Building for Scale

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Building for Scale

  • I somewhat disagree. Leaders have a part to play in that they need to recognize the resources they have at hand. To abruptly throw an entire state into unemployment without pausing to consider whether that state has the systems in place to respond to such an unprecedented demand is poor leadership. There is a cost to building systems that can scale wildly up and down, and that cost must be weighed as well. Sure it would be wonderful if any given system could scale up and down by any amount, but that is an expensive goal to aim for and I'm not sure that it's always justified. Sometimes it's incumbent upon us to consider the resources we have in place and to guide our actions such that we can operate within the resources that are available.

    [font="Comic Sans MS"]Jonathan Gennick
    Brighten the corner, where you are[/font]

  • I agree with you both. You make good points, Jonathan. I work in one of my state's largest state government departments. We were not prepared for COVID. It has been a painful learning experience, in many respects. We weren't prepared for having people work from home, that's taken a long time to address. Also, we had to put up a contact tracing and contact registration systems very quickly. Initially the Governor wanted the contact registration website and database system up within 48 hours, which was impossible to do. I'm not criticizing her, but it shows how little people outside of IT understand the complexities taht they ask for. It took us about a week of long nights, of which I was a part, to do it, but it got done.

    Like many businesses, both inside and outside of government, we weren't prepared for this. I believe a lot of it was due to the prevailing pre-pandemic attitude in my state by all employers, both in the public and private sectors, of not trusting their employees to work from home. So, when it became necessary, there was a lot of, "Oh, no!!" and lengthy delays. This pandemic has resulted in a lot of changes by everyone, in my state. However, if I'm honest I think it's like a 100-year flood. We've not seen anything like this since the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. One can see how it is easy to be complacent if drastic changes don't happen that often.  Nevertheless, I wish we had been better prepared.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • Wow. Good for you Rod for getting that project done in a week's time. I can only imagine the pressure. A week to implement anything is not much time at all. Great job on it.

    My company has done ok on the work from home front, but for some employees it has been a shock. Some of that is down to personality style and whether a given person tends to thrive in a group setting or in a more isolated environment. We rose to the challenge though, as have many across a number of different industries.

    [font="Comic Sans MS"]Jonathan Gennick
    Brighten the corner, where you are[/font]

  • I don't think I was complaining or noting that any executive decision was wrong or incorrect. This was a black swan, an unprecedented event.

    However, what I was getting at is that we ought to be thinking for the future. We ought to be thinking and building systems in a hybrid fashion that scales. We have capabilities now we didn't have before, where we can move to cloud based systems, or incorporate them in to help us scale. As we examine and look at these systems for the future, perhaps rebuilding some, we should be looking at modern architectures with an eye towards scalability, both up and down.


  • I agree, Steve!

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • no one can really prepare for something like what we had this year - at least not without spending money that may not ever be needed just for a worst case scenario which would not even happen on a normal DR case where at most a few weeks off some people would not have a significant impact on many companies.

    in my current shop we had to go from a max load of 300 working from home to a over 5k - our systems were already prepared to work on a DR case - we managed to have 1.3k working from home before our systems started to be overloaded - we did manage within a period of 2-4 weeks to increase that availability to over 5k - but not only we had to address the load on the systems but also the need to give the users a way to connect - we had our IT working on building 500 laptops per day so we could give them to the users to use at home.

    and on top of this we also had to arrange with ISP's the extension of broadband to certain houses which didn't have it already so the users could indeed work from home.

    big task for any company - and one that had a significant short term cost that was not on the plans - although not a wasted one in the case of the laptops as it means that users will now be more mobile and we will save on the desktop pool that we had and on those that we intended on buying over next 2 years.

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