Scalability can be defined as the overall capacity of any system, process, or network to handle the growing amount of work. It can also be defined as a process through which a system can handle the growing potential to enlarge and accommodate that growth. This is one of the most important conditions for any successful web applications.
There are also certain steps which need to be followed if an individual wants his or her website to meet the principles of scalability. Those steps can also help in scaling a web app. In this article, you will learn about the following points.
- What is a scalable application?
- Assessing Scalability
- Why would one need a scalable application?
- The architecture of a scalable web app
- Requirements for scalable applications
- The Rules
- Components of a scalable web application architecture
Before discussing the exact steps that one can use to develop a scalable application, it is important for an individual to understand what exactly a scalable application is.
What is a Scalable Application?
To better understand the concept of scalable applications, it is first important to have knowledge of the three related concepts of scalability. And those three concepts are mentioned below.
Recoverability can be defined as the ability of a system to restore all operability after it might have experienced a failure. This concept is somewhat closely related to the concept of saturation point which is discussed below.
A saturation point can be defined as the degree or intensity of workload on which a system or a web application might start to malfunction. Under all sorts of normal conditions, the performance and scalability of the program change proportionally with the load which means that it increases gradually. But if this proportional growth is replaced with an abnormal jump then that means that the saturation point of the system has been reached.
Ramp Up Test
The test which is aimed at identifying the saturation point is known as the ramp up test. This test can help a business in identifying the levels of scalability and reliability of a web application. These are the three related concepts of scalability. There are also different characteristics which affect the scalability of the web application. And those different characteristics are mentioned below.
- Framework load
- Sustainable load testing
- Sustainable design
- Third-party component integration
- Hardware limitations
It is hard to even guess the kind of workload that a website would have to withstand by simply looking at it. But let’s take an example, we all know that Google is a giant company and according to a report published in October 2018, there were almost 1.5 billion Gmail users. This just goes to show the importance of scalability for Gmail. If Google had failed to work on scalability in the starting then they probably wouldn’t have achieved this major milestone.
But it is rather uncommon for professionals to think about the importance of productivity and usability of the website or web app for a company. This is one of the main reasons why newcomers often run into a number of problems while they are building and managing their first products. And some of those common problems are:
- Reduction in the performance of the web applications due to an increase in the number of visitors on the web application
- Increase the high load time of the page due to an expansion of the product range
- A dangerous and over complicated procedure of changing the code structure
- A reduced possibility of carrying out different A/B tests
If these problems are not resolved soon then this can result in the business losing important opportunities. And all of these issues can be resolved by deciding to develop a scalable web application or with the help of scalable development.
This is not a special development but instead is a set of principles and techniques which can help a business in designing an application of a high standard. Such applications might still face issues but those issues are easily resolvable and are not of high intensity. There are also many other benefits of sticking to the rules and principles of scalable development or scalability. And some of those benefits are mentioned below.
- It can help in improving the overall experience of all the users
- It can further help to increase the number of sales and the levels of brand loyalty
- Reduce the number of errors, overall load time, the time taken to implement various changes, and the entire cost of updating the site
Why Would One Need a Scalable Application?
From all that is mentioned above, it must be quite obvious that even though scalability might not be the first thing that businesses handle but it is inevitable for companies to eventually focus on scalability of their web applications. And some of those reasons why one might need a scalable application are mentioned below.
- The number of visitors would eventually increase which could result in decreasing the response time of the web application. Hence, it would become essential to deal with this issue
- The web application can get too heavy as the number of services or products increase
- Scalability can also help a business in decreasing the maintenance costs
- To facilitate in the server maintenance procedure
There can be many other reasons why any business might decide to focus on the task of improving the scalability of the web application. It can also help in fulfilling a number of business requirements.
The Architecture of a Scalable Web App
If a business wants to prioritize scalability then it is important to build scalability into the architecture of the web application. And there are a few methods which can be followed to accomplish that task. And some of the best practices for building scalable web application are mentioned below.
According to the Forbes almost 60% of businesses and developers say that they have set aside a certain portion of funds for additional storage spaces. This is why cloud storage can be a great solution for companies which are also in need of data storage. This is also one of those options which a business can constantly expand which means that if a business is in need for more storage space then they can always contact the cloud storage provider and get more space. This option also consists of low upfront investment which means that the business can choose to pay when they need to.
If a business is not currently using data but would need that data later then caching can be a great solution for such companies. This method ensures that the business can free up some essential space without having to delete anything. Caches can also be used at different levels in an application.
This method can help a business to avoid bottlenecks and further make it easier for the business to manage and add notes easily.
This is a software development technique which is characterized by lightweight protocols and fine-grained services.There can be many other methods that a business can adapt to build scalability into the architecture of the web application itself. These practices can help an individual to make a scalable web application.
Requirements for Scalable Applications
When a business wishes to build scalability into web applications then it is important to keep all these principles in mind.
It is important to ensure that the design of the web application is as simple as possible. This can reduce the overall maintenance cost and enhance the overall user experience. Keeping the design of the web application can also provide better support to the application.
Scalable web applications are not monolithic but instead, these systems can be divided into autonomous sub-systems. These autonomous sub-systems can then be managed with ease without any major risk of web application failure.
Following this principle can help a business to execute various processes without having to block any other resources. This process is quite complex to test and design which is why it comes with overhead.
This principle consists of setting up the systems which have a relatively low level of interdependence.
This principle can help any particular business to perform a number of different independent development tasks in a series simultaneously.
This principle dictates that a scalable system should run on different servers. And these different servers should be distributed as a whole to all the users of that system.
There are also some common rules which are derived from the principles which are mentioned above. And some of those common rules are mentioned below.
- It should be ensured that the design works if the entire scale changes by either 10 or 20 times
- A business should avoid using bleeding edge technologies
- The concept of horizontal scalability should be stressed
- Various commodity systems should also be used in the design
- The design should be created in such a manner as to leverage Cloud
- Caches should be used wherever possible
- The design scale should also be integrated within the scalability solution
- The solution should be simplified
- Whether it is a disk or a network, I/0 should be performed even though it is one of the most expensive operations in a system
- Costly resources might be used for carrying out transactions
- The best design should be used
Components of a Scalable Web Application Architecture
In this section, we will be looking at some of the common and most important components of a scalable architecture. And some of those important and common components of a scalable architecture patterns are mentioned below.
Indexes play an important role in finding out small pieces of information from a large chunk of data which might be present in a database. Index tables can also be used to implement a quick search and this can result in a user finding a faster response to all their queries. There are various advantages of indexation but with an increase in the volume of the data the tables can also become too cumbersome to handle.
The process of writing and processing of requests in the web application can become quite slow. There might also be a need to handle a large number of simultaneous requests. In such cases, it becomes prudent to perform some queues asynchronously and then to queue them. This allows the clients to move on to their work while the request might be processed. This is quite different from the usual scenario in which the client is forced to wait while the request might be processed.
For high-performance and reliable web architectures, load balancers play a key role. Load balancers run various algorithms to handle traffic and perform checks for the overall performance of the web architecture. There are two types of load balancers; hardware load balancers and software load balancers which are taken into consideration according to the requirement.
Open Standards API
It is important for organizations to look for vendors who might support open standards API. This will allow the business to have complete programmatic access to all the forms of services which might be a part of the business operations or the processes. An integrated form like REST or SOAP can also enable microservices to become interoperable with different languages which are from the client’s side.
ESB is also known as Enterprise Service Bus. It is a core enterprise application which any business would need to integrate with their other services and applications. To achieve the task of building a scalable web app, it is important for businesses to have an enterprise service bus which is integrated with scale and will also support different protocols, industry standards, and formats.
It can enable a business to perform parallel distributed processes in different jobs like financial close processes, payrolls, the report runs, and many other types of transactions. The concept of in-memory computing with cloud architecture can also enable a business to analyze and process large quantities of data like aggregations, queries, and many other activities.
So, to sum everything up, scalability is the overall capacity of a system to handle a growing amount of work. This is a very important condition for any web application in the long run. The concept of recoverability, ramp up test, and saturation is also closely related to the concept of scalability. Scalability can also be assessed with the help of ratios.
To make any web application scalable it is important to build it within the architecture of the application.
This can be achieved with the help of different methods like caches and cloud storage. There are also different components of a scalable architecture and some of those components are grid computing. Load balancer, indexation, and queues.
There are many benefits that a business can achieve with the help of a scalable web application and the biggest benefit is that brings more customers and orders in the long run. This shows how important it is to create a scalable web application for any business.
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