Worse is Better

My long-time friend Anne Johnson has published a link to Vijay Gill’s keynote presentation in her short summary of NANOG 49. Vijay has an interesting problem: Google’s infrastructure is so huge that he has no time for fancy toys or complex solutions; keeping the simple stuff running is hard enough. I love his rephrasing of the KISS principle (renamed to Worse is Better):

You see, everybody else is too afraid of looking stupid because they just can’t keep enough facts in their head at once to make multiple inheritance, … or multithreading, or any of that stuff work.

So they sheepishly go along with whatever faddish programming network craziness has come down from the architecture astronauts who speak at conferences and write books and articles and are so much smarter than us that they don’t realize that the stuff that they’re promoting is too hard for us.

His Guiding Principles are also excellent (and oft repeated by the old-timers who have learned their lessons the hard way):

  • Important not to try to be all things to all people
  • Don't build infrastructure just for its own sake
  • Don't imagine unlikely potential needs that aren't really there

I would strongly suggest you browse through the rest of his presentation.

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