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Understanding Problems with the Monolithic Architecture style

By Real PradDec. 13, 2022, 12:48 p.m. Application development company
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A monolithic application structure is very much like that of a large container that contains many components intimately coupled to one another.


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Understanding Problems with the Monolithic Architecture style

The monolithic architecture style has been in existence ever since software development made its appearance in the IT industry.  Numerous forms of monolithic application styles have come and gone over the years starting from single blocks of software such as desktop apps and distributed architecture styles such as Tier-2, Tier-3, and N-Tier systems. All these are examples of monolithic architecture.  

Disadvantages of monolithic architecture style

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Given below are brief explanations of the disadvantages that are encountered when using monolithic application systems.

  • Development

Monolithic systems are usually constructed and built by development teams with a single focus. However, these teams may be geographically dispersed. The architecture may represent the different ways in which the development teams of varying specialities have been organized. 

Generally, the members of these teams will have the same skill set (broadly) or will likely use the same technology stack. Because of this, a team will not be able to completely concentrate on a specific problem/feature.

Moreover, each team member can't layer their components or features into the application to suit individual needs. This scenario cannot happen when developing a monolithic application.

  • Coupling

Monolithic applications have tightly coupled services and components.  They usually reside on the same ‘Server Function’ for the majority of the time. Even if these services or components are built using OOP paradigms, they may still be tightly coupled because they are packaged in the same binary.

  • Scalability

Systems require asymmetric scalability, that is, the core business logic features or services should have higher scalability requirements and the non-core features should require less hardware/memory requirements. Monolithic systems have several non-core requirements related to performance and scalability, then their performance is adversely affected. 

Scalability is one of the most vital aspects of application performance in today's advanced technological world. The monolithic design has a single container-like structure, and scaling the entire application for small market changes is challenging.  

  • Availability

If a server in a monolithic application system experiences downtime, the entire application stops responding in a majority of cases, even If highly available, During peak load times, if the system stops responding,  it can slow down to the point where it becomes unavailable.

Read our blog “How to Minimize Monolithic Application Downtime”.

  • Performance

For monolithic systems, performance aspects have to be planned for the whole application. This also includes performance testing. Parts of the system that suffer from heavy loads can cause the entire system to slow down. Though very similar to the scalability point, the performance of a system/API has to be accounted for separately from the scalability factor. 

  • Infrastructure

Monolithic systems have existed since nearly the advent of software engineering but have never had specific standardized infrastructure components. The advent of SOA brought in a few infrastructural components. However, the infrastructural abilities for the availability of services, configuration management, failure recovery, service health, security infrastructure, service discovery, messaging mechanisms, log analysis, logging, and more were incorporated in a very custom manner, depending on the product/project requirements.

  • Business

Perhaps the most notable outcome of software development is the fact that an innovation or a product is readily available to be sold in the marketplace. However, this may require more time to deliver in the case of monolithic architecture systems.

Software products are usually sold for a fixed price, as a subscription, with a pay-as-you-go mechanism. Whenever a customer wants only some features or services, business teams bundle them into a product. Even in these cases, the product is made up of a single large unit of code or binary.

  • Database

The topic of databases in monolithic systems has more complex implications. Databases primarily give rise to many issues concerning scalability, performance, availability, and stability in monolithic systems because they are tightly coupled. In a majority of cases, the Issues have a direct relation with database performance and scalability. If otherwise, the issues mostly have to do with the application’s data access layers. A majority of enterprise applications and products are built with RDBMS databases.

For any request that an application receives, the database is the single critical resource that determines the performance. 

Download our eBook “Migrating Your Application from Monolithic to Microservices Architecture”.

Want to kick-start your microservices journey! Give us a call today!

When the load or number of requests increases, the database may deteriorate in performance. It may also happen that with an increase in the request load, the performance related to each request or query may reduce to the extent that the application response time becomes unacceptable. This gives us an idea of the scalability of the application/database.

When the thresholds are exceeded, the application may become unstable and user requests may not be served at all. Measures may be put in place to check this;  however, the number of active requests may increase to a high number and the application/database will then become unavailable or terminate without being able to carry on.

Therefore, the database is one resource that can cause the biggest bottlenecks when it comes to meeting performance and scalability requirements. Even adequate testing in functional, load, and stress areas may cause the application to fail in real-world production environments.

What microservices promise

All the effort in software application architecture and design is focused to make sure that the application software design is geared to meet scalability, performance, stability, and availability- requirements. 

Microservices are indeed more popular nowadays. In the year 2021, approximately 85 percent of respondents of a survey from organizations that employed 5,000 or more stated that they were currently using microservices.

The introduction of microservices architecture can help to resolve the issues mentioned above in the following ways:

  • Microservices for development teams

Microservices would allow development teams to focus on specific components/services, irrespective of the technology stack, layering, or database. Global teams can now concentrate on development without needing to coordinate with any other teams except when there is a need for interaction mechanisms, common components, or infrastructure services.

  • Microservices allow more independence

When microservices are used, each of the services can be made independent of another and, therefore, are loosely coupled. They can be deployed on any kind of server, and can even be built using any technology in which the vendor/development team is an expert. 

  • Microservices help improve Scalability

The main advantage of Microservices is that it allows systems that can be scaled independently at every level. This includes the service and database levels or any resource that may have been shared. Development teams can plan more accurately and also control costs effectively. 

The resources can be allocated and used according to the budget. In spite of all this, there may be challenges introduced by communication mechanisms within the microservices or distributed database transaction mechanisms and this may result in some negative outcomes.

  • Microservices make the system more available

The independent nature of every service within the microservices system allows us to plan for better availability more easily. Failure recovery, fault tolerance, and retrying on fail mechanisms are more automated and efficient in microservices. Also, the failure of a single service can never pull down the entire application. For mission-critical systems, this is a great advantage. Other parts of the system or other features will continue to respond even if a few services have failed.

  • Microservices for better performance

Theoretically, the performance of Microservices should be much better than the corresponding monolithic system because the application/feature will now have its database, server, and resources. As microservices have more infrastructural services and communication overheads, some developers may experience negative outcomes. 

  • Microservices for standardized infrastructure

Microservices function with standardized architecture and have a master blueprint that organizations can follow to set up their systems. Even if companies were to implement these standards only partially it would still mean that there would be uniformity in the way Microservices have been set up.

  • Microservices for business advantages

When using microservices architecture, the business has the advantage of independently selling and sizing the services and related hardware resources according to the customer's needs. The business can make plans to sell their product as a subscription, pay-as-you-go, or fixed price model at a service level in a much easier manner. Any new service can be easily planned, built independently, and incorporated into a product ecosystem at a product or customer level.

Conclusion

When you have to decide whether to use monolithic or microservices architecture, the organization should first consider the type of project at hand and the client requirements to select the type of software architecture design.  

Do you think that your organization would benefit from shifting to microservices? Call us today!

How SayOne Techologies can assist in microservices development

At SayOne, our integrated teams of developers service our clients with microservices systems that are fully aligned with the future of the business/organization. The microservices we design and implement are formulated around Agile and DevOps methodologies. The individual components of our system model are fortified, resilient, and highly reliable.

We design microservices for the future success of our clients in terms of adaptation to the latest technologies and scalability. They microservices are designed to accept fresh components easily and smoothly, allowing for smooth function upgrades.

 We construct microservices with reusable components offering increased flexibility and superior productivity for the organization/business. We work with start-ups, SMBs, and enterprises and help them to set up the microservices system while allowing for the coexistence of legacy systems of the organization till transition is complete.

Our microservices are developed for agility, efficient performance and maintenance, enhanced performance, scalability, and security.

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