How to design scalable architecture? Rather than focusing on specific brands or tools, keep a set of design principles in mind.
As scalability grows in importance, some common themes are beginning to emerge. Companies are realizing their legacy architecture is too rigid to handle a sudden increase in workload, and adjusting for growth is more expensive than they’d planned.
Read on to find out where they’re going wrong and how to learn from their mistakes.
Simply put, scalability is the ability of a system to handle sudden changes in workload without negatively impacting performance. It’s usually broken down into three areas.
Rather than focusing on specific brands or tools, keep a set of design principles in mind.
Vertical scaling is scaling by adding more powerful resources (ie, more RAM). It’s secure and fast under light loads, but it does not scale well at all. More powerful equipment is increasingly more expensive, and there’s only so high it can scale. Plus, vertical scaling tends to lock companies into technology without an easy path to modernization. It’s unavoidable sometimes- especially when dealing with many atomic transactions or high-grade security concerns- but whenever possible don’t scale up.
Horizontal scaling involves adding more nodes to a distributed network (ie, adding another server) rather than more powerful nodes. It’s the fastest, most cost-effective way to scale since increasing its capacity is as simple as increasing the size of the network.
Physical servers are only really valuable for multinational companies with high security requirements and a lot of usable capital. For the vast majority of companies, they’re a waste of time and money. Servers are expensive to build, maintain, and secure. New projects have to be put on hold while waiting for the storage to be finished. Plus, there’s always the risk of hardware becoming outdated.
Cloud storage puts data in logical pools spread out over a number of servers. Vendors then sell access to that storage through subscriptions. This model takes the burden of security and hardware maintenance off companies and allows them to purchase only what is needed at launch while remaining prepared for rapid scaling. Because the cost is spread out like a utility instead of an upfront investment, the project can reach ROI faster and begin to pay for itself much sooner.
Bottlenecks form when multiple processes require the same resources to proceed. Plan the application architecture to maximize the availability of resources that will be in high demand. What does that look like?
Microservice architecture breaks large software into smaller pieces that can operate independently of each other. When one node is in high demand others can work without adding to its load. Fault isolation is a major advantage of using microservices. If something does go wrong, the majority of the system can usually remain up while that part is repaired.
Choosing components that lend themselves to a scalable architecture saves both time and money. The slightly higher cost of emphasizing scalability during development is offset by greater agility and lower operational costs.
Concepta specializes in the kind of scalable architecture businesses need to meet the demands of digital transformation. Set up a complimentary appointment to discuss how to position your next application for success!