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Scalability Rules: 50 Principles for Scaling Web Sites

Book Review Team
Bartender

Joined: Feb 15, 2002
Posts: 937
Author/s    : Martin L. Abbott, Michael T. Fisher
Publisher   : Addison-Wesley Professional
Category   : Project Management, Process and Best Practices
Review by : Matthew Brown
Rating        : 9 horseshoes

This book distils the experience of two practitioners in the field of scalability into a set of rules intended to help anyone building and supporting web applications make sure their products are scalable. And when they say scalable, they mean seriously scalable. They frequently refer to "hyper-growth" companies - the sort of potential Facebooks that might need to allow for almost unlimited growth and don't want to be held back by an infrastructure that can't cope.

The 50 rules themselves cover a very varied range. Some are very high level: "Learn Aggressively" being one such. While not mixing networking gear from different vendors is one of the more specific recommendations. Some may be more controversial but are strongly argued for on scalability grounds. Each has a brief summary of What, When, How and Why, followed by a more detailed (but still fairly brief) discussion of why the rule is important and how to go about using it. At the end the rules are prioritised according to cost and impact.

A couple of themes are common throughout the book. One is their concept of a Scale Cube, illustrating the three axes of scaling (replication, splitting by function, and splitting by affinity). Another, which is striking in what is essentially a technical book, is a very consistent focus on the underlying business: for example, the authors' insistence on ensuring the cost of handling data is less that its value.

There's lots of useful and interesting stuff to learn here, even for those that won't get a chance to put it all into practice, and the format and size make it one to dip in to frequently.


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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

More info at Amazon.com
Book Review Team
Bartender

Joined: Feb 15, 2002
Posts: 937
Review by : Deepak Bala
Rating        : 8 horseshoes

Scalability rules is a book that contains short excerpts of useful advice. When reading through the pages, I can easily relate to the limitations mentioned in the book which will affect scalability and performance. Many rules are derived from real world experience which you can benefit from.

Some of the topics covered in this book are caching at various layers; how caching can affect state; technologies that can help you scale; types of scaling; database related recommendations on scaling etc etc. You can certainly learn a thing or two while going through these rules.

Now, For what I didn't like about the book...

1. The authors kept plugging in their website into the discussion.
2. Sometimes the alternative discussed to a specific problem was not as elaborate as it should have been.

Overall this is a book that will serve you well as a short reference on things you need to keep in mind while designing solutions to scale. I would certainly recommend it to a co-worker.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

More info at Amazon.com
 
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