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N-tier architecture

N-tier architecture

(also multi-tier architecture)

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.

See also: leaf-spine architecture, 2-tier architecture, 3-tier architecture

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.

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