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Learnings of Skype architect

May 3, 2010

From the InfoQ site:

1. Rules of thumb do not apply:

Major database platforms usually lack two crucial pieces of technology out of the box: the ability to split databases horizontally (i.e. partition the data of one entity) and the ability to split databases vertically (i.e. have different entities reside in different databases). The technology to do splits or queuing usually lives outside the database making it necessary for developers to deal with protocol translations, several interfaces, data integrity issues and so forth.

Skype DBAs took control of the development going on in databases very early on and did not relinquish the control before having developed a good set of non-functional requirements, coding practices and peer review processes designed to make sure the code built suits the DB layout and the other way around.

2. Functional architecture grooming: Whatever the reason, usually a technical change is accompanied by functional change..keep an eye on the functionality of a system you maintain and do a round of gardening around it at least as often as you do for the technical architecture.

3. Keep things simple: Simple things are sustainable.

4. Buzzwords are dangerous, Other’s technical exploits , They are serve as a useful starting point for figuring out what would help your organization reach its goals. Nothing more, nothing less.

Technical skills are a hygiene factor for architects. You need to have them to be accepted for the job. But emotional intelligence and ability to understand organizations are the skills that define how good you really are.

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