Monday, June 29, 2009

From Google to oracle

A recent article in the Register throws some light on the different approaches by Google and M$. The article and its links are worth a careful read, no matter what hat you wear.

Reading break....

any resemblance to real architects is purely coincidental...

(go on, read it...! that stuff is much more important then my ramblings)

Me, of course I only read and retain what I want to agree to ...
Not hampered by too much knowledge of my own, here is my colored and limited interpretation:

The Micro$oftee boasts in management-speak about the "tremendous set of applications" and the problem to come up with "one set of KPIs that works" (sic).

The Geekle is very much focussed on performance and smooth global deployment. He speaks of "forcing developers into a confined space", and of "GFS as a baseline service".

Two items struck me in particular.

Firstly, one of the key-items put forward by the Google engineer is to "limit" the developers. The Google platform offers a very limited set of "services" to the developer and the challenge is to keep the developers inside that box.
Hearding Toads comes to mind.

The Confinement, the Limitation shows the Master

The other keyword that ticked my fancy was "GFS". The Google File System.
There is nothing that isolates infrastructure more elegantly then a file system.
The "everything is a file" adage that came with Unix is unbeatable.
A database consists of files.
A VM is a set of files.

And a "Global File System" is a very useful, and a conceptually clean "layer" to deal with.

Those of us in the process of building "farms", "estates", "grids" and "clouds" would do well to study some of the Google approach. Oracle and its practitioners (that is us) may well be able to learn a trick of two from the Google Approach.

Limitation : reduce the number of different components. But scale horizontally by having many of them.

Simplicity and Confinement : do a few things, but do them simple and do them really really well (and Often, and Fast).

Layering : Isolate everything in a "File System"

In my opinion, the "limitation" and the relative simplicity of the google platform is one of its key success factors.

That Simplicity, and the hiring of all the brightest brains on the planet.
I have seen some very good minds leave to join Google, but I never heard of a manager going there...

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