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Rearchitecture is a sign of success not failure

An important lesson for a software architect is to design the system for the requirements you have today not for what a possible future could look like.

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A lot of systems are built with accidental complexity that could have been avoided. I’ve seen really complex high performant code for a system that is used by 10 users, a microservices solution containing 40+ services all maintained by one small team, a real-time event source setup for a system that is mostly CRUD and I can keep going…

There is a reason that Martin Fowler talks about a monolith first approach.

So if you need to built a system that should support 50 customers, don’t build one that can support 50.000 customers. Start small and wait until you have that many customers that they start to overload your system.  And that is great news because it means that you are successful!

The truth is the majority of applications are never going to reach that stage. And even if you do start to get overloaded it’s usually not an all-or-nothing issue. You’ll have time to adjust and respond to the problem. Plus, you’ll have more real-world data and benchmarks after you launch which you can use to figure out the areas that need to be addressed. 

The fact is that everyone has scalability issues, no one can deal with their service going from zero to a few million users without revisiting almost every aspect of their design and architecture.

—Dare Obasanjo, Microsoft (from Scaling Up and Startups)

So if your application becomes successful, you’ll certainly have to rearchitect (parts of) your system. And if your system doesn’t have to change for scalability reasons, it will certainly have to change because these new customers will come with their own list of requirements that require your application to evolve.

Still not convinced? Have a look at the presentation about Minimum Viable Architecture by Randy Shoup. In all examples he is mentioning, the architecture went through multiple iterations.

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