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Step 2: Make reasonable assumptions

Step 2: Make reasonable assumptions

Depending on the type of system you are designing, you need to estimate its scale: how many users will access it every day, how much data you will store and process, etc.

You should be careful when making assumptions. Incorrect assumptions can dramatically change the design. You should rely on your product sense as well to make reasonable assumptions.

In the TinyURL example:

  • It matters whether newly generated URLs must be accessible immediately
  • It matters whether URL analytics must be updated in real-time

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Once you have a basic design in mind, focus on the key issues. Identify the bottlenecks and major challenges of the system, and then adjust your design to handle them.

You can't design a system if you don't know what you're designing.

There is no single design for any system that works perfectly. There are always trade-offs. Two different people can come up with different designs, with both being excellent given different assumptions.

Draw a high-level diagram of what your system looks like:

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