Tech - xCloud Architecture (Part 3): The Best Laid Schemes Of Mice And Men

So far, we have looked at the objective  and some principles. Now, to start executing the plan.

The Team

I now need a team and tools to start executing the plan. So, there's me and a mini-me. I am the team - product owner, designer, manager, architect, developer and support analyst all rolled into one. So far, I think we all got along just fine!

The mini-me is the tools required - Acer Aspire One Netbook with 1.66 Ghz CPU, 2 GB RAM, 160 GB hard disk and a home broadband connection. Admittedly, the netbook is not the most powerful of machines. Since I use everything on the cloud, I was not too handicapped by the netbook.

In terms of the software, all I used is - Node, Python, Notepad++, Git, Putty and the Appfog/Openshift command line tools.

The Maneuvers

It is said that, one of the reasons Napoleon was successful in his battles was the brilliant use of maneuvers. Although, he had a relatively smaller army, he used speed and flexibility to great effect.

So, from a development perspective, most cloud services provide free plans, examples, tutorials, case studies and developer SDK's. Use these to assess if it meets your requirements. As long as the principles laid out in the previous post are followed, it should allow for quicker and flexible implementation. Even if you find that a cloud provider is no longer suitable, you can change the implementation in your service and the rest of the application continues to work. Use agile ways of working to implement feature by feature.

And, from an operations point of view, there are 3 rules - monitor, monitor and monitor. As much as possible, profile and log everything. There are plenty of tools and providers available. In my later posts, I will cover some of them.

Balancing Act

“Life is all about balance. Since I have only one leg, I understand that well.” ― Sandy Fussell, Shaolin Tiger.

As you start developing, there are always 3 main forces at play - the goal of the system, purity of the architecture and the day-to-day operations. Ideally, we want to excel at all of them. In reality, it's never an easy task to keep the 3 forces in balance. And, it takes great team effort to constantly look at the trade-off's and take a decision. Even with the whole team being just me, I sometimes struggled with the decisions!

From the next post onwards, I will get into the nuts and bolts.


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