I like to find relevance in the obscure. To find parallels in topics that diverged long ago, yet have great similarities. In this instance I am talking about the history of structural engineering and material sciences on one side and designing scalable IT infrastructures on the other. The foundations are very similar if viewed in a simplified manner.
“You want to build something, but the more you add to make it bigger, the more fragile and precarious it gets. This is true whether its building bridges, software, hardware or a club sandwich.”
– Me. I just said that.
The key to building big and reliable is finding your algorithm, your pattern. Certain structures have attributes which are ideal for some situations and not others.
Finding the combination of ideal structures for your solution is the magic of efficient design.
- Do you design for flexibility, adaptability. speed, resiliency or cost?
- What are your options?
- What other designs have been created in the past for your problem?
- How would that solution compare to your requirements?
- Was it moderately successful?
- Or would you have to make considerable changes to adapt it?
Build on the shoulders of giants.
An interesting book that I came across is called “History of Strength of Materials” by Stephen Timoshenko (1952).
There are a lot of parallels and take-aways from that book that can be applied to infrastructure design.
Have a look at the link below.