Scaling Web Sites

For the last year or so I’ve been collecting Scaling Web Site war stories and I’ve been posting them to my Microsoft internal blog. I collect them for two reasons: 1) scaling web site problems all center around persistent state management and I’m a database guy so the interest is natural, and 2) it’s amazing how frequently the same trend appears: design a central DB. Move to functional partition. Move to a horizontal partition. Somewhere through that cycle, add caching at various levels. Most skip the step hardware evolution of starting with scale-up servers and then moving to scale out clusters but even that pattern shows up remarkably frequently (e.g. eBay, and Amazon).

Scaling web site war stories:

· Scaling Amazon:

· Scaling Second Life:

· Scaling Technorati:

· Scaling Flickr:

· Scaling Craigslist:

· Scaling Findory:

· MySpace 2006:

· MySpace 2007:

· Twitter, Flickr, Live Journal, Six Apart, Bloglines,, SlideShare, and eBay:

Thanks to Soumitra Sengupta for sending the Flickr and PoorButHappy pointer my way and to Jeremy Mazner for sending the MySpace references.


James Hamilton, Windows Live Platform Services
Bldg RedW-D/2072, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, Washington, 98052
W:+1(425)703-9972 | C:+1(206)910-4692 | H:+1(206)201-1859 | | | Msft internal blog: msblogs/JamesRH

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