Microservices Vs Monolith in the SDLC

Different phases of the software development life cycle ('SDLC') pose different challenges and call for different tools and practices. While it’s important to think about how projects or products will be built in the long-term, it’s also important to make sure the engineering team can quickly go to market.

Here is a quick comparison of how a Monolithic architecture compares to a Microservice architecture in the early days of the product life cycle.

Development Velocity in the Early Days of the SLDC

Monolith

Excellent

Microservices

Poor

Definition

The ability to move fast at the early days of the SDLC

Monolith

A Monolith with it's single code-base, enables developers to implement changes quickly and deploy fast.

Microservices

Microservice architecture requires management that is usually considered a ‘devops’ skill-set and often requires an orchestration tool (e.g. Docker Compose, Kubernetes, ECS). The ‘manageability’ overhead can slow down velocity and require a skill-set that isn’t as common as a development skill-set.

Development Velocity in the Maturity Stage of the SLDC

Monolith

Poor

Microservices

Excellent

Definition

The ability to go fast as the software becomes mature and feature rich

Monolith

As the software matures and become feature-rich, the Monolithic architecture is likely to become complex and heavy, causing releases to delay and velocity to come to a SCREECHING halt - at that time teams usually consider either a complete re-factoring or re-architecture, which are both very costly and challenging. Techstacks get old very fast and Monolithic architecture usually inhibits upgrading the techstack causing the architecture to grow old at the pace of software development.

Microservices

Microservices enable high velocity even when the software matures. If implemented right, you shouldn’t expect any velocity impact once the software matures, on the contrary as it supports upgrading the techstack that usually causes the pace of software development to move even faster.

Independent roadmaps for Microservices allow for shorter release cycles, when a service team can deploy only one service instead of the entire system. This is when you move from a bi-weekly sprint and deployment cadence to several times per day deploy cadence.

Conclusion

While Monolithic architecture provides agility and simplicity in the early days of the SDLC when the architecture is simple, it becomes a nightmare to maintain and evolve as the software matures and architecture becomes more complex and rich with features.

Microservices on the other hand, can be an overkill to start with, but are definitely beneficial once the software becomes feature rich, enabling agility and making the software easy to evolve.

While a Monolithic architecture can be an easy choice for new companies, teams, products or projects, Microservices are likely to be the software architecture style of choice for the long run. While it does require extra effort in terms of ‘manageability’ and a ‘devops’ skillset, the benefits it provides in the long run are far greater than the required investment.

The best advice in this case: create a Microservices infrastructure as soon as possible and seriously consider a managed service that significantly reduces the ‘manageability’ challenge. If you do start with a Monolith, build a Microservice-ready Monolith.

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UP9 provides an out-of-the-box test automation for microservices, kubernetes and cloud-native, replacing the need for developers to constantly build and maintain tests, while providing comprehensive service test-coverage.

Features:

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UP9 offloads the microservice testing workload from developers giving them precious time back.