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Beautiful Architecture

Cover of Beautiful Architecture by Georgios Gousios... Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
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Like the physical architecture of a building or a city, the architecture of a system has to be adapted to the context in which the artifact built using the architecture will reside. In physical architecture, this context includes the historical surroundings of the work, the climate in which it will exist, the ability of the local artisans and the available building materials, and the intended use of the building. For a software architecture, the context includes not only the applications that will use the architecture, but also the programmers who will build within that architecture and the constraints on the systems that will result.

In building the Darkstar architecture, the first thing we[6] realized is that any architecture for scaling would need to involve multiple machines. It is not clear that even the largest of mainframes could scale to meet the demands of some of today’s online games (World of Warcraft, for example, is reported to have five million current subscribers, with hundreds of thousands of them active at any one time). Even if there were a single machine that could handle this load, it would be economically impossible to assume that a game would be so successful that it would require such a hardware investment at the beginning. This kind of application needs to be able to start small and then increase capacity as the user base increases, and then decrease capacity as interest in the game wanes. This maps well to a distributed system, where (reasonably small) ...

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