Nir Makleff, CTO
In its original use, the term "monolithic" described enormous mainframe applications with no usable modularity.
In software engineering, a monolithic application describes a single-tiered software application in which the user interface and data access code are combined into a single program from a single platform. For example, a database full of tables or a client-side user interface with HTML pages or JS.
The design philosophy is that the application is not just responsible for a particular task, but can perform every step needed to complete a particular function.
A microservices architecture breaks the action into a collection of smaller independent units communicating with all the other user APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). These units carry out every application process as a separate service, so all the services have their logic and database as well as perform their specific functions.
Some of the big cons of monolithic architecture are:
The microservices approach offers tangible benefits including an increase in scalability, flexibility, agility, and other significant advantages, such as:
It is a decision that must be made with extra care while considering what suits your business needs and software solution the best - both approaches have pros and cons. Choosing a monolithic architecture can benefit us if we are developing a small application that does not demand much business logic and scalability, small teams, a simple product, a need for a quick launch, or the need to create a simple POC. Choosing a microservices architecture will suit more complex applications, a product with a clear future plan for expansion, one that contains a variety of different services, and a large user base and data.
Migrating from Monolith to Microservices: Stop adding new services and features to your monolith. For the first few months, as your initial teams build out their microservices, it should be business as usual. Once you have some useful implementation patterns and have tailored the process to your organization, you'll want to create a plan for breaking apart the monolith.
At this point, carefully consider any changes you make to your monolith. If possible, add new features as microservices that are decoupled from your monolith.
Your first few microservices shouldn't rely on your monolith, otherwise, your new service will be bound to the monolith release cadence. At some point, however, your microservices will need to interact with your monolith. Try to keep the coupling as loose as possible, and to keep the monolith domain model out of your microservice.
Here at Compie we have already made several successful transitions of very complex and large monolithic applications to microservices, both on cloud and on-premises. Need help making such a transition for your products? Contact us and find out how our expert architects and tech leads can help!