December 1, 2020

How to Build a Scalable Application using AWS?

December 1, 2020

How to Build a Scalable Application using AWS?

An application’s features and user interface, no doubt, play a huge role in making the product successful. Apart from these two factors, the scalability of an application also plays a significant role in an application building. If you are building an application for the users, it is clear that you are planning serving a huge audience base. Under such a case, you cannot ever walk pass blindly the factor of an application scalability. In the article below, you will be able to learn how you van scale your app for up to 1 million users on AWS. 

Imagine in your mind that you have successfully built a web application and have started gaining a few customers. Gaining and considering some feedback and suggestions, you make improvements and now you are ready with your product. Now, your marketing team generates awareness in the market in order to acquire new customers. At a sudden point, you gain thousands of visitors to your application, as a result of which, your applications shuts and the visitors are unable to use your app.

You tested everything before launching your application. Then what happened? This isn’t a bug but a problem of application scalability. Your data storage cloud is not designed and capable enough to scale with an increased load.

There are many companies that usually focus the most on the features and much lesser than required on the scalability. It is the most essential part of any application architecture to create a product that is both resilient and scalable.

Table of Contents

Scalable Application: Meaning

  • Vertical Scaling
  • Horizontal Scaling

Characteristics of Scalable Application

  • Performance
  • Availability and Reliability
  • Manageability
  • Cost

Types of services to be used depending on the Users

1 User

More than 10 and less than 100 Users

More than 100 and less than 1000 Users

10,000 – 100,000 Users

More than 1 million Users


Scalable Application: Meaning

The basic meaning of the term scalability is the ability of a product to give an excelling performance with growing demands (this can include larger data-sets, higher request rates, the combination of velocity and size, and more). The product must performance with its best self with 1 active user or 1 million active users at a time. It should be able to handle rise in traffic automatically. With an ability to adding and removing the resources when needed, scalable applications consume resources that are necessary to meet the consumer demand.

There are two main ways of scaling an application; horizontal scaling and vertical scaling. Both of these terms are explained below.

Vertical Scaling

Also known as scaling up, vertical scaling refers to maximization of resource of a single unit, with an aim of expanding its ability to handle the rising traffic load. In hardware words, scaling up includes summing processing power and memory to a physical machine that is running the application’s server. On the other hand, in software terms, vertical scaling includes optimizing application code and algorithms.

Horizontal Scaling

Also known as scaling out, horizontal scaling means resource increment through the process of adding up units to the application’s cloud architecture. It simple means adding more units with smaller capacities rather than adding a single unit of a larger capacity. This is done in order to spread across multiple units, thus, reducing the excess load on a single machine.

Characteristics of the Scalable Application


The primary thing that you need to make sure is that the application should operate well even under stress with low latency. Usage and user satisfaction is completely dependent on the speed of a website. The speed also has a positive impact on the search engine rankings, which directly correlates to revenue generation and retention. Thus, the sole key to make it all successful is creating a scalable web application architecture that is optimized for fast responses and low latency.

Availability and Reliability

Availability and reliability are two factors that are very closely related and are equally necessary. It happens very rarely that a scalable app shuts down under stress. Thus, it is very necessary that these apps reliably produce data upon request and not lose stored information. This can help getting the application up and running again in minimum time possible.


The scalability of operations including maintenance and updates directly equates to the manageability of cloud architecture. While considering manageability, things that are covered are the ease of diagnosing and understanding problems as and when they occur, is of making improvements or modifications, and simplicity in operating the whole system.


It is a myth that highly scalable applications have to be unreasonably expensive in terms of building, maintaining, and scaling. While at development stage, planning for scalability allows the app to expand its reach as the demand increasing without letting the business incur undue expenses.

There are a plenty of options for you while selecting your cloud provider when building a high-performance web application architecture. Three of the most used and best reviewed cloud computing vendors are AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. Each of these software programs have their own strengths and weaknesses that make them ideal for different usage cases.

In this article, we have chosen to talk about AWS and let you know how to build a scalable application. AWS is a subsidiary of a renowned company, Amazon. It provides numerous different services that are cloud-centered for various requirements. AWS is known to be the best in the market. The fact that it holds 33% market share of cloud computing (which is the highest) further proves the fact previously mentioned. AWS provides an excellent documentation on each of the service they provide, helpful guides, and preference architectures for common apps.

Types of services to be used depending on the Users

The types of services you should use by AWS depends on the number of users you are expecting on your application. Here is the list of services by AWS that you can use for different type of users.

1 User

Only one person is using the app on the local host. Following are the services that you should be deploying by AWS to get started.

Amazon Machine Images

Popularly known and abbreviated as AMI, Amazon Machine Image provides information that is necessary to acquire to launch an instance, which is a virtual server in the cloud. You get an option to specify an AMI during the launch of an instance. This service element includes a template for the root volume for the instance, a block device mapping which specifies the volumes to attach to the instance when it is launched, and launch permissions that control AWS accounts.

Amazon EC2

Known in the unabbreviated terms, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud serves the scalable computing capacity in the cloud space of AWS. This service element eliminates the hardware upfront so that you can develop and deploy your applications at a faster rate.

Amazon VPC

As known in the unabbreviated terms, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud provides a provision to introduce AWS resources in a virtual network. This service element enables a complete control over the virtual networking environment, which also includes a selection of IP address range, network gateways, configuration of route tables, and subnet creation.

Amazon Route 53

This service element is a highly available and scalable cloud DNS web service. It effectively and successfully connects user requests to infrastructure running in AWS, for example, Amazon EC2 instances, Elastic Load Balancing, or Amazon S3 buckets.

More than 10 and less than 100 Users

At this stage, your users are slowly increasing and now you need to choose the database. We would advise to go with SQL Database. This should be done for the following reasons:

  • It is an established and well-worn technology
  • It provides community support and latest tools

Please note that you can always choose for no SQL at all if your users are generating data in various forms. At this early stage, you are collecting everything in a single bucket. However, this architecture becomes harder to scale and manage in a longer run. Thus, it is the right time to introduce a multi-tier system to separate a database from the application.

More than 100 and less than 1000 Users

The most advisable step at this stage is to store the database on AWS in order to ease out the operations of the application. 

Once your users reach 100 in number, the first thing you need to do is Database deployment. To perform this function, there are two general direction, out which you can follow one. The first option is to use a managed database service like Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) or Amazon Dynamo DB. The second step to follow is to host your own database software on Amazon EC2.

Amazon RDS eases up the process of setting up the database, and operate and scale it with time. Amazon Relational Database service provides six database engines to choose from. These include Amazon Aurora, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MySQL, and MariaDB.

10,000 – 100,000 Users

At this stage, it is important to move the static content to object-based storage. This is done to ensure better performance. In order to improve the performance and efficiency of the application, you need to add more read replicas to RDS. This step will help you in taking the load off the write master database. Additionally, you can reduce the load from the web servers by moving static content to Amazon S3 and Amazon CloudFront.

Amazon S3

This service element is an object-based storage. It is not attached to EC2, thus, making it best suitable for storing static content, including javascript, CSS, videos, and images. 

Amazon CloudFront

It is generally known as the Content Delivery Network (CDN). Its basic work is to retrieve data from Amazon S3 bucket and distribute it to multiple data center locations. 

Amazon DynamoDB

This service element is a fast, reliable and flexible NoSQL database service, curated especially for the applications that require consistent, and faster latency. It is an overall managed cloud database that supports document and key-value store models.

Amazon ElastiCache

This service is commonly known as caching-as-a-Service. It completely eliminates the complexity often identified with deploying and managing a diverse cache environment. This software heals itself if nodes fail new nodes are initiated automatically.

More than 1 million Users

At this stage, all you require is to add as much flexibility possible to your web application. To cater to more than one million users you need to make use of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). This software is used when you are designing web applications.

In SOA, each component is differentiated from the respective tiers and create separate services. Afterwards, the individual services can be scaled separately. These web and application tiers will have different requirements and will provide different and independent services. This, in turn, will help in providing a lot of flexibility to the application and for scalability and high availability.

AWS provides a list of generic services that will help you build your Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) infrastructure in minimum time. These are:

  • Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS)
  • Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS)
  • AWS Lambda


You must make an upfront decision regarding how to approach application scaling. You never know when you are going to get popular and gain a flood of visitors to your product. Also, shutting down (or even getting super slow) pages leaves the users and visitors disappointed and unhappy. As a result, you never know when these users are going to return to your application (or are even going to!). This, obviously, has an immediate and ultimate effect on the organization’s revenue.

Getting to know and learning about the process of building a scalable application takes a lot of time, a huge amount of practice and a very good amount of money. Thus, it is always advisable to the large organizations to get these services done accurately from the very start of their business. This helps in minimizing or even neglecting the future hassle or even worse, crashing down of the website.

TecOrb is a one of the reputed Mobile app Development Company prioritizing on developing intuitive mobile apps. Our few recommended application solutions are taxi app development solution, grocery delivery application, food ordering application, and OTT video streaming app etc. Get in touch with our experts to know more about our application services. We have a tech qualified team of developers, who work around our customer’s need and requirements and serve them the best system solutions by testing applications on real devices emulators, and simulators.

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