SAM SIG: The Tallest Building in the World: 2x4s or Steel?



  • (Software) Architecture: What We Do and Why We Do It



    Stephen McHenry, Architect - Netflix



    * Karin MeyerIntuit

    * Steve WolfordGenentech CIT

    * Ronald MakNASA


    Presentation Overview

    Software architecture is often one of the most neglected steps of new systems development. Major projects are all too often initiated with little or no up-front architectural considerations.

    But attempting to rework the underlying architecture of a system after the fact can be so difficult as to require effort approaching a complete rewrite. This has predictable detrimental effects to the quality of the resulting product and the delivery schedule – often resulting in project cancellation and – for startups – company failure.

    Stephen McHenry will examine what system architecture is (and isn’t), how it relates to the development of large-scale software systems, and what happens when a system is developed with inadequate attention to architecture. He will also discuss the skills required to be a system architect.

    Following Stephen's talk, he will moderate a panel of Bay Area software architects from organizations, enterprises and product companies including Genentech, Schwab, Intuit, and NASA, who will kick around, discuss and expand on Stephen's points as they apply to the organizations and the projects they've been intimately involved with advancing.


    About the Presenters

    Stephen McHenry

    Mr. McHenry has been chief architect of numerous highly-scalable, distributed systems over the last 20 years including content distribution networks, electronic money (Millicent), supply chain management, security, Internet search, semiconductor yield analysis and lifecycle planning, CAD/CAM/CAE, Product Information Management, medical devices, embedded microprocessor systems, and multi-user operating systems.

    In his current position at Netflix, he is architecting the next generation of Video on Demand systems for movie delivery over the Internet. He was previously Vice President of Engineering (VPE) at Emasys, Vice President of Engineering and Chief Technology Officer at Fort Hill Systems, and VPE/CTO at Advanced Software Technologies. He has also held management or senior technical positions with Ordain, Standard Logic, MSI Data, McDonnell Douglas, Pertec and Chevron.


    Karin Meyer

    Intuit Strategic Programs Management, formerly principal architect for


    Steve Wolford

    Principal Systems Architect, Genentech CIT


    Ronald Mak

    Architect and development lead of the middleware of NASA's Collaborative Information Portal, a mission-critical enterprise application for the current Mars Exploration Rovers mission.


    Event Logistics


    Cubberley Community Center

    4000 Middlefield Road, Room H-1

    Palo Alto, CA


    6:30 - 7:00 p.m. Registration/Networking/Refreshments/Pizza

    7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Presentations



    $15 at the door for non-SDForum members

    No charge for SDForum members

    Please call 408.494.8378 for student memberships

    No registration required

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