Sports betting events also have the effect
of crowding all the business within condensed time windows.
This level of hosting goes far beyond
the simple provision of bandwidth and the quality of the server matters
not only in terms of its CPU's processing abilities, quantity of RAM and
hard disk space but also the durability of its components, the power
supply available and the ability of fan/s to disperse the heat generated
by a server running 24/7 under possibly very heavy loads.
With an application designed for use
internally within a company, one can always put a cap on the maximum
number of people that could be using the application. With the internet
this number can be unpredictable, or if measurable through registration,
can grow large very quickly. The internet is a new operating regime, not
only in terms of the security issues it presents but also in the scale
of operations, and this requires a new way of thinking when designing
applications and the hardware architectures that host them.
The traditional approach is to scale up
vertically, increasing the bandwidth, CPU/s' speeds, memory and so
forth. There is a limit, however, to how far this can be taken and with
so much depending on such a concentration of resources, a failure is
nothing less than catastrophic. The answer is to achieve scalability
horizontally with a distributed architecture. This architecture not only
allows increased scalability, but also creates reliance to faults and
failures within the system. What's more, this model is inherently
suitable to most operations and services offered over the internet which
are in themselves quite simple, but that there is just too many of them.
This situation is akin to how humans
organize themselves to accomplish very large workloads; there comes a
time when one person, no matter how hardworking and clever will not be
able to cope. At that stage the tasks will be split among many people
doing exactly the same task and yet coordinating their activities.
Imagine if you will, people flooding into the premises of a bank or
payment office. Many cashiers wait in booths doing exactly the same job,
overseen by managers and perhaps a helper guiding the queues. The
architecture and layout of the building hosting these activities, is
itself designed to allow a smooth flow of people.
Hosting a distributed architecture is
more complex then a traditional centralized system where everything
happens in one place. Parallel events need to be coordinated so that
they work as a seamless whole and transactional control assumes a
critical role. Hardware setup and middleware software need to be
designed much in the same way as a purpose-built building, and layers of
middle management in the organization would be in place for a human
organization. The applications themselves should be aware that they are
running in a distributed environment and be able to both benefit and not
obstruct this environment.
The key to a successful internet
presence stems from both an understanding of the nature of the internet
and the tools that are now available to build up this success. The
internet has indeed come a long way.