The ability of a web application to handle additional workload or traffic while retaining performance and user experience is referred to as scalability. Scalability is concerned with optimising the programme to manage growth while not sacrificing performance or functionality.
Consider an eCommerce website that receives 1,000 visitors each day. The number of users increases to 10,000 during a holiday sale. A scalable online application would react to this additional traffic without crashing, slowing down, or severely hurting the user’s purchasing experience.
It takes careful planning, development, and testing to achieve this level of scalability. You will need expert help from someone who offers bespoke web application development in Malaysia services to ensure that your web application can handle such expansion. Our expert team of web developers and consultants will walk you through the process and ensure that your web design is ready to meet demand at any level.
Let’s dig more into the two main techniques to obtaining web application scalability. Let’s take a closer look at that.
Table of Content:
- Two Main Types of Scaling Web Applications
- 7 Core Challenges When Scaling Web Applications
- 8 Effective Strategies for Scaling Web Applications
Two Main Types of Scaling Web Applications
Vertical scaling (scaling up) is the process of expanding the resources of an existing server, such as CPU, memory, or storage, in order to manage a bigger workload. The maximum capacity of a single server limits vertical scaling.
Assume you have a server with 8 GB of RAM and a quad-core processor. You could increase the server to 16 GB of RAM and an octa-core processor for vertical scaling, allowing it to handle more traffic and process requests faster.
Horizontal scaling (scaling out) entails adding additional servers to the current infrastructure and dividing the workload across various nodes. Horizontal scaling improves fault tolerance, redundancy, and the ability to manage significantly greater workloads.
Example: Assume your web app is hosted on a single server and is receiving increased demand. You would add more servers to your infrastructure to achieve horizontal scaling, forming a cluster of servers that share the burden. The traffic burden is dispersed in this manner, ensuring that the application remains responsive and reliable.
Now that you understand horizontal and vertical scaling, let’s look at the main obstacles of scaling web programmes.
7 Core Challenges When Scaling Web Applications
#1 Monolithic Structures Modularity and Scalability Restriction
Monolithic designs, in which all components are closely integrated inside a single codebase, can make scaling web programmes challenging. As the programme grows in complexity, so does the codebase, making individual components more difficult to manage, update, and scale. This inflexibility might make it difficult to design scalable web applications that can react to changing workloads and user expectations.
#2 Inefficient database queries and schema design cause bottlenecks in performance.
Slow response times and an inability to handle growing traffic might result from poorly optimised database queries and wasteful schema designs. Database performance can become a significant bottleneck as the volume of data and user requests grows, making it difficult to create scalable online applications.
#3 Uneven Workload Distribution Caused by Inadequate Load-Balancing Strategies
Inadequate load-balancing solutions might cause an unequal distribution of incoming traffic and requests across multiple servers. This can overload certain servers while leaving others idle, potentially resulting in service deterioration or failures and limiting the web application’s scalability.
#4 Difficulties with Distributed Server State Management and Synchronisation
In dispersed setups, managing user sessions and data across numerous servers can be difficult. As the number of servers and users grows, ensuring data consistency and synchronising session information in real-time without losing performance becomes a challenging issue, making it difficult to design scalable web applications.
In fact, according to a recent study published in IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems by the Semantic Scholar, growing a bottleneck server without modifying its soft resources might cause response time oscillations in web applications. This emphasises the importance of effective state management and synchronisation in distributed contexts.
#5 Scaling Web Apps Face Cache Inconsistency and Invalidation Issues
Implementing caching solutions for frequently accessed data can increase performance and reduce server load dramatically. However, managing cache consistency and invalidation can be a difficult task, especially in dispersed contexts. Incorrectly handled caches can result in stale or obsolete data being served to consumers, reducing the web application’s scalability and user experience.
#6 Managing Fluctuating Demand by Balancing Resource Allocation and Auto-scaling
It is a difficult balancing act to allocate enough resources to meet traffic spikes while avoiding over-provisioning and excessive costs. Implementing appropriate auto-scaling solutions that can respond to swings in demand in real-time is a hard and resource-intensive undertaking that puts web app scalability at risk.
#7 The Impact of High Network Latency on User Experience in Geographically Dispersed Applications
Network latency can become a serious concern as a web service grows and its user base gets more geographically spread. Slow response times caused by greater distances between users and servers can result in a poor user experience and discourage continuing usage of the application, affecting the web application’s overall scalability and success.
We’ve identified the seven obstacles above; now let’s look at the solutions you may utilise to construct scalable applications.
8 Effective Strategies for Scaling Web Applications
#1 Select the Best Architecture
By splitting a web application down into smaller, independent components, a flexible and modular architecture, such as microservices or service-oriented architecture (SOA), can improve scalability.
When developing a web application, keep microservices in mind. Decompose the programme into smaller services, each with its own set of responsibilities, and interact using well-defined APIs. Containerization solutions like as Docker and Kubernetes can assist manage and scale microservices efficiently, and there are several frameworks available for designing web apps with microservices architecture.
#2 Improve Database Performance
It is critical for scalability to improve database efficiency by correct schema design, indexing, caching, and selecting the suitable database type (SQL, NoSQL). Even with rising workloads, database optimisation can assist reduce latency and assure speedy data retrieval.
You must examine and optimise your database queries on a regular basis, using query analyzers to discover slow-performing queries. Index commonly searched columns, and consider database replication or sharding for improved load distribution. Based on your application’s data schema and access patterns, select the appropriate database type.
#3 Use Effective Load Balancing
Load balancing is the process of evenly spreading incoming traffic and requests among numerous servers in order to prevent individual server overloads, maintain optimal performance, and assure high availability.
You must select the appropriate load-balancing algorithm based on the requirements of your application (e.g., round-robin, least connections). To determine the best fit for your infrastructure, compare several load balancer options such as HAProxy, NGINX, or cloud-based solutions such as AWS ELB.
#4 State Management in Distributed Systems
To ensure data consistency and performance, managing user sessions and data across several servers in dispersed systems necessitates careful design.
Make your application stateless by shifting session data to external storage such as Redis or Memcached. To ensure data integrity between servers, use data synchronisation techniques such as eventual consistency.
#5 Use Caching Strategies
Caching is the process of storing and reusing frequently accessed data in order to lessen the stress on servers, databases, and other backend systems, resulting in faster response times and better performance.
Implement client-side, server-side, and distributed caching based on the needs of your application. Use well-known caching systems such as Redis or Memcached, and make certain that correct cache invalidation and consistency methods are in place.
#6 Make use of auto-scaling and resource management.
Auto-scaling modifies the number of resources (servers, containers, etc.) allocated to an application dynamically based on current demand, giving optimal performance while minimising costs. Implementing excellent auto-scaling and resource management solutions not only dynamically adjusts resources to provide optimal performance, but also maintains a cost-effective infrastructure by allocating resources only when needed. This is especially true when considering the cost of developing a web application, thus optimal resource utilisation is a major issue.
Configure horizontal auto-scaling with cloud-based solutions such as AWS Auto Scaling or Google Cloud Compute Engine. To efficiently manage resources and grow containerized systems, use container orchestration technologies such as Kubernetes.
#7 Improve Content Delivery and Lower Network Latency
#8 Performance Evaluation and Monitoring
Regular monitoring and analysis of scalability-related key performance indicators (KPIs) helps identify potential bottlenecks and areas for improvement and ensures that the application can manage increased workloads properly.
Create key performance indicators (KPIs) for your application, such as response times, server load, and database query performance. To collect, visualise, and analyse performance data, use monitoring tools and platforms such as New Relic or Datadog. Set up automated notifications to advise your team of potential bottlenecks or critical performance issues.
You can efficiently scale your web application by following these techniques and practical approaches, ensuring it can handle rising workloads and user demands without compromising performance or user experience.
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