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Book Organization and Structure

We’ve divided the book into five parts. Part I, “Staffing a Scalable Organization,” focuses on organization, management, and leadership. Far too often, managers and leaders are promoted based on their talents within their area of expertise. Engineering leaders and managers, for example, are very often promoted based on their technical acumen and aren’t given the time or resources needed to develop their business, management, and leadership acumen. Although they might perform well in the architectural and technical aspects of scale, their expertise in organizational scale needs is often shallow or nonexistent. Our intent is to provide these managers and leaders with a foundation from which they can grow and prosper as managers and leaders.

Part II, “Building Processes for Scale,” focuses on the processes that help hyper-growth companies scale their technical platforms. We cover topics ranging from technical issue resolution to crisis management. We also discuss processes meant for governing architectural decisions and principles to help companies scale their platforms.

Part III, “Architecting Scalable Solutions,” focuses on the technical and architectural aspects of scale. We introduce proprietary models developed within AKF Partners, our consulting and advisory practice. These models are intended to help organizations think through their scalability needs and alternatives.

Part IV, “Solving Other Issues and Challenges,” discusses emerging technologies such as grid computing and cloud computing. We also address some unique problems within hyper-growth companies such as the immense growth and cost of data as well as issues to consider when planning data centers and evolving monitoring strategies to be closer to customers.

Part V, “Appendices,” explains how to calculate some of the most common scalability numbers. Its coverage includes the calculation of availability, capacity planning, and load and performance.

The lessons in this book have not been designed in the laboratory, nor are they based on unapplied theory. Rather, these lessons have been designed and implemented by engineers, technology leaders, and organizations through years of struggling to keep their dreams, businesses, and systems afloat. The authors have had the great fortune to be a small part of many of these teams in many different roles—sometimes as active participants, at other times as observers. We have seen how putting these lessons into practice has yielded success—and how the unwillingness or inability to do so has led to failure. This book aims to teach you these lessons and put you and your team on the road to success. We believe the lessons here are valuable for everyone from engineering staffs to product staffs, including every level from the individual contributor to the CEO.

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