A scalable application is the need of the hour for every business out there.
Looking back at the Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram outage that happened on October 4, 2021 brings back memories of surprise and anxiety over again. It definitely was a nightmare for businesses banking on these communication apps.
Though it happened for just a few hours, it would have cost their brands a heavy sum. These apps bounced back sooner since they had extremely scalable applications that ensured faster recovery. On those lines, how scalable is your app (real-time communication app)? How quick can the app bounce back post a failure?
This relevant example underlines the need for creating a scalable application.
Understanding app scalability:
Scalability is a key metric that evaluates the strength of an application to withstand growth. Given the pandemic situation and digital spree, it is obvious that applications would experience an inrush of visitors, spike in user requests, and even hit peak load volume anytime.
On top of that, accommodating expansion of product range, UI, code enhancements and recovery are few of the real-time challenges. Achieving all of these without compromising cost, time, effort and most importantly the performance is the big deal here.
This is where scalability comes into play.
A scalable system effortlessly handles increasing demand and remains unaffected by it.
In simpler terms, scalability is directly proportional to performance of the application.
Better performance yields better results and for this very reason scalability is extremely crucial for apps today.
Remarkable facets of a scalable real-time communication app:
It is the era of communication and real-time communication apps are ruling over the internet. Just like every other application, these apps too should be highly scalable to surpass the increasing demand and expectations. A scalable communication app should tick all the below boxes for delivering an uncanny app experience.
- Improve page speed and reduce load time, bugs
- Ensures ease of management and implementation of new changes
- Guarantees high performance without affecting budget and time factors
- Offer fool-proof recovery options
- Rolls out smooth app upgrades
- Aids extension of the product life cycle
- Is available all the time
In order to build a scalable real-time communication app, there are certain prerequisites to be considered along the way.
1. Invest in a scalable architecture:
Scalability is an intricate aspect of app development that should be considered right from start to finish. Primarily, how the app is scaled depends solely on the app development team.
Vertical scaling (scaling up) upgrades the existing server components for faster processing while horizontal scaling (scaling out) calls for addition of new servers to meet the demands.
Besides, choose a suitable hardware and framework that harnesses scalability and a load balancing software for fair load distribution.
Highly scalable apps are generally driven by microservices architecture as they promote scalability with their modular design and technology agnostic features. Chat apps can also consider cloud storage options as it offers unlimited storage at a reasonable pricing.
2. Deliver a flexible user experience:
Crafting a unique user experience is the key to getting conversations started, especially in a communication platform. A simple and easy user interface goes a long way in creating and nurturing meaningful conversations across the board.
The holy grail here behind a scalable app experience is to minimize user interactions and support as many users as possible by timely UI enhancements without loss of speed and quality.
3. Execute realistic load tests:
Before deployment of the app, it is vital to do several rounds of simulated load testing to assess the performance and app capabilities. A practical load test gives a fair idea on the following metrics:
- Maximum number of users in a session
- High load bearing capability
- Recovery options post app failure
Recreate a simulated environment of the intended chat app and perform rigorous tests to identify, address performance issues and plan upgrades accordingly.
4. Evaluate app performance throughout:
Post deployment phase is equally important as the ideation and the design phase. A lot of real-time challenges creep in every now and then, and if gone unnoticed could cost a fortune for the company.
Since communication is the crux of industries everywhere, even a minor glitch in call quality, file transfer, and data security could affect the brand name and reputation. Bearing this in mind, conducting periodic reviews helps gauge the app performance and calls for adequate measures to fix the issues and roll out updates.
5. Sign up for throughput-based planning:
Throughput is simply a measure of efficiency of a system over time. In terms of an application, throughput denotes the volume of requests received to the number of users visited. It is obvious that this number is dynamic and might increase anytime in the future.
Strategic planning aids to devise a real-time chat app that would scale all bottlenecks and ace the future needs in throughput.
6. Employ Unified communication strategy:
Any real-time communication app becomes incomplete without unified communication. As the name suggests, it unifies all real-time efforts(chat, audio, video conferencing, call control and more) and non real-time efforts (email, fax, voicemail) for seamless operation.
With a dedicated UC setup, real-time communication apps can be easily scaled for extensive operation and aids collaborative efforts under one wing. A definite WIN-WIN.
Scalability is not just an alternative but an integral part of apps these days. Adopting these best practices can help businesses integrate scalability and augment business productivity all along the way. If this seems to be a lot to deal with, hand this over to us and experience the magic of CONTUS MirrorFly, our real-time communication app.
With proven industry expertise, we have enabled successful transformation of several industry giants and undoubtedly have established ourselves as a household name in the communication space.
Now, let us help scale your real-time communication app and your business in no time.