Scalability and Performance Improvements in Backend

Written by Martin Führlinger, Backend Engineer

At Runtastic we face an increase in traffic on our servers every year. We usually have a higher number of requests in the spring and summer than in the autumn and winter. Throughout the year, especially in spring and early summer, there are many sports events, like marathons, the Wings for Life World Run, Run For The Oceans, and other campaigns with a lot of participants locally or around the world.

As backend engineers, we have to keep an eye on the health of our services and we need to scale and improve our running system every year. Scaling can generally be done by either increasing the amount of servers handling the requests or making the requests faster. Both actions increase the number of requests which can be handled per minute. 

Adding more servers and workers sounds easy, and it is for a backend developer in our setup, as it has to be done by the OPS team. But more importantly, hardware resources are also necessary. And as we all know, hardware resources cost money. 

So, the more cost effective approach is to scale the requests by making them faster. Depending on the implementation, this can either be easy if we find low hanging fruit or complex if we rewrite…

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