Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Scalability, Thanks to Google App Engine

Google Cloud Platform Icons
Google Cloud Platform
Did you know that Clever Surveys is built on Google's App Engine infrastructure? In addition to a number of development boons, this means the website can easily scale to serve thousands, or hundreds of thousands of users simultaneously.

This was recently put to the test when a post about the World of Warcraft Predictor made it to the top of the WoW subreddit; a community with thousands of active users at any time. The result was hundreds of users suddenly pouring onto the site. I carefully monitored the error logs and performance stats, holding my breath in anticipation of performance issues or website hiccups. However, App Engine was able to seamlessly spin up a number of new virtual servers to handle the extra traffic.

Performance remained very steady, with the exception of a possible memory leak that caused some virtual servers to shut down. Even in that scenario, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that App Engine is nice enough to wait until the server is done handling requests, before shutting it down. This only resulted in a few users using having to wait a couple seconds for a new server to start up.

P.S. Google isn't paying me to write this, and I don't think App Engine is perfect. I'm just happy that my website can handle a lot of traffic without shutting down, and that I don't have to pay for it every day.

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