Take Advantage Of Scaling Your Fintech App – Read These 10 Tips

Take Advantage Of Scaling Your Fintech App – Read These 10 Tips

Written by Michael on June 24th, 2018

Get to know the most effective Fintech application scalability techniques from an experienced software development team.

The fintech market has largely involved in the past few years. The consumer demand and awareness is on the rise. Funding for Fintech companies is ripe. Traditional financial institutions are finally recognizing the disruptive potential of Fintech startups and 82% of larger players plan to increase FinTech partnerships in the next three to five years according to the latest PwC Global Fintech Report.

The increased awareness and adoption leads to a larger user base – that’s good news. The bad news is that a lot of Fintech applications may not be ready to handle the increased load. As the number of user requests per minute increase, your product can exhibit performance problems for users – it doesn’t load as quickly, for example, and the functions they are trying to perform are taking too long to accomplish.

Scaling an app is the common answer to the performance problems. Unfortunately, app scalability can’t be switched on in a matter of minutes. Achieving high performance and scalability of Fintech web applications is a continuous process requiring you to assess and investigate the application’s architecture; tech stack and all the hardware and software elements of your product.

How to Effectively Scale a Fintech Web Application

Here’s one of the common scenario. When you lose efficiency, you can continue to add new CPU’s or increase limits of memory. But you will not be adding to the app’s performance – you’re only increasing throughput.

Ultimately, the solution is to scale the app. It’s not easy without skilled web development help from people who can know your app intimately.

Assuming that you are not a developer though, you will need to understand what scaling your app will entail and the problems you may experience. Here are some tips that will allow you to understand what and how that app will be scaled.

1. Re-examine Your App’s Architecture

For of the first tips for efficient scaling for Fintech entrepreneurs is this – determine where exactly the current bottlenecks occur. The following three segments of web applications are the most prone to performance and scalability issues:

  • Static resource tier includes web servers,  browsers, and client-side languages such as HTML, JavaScript, CSS. For instance, inefficient cashing may be impacting the speed of your app.
  • Business logic tier includes server operating systems, application servers, and server-side programming and scripting languages such as PHP, Java, Python. The common problem associated with this tier include poorly performed database queries that hamper the data exchange within your app.
  • Permanent storage tier includes data storage engines, file storage, operating system,  and data access mechanisms such as SQL, ORM, GQL. Here you may have initially created a wrong server configuration, which now slow downs the product’s performance.

For starters, you can deploy a series of automated tests to assess the app’s performance and load, and try to identify where exactly the issues occur.

2. Consider  Instrumentation

It is possible that when the app was first developed, there may have been a lack of rigorously instrumenting the code. Having an instrumentation system and standards is really critical for identifying and fixing bottlenecks. And many of those bottlenecks don’t appear until the number of users grows and more stress is put on the entire financial technology system.

During the scaling process, it will be important that instrumentation standards are established early on so that bottlenecks can be more easily identified and repaired.

3. Decide Between Scaling Up vs. Scaling Out

Scaling up is using additional hardware to solve your scalability issues. This is not really a long-term fix – and it is expensive. And given the current cloud era, it is no longer considered one of the best practices for scaling a financial app, or any app for that matter.

Scaling out is achieved by adding lower-cost virtual machines in clusters that your software can use. This is one of the current best practices for scaling a financial app because it allows you to maintain a distributed system that will expand out during those peak periods of use and contract during off-peak times.

4. Consider Sharding

Simply explained, sharding is the dividing and partitioning of systems, based on specific criteria. For example, users could be partitioned by American and European. What sharding accomplishes is this: because of the partitions, response times for database queries are much shorter and your product runs faster.

5. Implement Load-Balancing

This is a well-known method of how to scale a web application and involves an architectural concept that will direct traffic to a web server according to the load on that server. There are some tricky development aspects to load balancing, but it is certainly a good solution for peaks in usage.

A user actually accesses a load balancer appliance first and is then directed to an appropriate server.  The appliance determines how to distribute traffic to which servers. There are three main loan balancing methods:

  • Round Robin: Traffic is distributed evenly among all servers
  • Least Connections: This process routes queries to the server that currently has the least connections
  • Predictive Node: this is a method by which servers are analyzed over a period of time to determine trends. The appliance will use this information to route traffic to the node that it suspects will have the best performance.

Speaking of tricky aspects of load balancing, one is persistence. It will be important that once a user begins his activities, especially in a fintech app, that he continues on the same server he was initially sent to. If he is sent to another in the middle of his activities, missing data may be collected on the backend of the first server. The user’s connection will have to persistent, and a skilled developer will be able to ensure this.

6. Opt for a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA)

This design will link various services together and provides a high-performance method of connecting consumers to providers. Such structures can provide better support for workflow and non-workflow interactions (stateful and stateless).

7. System Caching May Be Necessary

Most fintech apps have certain content that is static, that is, it doesn’t change. Caching that static content through a Content Delivery Network (CDN) means it will speed up responsiveness. The content will not have to load each time a user accesses.

There are additional methods of caching content, offered by various browsers, and a seasoned developer will know how to integrate them.

8. Implement Automation

Investing in DevOps automation will allow automatic recovery in times of system outages; it will spin up new virtual machines as necessary based on load and monitoring response times; and it will backup your database for retention. Any scaling activity should include this automation.

9. Effective Monitoring Is a Must

Monitoring app performance is always critical, but as an app is scaled, generic tools, such as CloudWatch from Amazon Web Services (AWS) may miss some of the “health indicators.” Adding process level monitoring through open-source tools is a good idea. Again, a good development partner can recommend the best solutions and integrate them.

10. Investigate Your Logging Procedures

When a fintech is initially crafted, system logging and user-activity logging are often lumped together. As the app gains popularity and supports a growing number of users, however, this combined logging eventually makes it impossible to support users effectively.

The solution is to separate log messages into two buckets – system logging and user logging. It will better track the health of the system and which users have logged and what they are accessing. Auditing and security demand a good logging solution.

Important questions to ask during the scaling process are what should be logged when you should log, how much should be logged, and how logging can be controlled.

While these were the essential tech best practices for scaling a financial app, you should carefully consider who will be responsible for product scaling and whether you plan to have a team in-house or outsource.

Finding the right development team will be critical. You will want to partner with developers with significant experience in financial and fintech software development and will take the time to analyze your current app and develop an intimate understanding of all of its architecture. Romexsoft may well be the solution you are looking for. Let’s have a discussion right away!

Michael

Michael

Hello everyone! I’m Michael, Managing partner and COO at Romexsoft. I love to track latest software development trends, especially in fintech community. So if you have any questions or need a piece of advice in fintech, feel free to contact me!

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