The advancement in the development and usage of web applications has been phenomenal but has been plagued with various challenges. These challenges may be due to the ever increasing number of users, large amount of services and/or several transactions that tend to overload the Internet manifold. These challenges have led to the need for designing web architecture that is optimized for scalability.
Scalable web applications not only handle increased traffic, but also handle the unexpected load at times in terms of data and/or usage that may be spiked because of some events like rally, festival, show, announcement, news etc. that are related to that web application. Hence, it becomes vital for any organization that is targeting millions of users to design and plan for scalability in their development of web applications.
Factors Governing Scalable Web Architecture
Let us identify the design factors that contribute to scalable web architecture. Scalable web architecture often goes hand in hand with increase in the number of resources and requires for increase in the server capacity as well.
However, first and foremost the software and the underlying architecture should be planned and built keeping in mind best guidelines and practices for scalability. We cannot exhaust the increase in server capacity by running badly designed code. Scalable web architecture on the other hand, does not exhaust hardware but uses it efficiently to provide maximum bandwidth and request serving. The following factors govern the design aspects related to the scalable web architecture.
- Identify, prioritize and optimize the system level processes (processes contain functions)
- Resource manageability like memory, ram, processor speed, network bandwidth
- Accommodation of functions (within processes)
- Storage schema for query handling – This governs the backend response time
- Security aspects
- Caching and CDN for performance
- Modularity in code allowing for re-use
Planning Future Growth with Scalable Web Architecture
The following figure depicts the role of an effective design that influences the scalability aspect .
So, the planning for proper growth depends largely on the Design choices that you make while visualizing scalability. An effective design for scalability must identify and utilize the processors into two different sections, viz. synchronous and asynchronous. In case, the application is required to perform the functions one after the other, a synchronous approach is required. But, this approach slows down the scalability. Asynchronous approach overcomes this limitation by using queues for executing several functions to be completed by another process. For example, during the checkout process, the e-commerce sites perform credit card validation function. The resources should be used in an optimized manner so that the applications do not have to compromise on the resources like memory usage, processor optimization, bandwidth checks and/or database connectivity.
The design should be able to accommodate two or more functions irrespective of the order on which the functions perform. This enhances the commutability across the scalable web applications. Yet another factor that governs an effective planning is interchangeability. It permits the resources to be used in an optimized manner. For example, you will not be able to pool the connection for other users if the database connection is unique to a specific user. But, you can overcome this challenge by using the role-based security option reliably for interchanging and optimizing the database connection.
Finally, you need to plan and partition the resources and activities as it facilitates the increased load associated with the costly resources. For example, in order to provide a secured connection, a heavy amount is required for establishing the SSL. In such cases, you can use the SSL exclusively for the pages that need an enhanced security. In this way, the web servers can optimize the SSL session(s).
You can design effective and efficient scalable web architecture systems that are not only faster in storing the data but also efficient in accessing/retrieving large amount of data. The design plays a vital role and supersedes hardware, product and code tuning aspects. The systems are designed with an objective of achieving high performance, accuracy and efficiency irrespective of the amount of traffic be it data or users. The systems are easy to maintain and very cost effective as each process can scale independently.