Introduction to System Design

Introduction to System Design

Short & Crisp Guide


3 min read

System design is an interesting concept that is used everywhere including some of world's best applications, software and websites (even Hashnode ๐Ÿ˜‚ has its own system design).

Anything from a website to a self-driving car, system design is everywhere. Have you wondered how your favorite online food delivery app handles millions of orders at once? Or how a social media platform stays up and running despite constant activity? That's the magic of system design. Basically, it's a bunch of parts working together to achieve a goal using a blueprint of complex systems.

What exactly is System Design?

Imagine, you are planning for the wedding reception of an epic Indian wedding, but for a website or an app! That's system design. You need a good caterer, the good quality raw materials, and maybe even some cool decorations. Similarly, a system design defines the components, connections, and functionalities that make a system work seamlessly. Whether it's a website, an app, or even a well-organized family gathering, it all comes down to creating a structure that delivers on its purpose, be it delivering delicious food or keeping your relatives entertained!

Breaking down the jargons of System Design

  • Scope & it's resolution: What problem are we solving? Is it a high-performance e-commerce platform or a landing page connected to lead forms? This is like deciding whether you need a sturdy kite frame for windy conditions or a lightweight one for a calm evening. Remember, when working on a system design, its necessary to have a clear understanding of the problems we're trying to solve otherwise it may cause problems in the longer run.

  • Identify core components: Databases store information, servers process it, and APIs connect them. When crafting a kite, you need a strong frame, the right kind of paper to make it fly. Similarly, choose the right tools based on your needs โ€“ don't jump directly to AWS for a small store app! Think resource optimization, like using the resources needed at the moment and scale them according to the demand. Do make sure the resources you're using withstand the traffic demand of your app.

  • Architect the flow: How does data move between components? This is like deciding the string and support structure of your kite. Will users directly interact with the database, or will there be intermediary layers for security and scalability? When working on the data flow, we need to make sure the there's no room for errors while creating the APIs or database connection, it may cause some serious issues for the application in the longer run.

Read More: Web API design best practices - Azure Architecture Center | Microsoft Learn

  • Scale for the future: Can your system handle exponential growth? OfCourse, you can always use modular architecture and cloud technologies to adapt to changing needs, like using expandable strings for your kite to handle stronger winds.

  • Consider non-functional requirements: Speed, reliability, and security are crucial. Remember, even the most beautiful kite crashes without a strong string! Implement performance optimizations, redundancy measures, and robust security protocols.

  • Think efficiently: Optimize resource usage without compromising performance. Don't use a gold-plated server for a simple website, that's like using a diamond-studded string for your kite!

  • Embrace modularity: Build systems that can be easily adapted and expanded. Think detachable components and reusable designs, like interchangeable kite tails for different wind conditions.

  • Automate when possible: Let machines handle repetitive tasks for efficiency. But remember, human ingenuity is still essential, like knowing when to adjust the angle of your kite for optimal flight.

You can follow the System Design roadmap to learn more about System Design.

Cover Image: Adobe Firefly

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