Fractal Architectures

by Laurens Van Houtven

An alternative take on Django’s traditional layered web service architecture.


Was very late.


Use many tiny servers with tiny Twisted powered web servers with tiny instances of SQLite3 as the backend. Each user gets their own mini-server!



Cause he’s a core dev and is asynchronous. We could use Django.


  • It’s in the Python stdlib
  • Wrapped by Axiom, a Python library, documented at
  • Using SQLite3 means it’s the same development environment as production - because how for developers PostgreSQL is NOT set up the same locally as production.

Static Assets / Long term storage

  • Uses a CDN like AWS, OpenStack Swift, or something else.
  • Good for handling of micro-instance failure

Two Ways for Better Performance

  • Do less stuff
  • Make stuff run faster

If you off-put stuff from one server onto a database server, cache server, et al, then even in-database center latency will become an issue. His approach is to put everything on one tiny server per user and reduce latency between machines to nothing.

This is the concept of Data Locality.

Devil’s Advocacy

  • Unusual design might make it hard to get more developer help.
  • Weird separation.
  • Data is weird, maybe not good for big data. But 99% of sites don’t have actual big data.
  • Transaction support doesn’t work.


  • Crazy, fun idea
  • Sometimes it’s good to try the insanity and see what happens