Acronis Access – Scalability, a scary thing…

Over the years, working with and listening to thousands of customers of all sizes,  we’ve learned a lot about what they need, their challenges, and the effect of what we do in what they do. We’ve also noticed that some concepts, or the words that simply represent them, are just scary to our IT friends. Scalability is one of them.

Here’s what happens: Back in the day, IT groups used to implement networks and infrastructure to accommodate a number of hardwired desktop devices that were for the most part, static, plus some growth in the future. Servers were dimensioned following the same logic. Usage was a reasonably-known quantity and it was predictable.
Amazingly enough, only a few years later, that process no longer works. The eruption of mobility is radically changing the way companies and their employees operate. Mobility adds a new set of variables and a layer of scalability complexity that didn’t exist before. For instance, the number of mobile users and mobile devices can grow rather quickly and change over time. Usage is difficult to predict. The only known attribute about access to data is that users want it to be fast, even instantaneous.

So, no wonder IT managers and administrators hear the “scalability” word and feel scared. Knowing that from a mobility-product perspective, we try to help them as much as we can in the following ways:
•    Communications and transfer technologies that are designed to allow for an increasing number of simultaneously active mobile devices. They compete with general Internet connectivity, email, voice and other services for bandwidth, so they must play nice with them, too. Users can be anywhere, so latencies and weak or noisy signals need to be taken into account.
•    The backend and the app code must accommodate a growing number of concurrent devices running different operating systems and versions. This is absolutely critical to support BYOD environments.
•    Databases and infrastructure hooks like Active Directory or connections to file servers, SharePoint or cloud repositories must be carefully tuned to handle from just a few to 10s of thousands of users.
•    It is a technological fact that all applications will inevitably struggle with scale. Knowing what that breaking point is and implementing the software to degrade “gracefully” once you cross it, is very important.

So we work tirelessly on the above, and many other factors to make the impact of scalability of an unpredictable mobile environment a little less scary. But there are many other scary words that I could list. Do you want to share yours?