Friday, February 27, 2009

Scaleable Data Stores

This week I came across two great articles about scaleable data repositories with MySQL. The first article is from Bret Taylor where he explains how they use MySQL at FriendFeed. The second one is from Jurriaan Persyn and he discusses database sharding at Netlog. Both are fantastic reads. These are two examples of creative approaches to handle massive scalability requirements. These approaches join a number of other projects like Cassandra and Voldemort looking for ways to scale out to meet the requirements of the most demanding applications. But a lot of these approaches today might seem like best practices more than bleeding edge. Although I say this with reservation because these techniques are still not easily embraced by the majority of the corporate world.

However, what truly amazes me is the true genius of companies like Inktomi, Yahoo and Google that came to the same conclusions 10 years ago. They had the vision to understand the challenges ahead and the courage to follow the path less traveled. They did not settle for suboptimal solutions using commercially available technology. Instead they chose to innovate: writing their own file system, their own distributed storage and their own algorithms. True genius, the courageous kind.  

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