“Everything you know about scale and complexity is wrong.
We’ve been going about this completely backwards for at least the last decade.”
– M. Pell
My current work is focused on clarifying the extreme scale and complexity found in the modern datacenter, so that people can get their work done more quickly and confidently. These environments are unforgiving and dynamically changing, so the key is to understand what’s truly important vs. putting everything on the glass. Very challenging work. Not something most people are ever exposed to, but at the far end of complexity when it comes to setting up and managing the world’s largest live internet services.
Getting to Wisdom
As part of our explorations of the issues that confront IT Pros, a key realization is that we have stratified how we communicate things to people. Sometimes we give them raw data, other times refined information, but rarely do we lead with insights where the heavy lifting has been done for the person ahead of time. Even more rare is the situation where we try to impart some degree of knowledge about the issue that resembles the wisdom you’d receive from talking with a person.
Designing for Scale + Complexity
Organized a company-wide conference to share insights and discuss the challenge of evolving the Microsoft Design Language to gracefully and effectively handle the type of extreme scale and complexity found in our global services.
As part of our explorations of the issues that confront IT Pros, we did some design work around using time as a major axis for data explorations of Big Data. The key findings of this work were that people need both gross targeting or scrubbing of date ranges as well as fine grain control. There are situations where precise dates are not known, but scrubbing through time reveals the trends that are most interesting.