I'm developing a real-time mobile app by setting up a TCP connection between the app and server backend. Each user can send messages to all other users.
Currently I'm trying to make the backend scalable (and reliable). As far as I can tell, the system could cope with more users by upgrading to a bigger server (which could become rather limiting), or by adding new servers in a cluster configuration - i.e. having several servers sitting behind a load balancer, probably with 1 database they all access.
I have sketched out the rough architecture of this:
However what if the Red user sends a message to all other connected users? Red's server has a TCP connection with Red, but not with Green.
I can think of a one way to deal with this problem:
- Each server could have an open TCP (or SSL) connection with each other server. When one server wants to send a message to all users it simply passes this along it's connection to the other servers. A record could be kept in the database of which servers are online (and their IP address), and one of the servers could be a boss - i.e. decides if others are up and running, if not it could remove them from the database (if a server was up and lost it's connection to the boss it could check the database and see if it had been removed, and restart if it had - else it could assume the boss was down.)
Clearly this needs refinement but shows the general principle.
Alternatively I'm not sure if this is possible (- definitely seems like wishful thinking on my part):
- Perhaps users could just connect to a box or router, and all servers could message all users through it?
If you know how to cluster TCP servers effectively, or a design pattern that provides a solution, or have any comments at all, then I would be very grateful. Thank you :-)