How to Scale Web Application: Tips and Techniques
In this blog, you will know everything you need to know about scaling a web application.
Additionally, learn about some of the most common problems with web application scaling to find apt solutions.
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Coming up with an innovative and in-demand product is great. But how would you know that it will attract customers as anticipated? The simplest way is to scale the web application and make the product timely available and performance-wise top-notch.
As the customer base of an application grows, the requirement to ensure timely response also increases. Thus, maintaining efficiency and optimization is of utmost importance for a web application. On the contrary, if a web application is slow and its performance is not up to the mark, it is bound to lose its audience.
This is why we can not stress enough upon the significance of web application scalability. This article is written and designed to educate the readers about the best practices to scale a website.
What is a Scalable Application?
The scalability of an application depends on the number of requests an application can handle per minute. Therefore an application is considered scalable if it is able to handle a certain number of requests per minute (RPM). The actual motto behind the development of scalable applications is to make them able to handle growth.
The growth of a web application, somewhat, depends on the number of visitors visiting it. The scalability of a web application is something that actually depends on both the hardware and software sides of the system. It is a long-term process, which requires tweaks over time to maintain scalability.
You can add more CPUs to enhance the memory limits, or purchase additional databases for different management purposes. But this will increase the throughput and not ameliorate the application performance.
Inducing scalability in a web application is not easy, as it requires a thorough knowledge of the application and its requirements. Hence why it is necessary to know the changing trends and fluctuations in the market to timely figure out the necessity of scaling.
How to Measure the Scalability of an Application
There are basically three different dimensions to measure the scalability of an application.
These dimensions are scalability of size, geography, and administration. These dimensions ensure that as the size of resources grows, as the distance between resources increases, and as the administrative overhang burgeons, the application does not let its efficiency get affected.
It is important to discuss now the factors that can affect these dimensions in any way, and belittle the performance of the application.
Some Problems With the Application Scaling and Their Solution
Some problems that arise when inculcating scaling efficiency are as follows.
Overburdening the Web Server
Without a shadow of a doubt, when the demand for an application grows, it attracts more visitors. A website is always hosted on some server and each server has some limitations, when a certain limit of visitors is breached, the server runs out of CPU or RAM.
This leads to an unresponsive server or undermines the performance of the website. No matter how powerful a server is, it always has some limitations.
The plain solution is to continue upgrading the server specifications to make sure the performance of the web application is not compromised. There are three ways to upgrade the server specifications:
- Vertical Scaling
- Horizontal Hybrid Scaling
- A combination of both 1 & 2.
Vertical scaling refers to the addition of further server resources or changing the existing server with a more powerful one. However, any of these approaches will not last forever as these resources will also exhaust eventually.
Horizontal hybrid scaling refers to a scale-up application in such a way that more servers are added to serve the same purpose. With the increase in traffic, when one server runs out of resources, the other servers are utilized.
However, a better approach can be to use both vertical and horizontal scaling in combination to imbue scaling efficiency.
Uneven Distribution of Traffic
The purpose of having multiple servers is served only if the traffic is evenly distributed. You need to make sure that no server gets exhausted because of too much traffic.
This can be done by using a load balancer. It works like a router and routes the traffic from clients to servers aptly. This routing process can be conducted using different approaches.
Among these approaches, the round-robin method is the most popular one which works in a cyclic manner. However, it is important to note that having one load balancer is again risky because if it fails, the whole network will be compromised.
Inefficient Database Management
Another question rises in this respect: how to increase DB performance and make it more scalable?
Choosing the best database engine is the most important factor to deploy a fully scalable application. However, choosing appropriate management methods is also important.
There are three ways of increasing DB performance which are replication, partition or sharding, and partition with replication.
Replication is about making multiple copies of the database. Any query which will be performed on the master database will also apply to the subordinate databases.
Sharding refers to splitting up the database into different segments or buckets. This will improve the efficiency of the queries as all the data will not be located at one location. This will ultimately enhance the performance of the database by fastening the search process.
A combination of both approaches will be helpful in making the database not only available but also efficient which is great to scale a web application.
Poorly Written Code and Lack of Updates
Another problem in this respect is poor code structure, write-up, and lack of updates. It is important to follow best practices while writing code to ensure optimization.
For example, it is necessary to ensure frontend and backend applications are separated and design patterns are decided wisely. Moreover, a regular inspection of the application architecture is also important.
Similarly, it is necessary to make sure that the system is up-to-date. Because it can cause compatibility issues in the future if not taken care of.
Some Popular Web Application Frameworks
As the technology has progressed, high-level languages have tried to incorporate scalability in themselves. Following are the frameworks which are preferred the most when designing scalable applications.
It provides a single-threaded programming environment that encapsulates memory efficiency. Not only this, but it also provides a number of packages that further helps in optimizing the code to scale a web application.
Moreover, the feature of load balancing is present in Node.js. It enables one to have multiple jobs at a time and the node can handle them all without any disruption.
Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails, popularly known as ROR, is yet another framework that is highly applicable for scalability. There are many popular applications like Shopify, Airbnb, Zendesk, and GitHub that uses RoR.
Applications developed using RoR are usually 30% faster than others without compromising the quality. However, Node.js is still more powerful than Ruby on Rails. Because it can not handle as many asynchronous queries simultaneously as Node.js.
However, while working with RoR one can use “update_all” for bulk updates, use UUIDs instead of IDs, make database level functions, and avoid using ‘length’ to count records to bring efficiency and scale web application.
Django is a high-level and very fast framework of Python. It supports quick and practical designs for the applications. The framework is very secure and provides scalability at the top level.
Henceforth, it is important to note that the choice of web development technology stack also affects the scalability of the applications.
Summing up, it can be said without any iota of doubt that scaling a web application is as necessary as other components of the whole development process. In fact, scaling is more important because it ensures that the application does not fail and keeps its success.
To ensure the scalability of the application, continuous scalable performance monitoring is necessary. As soon as the resources are utilized, it is important to upgrade the resources to meet the requirements.
In the current perspective, choosing the right framework and ensuring clean coding practices are very crucial. These are completely cost-free features and can be utilized with just a little more thorough research and planning.
If you are planning to develop a scalable web application or software, you can contact us for professional consultation and solutions. We have an experienced team of developers. Upon discussion, we will suggest the most applicable web development framework as per your project specifications to ensure both quality and scalability.