The idea of scalability is often offered with a great selling point. For instance, you may be familiar with these tags, “Make your API scalable by tying into our simple API” or “you too can make your service scalable by licensing our endpoint collating system”. These are common sales pitches, but they’re tying into a magic service to make scalability happen, as a web developer, you are likely not being scalable – there’s no silver bullet, and adopting a quick fix doesn’t address underlying architectural deficiencies. Generally, scalable can be defined into 4 big definitions:
- Extensible: At most basic level, scalable software is extensible. Instead of limiting the functionality, it allows multiple avenues to tie into the underlying services and systems to enable extensions and other services. Amazon’s API Gateway is one of the examples.
- Built into the Architecture: Scalability can’t be separated from the API itself. So, to make it simple, please build for scalability from the onset. In fact, you can use third party to increase your scalability, especially when they assist a built-to-scale approach.
- Implies Demand Balancing: As its name, “scale”, you can manage one hundred requests as with one million. However, scalability demands efficient performance, regardless of technique or methodology, both at extremely high traffic and extremely low traffic.
- Design for a Repeating Launch Day
Launching a product can be really stressful, you may have prepared for everything, but you simply cannot know the requirements your system might see. For instance when launching a service, what kind of traffic can we expect? Let’s say we’re launching a new social platform that ties into an API to handle 200k calls an hour but the rate has surpassed to several millions of calls. This means that you need to address the foundation of your API as if you are always on the verge launching. Besides, you may need to use load balancer as it can determine between your success and failure. Moreover, having failover paths and secondary functions will produce you to a huge difference towards user experience.
The last important thing is to integrate analytics into your system. By knowing trends developing in real time will help you develop in an agile way and address deficiencies as they arise organically, while predicting further failures down the road.
- Anticipate Success
No one will truly know how successful you’re actually going to be. This is because it’s not a simple consideration of traffic, either – traffic might be high even if you’re the second or third most popular choice. Therefore, a provider will plan for the most extreme case possible as he doesn’t know how much traffic they can expect. Another way to frame this would be to anticipate success.
- Non-Extensible is a Unitasker
If your application is not extensible, traffic management and scalable mindset is nothing. While extensibility is indeed its own concept, with its own considerations and implications, whether or not a service is extensible can have a direct impact on whether or not it’s scalable. In the end, there is no way that a provider can know literally every possible future use and application of their service while it’s a great practice to develop with scalablity from the onset.
- Efficiency is King
You will face so many complexities within your problem, so it is important to know how to simplify your API architecture and thus simplify the resultant solution applied to the problem. In fact, you can drastically reduce the actual resources needed by an application by increasing efficiency.