Paperback: 624 pages
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 2 edition (June 13, 2015)
Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #223,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #358 in Books > Computers & Technology > Web Development & Design > Web Design #3064 in Books > Textbooks > Computer Science
This book is good from an HR / management perspective on scalability. I wish the authors had been more technical (and by that I mean less "qualitative" and more statistical) in their approach (even though I agree there can be no "one size fits all" solution to this problem). There are instances in the book where the authors mention that while a team of 1 can produce 1 unit of work, a team of 2 can produce only 1.99 units of work, an assertion which makes about as much sense in the real world as a unicorn. I am sorry if I am coming across as being very negative, because there are some very strong points in this book which are worth considering. However, my grievance (as an engineer) is that it is not for a techie who wants to create a scalable company (aka Brinn/Page or Zuckerburg), but instead is for a management grad who wants to manage a tech company. I wish there were more books available for the former, than the latter.
Someone wrote, of this book: "However, my grievance (as an engineer) is that it is not for a techie who wants to create a scalable company (aka Brinn/Page or Zuckerburg), but instead is for a management grad who wants to manage a tech company."I think this is spot on. I am a software engineer of about 7 years and I was looking for technical insight on scaling as well as tips for an engineer advancing through the phases of a start up Internet company.The book belabored simple or even self-evident concepts to the point of almost unreadability. I thought, honestly, at some points they were padding it. For someone with my experience level, which I wouldn't self-rate even as "a lot of experience", the book was almost insight-less. Perhaps a management degree graduate looking to get into tech management would find this text useful in some way.
As other reviewers have pointed out the book will not go into technical details; however, it does not linger at the high level view either. I found that it does talk about issues and possible solutions, though without going into details of implementation of those solutions. There was enough discussion so that you can apply issues to your own situation and then go explore for more details. Meaning, it will give you some direction in what to look for. And this is what makes the book valuable as a resource for someone who is managing operations. For an engineer who wants to solve scale problems it won't shed a whole lot of light. It is not a step by step guide, for that you need to go to another book. What I also liked about the book is that it provides so much more than just talk of issues of scale but all those subjects around it as well, in a concise format. The book is dense but does not bog down in any one subject so that you get bored or feel like you should skim most of it when reading a chapter. There are sections purely on management and processes so many people might want to gloss or skip those areas, but for others its a great addition.
This is a fantastic book on scalability. Ostensibly it's voiced in terms of scalable web architecture, but in truth it's about scaling any technology organization. Many of the observations have to do with aspects of scaling outside of technology enough that there is a great deal of general applicability. So, if you're hell-bent on buying a book on specific technology, programming, and language advice ... look elsewhere. This is not your book.If you're still reading this, many may be put off by the seeming lack of focus on specific technological or architectural aspects, but indeed that's the central thesis of the book: There is virtuous cycle of improvement when people and processes improve: the technology also improves. There is a vicious cycle when people and process degrades: technology also degrades. Get the people and process right, and the technology is "easy." You have to buy into the premise of the authors a little bit, but coming from a senior engineering management position, I find the observations intuitive and insightful.So, this is not a cookbook for how to build a web app or how to be a software architect. Instead, it's a guidebook for the newly minted CTO, senior engineering manager, or non-technical executive. It's a collection of best practices, processes, and observations about how to run and think about a technology organization.
The Art of Scalability is an excellent book, written by some guys that know A LOT about scaling technology and organizations. These were the guys that scaled the infrastructure at eBay to support massive growth in the late 90s through the mid 2000s. The book focuses on people, process, and technology - ALL of which are critical to building a scalable company. Some folks write books purely focused on the technical aspect of scaling a business, which I think misses most of the picture. Yes there are certain technical design principles that are critical such as scale out, not up, implement caching, etc. The point is that if you hire and fire the right people and implement correct processes you have a much greater chance to implement the appropriate technology infrastructure to support a high-growth business. What really elevates this book from others is that it is not too abstract when talking about people and process. They provide detailed examples of what a post mortem meeting agenda should be and who should attend, what the role of the problem manager should be, etc.ON the technical side of the equation, they spend a lot of time discussing design principles and architecture trade-offs. This includes when to split databases, separating applications or actions into 'swim lanes', etc. There is enough here to satisfy someone who is just looking for technical design and architecture as well.If you are involved in building or supporting a scalable technology business this is a MUST read.
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