Most software engineers would make terrible civil engineers. A software engineer tasked with building a bridge in the middle of nowhere might say “I heard that the George Washington Bridge in NYC gets 103 million vehicles per year, what if my bridge got 104 million vehicles? The George Washington Bridge has the best practice!”

In reality, most of us are building applications that operate squarely between the scale of one person on a laptop and the massive, FAANG company scale. This type of scale can be challenging as the real goal is to achieve a well-performing, stable system that stays in budget and on time.

In this talk, we’ll go over strategies to build a data layer that is responsive to deluges but not overbuilt. These strategies will focus on practical development, architecture, and infrastructure guidance that helps you separate the need from the want of designing a right-sized application. In addition, some stories will be told from the trenches of building both applications that refused to scale and those that were massively overbuilt.

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