Scalable Architecture Development

What Is a Scalable Web Architecture and Why Is Scalability Important?

A lucky tweet or a well-timed mention is all it takes to generate an unexpected surge in traffic for any software application. This is why nowadays it’s so important to think about scalability whenever designing a new application.

Scalable architecture is what’s going to stop an application and its servers from crashing whenever an increase in traffic appears. It’s necessary to avoid losing profit and ending up with frustrated clients.

Companies should have a plan for scalable architecture development in order to create systems that handle sudden influxes of users. Company higher-ups and managers must understand what scalable architecture actually is, why it’s important, and its main components.

Teams and developers should also know the principles behind a scalable web application and how to design them, as well as the different types of scaling methods and how to work with an outsourcing provider to build scalable web applications.

Scalable Architecture Development 1

A scalable architecture in a web application (or a scalable web application) is what allows it to handle any number of visitors (or requests) simultaneously interacting with the web application. It handles a high volume of users just as well as it handles a low volume of users without the risk of ever running out of backend resources.

The web application is then able to provide or revoke its resources according to the current demand, without compromising its integrity. Scaling up the system’s software and hardware is what allows the application to handle an increased workload.

Nowadays, there are a wide variety of applications that provide similar experiences to their users. If a web application doesn’t load fast enough, isn’t available at all times, and crashes whenever traffic increases, users won’t have any trouble moving on to the competition.

Companies that don’t invest in scalability and a scalable app architecture from the beginning of their projects will ultimately face a lot of issues:

  • The performance of the web application reduces with the increase in active visitors.
  • Page load times increase as e-commerce businesses update their inventory with traditional web architecture.
  • Adding new code with each new product or service becomes time-consuming and costly. It’s also complicated and potentially dangerous for the web architecture and application’s integrity to keep adding new code.

Prioritizing scalability bypasses all of these issues. It also leads to lower maintenance costs, improved user experience, and higher app agility and flexibility. Other benefits of investing in scalability in a web architecture include:

  • Fewer errors
  • Less time to implement changes
  • Extended life cycle of products and services offered
  • Brand loyalty

Another interesting feature of scalable web architecture is that it works both ways. If a company experiences less demand during the off season, it then has the ability to downscale its network as easily as it scaled up. That is very helpful when it comes to reducing IT costs.

Creating a scalable web application involves many different features. However, the standard components of a web application’s architecture are fundamentally the same. Here’s a closer look at each:

  • Frontend – The frontend of an app is the part that interacts directly with the user. Scaling the frontend of a web application prevents lagging whenever a user is performing many actions at once. A considerable amount of issues perceived in the frontend are actually caused by the backend.
  • Backend – The backend of a web application reflects every step it took to create the frontend. It influences the major part of the performance of the application.
  • Database – The database is what collects and stores any data related to the application. Because it can hold great volumes of data, databases require scaling as well. To do this, companies often resort to distributed computing processes and indexes.

A few other factors that influence scalability in web applications include clean coding, third-party services, hardware, and the framework used.

Scalable Web App Principles

Developing scalable web applications involves a wide variety of processes and choices that vary depending on the vision and needs of the company. However, scalable architecture development follows a few basic principles:

  • Performance
    Maintaining a high level of performance during surges of new visitors is key to providing a good user experience and promoting brand loyalty. The system must always have the ability to meet the expected design requirements.
  • Continuous availability
    Application availability is directly related to the continuous accessibility and provision of resources. Ideally, a web application should always be available. For every moment an app is down, the company behind it suffers from a loss in profit and a bad reputation.
  • Reliability
    Reliability factors in the user’s perspective and expectations. An application should have the capability to return current data and record and store new data without defaulting to old entries or inaccurate data. This principle builds good customer experiences in the long run.
  • Fast data retrieval
    To retrieve data, the main app depends on the fast functioning of database services. A good-scaled app is able to guarantee fast data retrieval, avoiding information bottlenecks that increase page loading times.
  • Malfunction traceability
    To continuously maintain and update an application, it’s important to keep constant track of any issues that might occur. Tracing malfunctions makes it easier to fix them, especially if they’ve previously occurred.

A few other extremely important principles behind the development of scalable web applications include manageability, adaptability, and security.

Designing Scalable Web Applications

Designing scalable web applications requires a lot of decision-making that helps the company achieve its needs. Regardless of whether the company creates an application from scratch or scales a preexisting one, there are a few steps that they should follow to optimize the process.

1. Understand stakeholder expectations, and collect requirements. The first step is to manage the expectations of stakeholders and give them enough information and reasons to justify their investment. For instance, it’s likely that stakeholders won’t get behind investing in app scalability if the reason for it is the fact that everyone else is doing it.

2. Identify potential scalability issues. Companies need to identify any specific issues related to the scalability of their application. By gathering performance metrics, they’ll be able to pinpoint the areas that they need to improve. A few examples of data that companies should collect include:

  • Apdex scores
  • Error rates
  • Request rates
  • Other scalability metrics like memory utilization, CPU usage, disk and network I/O

3. Establish a platform as a service (PaaS) solution. A PaaS solution is an infrastructure setup that helps improve an application’s performance and scalability quickly. In PaaS, a third-party cloud computing platform offers the necessary software and hardware resources.

This means that whenever a company needs to update its application requirements, it simply needs to contact its PaaS vendor and have them take care of everything. It makes it a lot easier to scale without having to invest in infrastructural resources.

4. Deploy the scalable web application. Once everything else is set, it’s time to deploy the scalable web application. Upon deployment, companies should closely monitor real-time performance and adjust their baselines depending on the application’s needs. Developers are also able to take some time to experiment with different deployment types, infrastructure configurations, and customer-end designs.

There are a few other factors that developers should keep in mind when designing scalable web applications. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.

  • Choosing a multi-tier architecture – A multi-tier software model contains three components that consist of the client, the application, and the database server. Each of these tiers performs specific essential functions only, which greatly improves performance and scalability.
  • Taking work away from the core – Distributing as much work as possible throughout the application, away from the core, will avoid unnecessary bottlenecks that might occur when the number of active clients exceeds the available resources. This includes tools such as a load balancer, multiple servers, and a scalable website.
  • Preferring horizontal scaling over vertical scaling – Horizontal scaling involves adding more resources instead of investing in more powerful ones, which is what vertical scaling entails. Adding resources is a faster and cheaper way to increase capacity.
  •  Making use of cloud storage – Using cloud storage bypasses some of the burdens associated with relying on physical servers. Companies don’t need to worry about security, hardware maintenance, and infrastructure.

Horizontal, Vertical, and Diagonal Scaling

Companies have the choice of scaling their applications in three different ways. Horizontal, vertical, and diagonal scaling all have their advantages as well as their downsides.

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    Horizontal scaling
    Horizontal scaling, also known as “scaling out,” involves adding more nodes, servers, processes, or machines to the existing infrastructure in order to increase overall performance. Basically, the system breaks down into smaller components and separates across individual machines, increasing the number of resources executing the same function at the same time.

This is a fast and cost-effective way of increasing the performance of a web app. It only requires acquiring additional resources and programming them to execute a certain function.

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    Vertical scaling
    Vertical scaling, or “scaling up,” refers to increasing the power of the current machines working behind a web application. This increase in power ultimately leads to an improvement in overall performance. Better resources include faster CPUs, more and faster memory, faster and larger hard disks, and other features.

Continuously upgrading to more powerful resources requires a huge financial investment. Plus, high-end powerful components might be harder to find, which means that it will take more time to update the system. 

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    Diagonal scaling
    Diagonal scaling is a combination of horizontal and vertical scaling. It combines upgrading to more powerful components as well as adding new ones to the system. In theory, this is the most effective scaling mechanism when it comes to cost and performance optimization.

However, deciding between these three types of scaling will ultimately depend on the application in question, the expectations and requirements, and many other variables.

Popular Scalable Web App Frameworks

As previously mentioned, developers have the choice between many frameworks to design their scalable web applications. Some of the most popular scalable web app frameworks include Node.js, Django, and Ruby on Rails.

These frameworks are typically thought of as some of the best for scalable programming as they easily handle multiple requests without disruptions, support clean and pragmatic app design, and allow developers to build web applications extremely fast.

Many of the most popular apps rely on these types of frameworks for their scalability. Other kinds of frameworks available include ASP.NET, AngularJS, React, Yii, and Laravel.

Popular Highly Scalable Apps

Some of the most popular applications to date initially focused on scalable web architecture. Because of this, they were able to adapt to the increasing number of users, constantly meeting their needs and requirements.

This is exactly why these apps based on a scalable web application continue as favorites in comparison with their competitors over time. Here’s a short list of some of the most popular highly scalable apps:

  • Slack
  • Bitly
  • Dropbox
  • Evernote
  • Mint

Working With BairesDev to Build Scalable Architecture Business Apps

Instead of building their own development teams, many companies prefer working with an outsourcing provider to build scalable architecture business apps. There are many benefits to outsourcing when it comes to creating a scalable web app.

It’s much more cost-effective to work with outsourcing providers than it is to hire in-house developers. Companies don’t have to waste their precious time with extensive recruitment and onboarding processes to find the right employees, nor do they have to invest in training for their current talent in creating enterprise or service-oriented architecture.

Outsourcing providers will simply take the requirements of each company and supply them with top experts in the field who’d be a great match for the job at hand. Recruiters have access to a rich pool of talent with broad skill sets.

While working with outsourcing providers, businesses are able to maintain focus on core operations while still experiencing quick development in their projects. Other main benefits of outsourcing scalable app development projects include security, flexibility, risk reduction, and all-sided business support.

To work with an outsourcing provider to build scalable architecture business apps, companies should follow a few simple steps:

  1. Determine the project requirements. In this step, companies need to determine delivery timelines, resources, limitations, goals, and budgets. They should also have an idea of the specific skills and qualifications they’re looking for in talent.
  2. Choose a location and collaboration model. Once the requirements are set, companies should start reviewing preferable locations and collaboration models. It’s important to study the available talent pools in different countries, comparing their average expected income, understanding local business and legal infrastructure, and more.
  3. Select the right vendor. This is where companies choose the outsourcing provider they’ll be working with. When making a decision, companies should take into consideration factors like company history, track record, testimonials, domain expertise, portfolio, and protection practices.
  4. Create a contract. The final step involves negotiation and contract signing. Here, negotiation teams or consultants put together a description of all details involving the project and both parties come to an agreement on whatever terms work best in their favor.

Some companies still find it daunting to trust their scalable web architecture projects in the hands of outsourcing providers and web architects. However, considering the large number of benefits that come with doing so, it might be worth giving it a try with a small project to start with.

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Before beginning the process of developing new web applications, companies should make sure to invest in their scalability with a scalable web architecture. As the number of new users increases, applications must maintain their performance levels while remaining responsive to every concurrent requirement.

In order to build scalable web applications, developers should take a few things into consideration like establishing a PaaS solution, choosing the right type of scaling, and making use of cloud storage and distributed systems.

Many popular applications that people use in their everyday lives rely on scalable web architecture in order to accommodate the influx of new users. Over time, these apps were able to continuously adjust to meet the needs of their new users without losing performance. 

It’s also a good idea to outsource scalable web application development. By doing so, companies are able to save time and money while still having access to top experts in the field. Once the company determines its requirements, studies the market, and finds the right vendor, it can create a beneficial contract that will allow them to take advantage of this working model.

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