Recommend 37signals Still Happily Scaling on Moore RAM and SSDs (Email)

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There are so many architectural ideas swirling in the bit wind these days. Two of the biggest battles are cloud vs. bare metal and RAM vs. disk vs. SSD. 37signals has published two solid articles that are counter hype cycle in their message:

Technologists who grew up when RAM cost $1,000 per megabyte can have a hard time dealing with the luxury of RAM being virtually free.

The progress of technology is throwing an ever greater number of optimizations into the “premature evil” bucket never to be seen again.

37signals made quite a stir with their money shot of the 864GB of RAM they bought for a mere $12K as part of their caching layer for Basecamp. That's a lot of memory for not a lot of money. There's nothing like actually seeing it in the flesh to bring the point home. Does that make Memory Based Architectures a little more appealing?

37signals then followed up with another provocative article: Three years later, Mr. Moore is still letting us punt on database sharding. The gist is scaling up is working for them. RAM is getting cheaper and FusionIO is getting faster, so they've been able to avoid architecture complexifications like sharding. Does that make SSD based architectures a little more appealing?

StackExchange is in much the same position, with a different stack, but with sympatico core ideas and comparable results. The learning: In your transaction oriented features, if you aren't Googleish in your requirements, then scale-up using bare metal, RAM, and SSD may be the way to go. The tug you feel towards the cloud and horizontal scaling may just be a strong consensus wind a blowin'.

Some of the key takeways are: 

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