swift or Objective C for iOS. For Android they use C++, Kotlin or several other languages. 

Cross-platform mobile app development: Tools & frameworks for 2022.png
November 09, 2021

Cross-platform mobile app development: Tools & frameworks for 2022

The cross-platform development project aims to create apps compatible with several operating systems. Cross-platform apps work on iOS, Android, and Windows. Cross-platform apps look and feel like apps developed specifically for the operating system.

App development cost breakdown in 2022.png
November 08, 2021

App development cost breakdown in 2022

Your business needs an app, but you aren’t sure about the cost of creating an app. Without some figures, you can’t even begin to estimate the potential budget, so let’s get you sorted with the information you need to make your app a reality.

unnamed.png
November 04, 2021

Web app development: a detailed guide

The best web apps give a responsive and engaging user experience through a browser instead of a single application. Think of web app development as a super-charged website. Web apps have many features of mobile apps coded for iOS or Android without the need to code for specific platforms. Developers create web apps using HTML, javascript, Python and CSS.

15 useful web app development tools for 2021.png
October 29, 2021

15 useful web app development tools for 2022

Web development vs app development: Choose the best for your business.png
October 19, 2021

Web development vs app development: Choose the best for your business

Outsource web development in 2021 and beyond: benefits & tips.png
October 15, 2021

Outsource web development in 2021 and beyond: benefits & tips

8 IT outsourcing trends in 2022.png
October 11, 2021

8 IT outsourcing trends in 2022

More and more firms choose to outsource their IT operations and functions. IT outsourcing grows each year. The Gartner report announced that firms spent $3.8 billion dollars on IT outsourcing in 2019. They expect that the trend will continue. Companies aiming for digital transformation need partners and tools. They need tools that they cannot build in-house with speed and accuracy. 

In-house development vs outsourcing software development.png
October 01, 2021

In-house development vs outsourcing software development

Every business starting software development must ask themselves what will serve them better, in-house or outsourcing? There is not a simple answer to the question. Making the choice to develop in-house or to outsource will have long-term consequences.

16 Software development project ideas.png
September 17, 2021

16 Software development project ideas

Every startup needs a great idea. Something unique and compelling. Startup businesses succeed when they find a customer need that they can fulfill. Startup businesses and independent software developers constantly search for just such needs.

Software development budget estimation.png
September 16, 2021

Software development budget estimation

An unlimited budget would make many teams very happy. But that approach has pitfalls. If the team works without much oversight or customer input, they may waste money. They might create features that the customers won’t use.

What are the differences between Agile and Waterfall?.png
September 07, 2021

What are the differences between Agile and Waterfall?

These days, most software development teams choose Agile methodology to organize their work. The Agile vs. Waterfall debate still rages, though. Many people question whether Agile works better than Waterfall in all circumstances. Does Agile deliver great ROI? Does Agile help teams work faster? Let’s take a close look at both Agile and Waterfall. We will examine the merits and drawbacks of each approach.

unnamed.png
September 06, 2021

Converting Story Points to Hours: Why Doesn't It Work?

In traditional software development, teams would describe the amount of work they had in hours. But Agile software development teams have a better way. Agile teams use Story Points to estimate the work they have ahead of them. Let’s take a closer look at Story Points and hours, and examine the benefits of Story Points.

Scrum vs. Extreme Programming (XP): What's the difference?.png
September 02, 2021

Scrum vs. Extreme Programming (XP): What's the difference?

We've covered the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and the Agile development framework. Now it's time to look at different methodologies and approaches to their implementation. There are several, but we'll focus in this article on just two of them, Scrum and Extreme Programming (XP). We'll look at the differences between them and how they can even be used together for even better results.

The Scrum Sprint cycle explained.png
September 01, 2021

The Scrum Sprint cycle explained

Agile Scrum teams break down large development projects into small bursts of activity, called Sprints. A Sprint in Agile is a short, time-boxed period where a software development team completes work. They choose which items and fixes they will tackle in Sprint Planning Meetings. The Sprint cycle sits at the very center of Agile methodology. 

Use Cases vs. User Stories: relationships and differences.png
August 12, 2021

Use Cases vs. User Stories: relationships and differences

Product Backlog prioritization techniques & tips.png
July 27, 2021

Product Backlog prioritization techniques & tips

Software development project management guide.jpeg
July 26, 2021

Software development project management guide