Bad Web Developers Don't Scale

Over the last 5 years, I’ve read so many articles about how X doesn’t scale. PHP, MySQL, SQL Server, Apache, you name it - everything gets a bad rap. Everyone has a different idea of scale and size, and sadly most people think their site with 1 million page views a month can’t handle the load because whatever technology they chose to use supposedly doesn’t scale.

Guess what folks - the problem probably isn’t the language you chose, or the database you’re using. Unless you’re actually big (many millions of pageviews per day), you can usually run just fine with a straight up LAMP stack on a few servers. The real issue is that your dev team has no idea how to write software or use the tools they have available.

At this point, I wonder - what is everyone’s expectation? At what point does someone say “oh, X scales great! One box is handling my web server, data storage, video conversion, at 20 million page views a day, all running on 1 nice little application!” Folks - pick the right tool for the job, and put someone qualified in charge of it. Don’t use MySQL if you really need in memory graph tree traversal (friends list).

Oh, and don’t even bother explaining to me the definition of scale. This isn’t an opportunity for you to point out what it really means - I get that you should be able to add hardware and get a proportional amount out extra output. Writing software that scales to a massive level is hard. That’s why there aren’t many companies that do it well.


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