Why Node.js Is the Best Choice for Building Scalable Apps?

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Bartek Ciszewski

May 8, 2018 • 5 min read

Node.js is an excellent choice for building scalable apps.

It works perfectly with the leading cloud computing tools, keeps the infrastructure costs under control, and gives you access to the best services that predict usage spikes, expand resources and control the development process.

Let’s start with Amazon Web Services (AWS), the leading cloud-computing platform that is building up its market lead over the competition (Microsoft’s Azure and Google Cloud Platform). AWS fully supports JavaScript and Node.js, which makes deploying and scaling applications built with this technology very easy.

The AWS SDK (software development kit) provides JavaScript objects for services such as Amazon S3, Amazon EC2, DynamoDB, and Amazon SWF. You can set up an AWS server, upload a photo, and use deep-learning-based image and video analysis using tools like the Amazon Rekognition API which can identify objects, people, text, scenes, and activities, as well as detect any inappropriate content.

Predicting and responding to traffic spikes

With AWS and Node.js you get a set of development tools that can predict and detect an increase in web application traffic and usage to automatically add virtual machines to meet the new requirements.

Imagine you expect to have 1,000 people using your app at the start. You don’t need a big server. You'd rather pay little at the beginning, keeping the option to scale up quickly when necessary.

Let's say the mainstream tech media, such as Wired or Techcrunch, cover your product. Suddenly, everyone wants to try it. The AWS system notices the growing number of users, predicts the trend, and adds extra resources during the traffic spike. Not only can you serve all the users, but you also pay just for the additional resources for that time. When traffic is back to normal, your infrastructure will scale down.

Scale up with stability and reliability

Node.js is a perfect solution for a microservices architecture, a software development approach that provides scalability and reliability. Using microservices, you build your app from separate small blocks that perform one function (e.g., checkout in an e-commerce app, product page, shopping cart, etc). Each block receives information, computes it, and delivers the result. You can add, multiply, and remove these elements according to your needs.

The microservices approach is an alternative to the monolithic architecture used in backend languages like Ruby on Rails or PHP. In these cases, if you want to scale up the resources, you need to add more machines.

This brings stability. First of all, if one element crashes, for instance, the checkout, the users who are browsing the other parts of the store will not notice it. Additionally, many Node.js tools, such as PM2 process manager or Rollbar, detect and track errors.

Embracing serverless computing

One of the essential services for scaling is Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). It allows you to configure capacity quickly and provides you with complete control of your computing resources. You can boot new server instances in minutes. Amazon EC2 offers developers the tools to build failure-resilient applications and isolate them from common failure scenarios.

EC2 offers both a flexible on-demand pricing plan where you can pay for compute capacity per hour or per second, and a standard yearly plan where there are no additional costs for scaling up.

Node.js allows for serverless app development. The easiest way to do it is to use the Serverless framework powered by AWS. You can build apps directly in the AWS environment. All the processes take place there, so you don't need DevOps, because everything is configured automatically. Your app's developer writes code, uploads it to Serverless, and it’s all set up

Since JavaScript and Node.js are becoming dominant software development technologies, all the tools mentioned above support them in the first place.

However, developers using Node.js and AWS should plan their application’s architecture carefully, paying particular attention to the modules and the external services the app will use. Building software with a microservices architecture is fast and easy, however, if you include too many blocks and too many relations among them, supporting and expanding such an architecture may become tricky when you put dozens of element together.

Read more: Node.js Performance: How Your Web Application Performance Can Benefit from Node.js

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Bartek Ciszewski

Business Developer at Netguru. Writes about the practical application of our exceptional software....

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