Scalable Systems and Development Processes

A tantárgy neve magyarul / Name of the subject in Hungarian: Skálázható rendszerek és fejlesztési folyamatok

Last updated: 2016. március 18.

Budapest University of Technology and Economics
Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics
Course ID Semester Assessment Credit Tantárgyfélév
VIMIA021   2/0/2/v 2  
3. Course coordinator and department Dr. Pataricza András,
4. Instructors

Joseph Janos senior level software architect

Joseph Janos received his degree in Mathematics from ELTE, Budapest, in 1973. He started his career in the Computer and Automation Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences where he was Head of a CAD/CAM department. He left for the USA in 1981. He worked for the CS Department of SUNY at Stony Brook and for a number of large companies (Wang Laboratories, Lotus, IBM, Modicon.) In this period in various roles he architected and led engineering teams to build large scale back-end systems and UI intensive end-user products. (Lotus Notes and SmartCenter, a desktop electronic publishing system, a graphical front-end for PLC editing and monitoring.) After 1994 he worked exclusively on Internet-related technologies. Co-presence server with Ubique (sold to AOL), SurfLogic, his own startup, a client-side customizable crawler that he sold to Oracle in 1997, relevance matching engine (Lumapath) and a content delivery system (Radiance.) In 2004 he joined Google, where he was one of the first 25 engineers hired in New York. He retired in 2015. During his 11 years at Google he helped to grow the NY organization and led several engineering teams, building both consumer facing products (AdWords, Maps) and large scale distributed internal services (network monitoring and management, data processing pipelines, data mining.) As a senior level architect he learned and used most of Google's vast technical infrastructure and technologies.


(Prof. Dr. András Pataricza, BME

5. Required knowledge

The course requires basic knowledge in object oriented programming. Familiarity with Java  and/or C++ is advantageous but not required.

7. Objectives, learning outcomes and obtained knowledge

A key engineering and entrepreneurial challenge is not only to quickly deploy the initial version of a great product but also, upon successful adaption by the market, to scale it up.

A product  or product family can be scaled both "horizontally" by adding more feature sets to it and "vertically" attracting more users, on different platforms and in different markets, such as desktop  and mobile, stand-alone and cloud, enterprise and consumer, local and international.

How and when to scale a product may be a business decision. The architecture of the code base and the engineering organization must be prepared for these requirements.

This course teaches both the software architectural and engineering organizational aspects of building large scale products. It emphasizes the dynamic, evolutionary nature of this process. Continuous innovation, scaling and adaptability are essential for successful companies. They should be prepared to build upon their existing products and engineering processes and organization.

The course teaches basic software architectural concepts, technologies and practices to architect products that can be quickly deployed but as the need arises can be smoothly, incrementally scaled.

The aim of the course is to introduce to students best practices and technologies to build products that can evolve and scale over time. How to build products that grow from thousands of line of code to millions, developed and maintained from tens of software engineers to tens of thousands with a user base (supported load) from tens of thousands to tens of millions.

The course touches upon both engineering processes, such as source control, testing, bug tracking, monitoring and applicable technologies such as networking, load balancing, parallel computing, large scale data repositories.

8. Synopsis

Part 1: Building Scalable Products


L1: Aspects of scalability and how to measure it.

●     Data storage. Capacity, throughput, load.

●     Parallel computing. Speedup, efficiency.

●     Compute server. Megaflops.

●     Network. Throughput, load, capacity

●     Application load. qps, users


L2-L3: Scalable Storage Technologies

●     Sql.

●     Bigtable, Datastore.

●     BigQuery, Cloud storage. Paxos.


L4: Distributed Computing

●     Parallel algorithms

●     MapReduce, MillWheel

●     Flume


L5: Networking

●     Messaging. Pub/sub

●     Load balancing, DNS

●     Logging, monitoring


L6: Computing in the Cloud, Case studies.

●     Google App Engine

●     Amazon Web Services


Part 2. Scaling the Engineering Processes


L7: Measurements

●     Code. complexity. LOC.

●     Measuring and tracking code health.

●     Size, number of bugs, trends in it.

●     Code size/Organization size

●     Code complexity/Organization complexity


L8: Open Source

●     Using open source as a free and infinite resource.

●     Releasing code into open source as a business decision


L9-L10: Coding

●     Standards, extensions, libraries. Portability, platform independence.

●     Agile programming. Pair programming.

●     Source Control. Code review. Check-in process.

●     Code reuse. Module replacement, rewrite.

●     Build. Libraries, continuous build.


L11-L12: Testing

●     Testing frameworks.

●     Testing during development.

●     Black box, white box, grey box testing.

●     Unit test. System test. Integration test. Performance test. Regression test.

●     Continuous testing.


L13-L14: Running the System

●     Monitoring.

●     Minor, major upgrade. Canary, roll-back.

●     Alerts, alarms. Triggering, escalating.

●     Crash recovery. Post mortem.

9. Method of instruction

The course comprises a series of lectures, 2 homework assignments and readings from online resources.


Weeks 1-7, 2x2 hours 


10. Assessment The final grade is based on the quality of home assignments (60%), on the solutions of smaller problems given at lectures (20%) and on the presentation about the topic of the assignments (20%).
14. Required learning hours and assignment
Kontakt óra28
Félévközi készülés órákra 
Felkészülés zárthelyire 
Házi feladat elkészítése 12
Kijelölt írásos tananyag elsajátítása 10
Vizsgafelkészülés 10
Összesen 60
15. Syllabus prepared by Joseph Janos senior level software architect