AKF Partners

Abbott, Keeven & Fisher PartnersPartners In Hyper Growth

Newsletter – Spring 2011

Below is part of our Fall 2010 Newsletter.  If you haven’t subscribed yet, click here to do so.

In this newsletter:

Scalability Rules

Scalability Rules: 50 Principles For Scaling Websites is available for presale. We are just a few short weeks away from the release date and are very excited about this project. This book is meant to serve as a primer, a refresher, and a lightweight reference manual to help engineers, architects, and managers develop and maintain scalable Internet products. It is laid out in a series of rules, each of them bundled thematically by different topics. Most of the rules are technically focused, while a smaller number of them address some critical mindset or process concern – each of which is absolutely critical to building scalable products.

It is available for preorder from these sites:

You can also help us get the word out about this book by liking and sharing the book’s Facebook page or the book’s official website, where we’ll keep up to date information about reviews and speaking engagements.

With the success of The Art of Scalability, we’ve been asked by a few folks, why write another book on scale? Our answer is that there simply aren’t many good books on scalability on the market yet, and Scalability Rules is unique in its approach in this sparse market.  Also, this is the first book to address the topic of scalability in a rules-oriented fashion. One of our most-commented-on blog posts is on the need for scalability to become a discipline. We and the community of technologists that tackle scalability problems believe that scalability architects are needed in today’s technology organizations. This book will help scalability architects, scalability evangelists, and the like to share their knowledge with others in scaling their systems.  See More…

Our first book The Art of Scalability is still available at these retailers:


Most Popular Posts

We know everyone is busy and often our RSS readers get filled with too many interesting articles to keep up with.  Here are summaries of a few of our posts and some by other authors that we particularly enjoyed.

Why A Technology Leader Should Code
The military teaches that a leader should be “technically and tactically” proficient. Military leaders owe it to their subordinates to understand the equipment that the unit employed and the basic combat tactics that would be followed. This concept is transferable to technology companies; the CTO owes it to their subordinates to understand the technology. They also owe it to the business to understand the economic aspects of the business and be able to straddle these two worlds. Additionally, periodically having to code a feature and deploy it will provide the engineering manager a better understanding and appreciation for what her engineers go through on a daily basis. Read more

What Is That Delay Costing?
Most technologists know that the slower the page the more likely the user will flee the page or the transaction flow and not make the purchase.  Research is teaching us that it may be less important to reduce actual delay rather than create a system where users will be less likely to attribute the delay to the site. An example that we sometimes see is to give the user the option of selecting a low or high graphic site in order to provide the users with the control. Users will likely perceive this as an active effort on the part of the SaaS provider to minimize download time and thus attribute delays to themselves, their computer, their ISP, etc but not the site. Read more

DevOps is an umbrella concept that refers to anything that smoothes out the interaction between development and operations and is a response to the growing awareness of the disconnect between development and operations. There is an emerging understanding of the interdependence of development and operations in meeting a business’ goals. While not a new concept, we’ve been living and suggesting ARB and JAD as cornerstones of this coordination for years, DevOps has recently grown into a discipline of its own. Read more

Google Megastore
Google provided a paper detailing their design and development of “Megastore.” This is a storage system developed to meet the requirements of today’s interactive online services and according to the paper it blends the scalability of a NoSQL datastore with the convenience of a traditional RDBMS in a novel way, providing strong consistency and high availability. The system’s underlying datastore is Google’s Bigtable but it additionally provides for serializable ACID semantics and fine-grained partitions of data. Read more

Scalability at the Cost of Availability
One subtle concept that is sometimes misunderstood is that if not careful an increase in scalability can actually decrease your availability. The reason for this is the multiplicative affect of failure with items in series.  If two pieces of hardware independently have 99.9% uptime, when combined into a single system that relies on both to respond to requests, the availability of the system to go down to 99.9% x 99.9% = 99.8%. Read more

8 Lessons We Can Learn From The MySpace Incident
Robert Scoble wrote a case study, MySpace’s death spiral: insiders say it’s due to bets on Los Angeles and Microsoft, in which he reports that MySpace insiders blame the Microsoft stack on why they lost to Facebook.  Some lessons can be gleaned from this including All computer companies are technology companies first and Enterprise Programming != Web Programming and Intranet != Intranet. Read more

Aztec Empire Strategy: Use Dual Pipes For High Availability
The Aztecs built the great aqueduct 600 years ago but even then thought about uninterrupted supply.  This post states that the purpose of the twin pipes was to keep water flowing during maintenance.  When one pipe got dirty, the water was diverted to the other pipe while the dirty pipe was cleaned. Read more


Research Update and Request for Help
Marty and Mike will both be presenting their research at the 2011 Academy of Management Conference. Marty’s research deals with tenure based conflct and Mike’s research is focused on social contagion (a.k.a. viral growth). You can read the abstracts and full text for both papers here.

We are continuing our research and could use your help. Please consider completing one or both surveys.

If you are an executive team member at a startup, please take this survey and pass it along to your colleagues within your company.

If you participate in any of the following social networks (Facebook, Friendster, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, Ning, Orkut, or Yahoo!360), please take this survey and pass it along to your friends or colleagues.

Thanks for your support!