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X-Mas Showcase: High Scalability and Usability Rule

by Michael Stal on Dec 24, 2011 |

Who ever has wondered what kind of software is used by Santa Claus & Co, got a hint recently in youtube. This might irritate some software engineers who have assumed, Santa Claus would only use Open Source Software. In addition, didn’t an apple play an important role when all the mess started? But how does Santa Claus handle all the logistics? Is he using Cloud Computing as some big vendors tried to convince us? No way!

Howard W. Penrose, Ph.D at CMRP tried to calculate in a thorough analysis what quality attributes the Santa Clause Software/Hardware System must reveal. Note, that we need to take into account that we also have to deal with software/hardware integration. Thus, we need to use a Reindeer-Driven Approach.

For instance,

There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world.  However, since Santa does note visit children of some religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million.

At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming there is at least one good child in each.

Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical).  This works out to be 967.7 visits per second.  This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get on to the next house.

As the author further concludes:

The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip.Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s in .001 seconds, would be subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500 g's.  A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivery blob of pink goo.

The company VECTOR claims in a newsletter, they got an order from Santa Claus to set up his (or their?) web page.

On the other hand, after thorough endeavors we also found an article on multicore parallel processing called Santa Claus which could make us think, Santa Claus is capable of conducing the project himself.

For all readers who want to conduct their own investigation we recommend to obtain a free 3D model of Santa Claus on this website.

All readers who always have asked themselves whether InfoQ editors can get gifts from Santa Claus although they have been involved in heavy news writing and software engineering, we ought to tell you honestly: Yes, we can!  Software engineers are a special case and belong to the intersection of adults and children. At least that is what their spouses keep saying.

A Merry Christmas to all software architects, developers, and the rest.

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