Planning for the flood: instrumentation and foresight
For most apps and websites, a sign of success is when people flood in to use the application. Ironically, however, most companies don’t plan for success. If the app is up and running with the initial users, it’s generally considered good enough.
If your app developer is telling you that they’ll worry about scaling up later, that’s probably because they haven’t invested in the proper tooling to predict and prevent problems of scaling. At Clevertech, we aren’t prophets, but we have the instrumentation to reveal the chokepoints of an application - the performance of the critical resources that make up the application so that we can implement robust coding that future-proofs our clients’ applications.
Proper planning of the application allows the programmers to conserve the amount of dependence on the database, knowing that each call to the database can cause a slowdown in performance. A variety of methodologies such as caching and pre-processing all reduce database calls that can contribute to the rapid performance of an application. When many people are using the application simultaneously, reduction in the database calls affects users across the board.
When a large number of users simultaneously log into an application, the queue time can balloon, causing apps to experience slow response times. For example, in the retail application shown below, having fast response time on inventory means that the application will accurately display both the items in stock and the relevant price for that customer at that moment. During a sale or advertising campaign for a particular product, the app needs to know when an item is sold out or when a coupon is or isn’t valid for a specific item. Showing an item that is sold out causes disappointment for customers and damage to the retailer. Showing the wrong price causes losses or lost opportunities.
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