In this tutorial, we are going to discuss What is monolithic architecture and we’re going to answer to is it still worth applying Monolithic Architecture in 2021.
A monolithic application is a big container wherein all the software components of an application are assembled together and tightly packaged.
When it comes to legacy applications, we can say that most of the legacy applications are mainly implemented as a monolithic architecture. If all the functionalities of a project exist in a single codebase, then that application is known as a monolithic application.
In the monolithic architecture, everything from the user interface, business codes, and database calls is included in the same codebase. All application concerns are contained in a single big deployment. Even the monolithic applications can design in different layers like presentation, business, and data layer and then deploy that codebase as a single jar/war file.
There are several advantages to the monolith approach that we will discuss in the upcoming captions. But let me say some main advantages and disadvantages here.
Since it is a single code base, its easy to pull and get started on the project. Since project structure in 1 project and easy to debug business interactions across different modules.
Unfortunately, the monolith architecture has lots of disadvantages, we can say that; It becomes too large in code size with the time that’s why its really difficult to manage. Difficult to work in parallel in the same code base. Hard to implement new features on legacy big monolithic applications. Any change requires deploying a new version of the entire application.
As you can see that we understand Monolithic Architecture.
When to use Monolithic Architecture
Even monolithic architecture has lots of disadvantages, if you are building a small application, still monolithic architecture is one of the best architecture that you can apply for your projects.
Because, In many ways, monolithic apps are straightforward.
They’re straightforward to following
- Scale vertically (scale up)
is very easy and fast.
It is simple to develop relative to microservices where skilled developers are required in order to identify and develop the services. It is easier to deploy as only a single jar/war file is deployed.
Benefits of Monolithic Architecture
As we said before monolithic architecture is considered to be a traditional way of building applications. A monolithic application is built as a single big code base which means it has one large codebase. If developers want to update or change something, they access the same code base. So, they make changes in the whole stack at once.
So What is the Strengths — Benefits — Advantages of the Monolithic Architecture?
1. Simple to develop
As long as the monolithic approach is a standard way of building applications, any engineering team has the right knowledge and capabilities to develop a monolithic application. That means it is relatively easier and simple to develop in comparison to microservices architecture.
2. Easier debugging and testing
In contrast to the microservices architecture, monolithic applications are much easier to debug and test. Since a monolithic app is a single big codebase, you can run end-to-end testing much faster.
3. Simple to deploy
Another advantage associated with the simplicity of monolithic apps is easier deployment. When it comes to monolithic applications, you do not have to handle many deployments — just one file or directory. Easier to deploy as only a single jar/war file is deployed. The problems of network latency and security are relatively less in comparison to microservices architecture.
So if you are building a small application, still monolithic architecture is one of the best architecture that you can apply for your projects.
Challenges of Monolithic Architecture
In many ways, monolithic apps are straightforward. However, monolithic architecture can occurs many challenges. Overtime by developing monolithic apps, you may reach a point where you begin to lose control.
It becomes too large in size with time and that’s why it’s difficult to manage. When a monolithic application scales up, it becomes too complicated to understand. So that means, the monolith application has become so complicated that no single person understands it.
2. Making New changes
It is harder to implement new changes in such a large and complex application with highly tight coupling. Any code change affects the whole system. This makes you fear when making new changes. And these changes bring costly side effects. And also this makes the overall development process much longer. It will develop new features that become time-consuming and expensive to implement.
3. New technology barriers
It is extremely problematic to apply new technology in a monolithic application because then the entire application has to be re-developed. We can say this condition is the Fear Cycle. If you’ve to develop the same monolithic application for a long time, It’s stressful to change your full code base with the newest technology. Instead of building new or innovative solutions, most of your time is spent maintaining legacy apps. So we can say that Adding new technologies and frameworks aren’t an option.
You cannot scale components independently, the only option is scaling the whole application. Maybe one of your modules get more request according to other modules but you have to scale for all modules in your application. You can’t separate modules and scale independently.
Deployments for Monolithic Architecture
We have designed the architecture and think about that how we can deploy this architecture? As we already said before, since this is a single code base, It is harder to implement new changes in such a large and complex application with highly tight coupling. Any code change affects the whole system.
Even the smallest change requires the full deployment of the entire application. It is expensive and risky. It is not reliable that a single bug in any module can bring down the whole monolithic application.
See the above image; The large developer team commits their changes to a single source code repository. The path from code commit to production is long and hard to manage and requires manual testing. So that comes with the application is large, complex, unreliable, and difficult to maintain. In order to solve these problems, we should evolve our architecture to Microservices Architecture.