Scaling Up: Picking The Right Setup

Now that your application is running at peak performance and you’ve decided that it’s time to scale, let’s talk about the right setup.

The modern age has brought us lots of new ways to take a growing site and scale it. From Amazon Web Services to cloud computing and grid computing, to Mosso and Akamai, there are lots of options we should consider. This article won’t make a recommendation as to which you should pick; it will simply discuss what each service has to offer and leave it up to you.

Monday, March 30th, 2009 @ 7:30 am | Comment (5) | Categories: Web Architecture, Best Practices, System Architecture
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Scaling Up: Reducing Drag, Increasing Lift

Now that we know we want to scale our application, we first need to make sure it’s running at peak performance. There are a number of things that we can and must do in order to ensure that the newly scaled application uses resources appropriately, runs efficiently, and, most importantly, does not require excessive resources which will amount to extra costs.

The intuitive will note that many if not most of these suggestions are performance enhancements, not scaling techniques. Why then are they in an series about scaling? Scaling is about more than just adding hardware. It’s also about making sure your system runs better. You can add lots and lots of hardware but you will someday be unable to compensate for bad queries and poor optimization. So before we start adding servers, let’s take a look under the hood.

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 @ 9:52 am | Comment (5) | Categories: Best Practices, System Architecture
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Scaling Up: Baby Steps (a.k.a. Asking The Right Questions)

Before we actually get started hacking on our code, let’s make sure we’ve got the right questions asked and answered. We’re going to need some resources, the help of others in our organization, and probably some understanding of the current system structure before we’re successful in our goal.

Some of these questions may seem mundane, and others will be extremely important. But we must ask and receive answers to all of them, so let’s get started.


Monday, February 16th, 2009 @ 6:30 am | Comments (0) | Categories: System Architecture, Business Management, Web Architecture, Best Practices
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Scaling Up: Making Your Website Stand Up To Traffic

The ability to turn a website into a large web service is a skill that’s deeply important amongst web application developers, but yet I’ve found it to be somewhat lacking. How is it that this fundamental skill is so often overlooked? Part of it has to do with the fact that many developers work on applications that have a fairly small user base: less than 5,000 users per day, for example. Other times it’s because PHP is so easy to learn that the developers who master it don’t learn the architecture that goes along with it.

In this series, we’ll ask the questions and give a basic set of directions about how to scale a web application from the ground up. We’ll examine how to go from one server to many servers, and what questions to ask and things to look out for. This is not a guide for experts in the subject to hone their skills; rather, this is a beacon for those who have never scaled a website before, and perhaps are being asked to do so, or will be asked to do so fairly soon.


Monday, February 16th, 2009 @ 6:00 am | Comments (0) | Categories: Web Architecture, Best Practices, System Architecture

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