Architecture > Code

time to read 2 min | 303 words

Steve Py asks an interesting question in one of the comments to my On Infinite Scalability post:

Can you elaborate more on: "Note, those changes are not changes to the code, they are architectural and system changes. Where before you had a single database, now you have many. Where before you could use ACID, now you have to use BASE. You need to push a lot more tasks to the background, the user interaction changes, etc."

When you talk about jumping from 1 server to multiple servers, ACID to BASE, and how user interaction changes, how do you quantify that this is done without code changes?

The answer to that is that there is a mistaken assumption here. Changing the architecture is going to change the code. But usually that is rarely relevant, because changing the architecture is a big change. If you are moving from a single DB to multiple database, for example, there are going to be code changes, but that isn’t what you worry about. The major change is the architecture differences (how do you split the data, how do you do reporting, can some of the dbs be down, etc).

Moving from ACID to BASE is an even greater change. The code might change a little or change drastically, but that isn’t where a lot of the effort is. Just defining the new system behavior on those scenarios is going to be much more complex. For example, taking something as simple as “user names are unique” would move from being a unique constraint in the database to something that needs to be able to handle those sort of things in a reasonable fashion.

Depending on your original architecture, it might be anything from replacing a single service implementation to re-writing significant parts of the code.