The architecture of otto.de is based on the concept of vertical decomposition: the whole system is vertically split into several loosely coupled applications.

Every „vertical“ is responsible for a single business domain such as „Order“, „Search & Navigation“, „Product“, etc. It has its own presentation layer, persistence layer and a separate database. From the development perspective, every vertical is implemented by exactly one team and no code is shared between the different systems.

We have already described the details of this architecture in an article in  OBJEKTspektrum (German), a different blog post (German) and at conferences like QCon (English).

Vertical Decomposition
Vertical Decomposition

For some time, a different approach to decompose large systems is becoming more and more popular: microservices. What are the similarities and differences of both kinds of architectures and how is it possible to get the best of both? This is what I want to discuss in this text.