Dan Pritchett is a man after my own heart. His latest post talks about the path to availability enlightenment. The obvious path--reliable components and vendor-supported commercial software--leads only to tears.
You can begin on the path to enlightenment when you set aside dreams of perfect software running on perfect hardware, talking over perfect networks. Instead, embrace the reality of fallible components. Don't design around them, design for them.
How do you design for failure-prone components? That's what most of Release It! is all about.