What is Software Scalability, and Why is it Important for Business?

Scaleups face a different set of challenges as they grow than businesses that are just starting out (or ones that decide to keep it small). One of them is making sure the software they’re selling to their customers (or using internally to run their business) grows with them. Here’s a bunch of tips on what to do to make scaling up easier from the software perspective.

Software Scalability: How to Keep Up With Business Growth?

All tech companies must plan for growth in all aspects of the software development process. When designing and developing software infrastructure your business has to choose specialized software algorithms, networks and software protocols. If you decide to implement any future project you need a scalable model that withstands database extension or increased user activity. Scalability is defined from the software perspective.

Best practices to improve software scalability

Scaling applications requires a certain formula but we have compiled a few best practices for current and future project use. Moreover, it could be retroactive for modernizing legacy applications.

What is scalability in software?

Software developers can use scalability to adapt systems to precedent and unprecedented workloads. In particular, scalability in a database can determine if a system can handle introducing new users into its system as well as handling integrating new users. Generally, Scalability is defined by performance, maintenance, availability and expenses. Essentially, companies have defined their parameters for scalability on targets that have specific goals. We will focus on evaluating performance because it’s a broad parameter which affects productivity and subsequent conversion.

Why is software scalability important in software design?

Scalable software plays a key role as a foundation for business software. Prioritising will result in lower maintenance and operational costs. Software designing is a balancing act, It involves developing and delivering the best products at clients’ time and budget limits.

Getting ready to scale up  

Being a small business or a startup is great – and not everyone wants to ever leave that stage. But there are times growth is inevitable. Like for example:

  • When you’re attracting new market segments and need to add new features or products to your portfolio.
  • When you’re entering new international markets and need to adapt your product to the needs of new target groups.
  • When you’re simply planning on expanding your existing product with new features or integrating it with other software.

All this will require software considerations and careful planning. 

First of all, let’s hope your existing product was created with scaling in mind.

(If not, don’t worry – at least too much – we can find a solution, though it might take longer and possibly cost more). Updating your legacy system takes time and skill, but is not impossible (usually). We talked about this here. <link>

And if it was, factor the following things into your decision-making process.

Consider your business model

Get to know your target market very well and the solutions they might like – starting with basic ones like the prevalence of an operating system and ending with local payments people will want to use e.g. for their subscriptions or in-app payments. 

The latter is especially important with the rapidly changing digital payments ecosystem and is crucial if you want your software to be profitable. Even the best software product in terms of features won’t earn you money if people can’t pay for it using the payment methods they’re used to in their country.

Implementing and testing these might turn out to take more time than you initially thought, so have all of it figured out.

Make sure you’ve nailed the basics and have a solid base to build on. Also, take a close look at your current software’s performance. Does it need improvement? Or is it ready to be expanded or integrated with others? 

Pay attention to user experience

Never ever scale at the expense of your users – it just doesn’t make sense. Make sure their experience with your product remains great (and it also includes things like letting them pay the way they want we mentioned in the previous section.)

Scaling your product shouldn’t mean it becoming clunky, unintuitive, or a pain to use. Which might be the case if you’re building new features on top of old code, and they don’t work great with each other. Or, in other words, you’re running up technological debt. It’s the opposite of scaling, if we’re honest.

Software scalability analysis

Software scalability testing is the process of evaluating scalability of software. During this process it is determined what happens to the system if a change is made to the structure which increases the workload. Like performance, software scalability can easily be quantified. Create a set of performance indicators to be monitored. The following characteristics should be considered when assessing Scale Capability Tests in the context of Scalability: ResponseTime refers to the amount of time between the response to the request from the user. The average responders can tolerate 5 seconds of response.

Always think ahead

Now that you’re growing, you will want to grow more. This is important to keep in mind for things like software integrations, etc. Your product needs to be open to connect with other systems (and future technologies).

Or, in the tech jargon, it needs to be future-proof (which it should be right from the start). Having a clear product road map helps. But leaving some room for flexibility is also a good idea. After all, tech changes by the minute, and your job is to keep your finger on the pulse. 

To do that, work with people who have experience scaling products across industries (like the people at DeSmart. ;)) It’s helpful to draw on the experience of scaling competitive or similar solutions, purely because you get access to ideas someone has already tested. But it’s equally useful to look for solutions from other industries and find opportunities to adapt them to your product. This is exactly where innovation happens.

(By the way, we can do both.)

Best practices to improve software scalability

Scaling applications requires a certain formula but we have compiled a few best practices for current and future project use. Moreover, it could be retroactive for modernizing legacy applications.

Use microservices

Often businesses employ monolithic applications that provide services including logic, user interface ands layer. Nevertheless the current architecture ,restricts its scaleability to just one direction, upwards. However, using a microservices architecture that 63% use in sMB’s and startups you are able to host this service independently. The scaling technique provides flexibility while also saving maintenance costs.

Use cloud storage

Despite growing demand, IT infrastructure is still lacking and many enterprises do not have an internal IT infrastructure in place for IT infrastructure. Moreover, cloud-based storage provides much greater flexibility compared to local storage. Moving from local hosted to cloud hosted servers is easy to scale.

Adopt caching techniques

A cache holds pre-compiled results which can be used in an application without requiring any processing. This means caches allow the application retrieval of database data thereby reducing response times for the whole response.

Outline scalability metrics

Before you analyze the scaleability potential of your applications, list the essential values that should be measured. Scalability should be top a feature for any software application.

Types of Scalability

Software Scalability can vary by affected components of the system. These are the most commonly used software scalable models.

Horizontal scaling

Horizontal scaling (scaling-out) is the removal of a node in a system. Nodes can be new computers, servers. In essence, adding servers to existing applications means reducing your size of business. Social network systems use horizontal scaling as a means of increasing the capacity to grow workloads. Vertically scaling enables the user to keep existing resources online while adding new nodes. The addition of multiple nodes, however, raises the initial expense since the system is much harder for maintaining.

Vertical scaling

Vertical scale means reducing resources to a single node rather than a whole network. In scalable applications, capacity can improve and performance is improved significantly. Not to mention that vertical scaling gives your system massive computing power.

Guidelines for building highly scaleable systems

Location matters

Scalable software is implemented close to clients (in the application layer). Reducing times that I need to navigate a large traffic near a server helps improve performance of apps. Edge computing should also be looked into. As applications require more resources, it is necessary to minimize the impacts of low signals and network latency.

Use a scalable database

The NoSQL Database has better scalability than the SQL database. SQL scales read operations very accurately, and in terms of writing operations they conflict with limitations imposed by the ACID rules. Scaling NoSQL requires less stringency to comply with these principles, so implementing an ACID database is not a concern for many users.

Asynchronous processing

There are process steps that are separate from the previous step and do not need waiting before being processed. In some cases, users may receive an “sent!” message while an email is still being processed. Asynchronous processors eliminate some bottleneck issues affecting software performance.

Use load balancing software

Load balancer software plays crucial role in distributed infrastructures (such as vertically scale-up application systems). It uses algorithms for spreading workload over multiple servers to keep fewer servers inaccessible from overcrowding. There should be no problems with performance.

Limit concurrent access to limited resources

Do not double-take the effort. In case of multiple requests from the same resource requiring a calculation in the same way, the given number will always be fulfilled. Adding a speed reduces pressure on the system.

Consider PaaS solutions

PaaS provides an underlying solution for reducing costs and simplifying scalability, as it allows for scaleability and security management. Scaling is simple with subscription upgrades.

Lead with API

User connections can be made with different client types, so using APIs that do not assume a particular type of customer may not always work for them.

Cache where possible

Keeping your files secure will help you avoid the need for the same tasks.

What is an example of a scalable system?

For example, package delivery systems are flexible because they can provide more items with the addition of additional delivery vehicles. Moreover, when package sorters had to first go through multiple storages, it would not be as flexible because one store could only handle a limited quantity.

What does scaling up mean in business?

Simple. Scale Up represents essentially an important stage of company development. It’s an enterprise that has accomplished so much with some amazing successes that are ready to take on a new height.

Let’s talk about how you can scale up

 At DeSmart we’ve worked with enough startups and scaleups to have ideas and solutions for any type of business – but mostly the ones we specialize in, like e.g. marketplaces. What’s even more important is that we’re not only ready to talk about the tech, but also guide you through applying the tech to serve your business objectives.

So, what are you scaling next? Let us know.

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