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One-tier architecture involves putting all of the required components for a software application or technology on a single server or platform. This kind of architecture is often contrasted with multi-tiered architecture or the three-tier architecture that's used for some Web applications and other technologies where various presentation, business and data access layers are housed separately.
One-tier architecture is also known as single-tier architecture.
Basically, a one-tier architecture keeps all of the elements of an application, including the interface, middleware and back-end data, in one place. Developers see these types of systems as the simplest and most direct. Some experts describe them as applications that could be installed and run on a single computer. The need for distributed models for Web applications and cloud hosting solutions has created many situations where one-tier architectures are not sufficient. That caused three-tier or multi-tier architecture to become more popular. The benefits of a multi-tier solution are often evident. They can provide better security, better performance and more scalability, as well as individual environments for data centers and front-end applications. However, the appeal of a single-tier architecture can relate to the costs that are involved, where it might make more sense to keep simpler applications contained in one easy platform.