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Chapter 1. Reduce the Equation

1. Reduce the Equation

We’ve all been there at some point in our academic or professional careers: We stare at a complex problem and begin to lose hope. Where do we begin? How can we possibly solve the problem within the allotted time? Or in the extreme case—how do we solve it within a single lifetime? There’s just too much to do, the problem is too complex, and it simply can’t be solved. That’s it. Pack it in. Game over...

Hold on—don’t lose hope! Take a few deep breaths and channel your high school or college math teacher/professor. If you have a big hairy architectural problem, do the same thing you would do with a big hairy math equation and reduce it into easily solvable parts. Break off a small piece of the problem and break it into several smaller problems until each of the problems is easily solvable!

Our view is that any big problem, if approached properly, is really just a collection of smaller problems waiting to be solved. This chapter is all about making big architectural problems smaller and doing less work while still achieving the necessary business results. In many cases this approach actually reduces (rather than increases) the amount of work necessary to solve the problem, simplify the architecture and the solution, and end up with a much more scalable solution or platform.

As is the case with many of the chapters in Scalability Rules, the rules vary in size and complexity. Some are overarching rules easily applied to several aspects of our design. Some rules are very granular and prescriptive in their implementation to specific systems.

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