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Scalability Rules: Principles for Scaling Web Sites, Second Edition by Michael T. Fisher, Martin L. Abbott

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10. Avoid or Distribute State

We met Rick Dalzell in the preface of this book as he described some of the journey and challenges of getting Amazon’s commerce platform to scale to the transaction volumes it handles today. Rick and the Amazon team learned a lot about the costs associated with maintaining state in large distributed systems. Put simply, Rick’s hard-earned advice is to avoid state wherever possible. “Everyone thinks of Amazon as one of the world’s largest stateless engines,” Rick stated. “In truth, there are notions of state built into the system. Order workflow, for instance, needs to have a notion of state as an order progresses from the shopping cart through fulfillment and finally shipping. But we learned early on that state also ...

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