Why Is Software Architecture Important for Building Scalable Applications?
Software scalability remains the prime focus of many organizations soon after the pandemic effects began to shrink down. Scalability is an essential component of enterprise software. It is prioritized from the start leading to better user experience, lower costs, and higher agility. Software design needs a balanced act to create the best products within the client’s budgets and stipulated timelines. Here developers work with zero compromises, especially for projects involving big data.
A well-designed software avoids rigid legacy architecture and can handle a sudden increase in the workflow without compromising on the growth aspect. Read on to find out why you need a perfectly crafted software architecture if you want to build scalable applications.
Why is Software Architecture Important?
A robust software architecture shapes your IT system in a good manner. Some of the major benefits of good architecture are as below:
Software architecture provides a solid base for understanding and communication among all the stakeholders. Developers, managers, users, and testers will get a common language to prioritize concerns, debate ideas and take effective decisions.
The earlier you decide on a software system the better structure and standards you can lay out. If they are not put in the right place, your project may move ahead. However, soon there arises difficulties in changing them and costs may start rising.
A well-defined and stable building block of a system enables seamless expansion or reusability at any point in time. The structure must be clear and well-understood to keep it affordable and easier to access so that any bugs can be fixed.
What is Software Scalability?
Software scalability is a measurement that indicates the level of ease at which you can grow or shrink any piece of software. Also, it deals with the ability of the software to handle a higher workload while increasing users or decreasing them at minimal costs. Moreover, it also refers to its capacity to perform and support growing volumes of data.
Business applications running in the form of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) also get differentiated by scalability parameters. The reason is that the nature of ERP software is more about handling compliance and high-risk functions. Scaling such software systems sometimes becomes costlier and consumes more amount of time.
For example – Retail seasonal business management needs accounting temps only during the holiday season to enable back office functions. Much of the staff is relieved during off-seasonal months. On the other hand, software scalability grows exponentially for those whose accounting process increases a huge number of workflows and transactions. Hence, showing the ability to grow as well as contract is what is scalable software all about.
Why Scalable Software Architecture Becomes So Important?
We discussed in the above examples, wherein for seasonal businesses scaling up and down became necessary during seasonal demand. Rigid software enables huge costs when scaling. Here are some more reasons why we find building robust software designs can improve scalability.
Data Security and Performance
QuickBooks provides entry-level accounting solutions. It has set its entry type limits. Suppose, it may include a limit of 10000 vendors, payroll items, and customers, it no longer can take in more entries. Hence a scalable issue here. Moreover, the solutions will remain dysfunctional over some time once the business begins to approach the fixed limits of entries.
This boils down to an observation made for small and large companies and the way they deal with building any software architecture. For small shops that plan to stay small forever, entry-level software proves to be the best. However, for large companies and big entrepreneurs who work with a growth mindset, the story should be different.
Here, in the example, entry-level software will get overburdened and slow down, get timed out frequently, and may cause major issues. The solutions for such problems may be very limited and vulnerable leading to security threats. Those enterprises or startups that have the vision to grow big need a scalable and agile business approach to avoid future headaches.
Let us take a Zoom app example here. During the pandemic, it was under controversy due to overnight growth and impact. It did grow fast. At one point, they were the most chosen go-to video chat service provider in the US. This happened during the times of the technology boom. Zoom did quite well than its competitors in terms of scaling its service offerings and its business and supported hundreds of thousands of end users.
Nevertheless, Zoom must have carefully crafted its architecture at an initial stage keeping in mind its future growth prospects. The point here in this story is not just about improving scalability just to fill the room. It is all about seizing opportunities when they come up just because the software was built initially to scale up whenever necessary and grab the chance. Therefore, creating robust business management software systems that are scalable can help to grab immediate opportunities.
The Right Method To Adopt Software Scalability
Software Selection and Infrastructure
A robust IT infrastructure, especially the hardware systems, plays a critical role in scaling software systems to enable them to support more extensive databases and handle higher volumes of workloads. Moreover, the selection of the right software also becomes necessary for gaining scalability. For example, you need to find answers to the below questions before finalizing any software system.
- How many users can be added?
- How easy it is to add users?
- How can it get licensed?
- What are its data limits?
- What are the functionality limits?
- Possibilities of functionality expansion
Software architecture is built to expand and contract its functionalities with integration. For example, a start-up company starts with building ERP runs with time and expenses with great software functionality. Initially, it sounds good, however, as the business grows, it would require a sophisticated and highly automated system to handle employees and other workflows. Hence, the user company integrates purpose-built time and expense solutions with the ERP to support the quickly growing staff.
Cloud, SaaS, and Hosting
Cloud computing has driven much software towards agility. This is because of the ease of storage facility it provides due to the seamless expansion of the data center. Nowadays, getting up and running up subscription-based software (SaaS) has become pretty easy. With cloud storage, data access becomes possible from anywhere, and also it gets easier to store large volumes of data. Nearly every US user has SaaS software in some or other capacity. However, businesses may choose to purchase on-premise licenses for getting solutions through financial software. In this manner, businesses will get the software purchase control and acquire cloud computing agility as well.
Use Load Balancing Software
For systems, it is critical to use load balancing software that has distributed infrastructure. Such a software system uses algorithms that spread the workload across various servers ensuring no single server gets overwhelmed. After all, you need to avoid any kind of performance issues that may come up later.
Use Scalable Database
NoSQL databases are more scalable as compared to SQL. SQL conflicts with restrictions during performing writing operations. And for scaling NoSQL you need less stringent adherence to principles.
Taking software architecture decisions is specifically a high-level design choice. You must know what tools, frameworks, and standards are needed along with the elements interacting with each other. As discussed above, you need to take such decisions at the start of a project. Building scalable apps with the right software architecture can be highly beneficial in very many ways.
With various architecture patterns at your exposure for the development, choose the right one for your IT system depending on numerous factors like project timeframe, budget, and the available skill set of the developers. Based on your business requirement, you can decide the level of scalability needed to build your next best software architecture system.