Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Alaric Snell-Pym discusses why choose between SQL and NoSQL? Why can't you use both in your infrastructure?

"NoSQL engines abandon SQL for the chance to have more flexible data models and softer semantics for update operations - but they also abandon it because it’s a lot of work to implement. And, creating a new database from scratch, they’re keen on solving the interesting hard problems (such as replicated data storage), rather than following the well-trodden path of writing SQL parsers and query planners, with a few decades of catching up with the competition ahead of them."

Hate the dirty recruitment tactics

I hate it when recruiters reach out to you with a message indicating that they are looking for 'key positions' and when you follow up, the tone changes to "we're just looking for engineers." This happens all the time and the latest company to play this recruitment tactic is LinkedIn. Guys, can't you decide whether you are looking to fill a 'key position' or just an engineering position before reaching out to candidates? I can see that mentioning 'key position' will get a candidate's attention but this is just a low level tactic.

Lean Startups and Scalability

I wrote this as a reply to Does Lean Startup Methodology Apply to Consumer Startups?" However, due to comment length restrictions on that blog, I am posting my comment here and welcome your thoughts.

"An enterprise will pilot products and iterate with a vendor: Let's run a 6 month consulting engagement/pilot to evaluate if this new database solves the problem."

Only an enterprise where there is a major disconnect between management and engineering will opt for this path. In enterprises where needed data I/O patterns are understood, taking such path may spell disaster.

The primary problem with the 'lean startup' methodology that I see is that it blindly preaches entrepreneurs to close their eyes, cut corners and just get the product to market without fully understanding the future scalability needs. Scalability doesn't has to be sacrificed in order to build a lean startup, except in those cases where there is no architect on board.

Many entrepreneurs think of taking route of frameworks in early days only to find out the haunting effects as growth happens.

Case studies exist where massive infrastructures with low latencies have been built without blowing budgets and need for re-architecting infrastructures. The concept of lean startups is great, but incomplete (especially as it is being preached).

When the right architects and team is on-board, building the right way also becomes the lean way.

<update> Let's not forget that data is the most valuable asset of an organization and every migration a great opportunity for a screwup. Do you really want to migrate it around from database to database as you sit with your fingers crossed hoping that the latest vendor will solve your problem? Or does it make more sense to invest in an experienced architect and then make decisions rather than shooting in the dark? I'll let you decide the rest.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Probably the worst way to deal with a stuck query...

is to disable a customer's account for more than 24 hours without any warning whatsoever. This happened to one of my accounts and I'm beyond furious at the database and network administrators of HostGator.com. Seriously, guys, I don't know of a more unprofessional way of dealing with a stuck query.