Scalable Solutions

Designing and building a scalable computer systems that can serve millions of concurrent requests without significant delay or downtime is a delicate and challenging process. Despite rapid growths in the power and capacity of computers, still building an efficient and scalable systems requires significant theoretical knowledge and technical skills in parallel and distributed computer systems.

A popular approach to scalability issues is to “throw more power to it” in order to ensure that user requests are served, even at the expense of huge unused excess computational capacity. Unfortunately, this wasteful approach is in reality more of a short-term hack rather than a long-term solution because the competitive nature of tech industry mandates extreme efficiency by deriving inefficient companies out of business in one way or another.

For this reason, in DipperX we always keep an eye on the latest technologies that could help our clients boost the scalability and efficiency of their services at the same time. In what follows, we briefly explain a few of technologies that we use to help our client achieve proper scalability:

Serverless architecture

Server-less architecture is relatively new technology with great potentials which if applied to the right problem, can significantly reduce the infrastructure cost without sacrificing performance or scalability. Server-less infrastructure is a form of event-based cloud-computing where external events (e.g., user login or file upload) are tied to pieces of code that the cloud provider executes when the event is triggered to perform certain actions that must be followed by the event, such as, updating database, or writing something to a file). The real power of server-less infrastructure becomes clear when it is used in combination with other scalable and pay-for-what-you-use cloud-based services. For instance, by using AWS Lambda we can define functions that must be executed after certain events are triggered. Most often these events must be followed by an update in the database or data to be written or read from storage. While it is perfectly possible to have dedicated VMs or physical machines to database or storage, it is preferable to have these services also on cloud-base solutions so that they do not become performance or scalability barriers.

It is also important to know that server-less solution is not suitable for all problems. This is because the cost of firing a lambda is often more than sending a request to a dedicated server. Despite that, when the load of user requests are unpredictable or unevenly distributed overtime, it is often imperative to over estimate the required computational capacity in order to avoid bad user experience or a downtime. In addition to the cost of unused computational capability, handing servers incurs administrative and maintenance costs. Thus, when weighing all the costs, sometimes it is more convenient and more economical to build server-less solutions.

Our experts in DipperX can help you analyze the cost of your current infrastructure to see if it is more economical to move to server-less infrastructure or continue to use your current infrastructure. Also, if you decide to move to server-less infrastructure, we in DipperX can help you to do it as smoothly as possible.

Micro-service Architecture

Monolithic architecture in which all services are developed into a single large program and often hosted on one or limited number of computers has long been the dominant architecture for software development. Despite all complications and hardships that it brings to the software development and maintenance process, companies did not have better alternatives in the past primarily because the virtualization technologies were not mature enough and network speed was prohibitively slow. Monolithic systems are also very difficult to scale because usually one piece becomes the bottleneck while other pieces are still not even fully utilized

As the virtualization technology grows to become more mature and networks become ever faster, it is becoming feasible to break existing monolithic systems into smaller individual pieces that can be hosted in VMs or containers that communicate through network with each other to facilitate the development and deployment as well as maintenance and scalability. The advantages of micro-services are numerous, including higher scalability, ease of development and maintenance among other things.

A monolithic system can be broken into smaller pieces and each piece is compartmentised into a virtual machine or a container that runs on a separate virtual machine or server and communicates with other pieces over the network. The advantage of this method in the software development is that each piece could be designed and developed independent of other pieces and in the programming language that is most suitable for the matter at hand. As long as the API through which these pieces communicate with each other remains the same, it does not matter what technology is used behind. Even more importantly, when a service becomes the bottleneck, the container of the service can be replicated and the load could be balanced through a load balancer to increase the scalability.

A key factor in the migration from the monolithic architecture to the micro-service architecture or building a micro-service from scratch is that much though, knowledge, skills and experience is needed in the design and development of a micro-service architecture.

We in DipperX can help you design and develop an efficient and scalable micro-service architecture.