What are the advantages of the microservices architecture

Monolith or microservices: which architecture suits the project?

There are several possible approaches to implementing a software project. On the one hand, it is possible to choose a monolithic architecture that combines all functions. Alternatively, microservices are also becoming increasingly popular. In this concept, the application is divided into individual components that function independently of one another. Although this approach has great advantages in many cases, it does not always make sense to implement it. Nevertheless, developers decide in favor of the wrong architecture right from the start in numerous projects, which leads to many problems and high costs.


Monolithic applications: The "classic" architecture

Monolithic applications consist of a single unit in which all functionalities are integrated. This has the following advantages:

  • Easier handling of cross-cutting issues: Most applications have to meet a large number of overarching regulations - for example with regard to data protocols or security functions. If everything runs through a single application, it is easier to adapt the respective program parts to the higher-level guidelines.
  • Less operational effort: If there is only a single application, only one application needs to be tested, controlled and maintained. Deployment is also less complex.
  • Better performance: The program's performance is often better because shared memory access runs faster than interprocess communication (IPC).


However, there are also disadvantages to these advantages:

  • Close integration: The individual program parts are firmly linked to one another. As the development of the application progresses, it becomes more difficult to isolate individual parts in order to scale them individually or to maintain the code.
  • High complexity: Monolithic programs are often difficult to understand because many functions have dependencies and side effects.


Microservices: Small, independent services

When using microservices, in contrast to monoliths, many independent components are used. This architecture also offers some advantages:

  • Better organization: The task of each component is clearly delimited from the tasks of other modules. This avoids overlaps and improves the organization.
  • Decoupling: Independent units are easier to reconfigure to meet different needs. In addition, individual functions that are urgently needed can be implemented particularly quickly.
  • Good performance: Depending on how well the microservices are organized, they also allow good performance. For example, it is possible to scale individual components in isolation.
  • Fewer mistakes: there are limits between the individual microservices. This means that errors are limited to individual components.


However, there are also some disadvantages with regard to microservices:

  • Treatment of cross-cutting issues: There are also overarching requirements in applications based on microservices. In order to do justice to these, either increased efforts have to be accepted (e.g. during testing) or cross-sectional components have to be created.
  • Higher operational effort: microservices are usually deployed independently of one another. This increases the coordination effort.


When is the use of monolithic programs recommended?

The previous chapters have shown that both options have advantages and disadvantages. It is therefore important for every project to carefully consider which of the points mentioned are of particular importance.


A monolithic architecture can be beneficial in the following scenarios:

  1. If the team is very small or is under construction, a monolith often makes more sense. In this way, the team is not burdened with the often more extensive requirements of a microservices architecture.
  2. If you are creating a product that has not yet proven its market viability, it is also advisable to create a monolithic application. This enables you to publish new versions at short intervals as part of further development.
  3. If your development team is new to microservices, it makes sense to start with a monolithic architecture. This significantly reduces the risks.


Sensible scenarios for microservices

The structure of microservices can be used in the following scenarios:

  1. If you need individual program components particularly quickly, microservices are recommended. In this way, you can use a certain service promptly, while other functions are added later.
  2. If a particular function requires particularly high efficiency, microservices are also a sensible solution. For example, if you are working in an area with large amounts of data, it is advisable to use a particularly efficient programming language, which is less suitable for other areas suitable. Microservices make it possible to adapt each individual service perfectly to the respective requirements.
  3. If you're planning on growing your team, microservices make sense. Clearly defined tasks make it easier to integrate additional employees.


Conclusion: a precise analysis of the initial situation is important

Microservices are often touted as the modern form of software development and are becoming increasingly popular. However, that doesn't mean that they are the best solution in every situation. It is therefore necessary for every project to carefully review and analyze the requirements. Well-founded and unbiased decision-making is therefore of crucial importance.