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Microservices vs Monolithic Architecture: What's the Difference?

by Iwan Price-Evans on DevOps • May 17, 2022

Microservices are small pieces of software that perform specific tasks and work together in different combinations to provide complete applications. Monolithic applications are built as one unified piece and cannot be separated into component parts.

What Is Monolithic Architecture?

Monolithic applications are self-contained and contain all their own code dependencies. They combine the user interface and the application data. They are deployed, installed, and updated as single units in one location (i.e. a monolithic application cannot span multiple servers or virtual machines).

What Are Microservices?

A microservice is a service that communicates with other services using HTTP requests and responses or using a RESTful API. A single microservice does not provide a complete application. Instead, developers can assemble applications from combinations of microservices, re-using microservice code in multiple applications. Applications built from microservices can be deployed, installed, and updated incrementally and granularly, for example, developers can release an update that only changes one microservice and leaves the others unchanged.

How Do Microservices Work?

In a microservice architecture, each service communicates with other services through API calls. This allows them to work together without having to share code or dependencies. It also means that each service has its own set of responsibilities.

Why Should You Use Microservices?

If you're looking to scale your business quickly and you have a strong DevOps team, microservices are the way to go. By breaking down large applications into smaller pieces, you'll be able to make changes more easily and efficiently.

  1. Your developers can create, add, and test new microservices without affecting the rest of the codebase.
  2. Your developers can re-use existing microservices to assemble new applications.
  3. Your developers and DevOps team can release small, targeted updates to particular microservices. This uses less storage and less bandwidth and reduces the risk of an update breaking functionality.
  4. Your operations team can scale up individual parts of an application in response to demand, using compute and storage resources more efficiently than if they had to scale up an entire application.