John Allspaw

John Allspaw

Web operations enthusiast, capacity planner, author

John Allspaw John has worked in systems operations for over fourteen years in biotech, government and online media. He started out tuning parallel clusters running vehicle crash simulations for the U.S. government, and then moved on to the Internet in 1997. He built the backing infrastructures at Salon, InfoWorld, Friendster, and Flickr. He is now SVP of Tech Operations at Etsy, and is the author of The Art of Capacity Planning and Web Operations published by O'Reilly.

Web Operations Web Operations
by John Allspaw, Jesse Robbins
June 2010
Print: $39.99
Ebook: $35.99

The Art of Capacity Planning The Art of Capacity Planning
by John Allspaw
September 2008
Print: $44.99
Ebook: $35.99

John blogs at:

Engineering’s Relationship To Science

May 05 2014

One of the things that I hoped to get across in my post about perspectives on mature engineering was the subtle idea that engineering’s relationship to science is not straightforward. My first caveat is that I am not a language expert, but I do respect it as a potential deadly… read more

Paradigm Check Point: Prefacing Debriefings

March 19 2014

I’m a firm believer in restating values, goals, and perspectives at the beginning of every group debriefing (e.g. “postmortem meetings”) in order to bring new folks up to speed on how we view the process and what the purpose of the debriefing is. When I came upon a similar baselining… read more

High Tempo, High Consequence

March 13 2014

A Time to Remember I want you to think back to a time when you found yourself in an emergency situation at work. Maybe it was diagnosing and trying to recover from a site outage. Maybe it was when you were confronting the uncertain possibility of critical data loss. Maybe… read more

Velocity is coming to Europe

October 13 2011

The Velocity Conference has already turned once exotic topics like database scaling and mobile performance into common knowledge. Now, Velocity is bringing its mix of web ops and performance evangelism to Europe. read more

Webcast: Business Success and the Speed of Learning
February 11, 2015
In this webcast, John Allspaw explains how organizations can become more successful by studying their successes and demonstrates how we can all become more effective by examining our assumptions.

Webcast: Velocity 2011: Take-aways, Trends, and Highlights
June 24, 2011
The web performance and operations community gathered for three days at Velocity Conference in Santa Clara, California. In this webcast following the conference, program chairs Steve Souders and John Allspaw will identify and discuss key trends and announcements...

"As you embark on managing your company’s web site and applications, this book can be your guide. Although DBAs perform many similar tasks (monitoring, backup, designing for scalability, etc.), the details are decidedly different for web operations. If you’re charged with managing web operations for your company, use this book to help guide you through the morass."
--Craig S. Mullins, Data and Technology Today

"This book is about the practical capacity planning and management, about using tools, and being able to adapt to changing usage on a website that will grow. "
--Nadia Russ, Wonderpedia

"I can definitely say that I am a better software engineer after reading this book."
--Jon LeBlanc, Senior Software Engineer, Yahoo! Developer Network Blog

"John Allspaw's Art of Capacity Planning is useful right out of the gate, an incredibly practical deep-dive into what makes the web work and scale from someone who is on the front lines every day. Whether you're learning about the importance of understanding procurement processes in your organization or the specific methods you need to plan successfully, this is a must-read for anyone who wants to know how to build the next Flickr. "
--Chad Dickerson, CTO of Etsy, former CTO of & and head of Yahoo! Developer Network & Brickhouse

"John Allspaw understands capacity planning as Michael Phelps understands swimming. The Art of Capacity Planning distills his knowledge for you into its most practical essence: the process everyone should follow when managing production infrastructures."
--Adam Jacob, Founder and Senior Partner at HJK Solutions, a consulting firm for building automation platforms