N-tier architecture definition
N-tier architecture is a software architecture model that separates distinct areas of functionality into individual tiers or layers. Each tier is responsible for a specific set of tasks, ensuring standardized and scalable application designs. The ‘N’ in n-tier denotes the number of layers, which can vary based on the application’s complexity.
In n-tier architecture, data flows continuously from one tier to another. A common three-tier model consists of:
- Presentation tier. This is the user interface layer, responsible for displaying data to the user and capturing their input.
- Business logic tier. Also known as the application layer, it processes user input, enforces business rules, and determines how data is stored or displayed.
- Data access tier. This layer interacts with databases or other data sources, retrieving and storing data.
Advantages of using n-tier architecture
- Individual tiers can be scaled independently based on demand.
- Changes in one tier don’t always impact others, simplifying updates and bug fixes.
- By segregating functionalities, potential security breaches can be isolated to specific tiers.
Disadvantages of using n-tier architecture
- Designing and managing multiple tiers can be complex, requiring specialized knowledge.
- Data transfer between tiers introduces latency.
- Requires more infrastructure and resources compared to simpler architectures.