Join Nizek

Let's talk

The Ultimate Guide to Having a Scalable Application

read in Growth

As your business grows, so does its audience. With more customers comes more people on your app. Here's how to make a scalable application that grows with you.

Mobile app revenue is projected to be almost $200 Billion by 2020. The implications of this are enormous. If your business isn’t taking full advantage of applications, you could be seriously missing out.

One of the easiest ways to have a part in this growth is to create a scalable application. This will allow you to have a greater user base while maintaining functionality.

Though it seems obvious that an app or software should grow along with its user base, it’s much easier said and done. Scalability requires careful planning and more resources to complete.

This raises the question of what factors you should think about before you make your application scalable. Thankfully we’ve made a guide to help you make a scalable application.

What is a Scalable Application?

Let’s first answer the obvious question, “what does scalable mean?”

Scalability is your ability to expand your project or program to handle an increased amount of growth.

For example, a scalable application is an app that is flexible enough to deal with a new influx of users while being able to be used on multiple platforms. To illustrate, if your app runs on iOS and you make it available on Android, you have made a scalable application.

Scalability can also apply to networks and software. A scalable network should grow to accommodate new computers and an increased number of programs. In contrast, scalable software grows to include new features. Software scalability often requires building scalability into its architecture.

What Features Does an App Need to Be Scalable?

Since we’ve already answered the question “what is scalability,” we’ll go over some of the features an app needs to be considered successfully scalable.

For a scalable app to be considered successful, it also must maintain high performance as it takes on more users. Your professional reputation is often based on your user’s experience, so if there are lags and or performance problems, your retention rates could fall.

To be successful and scalable, your app should also be cost-effective to build, maintain and expand. Though many people think that making a scalable application has to be expensive, making an affordable app can be done easily by using cloud software and working efficiently.

Your app should also be available during the expansion. The app needs to stay up regardless of stress and should be able to protect and store sensitive data.

Scaling Up vs. Scaling Out

When it comes to understanding scalability, there are 2 methods of thinking about it. The first is Scaling out, also known as “horizontal scaling,” and the second is scaling up, also referred to as “vertical scaling.”

Horizontal scaling is by far simpler and cheaper. It requires a process called distributed architecture. A distributed architecture stores different information on nodes, and to increase capacity, more nodes are added.

Scaling-up starts with a central system and later incorporates more resources to increase capacity. For example, a network allocating more RAM to a specific department can make it more scalability.

The question you should ask before picking one of these methods should ask whether you want to build scalability into your product’s architecture or do you want to make your project more scalable later.

Use the Cloud

When it comes to scaling out, you should use cloud storage as you build so that you only have to pay for the amount of storage you use. Doing this can significantly decrease development costs.

You can also find database options regardless of the languages that you are using. For example, there are reliable SQL and Non-SQL based servers.

If you’re going to use the cloud, the best strategy is to segment your work rather than working on just one server. By having divisions between different components of the app, you can make the process of scalability more efficient.

Using small servers is often more productive than working with larger servers. To illustrate, using 6 2GB, 2CPU servers will often perform better than one server that has 16GB and 16 CPU.

When in doubt, remember to divide your project into several small servers rather than one enormous one.


Proxies are intermediaries that organize requests to each server. They gather all identical responses to a server and send them as one single request.

Using proxies does have some downsides. They decrease stress on the server while increasing server response time.

Load Balancing Software

This software tracks the stress that traffic places on individual nodes and spreads that traffic out along the entire system. This prevents bottlenecking and ensures fast, reliable service in your scalable app.

The software also simplifies the process of adding new components like nodes. All the developer needs to do is change the rules for routing traffic and dealing with new components.

Load-balancing software also helps automate certain management tasks while improving database performance. It does this by monitoring each server and managing the data that enters and gets distributed to each server.

Test Application Scalability

After you’ve created or expanded your application, you’ll need to test its performance through a series of load tests to measure efficiency. This test should be done systematically to make sure that the app is working.

Your scalability test should measure things like response time, memory usage, screen transition time, and hits per second.

Before you conduct the test, you should ensure that you have enough memory, load distribution power, and processing power. At the end of the test, perform an analysis of the results. Your analysis should measure latency, bugs, and hits per second.

Want More Tech Solutions

Building a scalable application can either make or destroy your app. Though it requires careful planning and often a financial investment, in the long run, it can pay off.If you want help building and making your application scalable or with any other software needs, contact us and we can provide solutions to any problem.


Abdulaziz Aldhubaib

My expertise in digital transformation and agile processes helps people overcome technological barriers.

All author posts

Read more

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.