The Ultimate Guide to Building Scalable Web apps: Part 2
The Ultimate Guide to Building Scalable Web apps: Part 2
Welcome back to the two-part blog series on building scalable web apps. In the last blog, we looked at the characteristic features of a scalable web app and the important aspects to consider before building one.
In this blog, we’ll dive deeper and explore the benefits that scalable web apps offer to your business. We’ll also look at some other considerations that you have to take into account before developing large scale web applications.
Finally, we’ll explore how you can design a highly scalable architecture, and the important components associated with it. Let’s dive right in!
Top benefits of scalable web apps
Scalability matters, and here’s why:
- It enables you to meet changing market demands: Marketing efforts can result in your app’s instant success, and this means a huge influx of traffic. However, this moment is highly unpredictable in the lifecycle of any application. Scalable web apps can easily accommodate rapid growth with zero downtime, and still maintain a positive user experience.
- It’s financially rewarding: If you develop an app that can scale up to a million users right from the start, you don’t need to remake it when the user count skips from 10K to 100K, or even 900K. This enables you to save costs.
- It provides a stable workflow 24/7: A scalable application is less likely to experience crashes during seasonal events, that create an increase in data usage, app traffic, and transactions.
- It offers tremendous potential for growth, a higher ROI and positive user feedback: Strategic app development allows for rapid growth. With comprehensive scalability testing and quality assurance, you will be able to identify bugs and glitches before your users do. This may save you lots of headaches and hundreds of bad reviews.
- It maintains connection speed across the globe: Scalable apps are identified by the distribution of servers across the globe. Servers located in different countries allow sufficient handling of peak response speeds.
The bottom-line is clear: A scalable web app runs 24/7 in different workload conditions, resulting in high profits and user satisfaction levels. But, is it right for your business?
If you expect your app to go viral, or even increase in popularity gradually, then your web application should also be high-performing. A high-performing business begets a scalable web app.
On the other hand, if you’re unsure of your app’s growth, as in the case of newly-launched start-ups, then it’s probably not the right time to invest in a scalable app.
Two more considerations for building scalable web apps
The right database
Database is an immediate focus are, once you have addressed infrastructure and architecture related aspects. There’s no one-size fits all approach to choosing the right database, and here are some guidelines to help you decide:
- Analyze your web app requirements minutely. Consider what kinds of data you will store. Will it be relational data only? Do you also need to store disconnected data, i.e., data that has no transactional relations? Or, are you storing both kinds of data?
- You will need a relational database management system (RDBMS) for your relational data. MySQL and PostgreSQL are good RDBMS options with high scalability.
- You will need NoSQL databases for your disconnected data. MongoDB is a highly scalable NoSQL database.
A framework that aids scalability
Finally, it’s high time we focus on the development environment, since it has significant impact on scalability. Depending on your choice of the development language, you have quite a few options as follows:
- If you prefer Java, then you can consider the tried-and-tested “Spring” framework. There is excellent documentation, and moreover, your development team might already know this. You can check out other options in “The 10 best Java web frameworks for 2019”.
- Ruby on Rails is an excellent option. Note that Heroku, one of the PaaS options I have mentioned, has a high degree of capability with it.
- If you like Node.js, then js is a great option.
Scalable web architecture: Design principles
When designing a scalable web architecture, the first thing to decide is whether you wish to scale up or out:
- Up-scaling is called vertical scaling and it means adding more resources to existing systems; for example, increasing the capacity of an app with more memory.
- Out-scaling is called horizontal scaling and it means creating a distributed architecture; for example, increasing the capacity of an app with more nodes.
Horizontal scaling is a better option for most purposes as it is easier to implement, cheaper to do, and results in better performance.
Recipe to design scalable web apps:
- Avail cloud storage: Using cloud storage allows companies to buy only what they need when the app is created. Adding more storage is simple as updating the subscription. Cloud storage also lowers development costs since the upfront investment is relatively small; new storage is ready to use right away, and practically, no maintenance fees are required.
- Make sure to cache everything: As cache stores data that enables the future query to be served faster, it significantly improves scalability and performance.
- Use load-balancing software: Load balancing software tracks stress on nodes and services, and spreads the workload across nodes to prevent bottlenecks. It also makes it easy to add new nodes: developers just have to change the rules for handling a new node and routing traffic.
- Choose microservice architecture: Microservices are large services split into a number of loosely connected smaller services. It allows you to scale components independently of each other, and handles asymmetrical demand well. Systems using microservices can also be developed and upgraded in a relatively quick and hassle-free manner.
In a nutshell
The decision regarding how to approach scaling should be made up front. Although planning for scalability is relatively simple, navigating the executional challenges that follow is difficult and expensive.
At Hakuna Matata, we’ve developed beautiful web applications for clients across diverse industries. Consult with our team, and find out you can drive growth for your business through a cutting-edge scalable app.