I am working in a tech start up, we are building a product and it has got to the point where we need to scale our servers so that it can handle huge traffic. The problem is that we have nobody here that has knowledge of dev ops, this is problematic since we have some high profile clients interested in working with us on the condition that we can handle a large load.

Anyway - my boss's attitude is for us to self teach ourselves dev ops, and is expecting us to handle the load on a single server. My attitude is that we need to hire somebody in that is a specialist and invest money on more servers. I am in a bit of a tight spot in the sense that we do not have the money to get new people in and build our server architecture, but I just don't know how to break this to my boss?

My boss is the type of guy who believe's nothing is impossible, and we can find the answers through googling. My concern is that he is underestimating the complexity of the task, and if we needed to expand the servers, we don't have the capital otherwise I would suggest we put the platform onto Amazon or Google app engine.

  • Is it a negative thing to say to your boss? i.e. not taking initiative or willing to learn more? – bobo2000 Nov 3 '16 at 17:36
  • 1
    If your boss believes that 'nothing is impossible', ask him to find the money to expand onto AWS. After all, 'nothing is impossible'.... – PeteCon Nov 3 '16 at 17:45
  • 1
    You don't have a way to simulate a load and test? – paparazzo Nov 3 '16 at 17:50
  • Yes, using jmeter, the problem is knowing what to do after you find out the server is slow – bobo2000 Nov 3 '16 at 18:04
  • 1
    Microsoft has a program, specifically to support startups: bizspark.microsoft.com//#start-one In general, cloud services including AWS (#1 in market share), Microsoft (#2 in market share) and Google Development Platform (GDP) are cheaper than the TCO of buying your own hardware, dedicating a server room for your servers, wiring your servers, etc. Most learn Devops the hard way, by the way. You can familiarize yourself with Devops wrt Software Engineering by experimenting with circleci.com, codeship.com or travis-ci.org If you want to experiment with Jenkins, try cloudbees.com – Vietnhi Phuvan Nov 3 '16 at 18:10

Get a Consultant In

That's what they're there for, to give you the maximum amount of value in a defined period of time.

It'll be far more valuable to have someone who knows the technology than it will to attempt to ramp yourself up (and then get bitten when/if) it all goes wrong.

  • 1
    Make sure the consultant's assigned task is to bring the dept. up to speed on these skills, not just to set up the environment, and select someone who has teaching as well as tech skills. We did exactly this when I bootstrapped from C to Java (though I had prior exposure to OO design concepts.) – keshlam Nov 4 '16 at 18:03

I would fall back on metrics. Estimate the work, and likewise the risk of failure and the impact on the business.

Then at least the boss and everyone is making a decision, on the basis of some information.

When you analyse the metrics, it often changes your perspective on a problem.


Take advantage of free

As a startup, there are programs with most major cloud providers that will give you up to a year with zero charge for substantial use of their services.

The DevOps revolution is your friend

Infrastructure as code has made much of this easier. I won't endorse particular tools here, but there are many in the open source community that do much of the heavy lifting, and will be familiar to developers.

Tech Scaling is optimization

Measure your components to find the bottlenecks that can give you at least a 10x performance improvement on that component. Then replace that component with something better. Repeat. Each time fix the very next thing blocking--you should see immediate benefit, or skip it.

Don't forget business/process scaling

If there's something not automated--maintenance, shipping on order, etc--that takes you 5 minutes today, and you have to do it 100x more often, it now take you 2.5 business weeks. This is often overlooked--your tech can quickly outstrip your ability to satisfy customers.

Many people have gone before you with fewer skills, and gotten very far. When you think you have to build something always ask yourself (a) who has built this before and made it available, or (b) why am I doing something different than everyone else? The largest scaled companies in the world--Google, Facebook, Netflix, and others--have made their tools and experience available for free.

  • 1
    While Amazon lets you test for a year the service, and this period is interesting to learn the tools/self-training, it wont support any real enterprise workload. It takes time, and a good working foundation to get familiar with the technologies. One thing it to throw to the air a lot of jargon, another is to get real work done in a short time frame. As other post suggest, I would hire a consultant. – Rui F Ribeiro Nov 6 '16 at 2:24

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .