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Scalability as a Discipline

Just as we discussed in an earlier post about the evolution of roles in technology startups, we’ve seen the same thing in the technology discipline as a whole. Computer science as a discipline started in mathematics with Kurt Gödel’s incompleteness theorem.  From there Alan Turing and Alonzo Church formalized the notion of an algorithm and the concept of a Turing machine. The first computer that could run stored programs, based on the Turing machine model, was built in 1948 and called the Manchester Baby.

In the beginning there were only programmers, then came system operators, and DBA’s, and architects, etc. We now have many different disciplines that one can specialize in for either part or all of their careers. One of the missing disciplines, in my opinion, is the scalability architect or scalability as a discipline.

While understanding the rules, patterns, and principles of scalability are completely achievable by anyone in the technology organization, this does not mean that they are widely known. Scalability architects would be more like evangelist and teachers rather than the gatekeepers of secret knowledge. Unlike DBA’s or network engineers, whose jobs really aren’t to educate any other technology person on how to create an index or open a port, the scalability architect would educate tech people. All other disciplines from software developers to DBA’s could benefit from additional knowledge about scaling.

If you’re serious about scaling is it time that you looked for or anointed a scalability architect?

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  • Tweets that mention AKF Partners  |  Tech Blog, Scalability as a Discipline » AKF Partners Blog -- Topsy.com

    in November 9th, 2010 @ 18:54

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mike Fisher, 이왕범. 이왕범 said: RT @mfisher5kavika: Scalability as a Discipline http://bit.ly/ap8pg8 #in […]

  • Kent Langley

    in November 10th, 2010 @ 12:25

    I couldn’t agree more. As to your question, I think the time is definitely here for this discipline/role. I think the explosion of sites/blogs concerning scalability related issues over the past 4-5 years shows this trend as well.

    I’ve been doing this role for years but never gathered under a singular discipline or really calling it anything specific.

    I really like the concept of teaching as a component of the Scalability Architect role. I think that makes a huge amount of sense and if someone is actually performing that role (no matter what it is called) they will find themselves doing this anyway quite often.

    Thanks for the though provoking post.

  • Cara Mico

    in November 15th, 2010 @ 17:36

    Education is the key component. Over the past decade or so we have seen the senescence of a generation that grew up without the web. Most children born after the year 2000 in developed nations have little to no concept of growing up in an age where you have to wait to get a hold of someone. They might be a more cohesive generation as a result but the web will certainly change when they come of age and take over. Coding might fundamentally change as they ‘speak the web’ more effectively than us ancients ;)

  • Jag

    in November 23rd, 2010 @ 05:12

    Are there any references that I could use to become a scalability architect?

    Being performance tuning databases for a few years now, scalability beyond the database is an area that really interests me.