It's Not Always Sunny In the Clouds: Lessons Learned
Location: Ballroom B
In theory, Rails’ shared-nothing architecture is ideal for cloud computing, because increasing capacity is simply a matter of adding more servers to your deployment, and server power becomes an instantly available commodity. In practice, building on a cloud platform introduces many new points of complexity as well as new opportunities and new ways of doing business, and any company thinking of cloud computing as just-another-VPS will be sure to make mistakes.
These issues will be illuminated via a case study of OtherInbox, a Rails startup that launched at in September 2008 at Techcrunch50 and experienced a 2700% increase in usage over a seven week period. The challenges will be presented in a lesson-learned format and will include:
- Ephemeral servers and unreliable data stores (making backups a central part of the app)
- Automatic scaling using RightScale, Scalr, or PoolParty
- Automatic server provisioning and deployment
- Use of dynamic DNS
- Centralized logging
- Handling exception notification
- Useful gems and 3rd party libraries
- Asynchronous processing
- Making schema changes
- New deployment and rollback techniques
- System administration challenges
- Security concerns including firewall configuration
- Setting up staging environments
- Real financial costs
- Adapting MySQL (including MySQL master-slave relationships)
- Performance measurement
Although OtherInbox is built on Amazon Web Services, the discussion will be vendor-neutral and applicable to all cloud computing platforms. Audience members will leave this conference session with the answers to these questsions:
- Does cloud computing hype match reality?
- Should I build my next business in the clouds?
- How well does Rails really perform in a cloud environment?
- What’s different about designing a Rails app for the cloud?
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Co-founder and lead hacker of OtherInbox. I’m a hacker, Ruby on Rails developer, SproutCore enthusiast, and improv theater director based in Baltimore, Maryland.
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