Monolithic system

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A monolithic system is a system that is integrated into one whole, analogous to a monolith. The phrase can have slightly different meanings in the contexts of computer software and hardware.

In application software[edit]

In application software, software is called "monolithic" if it has a monolithic architecture, in which functionally distinguishable aspects (for example data input and output, data processing, error handling, and the user interface) are all interwoven, rather than containing architecturally separate components.[1] Software systems like this are examples of monolithic applications.[2]

In hardware[edit]

An electronic hardware system, such as a multi-core processor, is called "monolithic" if its components are integrated together in a single integrated circuit. Note that such a system may consist of architecturally separate components – in a multi-core system, each core forms a separate component – as long as they are realized on a single die.[citation needed]

In system software[edit]

In system software, a monolithic kernel is an operating system (OS) architecture where the entire OS is working in kernel space.


  1. ^ Rod Stephens (2 March 2015). Beginning Software Engineering. John Wiley & Sons. p. 94. ISBN 978-1-118-96916-8.
  2. ^ Harris, Chandler (2022). "Microservices vs. monolithic architecture: When monoliths grow too big it may be time to transition to microservices".