How to Create a Node.js Cluster for Speeding Up Your Apps

Node.js is becoming more and more popular as a server-side run-time environment, especially for high traffic websites, as statistics show. Also, the availability of several frameworks make it a good environment for rapid prototyping. Node.js has an event-driven architecture, leveraging a non-blocking I/O API that allows requests being processed asynchronously.

One of the important and often less highlighted features of Node.js is its scalability. In fact, this is the main reason why some large companies with heavy traffic are integrating Node.js in their platform (e.g., Microsoft, Yahoo, Uber, and Walmart) or even completely moving their server-side operations to Node.js (e.g., PayPal, eBay, and Groupon).

Each Node.js process runs in a single thread and by default it has a memory limit of 512MB on 32-bit systems and 1GB on 64-bit systems. Although the memory limit can be bumped to ~1GB on 32-bit systems and ~1.7GB on 64-bit systems, both memory and processing power can still become bottlenecks for various processes.

The elegant solution Node.js provides for scaling up the applications is to split a single process into multiple processes or workers, in Node.js terminology. This can be achieved through a cluster module. The cluster module allows you to create child processes (workers), which share all the server ports with the main Node process (master).

In this article you’ll see how to create a Node.js cluster for speeding up your applications.