MultiTier Architecture

MultiTier Architecture

 A MultiTier Architecture is a client server application combined with layered or tiered applications. It is used to carry out different tasks by many clients. The clients often take the lead in communication and the architecture therefore enhances their operations. This is because it has two tiers, the Server and the Client.

A Multi-Tier Application however has three layers and is normally an extension of the 2 tier structure. It contains three major parts including

The presentation or the first tier

This tier involves interaction with the user. There can be many clients accessing the server at the same time. Presently, clients are thin and this means that they do not contain a lot of application code compared to fat clients. Clients process the input of the user, send requests to their serves and show results of the requests to the user. A normal or common client is made of various dynamic pages that one can easily access with a web browser.

Application tier

The application or second tier is popularly known as the server or back end. It is the middle-ware of the application and it processes all client requests. The application tier is an actual web application that carries out all task related to web application. However, it doesn’t have ability to store all persistent data on its own. When it needs any important data or information, it contacts the database server.

Database tier

The database tier is the third layer and it contains a database management system. Therefore, it manages all persistent data. It is however good to note that an N-tier architecture can be more than one tier. In such a case, the middle tier is further split into new tiers. The application is broken into different parts that differ from one system to the other.

When to use a MultiTier architecture

Normally, you do not need to create your own database and application server. Many developers today build the application with specific front end code or an application specific back end code. The code is then included in an existing server application and utilizes existing database management server to enhance your operations.

Therefore, you should note that the architecture is considered generic and communication between the tiers differ. They take place through a local network and clients do not communicate directly with each other. Even so, they can communicate to the application server or to a broker director balancing requests between different server machines.  The database layer only has one database.

Information is stored in the data tier and it can easily be retrieved from a file system or a database. The information is then passed back to logic or application data for processing and then back to the user.

More about MultiTier architecture and its benefits

N-tier architecture divides an application into a presentation, logic and data tier. It is usually a physical separation of the tiers of application as opposed to a logical or conceptual separation of elements in model view controller framework.

The layers in the architecture are linearly connected. Therefore, communications must always go through the middle tier, thus creating a model based on the requirements of a client. However, they are not exclusive and a Model View Controller (MVC) framework can be utilized efficiently with n-tier architecture. Some of the benefits of n-tier architecture include

  • High scalability because the scale separates tiers without necessarily touching the other tiers
  • It allows for individual or personal management thus preventing any cascade effects and isolates maintenance of the server
  • It is very flexible and it expands in a way that suits client requirements
  • The application is very secure and each tier can be separately secured in various ways

Other features of n-tier application

  • Increased security allowing you to use your business logic behind a firewall
  • Performance slowdown is normally localized and if one  tier is overloaded, the others can work efficiently
  • Errors are minimized and localized
  • Deployments costs are relatively low because database drivers are configured and then installed on the side of the server
  • Switching of database is cheap and clients do not need to access databases directly
  • Resources in n-tier architecture application can be pooled and reused in the future


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