July 20–21, 2010
The Art of Scalability: Scalable Web Architecture, Processes, and Organizations for the Modern Enterprise by Martin Abbott and Michael Fisher
Long Fuse, Big Bang: Achieving Long-Term Success Through Daily Victories by Eric Haseltine
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• Quality at scale
• Failure and recovery
• Designed and evolved scalability
• Limits to scale
• Reliability and resilience
• Complex systems
• "Good enough" solutions
• Breaking points and bottlenecks
What are the components, necessary parameters, and conditions of scale? Can we cope with, measure, model, or even envision large, complex systems? How do we know we have achieved scalability?
Today, we build systems and networks on a scale that rival those of Mother Nature without the wisdom she’s honed over 3.5 billion years. We sometimes forget that issues of scale also occur in nano worlds. Saying that a system scales usually means we haven’t found its break points or pushed it hard enough. Continued growth and sustainability, combined with reliability and resilience, are at the very core of scale.
In large, deeply intermingled and intertwined systems, we can rarely predict the cascade effects of systemwide or even single-node failure. If the threat of failure is always present, can we develop escape plans, and how do we recover? In system design, we can choose between over-engineering, proportional engineering, or a solution that is “good enough.” Can we simulate enough about the behavior of a system to give us the insights we need? Should we look to biology for inspiration? Should we just let systems evolve?
Spanning the movement of people and goods through electronic networks, social networks, and physical systems will add hidden complexity. For very large networked and nonlinear systems, we will need to apply artificial intelligence and artificial life to help us understand the criticalities and implications of potential solutions. What will happen when we include AI and AL, where things negotiate and decide independently, and how will this scale? Our linear brains must be able to deal with the complex, interconnected world we are building today and understand that scale matters.