6 tips for rapidly scaling applications

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage communities and the economy, many companies in ecommerce, logistics, online learning, food delivery, online business collaboration, and other sectors are experiencing massive spikes in demand for their products and services. For many of these companies, the evolving usage patterns caused by shelter-in-place and lockdown orders have created surges in business. These surges have pushed applications to their limits or beyond, potentially resulting in outages and delays that frustrate customers.

If your company is experiencing a dramatic increase in business and application load, what can you do? How can you rapidly increase the performance and scalability of your applications to ensure a great customer experience without breaking the bank? Here are six tips for rapidly scaling applications the right way.

Tip 1: Understand the full challenge

Addressing only part of the problem may not achieve the desired results. Be sure to consider all of the following.

Technical issues – Application performance under load (and as experienced by end users) is determined by the interplay between latency and concurrency. Latency is the time required for a specific operation, such as the time it takes for a website to respond to a user request. Concurrency is how many simultaneous requests a system can handle. When concurrency is not scalable, a significant increase in demand can cause an increase in latency because the system cannot immediately respond to all requests as they are received. This can lead to a poor customer experience as response times increase from fractions of a second to several seconds or worse, even potentially to an inability to respond to all requests. So while ensuring low latency for a single request may be essential, by itself it may not solve the challenge created by surging concurrency. You must find a way to scale the number of concurrent users while simultaneously maintaining the required response time. Further, applications must be able to scale seamlessly across hybrid environments that may span multiple cloud providers and on-premises servers.

Timing – A strategy that will take years to implement, such as rearchitecting an application from scratch, isn’t helpful for addressing immediate needs. The solution you adopt should enable you to begin scaling in weeks or months.

Cost – Few companies approach this challenge without budget restrictions, so a strategy that minimizes upfront investments and minimizes increased operational costs can be critical.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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