Browse Definitions:


This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Developers' guide to deploying microservices and containers
Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Monolithic, in information technology, means either very large (and possibly imposing) or composed all in one piece, depending on the particular context; the term is used in different ways to describe integrated circuits, organizations, applications and storage systems, among other things.

A few examples of how the term is used in IT:

monolithic architecture is the traditional programming model, which means that elements of a software program are interwoven and interdependent. That model contrasts with more recent modular approaches such as a microservice architecture (MSA).

A monolithic integrated circuit (IC) is a set of circuitry on a single semiconductor plate or chip rather than built of separate elements as a discrete circuit is.

A monolithic storage array has disks fixed into the array frame and connected to controllers through cache memory; modular arrays, on the other hand, are usually based on dual controllers connected to a separate power source and connected to the disks through cables.

A monolithic corporation is a large, separate and undiversified organization.

In a general context, a monolith is a single, separate and large stone feature that may be geographic or man-made. Examples include a mountain that is not part of a range, a standing stone and a monument. The word comes from the Ancient Greek μονόλιθος (monolithos), from μόνος (one) and λίθος (stone).

This was last updated in May 2016

Continue Reading About monolithic

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

Not quite one piece. Client-server apps or web-based apps are very modular. This label (monolithic) was given to contrast the difference with SOAP/REST architectures.


File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:


  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces.

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...


  • federated identity management (FIM)

    Federated identity management (FIM) is an arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises to let subscribers use the same...

  • cross-site scripting (XSS)

    Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of injection security attack in which an attacker injects data, such as a malicious script, ...

  • firewall

    In computing, a firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or...



  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...


  • volume manager

    A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation for storage arrays.

  • external storage device

    An external storage device, also referred to as auxiliary storage and secondary storage, is a device that contains all the ...

  • NetApp SolidFire

    NetApp SolidFire is a business division of NetApp Inc. that specializes in all-flash storage systems.


  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.