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Web applications need to be highly reliable. They must scale dynamically, as users and data volumes increase. Scaling up offers the biggest challenge and many have taken it on by adding more resources. However, this can be a very expensive proposition for many organizations. This paper examines the issues involved in building such applications and also explores alternate technologies such as master-slave replication, shading and denormalization; and also looks at datastore implementations used by commercial players, which can be used without resorting to expensive vertical scaling techniques. In the light of the current attempts to move applications to the Cloud, these technologies hold great promise. The paper also briefly describes the relevant experience of engineers at Imaginea.
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