9 Great Benefits of Flutter App Development for Businesses
Douglas da Silva | Sep 20, 2023
Growing your business, gaining more traffic, reaching significant milestones — it’s all exciting. But what if your app buckles under a surge of new users?
Slow loading times and frequent crashes drive customers away, tarnishing your brand’s image and hampering expansion. This is why building a scalable application is critical if you’re serious about growth.
In fact, scalability is on Gartner’s list of top strategic technology trends. And it’s not just for enterprises. Around 74% of SMB tech leaders prioritize scalability when evaluating new technologies.
What exactly is application scalability? In this blog, we talk about everything you need to know — what it is, why it’s important, and how to start.
Designed for growth, a scalable application can effectively handle increasing users, transactions, and data volume without performance issues.
Scalability maintains (or even improves) an app’s loading speed, response time, uptime, and reliability as loads increase. The goal is to deliver consistently excellent functionality, whether serving 20 users or 20 million.
Zoom is a great poster child for scalability. The video conferencing app’s daily users soared from 10 million in December 2019 to a staggering 200 million by March 2020 because of global lockdowns.
Despite this unexpected growth, it maintained almost disruption-free services. How? By using a global hybrid cloud network that combined its own data centers with AWS scalability solutions and Oracle cloud resources.
Zoom’s exponential revenue hike — from $623 million in 2020 to $4.10 billion in 2022 — underscores scalability’s sheer impact on growth. The company expects to earn $4.55 billion in 2023.
There are two types of scaling: vertical (scaling up) and horizontal (scaling out). They both bolster infrastructure with more computing resources but are fundamentally different. While horizontal scaling adds more machines, vertical scaling turbocharges existing machines.
The right choice depends on your app’s nature and expected server load increase, among other factors.
Scalable architecture positions your app for success. Here are some of its key benefits:
Scalable apps use resources optimally. They can cater to more users without a corresponding rise in hardware and other resource demands. Using application scalability techniques from the start lets you bypass expensive refactoring when your user base expands.
Scalable web and mobile applications also reduce the risk of downtime while streamlining maintenance — both of which bring down costs. And if you’re trying to raise funding, building scalable web and mobile applications shows investors you’re ready for growth.
Scalability lets you add new features or integrations as your business evolves. This flexibility allows you to adapt to shifting market trends and customer expectations, supporting your growth.
A scalable app is also often more profitable because it’s primed for sudden transaction spikes. For example, if you’re a retailer, you can confidently offer special promotions during peak periods (like Christmas and Cyber Monday) without worrying that your app might crash.
Proper app scaling involves multiple quality assurance tests that let you find and fix bugs before your users do. This can help you keep bad reviews at bay.
A scalable app performs smoothly at all times, supports continuous improvements, and allows personalization for a growing user base. Plus, its built-in fail-safes reduce downtime, so it’s consistently accessible. All of these improve the overall user experience.
Scaling can be a resource-intensive commitment, so be sure to thoroughly assess your requirements before diving in.
Take stock of current performance barriers and predict potential issues that may come up as you grow. Ask yourself:
Next, gauge your app’s current capacity. Find out:
Finally, let your growth projections guide your future planning. For example, will your current infrastructure be sufficient if you aim to double your user base in the next year? Remember to account not only for increased traffic but also for new services you plan to launch.
Scaling an app is no piece of cake (or Cheesecake, in our case!). Before you start building your app, pay attention to these common pitfalls so you can steer clear of them:
The good news? The right application scalability techniques can address these challenges. Let’s take a look.
So, how do you build scalability into a software program or app? Take note of these best practices:
Your app architecture should support both vertical and horizontal scaling as user demand increases.
For smaller apps, a monolithic architecture might be enough. It operates like a one-man-band, with a single codebase managing all functions. But while this consolidation suits simpler apps, it becomes harder to manage as complexity grows.
On the flip side, microservices architecture resembles a team, where each service has its own codebase and performs specific tasks independently. This decentralization allows you to modify one function without disturbing the entire app, making it suitable for more advanced, ever-evolving systems.
Which one is better? Microservices win when it comes to scalability — most of the time
Unlike monolithic codebases, the microservices approach breaks things down into standalone modules with means that you can scale only parts of the application as needed. With monolithic architecture you will need to scale the whole application
Your database is not just a place to store data. It directly affects your app’s scalability, so choose one that aligns with your growth strategy.
Relational databases like MySQL and PostgreSQL store data in structured tables, making them ideal for interrelated data. However, they struggle to scale under heavy workloads.
Meanwhile, NoSQL databases like MongoDB — which are designed for unstructured data — excel at managing large volumes. They simplify horizontal scaling due to their distributed nature.
PaaS or IaaS solutions are often ideal for many startups and SMEs. These services manage all the critical technical aspects of scaling a web application. Their Service Level Agreements also guarantee consistent uptime, enhancing reliability.
Watch out for issues that can slow your app down, including:
Keep an eye on vital metrics like CPU and memory usage, network throughput, and latency to spot signs of problems before they get worse.
Make sure there’s a backup for every part of your application so that if one part hits a snag, the system can keep running.
Cloud-based solutions often offer automated redundancy (including data replication and backup services) to make it easier to build resilient software and scalable applications. With redundancies in place, your app can power through sudden load surges and system issues.
Clean code is clear, logical, and properly documented. This is essential to scalability for several reasons:
Investing in clean coding may require more effort upfront, but it pays off by smoothing the path to scaling later on.
Scaling an app involves complex architecture, codebase, and platform changes — all of which can create security weaknesses. Here are some tips for maintaining robust protection during this process:
Comprehensive load and performance tests that simulate real-world scenarios reveal how your app performs under pressure. You can adopt a behavior-driven development which aims to approach testing from a non-technical perspective.
Load tests uncover capacity gaps, while behavior-driven development gives you another perspective on testing and quality assurance and helps improve communication within the developmamiga, eent team. These strategies help you build a high-performing and resilient app ready to grow with your business.
Application scaling experts can assess your current architecture, identify bottlenecks, and recommend tailored solutions. They can focus your scalability efforts where improvement is needed most to maximize your ROI.
Their experience also lets them anticipate challenges and preemptively implement measures to make the transition smoother while maintaining your app’s overall stability and availability.
Cheesecake Labs has experience and expertise in building scalable applications. We’ve helped many of our clients scale their apps for growth:
It’s clear that building scalable apps from the start is an excellent way to future-proof your business’s growth and expansion. We hope this guide will help set you up for success when building scalable apps by calling out what to look for, best practices, and pitfalls to avoid.
But for most SMBs, having the tech talent in-house to build out a scalable app just isn’t realistic. Instead of devoting extra time, energy, and money to hiring in-house developers, partnering with outsourced developers is an excellent option.
At Cheesecake Labs, we work on a nearshore development model and have over 10 years of experience building modern, scalable apps for businesses of all sizes.
We can work with you to create stunning, effective apps that scale at a price and pace that works for your business.
Ready to get started? Let’s chat. We can’t wait to hear about your idea!
Also known as Doug Gimli, I'm a developer that works with interactive solutions facing web projects, trying every day to deliver a full and great experience to users.
Natam Oliveira | Jun 26, 2023