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Stuff The Internet Says On Scalability For October 23rd, 2015

Hey, it's HighScalability time:

The amazing story of Voyager's walkabout and the three body problem.

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  • $18 billion: wasted on US Army Future Combat system; 70%: Americans who support an Internet sales tax;  $1.3 billion: wasted on an interoperable health record system; trillions: NSA breaking Web and VPN connections; 615: human data teams beat by a computer; $900,000: cost of apps on your smartphone 30 years ago.

  • Quotable Quotes:
    • @PatrickMcFadin: 'Sup 10x coder. Grace Hopper invented the compiler and has a US Navy destroyer named after her. Just how badass are you again?
    • @benwerd: I love Marty McFly too, but more importantly, the first transatlantic voice transmission was sent 100 years ago today. What a century.
    • Martin Goodwell: The nearly two-billion requests that Netflix receives each day result in roughly 20 billion internal API calls.
    • sigma914: It's great to see people implementing distributed services using a vertically scalable technology stack again. The past ~decade has seen a lot of "We can scale sideways so constant overheads are irrelevant! We'll just use Java and add more machines!" which, in real life, seems to leave a lot of performance on the table.
    • Eric Schmidt: The way you build great products is small teams with strong leaders who make tradeoffs and work all night to build a product that just barely works.
    • @boulderDanH: We adopted stateful services early on @VictorOps and I always worried we were crazy. Maybe not
    • @jamesallworth: "The pressure for conformity isn’t limited to car design, it affects *everything*."
    • Eric Schmidt: Hindsight is always that you make the important decisions more quickly.
    • @fromroots: Facebook bought Instagram and WhatsApp to block Chinese competitors like Tencent and Alibaba from scaling globally quickly
    • Eric Schmidt: You’ve got to have products that can scale. What’s new is that once you have that product, you can scale very quickly. Look at Uber.
    • David Ehrenberg: So, before scaling, build your plan, get your systems in place, control your cash burn, create meaningful milestones and plan for cash-flow positive. That’s the foundation to successfully scale.
    • Francis Fukuyama: Hence patrimonialism has evolved into what is called “neopatrimonialism,” in which political leaders adopt the outward forms of modern states—with bureaucracies, legal systems, elections, and the like—and yet in reality rule for private gain. 
    • @sandromancuso: I hate all these bloody Java frameworks. Why devs keep using them? No, you won’t die if you write some code yourself. 
    • Eric Schmidt: Their point was that the industry overvalues experience, and undervalues strategic and tactical flexibility.
    • @AWSUserGroupUK: Daily load fluctuates by two orders of magnitude - auto scaling architecture is essential #BMW #reinvent
    • @tpechacek: “The greatest shortcoming of the human race,” he said, “is our inability to understand the exponential function”
    • @mjpt777: +1000 "Programming with Java concurrency is like working with the inlaws. You never know will happen." - @venkat_s #jokerconf
    • Eric Schmidt: The teams are far larger than they should be. It’s a failure of architecture — the programmers don’t have the right libraries. I hope that machine learning will fix that problem.
    • Marcus Zetterquist: Start using writing your C++, Java and Javascript code using pure functions and immutability NOW. It gets super powers
    • Eric Schmidt: Companies like ours have so much cash that the main limit is opportunities to deploy it.
    • @berkson0: Loving and hating the Scaling keynote at #AWS #reinvent. All my painfully earned infrastructure experience rendered superfluous <sigh>
    • Eric Schmidt: The day we turned on the auctions, revenue tripled.
    • James S.A. Corey: Awareness is a function of the brain just like vision or motor control or language. It isn’t exempt from being broken
    • @mitchellh: Sure, but scaling linearly from millions to trillions of requests won’t scale financially. I’m talking about financial efficiency
    • Anil Ananthaswamy: It turns out that in order to anchor the self to the body, the brain has to integrate signals from within the body with external sensations, and with sensations of position and balance. When something goes wrong with brain regions that integrate all these signals, the results are even more dramatic than out-of-body experiences
    • @alemacgo: “The whole point of science is to penetrate the fog of human senses, including common sense.”
    • @themadstone: Why is life special? Bc a billionth of a billionth of a fraction of all matter in the universe is living matter.

  • Oh how the world has changed. Here's an email from 1996: Alta Vista is a very large project, requiring the cooperation of at least 5 servers, configured for searching huge indices and handling a huge Internet traffic load. The initial hardware configuration for Alta Vista is as follows... 

  • AWS has helped change the VC industry. AWS and Venture Capital. Getting a new company off the ground takes less than a few hundred thousand dollars these days. With AWS all you have are the variable costs of what you use. Gone are the days of needing to buy a bunch of servers and the people to maintain them. Old news. More interesting is because less money is now needed to start a venture more people can help ventures get started. VC incentives are aligned with companies that need to grow quickly, like an Uber. Given that a VC only needs one in ten investments or so to be a huge hit, it's best for a VC if those other nine die as fast as possible to minimize costs. This may not align with your interests if you would like grow more organically. It's unprofitable for VCs to play in the seed funding realm. VCs used to win because they had access to capital and superior information, both of which have been commoditized at today's lower funding levels and higher availability of expertise. So if you want get to heaven, you may need an Angel.

  • Here's the IPv6 carrot. Accessing Facebook can be 10-15 percent faster over IPv6. IPv6: It's time to get on board.

  • A good collection of Scalability Design Principles: Avoid the single point of failure; Scale horizontally, not vertically; Push work as far away from the core as possible; API first; Cache everything, always; Provide as fresh as needed data; Design for maintenance and automation; Design for maintenance and automation; Strive for statelessness; Strive for statelessness.

  • One view of Scaling On The Cheap~ think about architecture in a way that let’s you avoid future pain; Never render HTML to be delivered to a web browser on the server on an individual request basis; use a static site scaled by a CDN that builds pages through a backend API; render on the client; cache using local storage

  • Is there a  Square-Cube Law for IT? Scaling laws and the speed of animals: A recent paper found that the time it takes for an animal to move the length of its own body is largely independent of mass...The Square-Cube Law essentially states that if something, be it a chair or a person or whatever, were made twice as tall, twice as wide, and twice as deep, its volume and mass would increase by a factor of eight, but its ability to support that mass, its cross sectional area, would only increase by a factor of four. This means as things get bigger, their own weight becomes more significant compared to their strength (ants can carry 50 times their own weight, squirrels can run up trees, and humans can do pullups).

  • Listen all ye to Joe Beda on what is The next modern platform?: platform as a service (PaaS) is being reinvented as a set of composable systems and services that combines ease of use with depth to enable new architectures...You achieve a reduced operational burden by automating everything and providing insight and debuggabilty such that you are no longer dealing with machines but instead you are dealing with higher level logical constructs...When we were building Google Compute Engine, I viewed virtual machines on GCE as a transitional technology. VMs will always be around but there is a better world out there if we get past the local maxima that we are at with the current infrastructure offerings...Kubernetes is a key part of this platform, but it is definitely not the end of the story. < Also, Kubernetes: The Future of Cloud Hosting.

  • I got this wrong. Never thought an add free subscription based YouTube would happen. The reason is it removes your best advertising targets, those willing to pay, out of the advertising pool. Though it could be a division of YouTube into two tranches. One that provides a subscription income from presumably older paying customers. The second is a targeted pool of impressionable millennials for brand advertising. 

  • The Galaxy That Got Too Big: In the chemical world, scale defines identity: Add a proton to the nucleus of an atom, and a whole new element emerges...Big genomes come with big disadvantages. Larger genomes take longer to copy, slowing an organism’s rate of growth, reproduction, and ultimately adaptation

  • Videos for the Notifications Summit are now available. On a blog. Irony noted.

  • Iris Decentralized Cloud Messaging: The reality is that distributed systems are not built with the instance as the smallest unit of composition in mind, they’re built with services in mind...In order to avoid the problem of addressing instances, Iris considers clusters to be the smallest logical blocks of which systems are composed...Iris appears to be a reasonable compromise between the decentralized nature of the brokerless systems and the minimal-configuration and management of the brokered ones. Its intrinsic value lies in its ability to hide the complexities of the underlying infrastructure behind distributed systems. 

  • Neither can a lot of people. I can't believe Apple is selling a 4k iMac with a 5400 RPM HDD as a default... So much for user experience.

  • Microservices are a problem because there are so damn many of them. Here's an interesting take on How to load-balance microservices at web-scale: You should seriously consider running edge services to handle your inbound traffic. And definitely load-balance your edge services with whatever mechanism is provided by your cloud provider. All internal traffic should be handled by your own tools as this allows you to run your environment with minimal configuration overhead. So, ultimately, the most important tool required for effective scaling in microservices is, not surprisingly, load balancing.

  • If you ever want to pass over the The Rainbow Bridge for programmers you'll need to know this stuff. Understanding Bitwise Operators.

  • Benjamin Wootton with a nicely detailed Introduction to EC2 Container Service: ECS and its equivalent Google Container Engine are very important components of the container ecosystem. Developing code and deploying within containers is easy, whereas running an orchestration layer such as Kubernetes or Mesos is a step up in sophistication for the average shop. ECS gives a simple, accessible, stable, PaaS like platform for containers, and we find this hugely exciting, even at this relatively early stage in its evolution.

  • Just as it says. Spinning up a Spark Cluster on Spot Instances: Step by Step

  • tCache: Scalable data-aware Java Caching.

Reader Comments (2)

Iris was a very, very interesting system. However, the author finished his PHd and looked for corporate sponsorship to continue the project, but nobody stepped up, so now it is no longer being actively worked on :(

October 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPierre Chapuis

How do you square "cache everything, always" with "strive for statelessness"? Soft state only, I guess? If that is not what's meant, it seems impossible by definition :-).

October 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSteven Phillips

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