July 6, 2021 3 mins read

Understanding Software Architecture Frameworks – Microservices, Monoliths, SOA, and APIs

 

With numerous buzzwords and acronyms in the software industry, it becomes a bit tough for the developers to curate the ideal environment for a product. The architecture framework used for a product plays a vital role in determining its long-term success, viability, and durability. Therefore, it is essential to select the perfect architecture framework for your product.

One of the most trending and preferred frameworks being deployed by development teams all across the globe is Microservices architecture. From IT and e-commerce giants like Amazon, Google, Uber, Netflix to small-scale start-ups, almost every company is joining the bandwagon of Microservices architecture. However, Microservices is not the only framework available at the disposal of the developers.

Let’s discuss different software architecture frameworks and understand which one would suit your business the best.

Microservices Architecture
Microservices architecture enables decoupling of the system into small usable work units. It means segmenting and isolating sections of software which results in discrete software components that converse with one another via APIs and can be scaled independently.

The success of the microservices architecture depends on how well you define a Microservice. You can use business cases, domain separation, and even hierarchal methods to define each Microservice.

Microservices architecture enables a true polyglot deployment. It means developers can use different languages or frameworks and get them to work together under one system. For example, a backend developer can work on C#, while the front-end developer can work with React. All these different languages could be working cohesively and using the resources as and when needed.

Microservices architecture also renders itself is a well-suited architecture for cloud-native deployment.

Limitations: One limitation of the microservices architecture is that with increased flexibility comes extra latency and payloads. The more Microservices are added the more network communication increases. This increased network communication can cause latency and may lead to congestion throughout the system.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)
Microservices architecture includes different software units that can work together whenever necessary. API serves as the backbone of Microservices. They facilitate collaboration by enabling Microservices to communicate with one another.

In order to build a robust Microservice architecture, one needs to have well-defined APIs in place, which will facilitate communication between different components of the system effectively. Microservices offers a gamut of benefits over other architectures, which can be availed only if these APIs are precisely defined and outlined with concise instructions.

APIs are not just limited to Microservice architecture. They can be used to communicate and share data between different software.

Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA)
SOA was an eminent architecture used by the developers back in the mid-2000s. It was in fact, the first move towards a distributed horizontally scalable infrastructure pattern. With increasing flexibility and better performance of the SOA, developers were able to derive, what is known as, Microservices. The difference between SOA and Microservices architecture is relatively small as Microservices has technically evolved from SOA.

Service-Oriented Architecture follows a much sorted and straightforward method as compared to monolithic architecture. Using the SOA approach, the developer could decouple an application into smaller modules, which would then work with an aggregation layer that can be termed as a bus. Each service in the SOA could communicate using a standard business processing layer that separated the internal and external elements of the system.

Limitations: A major drawback with the SOA is associated with the aggregation layer (the bus). With the increasing number of components being added on to the bus, many coupling issues arise. Another drawback is the error handling, where a user would get either 200 or 500 responses and nothing in between. With this, people started looking for an alternative and a better solution.

Monolithic Architecture
Monolithic architecture is synonymous with n-Tier applications. In this architecture type, developers separate concerns and decompose the code base into functional components. In a nutshell, it is about building a single web artifact and then trying to decompose the application into separate layers.

In general, there are 3 different layers present in monolithic architecture: Presentation Layer, Business Logic Layer, and Data Access Layer. The main idea of monolithic architecture is to allow the user to work with any component of the architecture independently (without depending upon the layer underneath or above).

Limitations: Monolithic architecture results in huge coupling issues. To build, test, or deploy, a developer needs to interfere with the entire code base. It also takes several days for any function to go live, which makes it difficult to modify, develop, or edit many things in the code. The infrastructure costs are quite high, given that if a single component is experiencing extra load and requires scaling, resources need to be added for the entire application.

Conclusion
While choosing from the architecture frameworks mentioned above, you should determine the most feasible and best-suited option for your product. Analyze your resources and programming talent before selecting any architecture, make sure that it serves your end goal, and fulfills the demands of your clients.

While Microservices architecture is arguably the best framework, it also requires your development team to be very agile and act fast. Building flawless APIs is also not an easy task. SOA or monolithic architecture might be good enough if you are developing a relatively small app.

 

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