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Scalability Rules: 50 Principles for Scaling Web Sites by Michael T. Fisher, Martin L. Abbott

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9. Design for Fault Tolerance and Graceful Failure

In our experience, the second most common scalability related failure behind “Not designed to scale” is “Not designed to fail.” While this may sound a bit odd, it is in fact the most common type of scale failure in sites that are designed to be nearly infinitely scalable. Very often, small unexpected failures of certain key features will back up transactions and bring the whole business to its knees. After all, what good is a site that can scale infinitely if it isn’t resilient to failures? We all know that there is no way around systems or software failing, and as we add systems and software, our rate of failure will increase. While increasing our number of systems and associated services 1000x ...

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