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Cloud Storage Doesn't Solve All Scalability Problems for Mobile Apps

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Cloud Storage Doesn't Solve All Scalability Problems for Mobile Apps

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I found an interesting article on The Verge about why startups create wait lists for their cloud-based mobile apps.  

These companies are essentially using their wait list group as a second, larger beta test.  There are more fringe cases that they run into at this stage, so it makes sense that they'd want to limit the visible outages to just a wait list group.  But wasn't the promise of cloud computing that we would have infinite scalability, with elastic storage and compute capacity that would protect us from our own popularity?

I think we all realized a while ago that cloud computing just allows you to throw more servers at the problem very quickly.  There's a lot of tweaking that you can do for the kinds of hardware offerings you use, but it seems the marketers also forgot to mention that there are databases and network devices involved as well.  

Some of these services write to the database a lot with lots of put or pull requests to unique items.  The iOS mail app fetches email on its own, but a new app called "Mailbox" stores millions of emails in the cloud and keeps them there.  It does a lot of work organizing and sending the right push notifications.

So once again, we're seeing new problems in areas of the application stack that are falling behind.  This is why innovation in database and network technologies is so vital.


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