You have been working hard to bring in more active users to your newly built platform. Watching that number go up every day gives you more faith in your ability to grow your idea into a viable business. Only problem, your cloud server costs are outpacing your revenue and hindering your ability to let you ramp up your traffic.
This was the problem facing a recent client of ours, in a business where a flurry of traffic comes in a few times a month and then calms down. After increasing the server size a couple of times to account for these surges, and the problem still persists, he found himself in a situation where further scaling up wasn’t economically feasible anymore.
While there are a lot a way users can rack up their cloud computing costs, scalability issues are usually at the forefront. Part of the issues stems from the best-known benefit of cloud computing, the ability to scale up seamlessly. So whenever one finds their applications under load or a surge in user traffic, scaling up is easy albeit not cheap. We often find ourselves advising clients to manage it well and not let it hinder their growth.
The most important way to manage it to build servers in a way that allows them to scale up when there is high demand but at the same time scale back down when there is a drop in the demand. In the case of our client, he was increasing the number of instances for traffic spikes but not spinning them back down when the traffic was gone.
Load balancing is a proven way to share workloads across your resources. Make sure that the design allows load balancer to stay near the transaction sources to minimize delays and costs.
Also, consider the best place to host additional instances and create workflows that minimize the traffic charges that occur due to data transfers between these servers. In most cases, the increasing distance between the database and the component being scaled will impact performance. (Tip: even if you scale within the same cloud, you may not be immune to this! Pay close attention to the cost of scaling up in the same cloud, overlooking these details is the most common reason for incurring additional costs.)