Performance and Scalability — A Primer

Performance is how fast your application runs and it’s directly tied to scalability – the amount of users it can handle. The less resources your application uses, the higher number of users it can handle without additional investments (getting additional server, database, etc.).

The most common performance problem of web applications is the web page loading speed. Time is a hot commodity for web users and if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load, they tend to skip it or are less likely to come back.

The performance issue that affects many successful startups is the application downtime and data loses. Usually, startups don’t invest in performance upfront, so as their users base grows, their application doesn’t have enough capacity, resulting in crashes and downtime. Even worse — all the data sent to the server during the downtime is usually lost. This leads to a decline in reputation among users, which is one of the reasons a startup can fail fail after a successful launch.

The good news is that a solutions exists. If you’ve already launched your product and are watching the number of users grow each day, now is the right time to think about performance and scalability.

Examples of regular performance issues:

  • Incorrect database structure and indexing
  • Database queries aren’t optimized
  • Unnecessary server operations
  • Low code quality
  • Caching not configured
  • Duplicated server requests
  • Heavy front-end frameworks and libraries

How do you optimize application performance?

  1. Measure current application speed and how that speed changes depending on the number of concurrent users
  2. Document what happens when the application is overloaded and identify root cause for each issue
  3. Identify the slowest and heaviest processes running
  4. Prioritize and resolve the most critical performance issues, while planning to resolve medium and low priority issues at a later phase
  5. Based on this research and product roadmap, build a forecast for future performance bottlenecks and make the engineering team aware of a need to prevent them

Need help resolving your application’s performance and scalability challenges? Contact our team of skilled senior developers.