Dealing With System Sprawl

Charity Majors has a simple (but not easy) solution to system sprawl:

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

The company is growing like crazy, your engineering team keeps rising to the challenge, and you are ferociously proud of them.  But some cracks are beginning to show, and frankly you’re a little worried.  You have always advocated for engineers to have broad latitude in technical decisions, including choosing languages and tools.  This autonomy and culture of ownership is part of how you have successfully hired and retained top talent despite the siren song of the Faceboogles.

But recently you saw something terrifying that you cannot unsee: your company is using all the languages, all the environments, all the databases, all the build tools.  Shit!!!  Your ops team is in full revolt and you can’t really blame them.  It’s grown into an unsupportable nightmare and something MUST be done, but you don’t know what or how — let alone how to solve it while retaining the autonomy and personal agency that you all value so highly.

I hear a version of this everywhere I’ve gone for the past year or two.  It’s crazy how often.  I’ve been meaning to write my answer up for ages, and here it (finally) is.

I like the solution:  embrace the sprawl but make the default a stable set of well-supported systems with reasons for people to want to start there.  Read the whole thing.

Related Posts

Finding Dependency Clusters

Michael J. Swart performs cluster analysis with tables: That ball of mush in the middle is hard to look at, but the smaller disconnected bits aren’t! Just like Ben, I want to work on those smaller pieces too! And just like the lonely tables we looked at last week, these small isolated components are also good […]

Read More

Big Data Often Isn’t

Arnon Rotem-gal-oz argues that “big data” is often a misnomer: I couldn’t find numbers from Google but others say that by 2017 Google processed over 20PB a day (not to mention answering 40K search queries/second) so Google is definitely in the big data game. The numbers go down fast after that, even for companies who are […]

Read More

Categories

December 2018
MTWTFSS
« Nov Jan »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31