Wired Predictability versus Mobile Unpredictability: Mobile App Usage Impacts Scalability

Is scalability a scary IT concept for your enterprise mobility app development? If might be for some and here’s why:

Historically, scalability for recent software development projects was defined by known factors. IT departments built and designed scaled network to accommodate a reasonably static number of hardwired desktop devices. Server farms were scaled by algorithms that could predict data base growth as based upon a reasonably static number of hardwired devices. Desktop PCs ruled the scalability matrix because usage was a reasonably known quantity and it was predictable.

Mobility software adds a whole new layer of scalability complexity because the number of connected mobile devices can quickly outstrip the number of wired devices. Mobile app usage is nebulous at best and, by definition, in a BYOD world, usage is unpredictable.

Here a few specific Enterprise mobility scalability issues:

(1) The application architecture must accommodate a sliding scale number of licensed users-on-demand. Managing and budgeting for a growing number of licensed devices may be a challenge.

(2) The front-end app functionality must be easily adaptable to include new features because of user demand. Mobile users seem to be more demanding than wired users antidotal reports have suggested.

(3) The backend app interfaces may need to be seamlessly linked to additional programs or databases concurrently. User expectations may force software to go in directions IT departments didn’t foresee.

(4) The communications technology must be robust enough to allow for an increasing number of simultaneously connected wired and mobile devices. Internet connectivity, along with voice, data, and video, may all be competing for the same bandwidth. Does a frame-relay connection work for you, or, do you need a T1 or better? What’s your latency and can you live with it in a mobile world? Do you have a tripping point where the answer would be no?

(5)  The app code must allow for an increasing number of simultaneous devices with varying device operating systems. BYOD devices come in a variety of OS flavors. Users expect support for their favorite device. OS support may not come cheaply for your mobile app development needs.

How many issues apply to your situation for your mobile app software development?

One way to lessen the scalability impact of an unpredictable mobile environment is to plan for your worst-case scenario – and then perhaps double it.