More Servers Won’t Always Fix Your Scaling Problems

At the end of March, Slack CEO Steward Butterfield posted a screenshot that graphed the number of newly created work teams on the platform from January through March. The graph is flat for the first two and a half months, then suddenly shoots up around March 12 — the time when offices around the country began to close and workers started working from home due to COVID-19.

Slack uses AWS, so it was able to autoscale and keep up with demand. But while using a cloud service can be a good way of handling a sudden increase in usage, not all companies use external cloud services, and scaling problems can be complex.

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metrics illustration
Looking at performance metrics and usage data together helps determine whether you’re seeing a scaling problem. |…

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