Thursday 27 June 2013

A fourth dimension of scalability

The AKF parners' book Art of Scalability places a justified emphasis on their concept of enabling scalability in three dimensions, as an alternative to "failing up". So, rather than buying a shinier server one designs systems to do one or more of:
  1. Split traffic between multiple servers. Probably with a load balancer in front, each server having the same code and same data and sharing the work round-robin or according to load.
  2. Split between functionality, with different servers for different classes of request. So, for example, logins go to one pool, search to another and so on. The idea being that with specialization servers can be more efficient, if only by what code or data they need to cache and the number of relationships with other servers they must maintain. Also, when managing upgrades on portions of the code base the effect can more easily be split away from impacting other services.
  3. Split by customer. This comes out as a class of specialisation of data; but in this case to do with user data rather than function or functional data. 

Wednesday 26 June 2013


I've been reading REWORK over the last couple of days, an ideal book for odd moments which don't allow a train of thought to build up. I've had the pleasure of using 37signals' BaseCamp in other projects, so I'm predisposed to liking what they do. The book is a good articulation of "do one thing, do it well, do it to please some people, and just get on and do it".

IT as a Utility

This is an old post from another blog, which seems to fit here as well. These are my reflections after the Digital Economy IT as a Utility network+ meeting in January 2012. At the end of the meeting reflections on outcomes and ways forward were invited – below is my contribution.

Tuesday 25 June 2013


A bit over a year ago I went to a workshop, heard some interesting talks and got talking to colleagues, as you do. One conversation tied in with other work I'd been doing and set me thinking about building something. Over time that idea has been developed and worked on, and I've rediscovered the pleasure of creating a product. It ties in with the day job to some extent, but isn't out yet or making me a living. This will be a place for sharing the bits of the process that I hope may be useful to someone else - as I've read plenty of inspiring advice on others' blogs. I'll even try and share what the idea is, and why, along the way!