System Design Basic Guide

Posted in System Design on April 16, 2023 by Admin ‐ 4 min read

System Design Basic Guide Ad Sponsored

ⓘ Sponsored by

What is System Design?

Let’s talk about system design by defining it first, System design is the process of defining the architecture, modules, components, interfaces, and data for a software system to satisfy specified requirements which typically involves exploring various options and trade-offs to arrive at a solution that is optimized, reliable, scalable and cost-effective.

It is the most crucial phase in the software development life cycle and involves designing the system in a way that meets the needs of users, stakeholders, and the business.

The goal of system design is to create a blueprint for the system that can be used by developers to build the software. To achieve this, system designers use various techniques to map out the system’s architecture, such as UML diagrams and flowcharts.

The system design process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Requirements gathering: The first step is to gather the requirements for the system. This involves understanding the needs of the users, stakeholders, and the business. System Architecture designThe next step is to define the system architecture, which includes identifying the modules, components, and interfaces that will be used in the system.

  2. Data design: This step involves designing the data model for the system, including the database schema and data flow.

  3. Interface design: In this step, the user interface is designed, including the layout, navigation, and interaction elements.

  4. Algorithm design: This step involves designing the algorithms and logic that will be used in the system.

  5. Security design: This step involves designing the security features of the system, including access control, authentication, and encryption.

  6. Testing and validation: The final step are to test and validate the system design to ensure that it meets the requirements and is functional.

Key aspects of system design are:

  1. Scalability - The system should scale well with increased load. This could be horizontal scaling (adding more servers), vertical scaling (increasing resources on existing servers) or both.

  2. Availability - The system should be available when users need it. This implies having redundancy and fault tolerance built in.

  3. Partition tolerance - The system should continue functioning even if some parts of the infrastructure are unavailable. No single point of failure.

  4. Consistency - The system should ensure data consistency between servers. This is also known as the CAP theorem and involves deciding between consistency, availability and partition tolerance.

  5. Latency - The system should meet certain latency requirements based on the business’s needs. Strategies for reducing latency include caching, replication, load balancing, etc.

  6. Cost - The overall system design should be cost-effective. This could mean reducing infrastructure costs (fewer servers), improving scalability (fewer scaling cycles needed), optimizing processes (reduced overhead) etc.

  7. Feature set - The system should support all the required features and functionality as per specifications. Exploring various design options to implement new features efficiently.

  8. Optimized data storage - Deciding on the right data storage technology/model based on entities, relationships, queries, workload etc. Things like relational vs non-relational, caching vs permanent storage, replication, partitioning, indexing, etc.

We are going to discuss these topics in more depth in each module. Now let’s try to understand why system design in important.

Why learning system design is important?

The system design provides a big-picture view of architecting large-scale software applications. It helps break down complex systems into smaller components to make them easier to understand, scale and optimize.

For software engineers and architects, developing a strong conceptual knowledge of system design is critical. It enables them to make informed choices regarding scalability, performance, high availability, cost and tradeoffs. They can evaluate different technologies and infrastructure options to select the solutions that best meet customer needs.

System design skills open up many opportunities for growth in the technology field. Professionals with these skills are in high demand from companies building massive Internet applications, e-commerce platforms, ad networks, payment gateways, etc. System design concepts like scaling, partitioning, replication, caching, load balancing, databases, microservices etc. form the foundation of many successful systems.

Apart from career prospects, system design thinking improves one’s ability to solve complex problems innovatively and efficiently. It helps develop a broader perspective on architecture, infrastructure and building robust, distributed systems.

For tech companies, system design questions are an important part of the interview process. They want to assess how candidates think about scalability, determine capacity requirements, optimize performance and choose technology fits. Strong system design fundamentals can help land the dream job at a leading organization.

So let’s jump right into these topics, and help you get started on your journey of system design.