Massive traffic, fluctuation and why it's not a big deal with the Cloud

Website traffic fluctuations make many business owners nervous. Can the Cloud put their mind at ease? In this article we explore how a proper cloud architecture can solve the traffic issues your business may face.

Radovan BartánusCloud Architect | FlowUp

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Many businesses - and consequently a large number of related web applications - can feel the impact of the recent events. Some websites are failing because of high spikes of user activity, while others are idly waiting, humming in their server rooms, in need of new customers.

Variations in the activity of users are not just a result of the current global crisis. In reality, they are a common occurrence.

There is always a fluctuation

If you use a monitoring tool for capturing the number of active users on your website, you might’ve noticed differences in activity between day and night, weekends and workdays, or even across the four seasons. It’s not possible to predict all of the countless factors influencing the rise or drop in user activity.

The drawbacks of on-premise

In the case of on-premise applications, the first reaction to spikes in usage might be to buy more servers, only for them to remain unused after the temporary activity increase is over. Some companies anticipate these spikes and stock up on servers in advance. However, this approach requires high initial capital investment and may lead to high maintenance and operational costs.

If the number of users was overestimated, some servers might remain unused and their value might depreciate over time, while not generating any revenue. On the other hand, if you underestimated the activity on your site, you might encounter users complaining about being unable to access your services, because your servers can’t handle the load. Buying and setting up new servers takes a while, and the high-load period might be over by the time they’re operational, resulting in businesses losing a lot of potential customers.

It’s obvious that this solution comes with reduced agility and a lot of wasted resources. Luckily, a new era has come and we can harness the power of the Cloud.

Here comes the Cloud

Instead of carefully planning the number of servers beforehand and regularly paying the maintenance and service costs, you can move your application to the Cloud and pay only for what you use. Most of the usual maintenance work can either be managed by the cloud provider, or it can even be automated and taken care of by a single person!

Will you buy and maintain your own server farm, or offload it to a cloud provider?
Will you buy and maintain your own server farm, or offload it to a cloud provider?

What you get is what you pay 

The scalability of cloud-native applications is a chapter by itself. Not only do you have virtually unlimited instantaneous resources at hand to handle high user load, but when users are not using your app, it also has the ability to scale to zero, saving you costs for unused resources. This is where the motto: “Pay only for what you use!” really shines.

And here’s the biggest advantage of scaling using the Cloud: it can all happen automatically! In the correctly designed applications, you don’t have to oversee usage metrics and adjust the resources accordingly. All you need to do is set the usage limits and cloud services will handle the scaling. You don’t have to spend your weekends worrying about the servers slowing down or crashing under their load anymore. No more wasting money and energy when customers are not coming. The Cloud does all of that for you (and much more)!

Thousands of users per minute with no problem at all

Thanks to our team of certified and skilled engineers, flowup has successfully managed to build and transfer numerous applications to the Cloud, allowing the company to gain strong experience in developing and maintaining said cloud-native applications and their infrastructure.

Our company allowed businesses to scale up by several orders of magnitude, reaching up to a million active users, with the peak activity of up to 4000 users per minute.

The bridge metaphor

I like to compare problems with traffic fluctuations to a bridge during an earthquake. If the bridge is too rigid, it might handle a slight expansion or a contraction, but it can’t handle rapid fluctuations. On the other hand, if the bridge is flexible enough, it can withstand waves and waves of stress. In other words, the flexibility provided by cloud infrastructure will make your app resistant to stress and keeps your userbase happy.

Golden Gate Bridge can withstand bigger than a 7.0-scale earthquake
(Author: Rich Niewiroski Jr., source: http://www.projectrich.com/gallery)
Golden Gate Bridge can withstand bigger than a 7.0-scale earthquake (Author: Rich Niewiroski Jr., source: http://www.projectrich.com/gallery)

If this stability is what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can make your app scale!

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