By: Lee Atchison Dec 29, 2015

Scaling web applications isn’t easy.

As web applications grow, two things begin to happen. First, they become significantly more complicated and hence brittle. Second, they handle significantly larger traffic volume requiring more novel and complicated mechanisms to handle this traffic. This can lead to a death spiral for an application that can lead to brownouts, blackouts, and other quality of service and availability problems.

My purpose for this blog is to provide techniques, guidance, and best practices for how to build web applications that scale to significant traffic volumes.

Why Me?

Most of the advice I am giving comes from my 28 years of industry experience, including a decade of working on large, highly scaled applications. I spent seven years working at Amazon.com where I lead the teams that built their first software download appstore and built AWS’s Elastic Beanstalk. I hold several patents, including one while at Amazon for dynamically managing compute capacity in web based applications (patent #20140156835).

I’ve also spent the last nearly four years at New Relic, where I’ve been helping them architect their application to handle the significant growth in volume of traffic, as well as the growth in the size of the engineering team needed to maintain their applications…scaling is not just traffic, it’s also scaling the development org to match.

Architecting for Scale

I now specialize in all aspects of building scalable applications. This includes breaking up monolythic applications into service and micro-service based applications, building highly available applications, risk management, and team processes for scaling.

I’ve written a book on the topic of scaling applications. It’s called Architecting for Scale, and it’s published by O’Reilly Media. This book teaches techniques for building applications that can reliably handle huge quantities of traffic, as well as huge variability in traffic without impacting the quality your customers expect.

What I Do Now

In my current role as Senior Director, Strategic Architecture at New Relic, I help bring my knowledge and experience to the industry and our customers thru speaking engagements, articles, and conversations. If you are not aware of what New Relic does, I encourage you to checkout our offering. Many of the topics I discuss are facilitated by the tools that New Relic offers.

If you would like to engage me for a speaking, writing, or other opportunity, you can reach me via leeatchison , or leeatchison . If you are a New Relic customer or potential customer, reach out to your New Relic account manager or executive and they can engage me.


Join me here at lee@scale as I discuss these and other scaling topics. Using a feed reader? Here is the RSS feed.

Also look for me on other blogs such as the New Relic blog (my articles).

Lee Atchison