What is Autoscaling: Why Do You Need it?
Have you ever had a problem with your site being overloaded with visitors?
In the worst-case scenario, it can mean lost business as potential customers lose patience with slow loading times and abandon your page.
Luckily, there are things you can do to mitigate the risk of this happening. This article explores autoscaling, how it works, and why you need it.
Autoscaling: How Does it Work?
One of the most significant challenges of general business or e-commerce website design is ensuring your site can handle peaks and troughs of visitor traffic efficiently. One popular option for managing this problem is autoscaling.
Autoscaling automatically increases server capacities when traffic surges to a site. When the traffic level drops, it reduces it, saving on resource use.
Although related to load balancing, it’s not quite the same thing. A load balancer distributes incoming traffic across different targets, whereas autoscaling sets the policy for how this happens.
Let’s see an example of how this might work in practice. Autoscaling can be used with IP phone systems for small business that need to prioritize resource optimization. It can dynamically route incoming calls to available resources based on capacity.
When call volumes increase, additional resources – such as phone lines or SIP trunks – can be provisioned automatically to handle the increased load. Conversely, when call volumes decrease, excess resources can be released to optimize cost and efficiency.
Types of Autoscaling
There are several different approaches to autoscaling. Reactive, predictive, and scheduled autoscaling are defined by how servers are called into use. Let’s explore each in more depth.
Also known as dynamic autoscaling, reactive autoscaling responds to changes in system load or demand in real-time.
This approach relies on monitoring the system’s metrics and triggering scaling actions based on predefined thresholds or rules. When those thresholds are exceeded, additional resources swing into action to handle the increased load. When the load decreases, unnecessary resources are removed.
In the context of our IP phone system example, reactive autoscaling could be used to monitor call volumes, system performance metrics such as CPU usage, memory utilization, or network bandwidth.
When the monitored metrics cross predetermined thresholds, the system automatically scales up or down by adding or removing phone lines, SIP trunks, virtual instances, or other resources as required. This is a common autoscaling option for IP communications systems like Microsoft Teams phone applications.
Predictive scaling, as the name suggests, goes beyond real-time monitoring. It incorporates predictive algorithms and historical data to forecast future demand.
For example, let’s say an e-commerce website has always experienced significant spikes during previous Black Friday sales. It could use predictive autoscaling to anticipate a similar surge and proactively scale up resources ahead of time to handle the increased load.
In other words, it’s a great choice when you know events are coming down the pipeline that will significantly impact your traffic. By integrating with event calendars or marketing systems, predictive autoscaling can anticipate traffic surges associated with these events and scale resources accordingly.
If you’ve scheduled a product launch, for example, the automatic scaling system can prepare additional server instances in advance to handle the expected influx of visitors.
Finally, we have scheduled autoscaling. This is similar to predictive autoscaling in that it’s all about preparing in advance. The critical difference is that it follows a predefined schedule based on known patterns or business requirements.
For example, suppose a business expects an increased traffic load to its site every Monday morning due to a regular newsletter distribution timeslot. In this case, your team can configure scheduled autoscaling to add resources a few minutes before the newsletter is sent out. It can then scale them down once the traffic subsides.
This can be page-specific too. For instance, let’s say you schedule an email to go out with a teaser explanation of how to send a fax from mobile devices. You include a “Read More” link to the page on your site featuring the full article.
Since you can predict the exact timing of the traffic surge, you can create a customized autoscaling schedule for that page. Once the surge period ends, the resources can be scaled down according to the predefined schedule.
Why You Need Autoscaling: The Benefits
There’s a lot to think about when you’re setting up a website for your business or redeveloping an existing one. Should you use the domain name io to get some startup credibility? How much is too much to pay a graphic designer? How will you implement effective SEO?
It’s nice to know that regulating your website traffic is something that has a manageable solution. But there are other benefits to implementing autoscaling on your site.
The fact that unneeded resources are powered down during periods of low traffic makes automatic scaling an easy energy-saving win. Lowering power consumption like this is great for burnishing your business’s eco-friendly credentials too.
Delivers reliable performance
Autoscaling also plays a vital role in maintaining reliable performance for applications and services. Since it automatically scales resources in response to increased traffic, it makes sure the system can handle the load without experiencing pesky performance bottlenecks. Overall, this reduces the risk of service degradation and leads to great results.
Best of all, autoscaling is extremely cost-effective. By dynamically adjusting the number of active resources based on demand, it helps prevent wasteful overprovisioning or underuse of resources.
This allows businesses to pay only for the resources they need at any given time, leaving you free to focus on getting the full bang for your buck from your great-looking website and delivering for your clients.
Provide top Performance With Autoscaling
If you’re not already using autoscaling, it’s time to consider implementing it. It’s a very flexible solution for managing your website server resources and can have a significant impact on the user experience – and that’s vital for a growing business.
After all, your website is your virtual shop window. Autoscaling will help make sure it’s reliable and easy to use, keeping your customers happy, which is great news for your bottom line.