Why Scaling is the Biggest Challenge in Developing Apps with Real-Time Features?

Mobile apps continue to play the most influential role to shape our life constantly with modern tech innovations. From how we wake up and get the best sleeping habits to how we get our favorite foods delivered at the doorstep to the way we travel and catch out with our friends and acquaintances, every different aspect of our life is now influenced by mobile apps. Naturally, we cannot live lives doing away with mobile apps anymore.

But with the mobile apps becoming so common in all walks of life, user expectations are also increasing steadily. We no longer cannot be satisfied with the kind of apps that used to rule our digital experiences a decade ago. This is where the role of scalability comes in. Scalability has emerged as a big quality consideration that any mobile app development company needs to work upon. Through this post, we are going to explain all aspects of scaling up mobile apps.

What is Scalability in the Context of Mobile Apps?

In the context of mobile apps, scalability basically means maintaining performance with the growth of user volume and interactions. To be precise, when an app is scalable the growing user base and user interactions do not really affect the performance and output of the mobile app.

These days, when most apps are endowed with real-time features scalability becomes a key element. As real-time apps mostly need to provide information and user experience simultaneously for multiple users across the globe, to ensure smooth and frictionless performance for every user the app requires more resources. This is the principle scalability challenge that most apps need to deal with.

What Are The Benefits of a Scalable App?

While there is a lot of talk regarding the advantages of scalability, for the mobile app user experience we need to take a closer look at the key advantages of scalable apps. Let’s have a look.

Consistent User Experience When App Goes Viral

Your marketing can help an app going viral in a quick time and incorporate sudden and huge traffic to the app. But as such traffic flow remains unpredictable, you need to be prepared for it. When you make an app scalable to accommodate such a huge and sudden spike of traffic, you ensure no downtime for your intended users.

Taking Advantage of Popular Events

For certain niche apps that are more likely to gain a lot of exposure during the festive season or during certain popular events, scalability is very important. The app’s success depends a lot on how you accommodate increasing traffic volume. For instance, if you have an e-commerce app selling travel gears, in certain holiday seasons you can encounter a lot of traffic as demands for such products upsurge. This requires your app to be scalable to accommodate such increased traffic volume.

Don’t need to depend on the same developer

Scalability also refers to the flexibility of handling app code for time to time update. A scalable app avoids intricate and complex code that makes it difficult for the app makers to hire new developers when they need to update the app.

Great for User Experience and Growth

In overall measure, a scalable app offers better user experience and in effect results in delivering higher growth and revenue potential than other apps limited in flexibility and scalability.

What Does Scalable Application Development Entail?

As of now, you must have understood the importance of scalability for mobile apps. Now, we would like to explain what it really takes to make an app scalable. Obviously everything starts with meticulous and granular level planning and thereafter you need to ensure the following things.

Performance: Performance basically refers to the application speed and output when working under a specific workload. Three key elements of the app performance are respectively the application speed, mobile-friendliness or responsiveness, and app availability. You need to build the app to ensure optimum speed of transmitting data under different work-loads, maintain a consistent look and feel across different device screens and make the app available in all network conditions.

Maintenance: The app should be thoroughly maintainable over a long period of time with the ease of updating, value additions and bringing changes. Without updates, an app from time to time cannot incorporate new features and qualitative inputs. This is why easy maintenance is a key criterion for scalability.

Cost: Finally, to build a scalable app which involves is a significant expense and cost of development. There are several cost factors relating to app development, maintenance and operation.

Scaling Up the Real-Time App Infrastructure

Scalability may not be a big consideration at the initial stage of app development but as the usage and user volume continue to grow, scaling up the app infrastructure becomes a necessity. As scalable apps mostly involve a highly adaptable infrastructure for accommodating user interactions of various types in real-time, you need to take into consideration the following aspects.

  • Adaptable to fit in a variety of testing and production environments.
  • Capability to replicate data for multiple points of data access to minimize the scope of failure.
  • In case of a connection failure, feature to inform users on the same.
  • Working on a scheme to balance the data loads.
  • Real-time recovery solutions like in-memory caching.
  • Real-time computing to priorities channels and topics for the clients to send or receive.
  • Synching data centers or cloud server regions to ensure optimum data accessibility and reliability across endpoints.
  • Coming with a universal serialization of data.
  • Determining specific parameters for Quality of Service and coming with a specific scheme for data recovery.
  • A custom user load testing service capable of simulating the real audience.
  • Building a robust update protocol to ensure optimum support for new products or services.
  • Coming with an expert team responsible for load distribution.
  • Detecting the error messages.
  • Creating a log system and a scheme for multi-datacenter deployment.


Maintaining optimum scalability is essential to capitalize on the app marketing opportunities to the fullest. But for this, you need to have a proper assessment of the technology stack and key requirements relating to real-time data infrastructure.

About the author

Atman Rathod is the Co-founder at CMARIX TechnoLabs Pvt. Ltd., a leading android and iOS app development company with 13+ years of experience. He loves to write about technology, startups, entrepreneurship and business. His creative abilities, academic track record and leadership skills made him one of the key industry influencers as well.

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