A few months back Amazon Prime Video shifted its services from Microservices to Monolithic Architecture, and people have been questioning why after so many years they are choosing monolithic over microservices, to solve the confusion we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of monolithic architecture in this article, well, there must be some reason why monolithic is still preferred over microservices, right?
Table of Contents
Introduction to Monolithic Architecture
To start, let’s see what a monolithic architecture means.
Monolithic Architecture is a traditional approach in which a single self-contained unit is responsible for handling all the operations, this means the entire application is built in a unified unit only. The monolithic style of software architecture has been immensely popular over the years and companies still prefer using it over microservices due to its simplicity. In monolithic architecture, the executables are tightly interconnected with each other, sharing the same work environment and single code base.
This kind of software architecture doesn’t often lead to proper management of large projects and can affect performance. Let’s understand Monolithic Architecture with an example of a social media platform.
A Social media platform involves a lot of operations such as user sign-up, login authentication, sending messages, uploading posts, and a whole bunch of things. In a Monolithic Architecture, all operational codebases and functions are going to be built and operated in a single application and not in multiple responsibility-driven architectures, where each layer has its own separate work environment and you can access the platform whether from mobile or desktop according to your needs.
Advantages of Monolithic Architecture
So, how does monolithic architecture prove to be a better option? Here are the advantages of monolithic architecture:
- Ease of Development and Simplicity: One of the most cherished advantages of monolithic architecture is the simplicity that it brings with the ease of development. It allows the developers to mainly focus on developing and focusing on features rather than getting into the management of multiple components and services. This can be good in providing clear and consolidated workspaces and reducing the need for shuffling between different services for developers.
- Efficient Resource Utilization: In Monolithic architecture, all components of the application share the same resources and runtime which can result in better resource utilization. Rather than scaling vertically, the application will scale horizontally by replicating the stack and hence efficient management of resources will be present.
- Simplified Debugging and Maintenance: Maintenance and Debugging are streamlined as all the codebases appear to be in a single work environment, leading to simplified debugging and maintenance for smaller projects and teams. Tracking bugs becomes easy.
- Inexpensive as compared to other services: Monolithic Architecture can be cost-friendly for new-age startups or companies that are just starting out, as having a single unit of resources is going to save costs for additional infrastructure and resources.
- Ease of Scaling: Scaling a Monolithic Architecture becomes much easier as the process is relatively straightforward. Thus, the simplicity of this architecture makes it much easier to scale the application both vertically and horizontally.
Disadvantages of Monolithic Architecture
We saw some advantages of monolithic, it’s time to look at some of the disadvantages of Monolithic Architecture:
- Limited Scalability in Large Applications: As we discussed there is an ease of scaling and it is straightforward, but it may encounter challenges as it grows larger. The Codebase will grow larger and so will the application which can cause bottlenecks because you cannot use a single codebase for all the huge services across the application, it is not feasible. Hence, at that time the scalability of large applications becomes an issue be it horizontally or vertically. On top of that, if your user base is increasing rapidly this scalability issue becomes significant.
- Complex Deployment and Continuous Integration: In terms of Deployment and Integration, Monolithic architecture can pose challenges. Imagine you need to update a single component in your code but for that, you need to deploy the entire application again which can be potentially disruptive for users.
- Technology Stack Rigidity: As the application grows, the technology stack can become less flexible and you may not be able to use a new stack for upcoming operations if needed. Adapting to new technologies can become cumbersome, as you may need to modify your entire code base if changes are required.
- Issues with Performance: In your monolithic application, only one database will be used for all operations which makes the performance slow if the application is larger and multiple sections of your applications are querying the database.
- Reduced Developer Autonomy: Due to the tight coupling between different operations and sections of our application. If you make a change to a single part of the system, that can have unintended consequences on other parts of the system. Therefore, this can affect the developer’s autonomy.
To conclude, there are several advantages and disadvantages of monolithic architecture which are based on factors such as scaling, cost, resource utilization, etc. You may notice that Monolithic architecture becomes a little problematic in case of large-scale growing applications leading to performance issues, complex deployment, and scalability limitations. Monolithic Architecture is usually preferred by early-stage companies whose application infrastructure is not so complex and can easily adapt in a monolithic way.