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

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

by Martin Abbott, Michael Fisher

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The Comprehensive, Proven Approach to IT Scalability–Updated with New Strategies, Technologies, and Case Studies


In The Art of Scalability, Second Edition, leading scalability consultants Martin L. Abbott and Michael T. Fisher cover everything you need to know to smoothly scale products and services for any requirement. This extensively revised edition reflects new technologies, strategies, and lessons, as well as new case studies from the authors’ pioneering consulting practice, AKF Partners.


Writing for technical and nontechnical decision-makers, Abbott and Fisher cover everything that impacts scalability, including architecture, process, people, organization, and technology. Their insights and recommendations reflect more than thirty years of experience at companies ranging from eBay to Visa, and to Apple.


You’ll find updated strategies for structuring organizations to maximize agility and scalability, as well as new insights into the cloud (IaaS/PaaS) transition, NoSQL, DevOps, business metrics, and more. Using this guide’s tools and advice, you can systematically clear away obstacles to scalability–and achieve unprecedented IT and business performance.


Coverage includes

• Why scalability problems start with organizations and people, not technology, and what to do about it

• Actionable lessons from real successes and failures

• Staffing, structuring, and leading the agile, scalable organization

• Scaling processes for hyper-growth environments

• Architecting scalability: proprietary models for clarifying needs and making choices–including 15 key success principles

• Emerging technologies and challenges: data cost, datacenter planning, cloud evolution, and customer-aligned monitoring

• Measuring availability, capacity, load, and performance

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780134031385
Publisher: Pearson Education
Publication date: 05/23/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 624
File size: 7 MB

About 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.

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

Customer Reviews