By: Ryan Evans
Scalability in a software offering is a system’s ability to adjust its capacity and functionalities based on its users’ demand. Companies have ever changing needs, and the ability of the software they use to meet these needs is critical. Scalable software needs to remain stable while adapting to changes, upgrades, overhauls, and resource reduction or addition. Examples include how well a hardware system performs when the number of users is increased, how well a database withstands growing numbers of queries, how well a codebase is programmed to account for future changes, or how well a system performs on different types of hardware. All of these as well as countless other scenarios need to be considered in order to provide consistent and reliable performance.
Often times, software and hardware are not created with the future in mind because future needs, standards, or advances in technology are not taken into account. When all of these things are ignored, the effectiveness of the software and hardware degrades over time, eventually causing performance issues that can range from mild to catastrophic. This can range from slower load times to complete shutdown of a system. Even something as minor as slower load times can have a drastic effect on users, as not only does the slower load times cause less work to be done, but load times will get slower and slower over time until the cause is fixed. Many times, when it comes to scalability issues, the effects might seem minor at the time, but they compound themselves over time and eventually become much bigger issues than they originated as.
Datatrak’s unique system allows it to meet a variety of needs for our clients. Whether its servers being able to add countless new users, databases’ ability to Create, Read, Update, or Delete a wide array of crucial data such as studies, participants, or participant data, or the underlying code being written in a way so as to be easily changed or updated, Datatrak can do all of this seamlessly with no system interruption or performance degradation.
Quite often, scalability issues come from a lack of understanding of the different ways a piece will be used. From the expected amount of concurrent users and potential spikes in users, to changes in industry needs and standards, the unknown is often where scalability issues arise. When software code is created, potential future changes need to be considered so that changes to the code won’t affect current functionality.
Some real world examples are in 2020, the online video game Among Us became an overnight sensation, even though it had been released in 2018 and had a small number of consistent users and signups. The owners were a small number of independent developers that were unprepared for both the large influx of new players, as well as the then large amount of people who would be playing concurrently, thus causing disruptions to both their sign-up and sign-in processes, as well as their in-game stability and performance. Another recent example happened in 2021 when the stock trading platform Robinhood saw an unexpected increase in both user signups and usage. The Robinhood app crashed daily for weeks while Robinhood struggles to update their software and hardware to meet the unexpected demands, this caused issues as users were unable to make trades, costing them untold amounts of money. Both of these examples show the importance of implementing scalability in order to adjust seamlessly to unexpected outcomes in the use of your product.
In an ever changing world, software users’ needs change on a constant basis, and they demand the software they use is able to meet these changing needs. With Datatrak, our users know that whenever their needs change, Datatrak will meet those needs head on and provide an excellent and seamless user experience at a tremendous value.
Contact us today for more information.