Tech Hub

Elasticity

Build scalability into your architecture

Does your system get overwhelmed when usage spikes? Can you easily scale out and maintain good response times to avoid alienating end users? And, when the rush is over, can you scale back in automatically to conserve costly resources?

Scaling traditional applications has its challenges. Simply running multiple instances of a monolithic application can actually reduce responsiveness because increased demand can create bottlenecks elsewhere. Lightbend technology enables elasticity at the application and service level, a requirement of truly reactive systems.

How Lightbend can help

Akka, the foundation of the Lightbend stack, supports development of isolated, independent services that scale more easily. Akka cluster and Akka Streams include functionality critical for elasticity:

  • Akka Cluster handles remote communication and load balancing to simplify the distribution of services across nodes. Many clustering solutions do not support dynamic discovery and require static configuration. While suitable for predictable growth, this makes it difficult to automate scaling to handle unexpected load. In contrast, with Akka Cluster, new nodes can be added very easily and removed when no longer needed — the cluster adapts automatically.
  • Akka Streams include back pressure capabilities. As observed above, increasing load often creates bottlenecks at limited backend resources, such as databases. Back pressure controls flow, so that producers match their output to the capability of consumers.

Hard to believe? See how:

  • Zalando handles 100x traffic spikes using Lightbend Reactive Platform.
  • Verizon uses Akka and Play to handle spikes during major phone launches and holidays (detailed in the video ~22 minutes in).
  • William Hill built a platform on Akka that successfully handles extreme spikes of up to 100X normal traffic.
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines now deals easily with the higher demands during “wave season”.
  • Walmart Canada relies on Lightbend technology to handle Black Friday spikes with ease.
  • Weight Watchers gained the ability to scale on demand.

Learn more

Watch informative video discussions:

See the Akka documentation for technical details on:

Get a hands-on experience with Akka Cluster by downloading and unzipping the project and following the instructions in the tutorial: