Need More Than One Server? Scale Up Your Agile Startup

Investing into infrastructure can be daunting especially while managing the demands of a growing business. Take lessons from the agile startup that picks and chooses solutions to fit their budget regarding cloud potential. So how can you be like them?

Over the past three posts in this series we have uncovered what exactly scalability is, the secrets of an agile startup and how to scale up your agile startup. In this final part, we will be asking the experts:

  • How to continue startup growth and expansion
  • How to utilize technology to its full capacity
  • How to ensure the business remains agile, lean and efficient.

The enterprise, unlike the agile startup, is often trapped with legacy infrastructure which cost plenty to install but leaves limited wriggle room into the cloud. Your startup is only just taking a look at what the market has on display. Want one server? No problem. Want to expand into more than one server? Read on…

My Agile Startup Is Ready To Expand Its Server Capacity. How?

“Every startup is different. So the decision regarding how many servers they need will depend on how much traffic is coming into the server and how many operations are being performed,” says Laimonas Naradauskas, Director, Smarter Digital Marketing. “The easiest thing an agile startup can do, is to go for the cloud solutions where the infrastructure is already created. This means they can scale their server capacity from small, to a complex network of servers.”

What the cloud introduces is one very important word — simple. It is simple to invest into multiple servers because your business isn’t hosting the physical infrastructure on-premise. You don’t need to worry about admin, maintenance, heating and cooling, physical security or troubleshooting. All of these responsibilities lie squarely on the shoulders of your service provider.

Which brings us to the next point — scalability. Any as-a-Service provider worth its salt will offer customers the ability to scale up or down on demand. If your business suddenly needs extra space and capability, you should find it simple to scale to meet your needs.

“As everything is going to the cloud, you need to look for future-proof implementations which are being offered on the cloud itself,” adds Naradauskas.

Tom Oswald, CEO, Videscape Limited, agrees: “As a small to medium enterprise (SME), you should be investing in cloud products. This makes scaling from one server to many significantly easier.”

If your business is moving from one server to a full multi-server technology stack, it is worth shifting your database onto a standalone database server to ensure security and scalability. It is also recommended that you are clear as to the specifications you require and have a plan in place should demand suddenly change.

“This has been one of the larger challenges for Opus Energy,” says Karl Frankin, IT Infrastructure Manager, Opus Energy. “Planning will only get you so far as rapid growth can easily catch you off guard — it’s not uncommon for companies to underestimate company data and reliance on IT systems.”

Some Salient Advice For The Agile Startup

Naradauskas says: “Allowing for additional servers to be allocated to your business ensures there is load balancing between them. If, for example, there is a DDoS attack happening on one server, everything can be moved to another while your service provider deals with the threat.”

If you invest into a fleet of servers which are designed to fit the scale on demand system, then they will balance the load to ensure uptime, capability and consistency. For an agile startup it’s worth considering a fleet of servers using the scale on-demand premise, preferably using spot instances with two three-year reserved servers. These would then be connected together using an internet-facing load balancer which will ensure that load remains just that and is prepared for peak or unexpected demand times.

“As each part of the site gets heavier load, you can then continue to split each aspect out into this setup and you then have a choice as to whether to scale horizontally by buying lots of little servers, or scale vertically, buying one really big server,” adds Oswald. “We look at our average base load and buy full time servers to cope with this, so there is always that capacity available. We then add in systems that automatically fire up new servers when the load across the existing servers reaches 75%. This ensures we don’t have servers sitting around doing nothing and costing money.”

Investing into technology which can support the expansion and growth of the agile business may sound a complex process, but today it has never been easier. Thanks to the ubiquity of the cloud and the innovation of the service provider, your agile startup can invest in high-level solutions at a lower price point than ever before. You also get expertise and support as part of the whole package. There is no need to go on a crash course in server technology and maintenance while enjoying the benefits of your investment.

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