3.5 Summary

We have seen that delivering dynamic content represents a different challenge than serving static files. Techniques like CGI, FastCGI and dedicated web server modules have evolved to integrate dynamic content, and scripting languages are very popular in this context. Alternatively, containers that host dynamic web applications can be used for deployment, which is the preferred way for Java-based applications. A tiered view on web architectures not merely helps to split up deployment-specific components. It can also provide a logical separation of concerns by layering presentation, application logic and persistence. We also learned that load balancing is a fundamental concept for scalability in web architectures, as it enables the distribution of load to multiple servers.

We then introduced the general principles of Cloud Computing, the resourcing of services with a pay-per-use utility model and on demand, using virtualization techniques. Being geared towards seamless scalability, Cloud Computing platforms and infrastructures relate well to our endeavor of scalable web architectures.

Based on similar components from existing Cloud services, we have introduced an architectural model for scalabale web infrastructures. Instead of a single, monolithic architecture, our model adheres to a set of dedicated service components with loose coupling. The separation allows us to scale different service components using appropriate scaling strategies and makes the overall architecture more robust, reliable and agile. The isolation of web servers, applications servers and backend storage systems also enables us to benefit from a more precise view on concurrency challenges inside each component type.

Other attempts at improving performance and scalability have been mentioned, aiming at optimized communication, better content delivery and faster web sites. However, they are not part of further considerations in the subsequent chapters.