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Designing for Scalability with Erlang/OTP by Steve Vinoski, Francesco Cesarini

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Chapter 15. Scaling Out

Distributing for scale and replicating for availability both rely on multiple instances of every node running on separate computers. But as computers can (and will) end up missing in action and connectivity among them will fail, scaling out is not only about adding computing capacity. Rather, scaling out must be carefully integrated and orchestrated with your consistency and availability models, where you have already chosen which tradeoffs to make. It’s easy to say that you need to write a system that scales infinitely without losing a single request, but delivering it is never simple, and it’s often the case that such an ideal implementation is unnecessary in practice to support your target applications. While Erlang/OTP systems do not scale magically, using OTP and making the right tradeoffs takes a large part of the pain out of the process.

In this chapter, we follow on from the distributed programming patterns and recovery and data-sharing patterns described in Chapter 13 and Chapter 14, focusing on the scalability tradeoffs you make when designing your architecture. We describe the tests needed to understand your system’s limitations and ensure it can handle, without failing, the capacity for which it was designed. This allows you to put safeguards in place, ensuring users do not overflow the system with requests it can’t handle. The last thing you want to deal with when under heavy load is a node crash, the degradation of throughput, or a service provider ...

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