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This is an astute observation, and I think it could benefit from more examples:

On abstraction layers: ZFS was able to achieve something very novel by cutting across all abstraction layers which accumulated in storage management over the decades. I think there is still a lot of work to be done in this direction. I also think the progress here has to go through the cycles - first we pile on abstraction layers in our struggle to wrap our minds around the problem area, then once the problem area is understood we cut through abstract on layers and create an integrated design (co-design in your terms), and then the cycle starts a new. Breaking up the problem into abstraction layers is akin to a child learning to write - at first he has to do it letter by letter, but as proficiency is gained, the letters blend into words, and words into sentences. Beyond spelling, learning to compose a good text follows a similar pattern.

On separations of concerns between client and server: resilience of data is given by the article author as a server concern, and I think that's one great example where separation is actually harmful. I have recently designed a system where a server and a client (a mobile device) would cooperate in preserving data, achieving much greater resiliency than a server alone could achieve without expensive investments on the server side. In other words, separated design is more expensive.




Server cannot rely on client for storing its own domain's state - while client can store user-related state for improving performance, usability.

For example, twitter cannot rely on a client to store the tweets while the client could cache the recent tweets for improving user experience.

Again, for an app playing music, keeping bookmark of the last song played can be fully stored on the client. Yet if it is needed to sync this bookmark across multiple devices (similar to kindle) it becomes a server concern.


Server most certainly can rely on client to store a redundant copy of the data, as there are ways to ensure the data authenticity. Should the server fail and get restored from an hour-old backup, the last hour worth of changes can be fetched from the client, after data integrity verification. Thus the server could get away with hourly backup instead of every-five-second, or full-blown database mirroring.




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