The Art of Scalability: Scalable Web Architecture, Processes, and Organizations for the Modern Enterprise [NOOK Book]

Overview

“This book is much more than you may think it is. Scale is not just about designing Web sites that don’t crash when lots of users show up. It is about designing your company so that it doesn’t crash when your business needs to grow. These guys have been there on the front lines of some of the most successful Internet companies of our time, and they share the good, the bad, and the ugly about how to not just survive, but thrive.”

–Marty Cagan, Founder, Silicon Valley Product Group

 

“A must read for anyone building a Web service for the mass

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The Art of Scalability: Scalable Web Architecture, Processes, and Organizations for the Modern Enterprise

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Overview

“This book is much more than you may think it is. Scale is not just about designing Web sites that don’t crash when lots of users show up. It is about designing your company so that it doesn’t crash when your business needs to grow. These guys have been there on the front lines of some of the most successful Internet companies of our time, and they share the good, the bad, and the ugly about how to not just survive, but thrive.”

–Marty Cagan, Founder, Silicon Valley Product Group

 

“A must read for anyone building a Web service for the mass market.”

–Dana Stalder, General Partner, Matrix Partners

 

“Abbott and Fisher have deep experiences with scale in both large and small enterprises. What’s unique about their approach to scalability is they start by focusing on the true foundation: people and process, without which true scalability cannot be built. Abbott and Fisher leverage their years of experience in a very accessible and practical approach to scalability that has been proven over time with their significant success.”

–Geoffrey Weber, VP of Internet Operations/IT, Shutterfly

 

“If I wanted the best diagnoses for my health I would go to the Mayo Clinic. If I wanted the best diagnoses for my portfolio companies’ performance and scalability I would call Martin and Michael. They have recommended solutions to performance and scalability issues that have saved some of my companies from a total rewrite of the system.”

–Warren M. Weiss, General Partner, Foundation Capital

 

“As a manager whoworked under Michael Fisher and Marty Abbott during my time at PayPal/eBay, the opportunity to directly absorb the lessons and experiences presented in this book are invaluable to me now working at Facebook.”

–Yishan Wong, Director of Engineering, Facebook

 

“The Art of Scalability is by far the best book on scalability on the market today. The authors tackle the issues of scalability from processes, to people, to performance, to the highly technical. Whether your organization is just starting out and is defining processes as you go, or you are a mature organization, this is the ideal book to help you deal with scalability issues before, during, or after an incident. Having built several projects, programs, and companies from small to significant scale, I can honestly say I wish I had this book one, five, and ten years ago.”

–Jeremy Wright, CEO, b5media, Inc.

 

“Only a handful of people in the world have experienced the kind of growth-related challenges that Fisher and Abbott have seen at eBay, PayPal, and the other companies they’ve helped to build. Fewer still have successfully overcome such challenges. The Art of Scalability provides a great summary of lessons learned while scaling two of the largest internet companies in the history of the space, and it’s a must-read for any executive at a hyper-growth company. What’s more, it’s well-written and highly entertaining. I couldn’t put it down.”

–Kevin Fortuna, Partner, AKF Consulting

 

“Marty and Mike’s book covers all the bases, from understanding how to build a scalable organization to the processes and technology necessary to run a highly scalable architecture. They have packed in a ton of great practical solutions from real world experiences. This book is a must-read for anyone having difficulty managing the scale of a hyper-growth company or a startup hoping to achieve hyper growth.”

–Tom Keeven, Partner, AKF Consulting

 

The Art of Scalability is remarkable in its wealth of information and clarity; the authors provide novel, practical, and demystifying approaches to identify, predict, and resolve scalability problems before they surface. Marty Abbott and Michael Fisher use their rich experience and vision, providing unique and groundbreaking tools to assist small and hyper-growth organizations as they maneuver in today’s demanding technological environments.”

–Joseph M. Potenza, Attorney, Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.

 

A Comprehensive, Proven Approach to IT Scalability from Two Veteran Software, Technology, and Business Executives

 

In The Art of Scalability, AKF Partners cofounders Martin L. Abbott and Michael T. Fisher cover everything IT and business leaders must know to build technology infrastructures that can scale smoothly to meet any business requirement. Drawing on their unparalleled experience managing some of the world’s highest-transaction-volume Web sites, the authors provide detailed models and best-practice approaches available in no other book.

 

Unlike previous books on scalability, The Art of Scalability doesn’t limit its coverage to technology. Writing for both technical and nontechnical decision-makers, this book covers everything that impacts scalability, including architecture, processes, people, and organizations.

 

Throughout, the authors address a broad spectrum of real-world challenges, from performance testing to IT governance. Using their tools and guidance, organizations can systematically overcome obstacles to scalability and achieve unprecedented levels of technical and business performance.

 

Coverage includes

  • Staffing the scalable organization: essential organizational, management, and leadership skills for technical leaders
  • Building processes for scale: process lessons from hyper-growth companies, from technical issue resolution to crisis management
  • Making better “build versus buy” decisions
  • Architecting scalable solutions: powerful proprietary models for identifying scalability needs and choosing the best approaches to meet them
  • Optimizing performance through caching, application and database splitting, and asynchronous design
  • Scalability techniques for emerging technologies, including clouds and grids
  • Planning for rapid data growth and new data centers
  • Evolving monitoring strategies to tightly align with customer requirements
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for The Art of Scalability, Second Edition

“A how-to manual for building a world-class engineering organization with step-by-step instructions on everything including leadership, architecture, operations, and processes. A driver’s manual for going from 0 to 60, scaling your business. With this book published, there’s no excuse for mistakes—in other words, RTFM.”

—Lon F. Binder, vice president, technology, Warby Parker

“I’ve worked with AKF for years on tough technical challenges. Many books address how to correct failing product architectures or problematic processes, both of which are symptoms of an unspoken problem. This book not only covers those symptoms, but also addresses their underlying cause—the way in which we manage, lead, organize, and staff our teams.”

—Jeremy King, chief technology officer and senior vice president, global ecommerce, Walmart.com

“I love this book because it teaches an important lesson most technology-focused books don’t: how to build highly scalable and successful technology organizations that build highly scalable technology solutions. There’s plenty of great technology coaching in this book, but there are also excellent examples of how to build scalable culture, principles, processes, and decision trees. This book remains one of my few constant go-to reference guides.”

—Chris Schremser, chief technology officer, ZirMed

Praise for the First Edition

“This book is much more than you may think it is. Scale is not just about designing Web sites that don’t crash when lots of users show up. It is about designing your company so that it doesn’t crash when your business needs to grow. These guys have been there on the front lines of some of the most successful Internet companies of our time, and they share the good, the bad, and the ugly about how to not just survive, but thrive.”

—Marty Cagan, founder, Silicon Valley Product Group

“A must read for anyone building a Web service for the mass market.”

—Dana Stalder, general partner, Matrix Partners

“Abbott and Fisher have deep experiences with scale in both large and small enterprises. What’s unique about their approach to scalability is they start by focusing on the true foundation: people and process, without which true scalability cannot be built. Abbott and Fisher leverage their years of experience in a very accessible and practical approach to scalability that has been proven over time with their significant success.”

—Geoffrey Weber, vice president of internet operations/IT, Shutterfly

“If I wanted the best diagnoses for my health I would go to the Mayo Clinic. If I wanted the best diagnoses for my portfolio companies’ performance and scalability I would call Martin and Michael. They have recommended solutions to performance and scalability issues that have saved some of my companies from a total rewrite of the system.”

—Warren M. Weiss, general partner, Foundation Capital

“As a manager who worked under Michael Fisher and Marty Abbott during my time at PayPal/eBay, the opportunity to directly absorb the lessons and experiences presented in this book are invaluable to me now working at Facebook.”

—Yishan Wong, former CEO, Reddit, and former director of engineering, Facebook

The Art of Scalability is by far the best book on scalability on the market today. The authors tackle the issues of scalability from processes, to people, to performance, to the highly technical. Whether your organization is just starting out and is defining processes as you go, or you are a mature organization, this is the ideal book to help you deal with scalability issues before, during, or after an incident. Having built several projects, programs, and companies from small to significant scale, I can honestly say I wish I had this book one, five, and ten years ago.”

—Jeremy Wright, chief executive officer, b5media, Inc.

“Only a handful of people in the world have experienced the kind of growth-related challenges that Fisher and Abbott have seen at eBay, PayPal, and the other companies they’ve helped to build. Fewer still have successfully overcome such challenges. The Art of Scalability provides a great summary of lessons learned while scaling two of the largest internet companies in the history of the space, and it’s a must-read for any executive at a hyper-growth company. What’s more, it’s well-written and highly entertaining. I couldn’t put it down.”

—Kevin Fortuna, partner, AKF Consulting

“Marty and Mike’s book covers all the bases, from understanding how to build a scalable organization to the processes and technology necessary to run a highly scalable architecture. They have packed in a ton of great practical solutions from real world experiences. This book is a must-read for anyone having difficulty managing the scale of a hyper-growth company or a startup hoping to achieve hyper growth.”

—Tom Keeven, partner, AKF Consulting

The Art of Scalability is remarkable in its wealth of information and clarity; the authors provide novel, practical, and demystifying approaches to identify, predict, and resolve scalability problems before they surface. Marty Abbott and Michael Fisher use their rich experience and vision, providing unique and groundbreaking tools to assist small and hyper-growth organizations as they maneuver in today’s demanding technological environments.”

—Joseph M. Potenza, attorney, Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780137031399
  • Publisher: Pearson Education
  • Publication date: 12/29/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 592
  • Sales rank: 762,078
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Martin L. Abbott is a founding partner at the growth and scalability advisory firm AKF Partners. He was formerly chief operations officer at Quigo, an advertising technology startup sold to AOL, where he was responsible for product strategy, product management, technology development, and client services. Marty spent nearly six years at eBay, most recently as senior vice president of technology, chief technology officer, and member of the executive staff. Prior to his time at eBay, Marty held domestic and international engineering, management, and executive positions at Gateway and Motorola. He has served on the boards of directors of several private and public companies. Marty has a B.S. in computer science from the United States Military Academy, has an M.S. in computer engineering from the University of Florida, is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Executive Education Program, and has a Doctor of Management from Case Western Reserve University.

Michael T. Fisher is a founding partner at the growth and scalability advisory firm AKF Partners. Prior to cofounding AKF Partners, Michael was the chief technology officer at Quigo, a startup Internet advertising company that was acquired by AOL in 2007. Before his time at Quigo, Michael served as vice president, engineering and architecture, for PayPal, Inc., an eBay company. Prior to joining PayPal, he spent seven years at General Electric helping to develop the company’s technology strategy and was a Six Sigma Master Black Belt. Michael served six years as a Captain and pilot in the U.S. Army. He received a Ph.D. and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management, an M.S. in information systems from Hawaii-Pacific University, and a B.S. in computer science from the United States Military Academy (West Point). Michael is an adjunct professor in the design and innovation department at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management.

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Table of Contents

Foreword xxiii

Acknowledgments xxvii

About the Authors xxix

Introduction 1

Part I: Staffing a Scalable Organization 7

Chapter 1: The Impact of People and Leadership on Scalability 9

The Case Method 9

Why People? 10

Why Organizations? 11

Why Management and Leadership? 17

Conclusion 19

Chapter 2: Roles for the Scalable Technology Organization 21

The Effects of Failure 21

Defining Roles 23

Executive Responsibilities 25

Individual Contributor Responsibilities 30

A Tool for Defining Responsibilities 35

Conclusion 39

Chapter 3: Designing Organizations 41

Organizational Influences That Affect Scalability 41

Team Size 44

Organizational Structure 51

Conclusion 69

Chapter 4: Leadership 101 71

What Is Leadership? 72

Leadership: A Conceptual Model 74

Taking Stock of Who You Are 76

Leading from the Front 78

Checking Your Ego at the Door 79

Mission First, People Always 80

Making Timely, Sound, and Morally Correct Decisions 81

Empowering Teams and Scalability 82

Alignment with Shareholder Value 83

Transformational Leadership 84

Vision 84

Mission 87

Goals 89

Putting It All Together 90

The Causal Roadmap to Success 94

Conclusion 95

Chapter 5: Management 101 99

What Is Management? 100

Project and Task Management 102

Building Teams: A Sports Analogy 105

Upgrading Teams: A Garden Analogy 107

Measurement, Metrics, and Goal Evaluation 111

The Goal Tree 114

Paving the Path for Success 115

Conclusion 116

Chapter 6: Relationships, Mindset, and the Business Case 119

Understanding the Experiential Chasm 119

Defeating the IT Mindset 122

The Business Case for Scale 124

Conclusion 127

Part II: Building Processes for Scale 129

Chapter 7: Why Processes Are Critical to Scale 131

The Purpose of Process 132

Right Time, Right Process 135

When Good Processes Go Bad 139

Conclusion 140

Chapter 8: Managing Incidents and Problems 143

What Is an Incident? 144

What Is a Problem? 145

The Components of Incident Management 146

The Components of Problem Management 149

Resolving Conflicts Between Incident and Problem Management 150

Incident and Problem Life Cycles 150

Implementing the Daily Incident Meeting 152

Implementing the Quarterly Incident Review 153

The Postmortem Process 153

Putting It All Together 156

Conclusion 157

Chapter 9: Managing Crises and Escalations 159

What Is a Crisis? 160

Why Differentiate a Crisis from Any Other Incident? 161

How Crises Can Change a Company 162

Order Out of Chaos 163

Communications and Control 168

The War Room 169

Escalations 170

Status Communications 171

Crisis Postmortem and Communication 172

Conclusion 173

Chapter 10: Controlling Change in Production Environments 177

What Is a Change? 178

Change Identification 179

Change Management 180

The Change Control Meeting 191

Continuous Process Improvement 192

Conclusion 193

Chapter 11: Determining Headroom for Applications 197

Purpose of the Process 198

Structure of the Process 199

Ideal Usage Percentage 203

A Quick Example Using Spreadsheets 206

Conclusion 207

Chapter 12: Establishing Architectural Principles 209

Principles and Goals 209

Principle Selection 212

AKF’s Most Commonly Adopted Architectural Principles 214

Conclusion 222

Chapter 13: Joint Architecture Design and Architecture Review Board 225

Fixing Organizational Dysfunction 225

Designing for Scale Cross-Functionally 226

JAD Entry and Exit Criteria 228

From JAD to ARB 230

Conducting the Meeting 232

ARB Entry and Exit Criteria 234

Conclusion 236

Chapter 14: Agile Architecture Design 239

Architecture in Agile Organizations 240

Ownership of Architecture 241

Limited Resources 242

Standards 243

ARB in the Agile Organization 246

Conclusion 247

Chapter 15: Focus on Core Competencies: Build Versus Buy 249

Building Versus Buying, and Scalability 249

Focusing on Cost 250

Focusing on Strategy 251

“Not Built Here” Phenomenon 252

Merging Cost and Strategy 252

Does This Component Create Strategic Competitive Differentiation? 253

Are We the Best Owners of This Component or Asset? 253

What Is the Competition for This Component? 254

Can We Build This Component Cost-Effectively? 254

The Best Buy Decision Ever 255

Anatomy of a Build-It-Yourself Failure 256

Conclusion 258

Chapter 16: Determining Risk 259

Importance of Risk Management to Scale 259

Measuring Risk 261

Managing Risk 268

Conclusion 271

Chapter 17: Performance and Stress Testing 273

Performing Performance Testing 273

Don’t Stress over Stress Testing 281

Performance and Stress Testing for Scalability 287

Conclusion 288

Chapter 18: Barrier Conditions and Rollback 291

Barrier Conditions 291

Rollback Capabilities 297

Markdown Functionality: Design to Be Disabled 300

Conclusion 301

Chapter 19: Fast or Right? 303

Tradeoffs in Business 303

Relation to Scalability 306

How to Think About the Decision 307

Conclusion 311

Part III: Architecting Scalable Solutions 315

Chapter 20: Designing for Any Technology 317

An Implementation Is Not an Architecture 317

Technology-Agnostic Design 318

The TAD Approach 323

Conclusion 325

Chapter 21: Creating Fault-Isolative Architectural Structures 327

Fault-Isolative Architecture Terms 327

Benefits of Fault Isolation 329

How to Approach Fault Isolation 336

When to Implement Fault Isolation 339

How to Test Fault-Isolative Designs 341

Conclusion 341

Chapter 22: Introduction to the AKF Scale Cube 343

The AKF Scale Cube 343

The x-Axis of the Cube 344

The y-Axis of the Cube 346

The z-Axis of the Cube 349

Putting It All Together 350

When and Where to Use the Cube 352

Conclusion 353

Chapter 23: Splitting Applications for Scale 357

The AKF Scale Cube for Applications 357

The x-Axis of the AKF Application Scale Cube 359

The y-Axis of the AKF Application Scale Cube 361

The z-Axis of the AKF Application Scale Cube 363

Putting It All Together 365

Practical Use of the Application Cube 367

Conclusion 371

Chapter 24: Splitting Databases for Scale 375

Applying the AKF Scale Cube to Databases 375

The x-Axis of the AKF Database Scale Cube 376

The y-Axis of the AKF Database Scale Cube 381

The z-Axis of the AKF Database Scale Cube 383

Putting It All Together 385

Practical Use of the Database Cube 388

Conclusion 393

Chapter 25: Caching for Performance and Scale 395

Caching Defined 395

Object Caches 399

Application Caches 402

Content Delivery Networks 407

Conclusion 408

Chapter 26: Asynchronous Design for Scale 411

Synching Up on Synchronization 411

Synchronous Versus Asynchronous Calls 412

Defining State 418

Conclusion 422

Part IV: Solving Other Issues and Challenges 425

Chapter 27: Too Much Data 427

The Cost of Data 427

The Value of Data and the Cost-Value Dilemma 430

Making Data Profitable 431

Handling Large Amounts of Data 434

Conclusion 444

Chapter 28: Grid Computing 447

History of Grid Computing 447

Pros and Cons of Grids 449

Different Uses for Grid Computing 454

Conclusion 457

Chapter 29: Soaring in the Clouds 459

History and Definitions 460

Characteristics and Architecture of Clouds 463

Differences Between Clouds and Grids 467

Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing 468

Where Clouds Fit in Different Companies 476

Decision Process 478

Conclusion 481

Chapter 30: Making Applications Cloud Ready 485

The Scale Cube in a Cloud 485

Overcoming Challenges 487

Intuit Case Study 491

Conclusion 493

Chapter 31: Monitoring Applications 495

“Why Didn’t We Catch That Earlier?” 495

A Framework for Monitoring 496

Measuring Monitoring: What Is and Isn’t Valuable? 503

Monitoring and Processes 504

Conclusion 506

Chapter 32: Planning Data Centers 509

Data Center Costs and Constraints 509

Location, Location, Location 511

Data Centers and Incremental Growth 514

When Do I Consider IaaS? 516

Three Magic Rules of Three 519

Multiple Active Data Center Considerations 525

Conclusion 527

Chapter 33: Putting It All Together 531

What to Do Now? 532

Further Resources on Scalability 535

Part V: Appendices 537

Appendix A: Calculating Availability 539

Hardware Uptime 540

Customer Complaints 541

Portion of Site Down 542

Third-Party Monitoring Service 543

Business Graph 544

Appendix B: Capacity Planning Calculations 547

Appendix C: Load and Performance Calculations 555

Index 563

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 21, 2009

    Read this book before it's too late

    Please note that I am basing these comments on an early version of the manuscript that I had the opportunity to review:

    One of the most difficult challenges in the Internet era is "surviving success." Yes, you may think this is a good problem to have, but that's little consolation if your company goes under because you couldn't scale your business or your software. If you've come up with something promising, and your business is off to a good start, then I can only hope you don't read this too late.

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