Blog entries from February, 2008

The ‘talk’ and the ‘talks’

Thursday, February 28th, 2008 at 11:08pm

Tonight, I went into the city for the second time this week (the first was Amazon Web Services on Monday). This time for the February Web Standards Group meeting with Paul presenting the latest version of Starting an Open Source Business.

I wasn’t that interested in the talk as I had already seen it, definitely at a perl mongers meeting leading up to an OSDC and possibly another time (excellent all times I’ve heard it). But as I was saying to someone earlier in the week:

“The ‘talk’ doesn’t matter, the ‘talks’ do”

After 2008 was over I really regretted not going as it won’t be held in Melbourne for a few years. Then by the time I thought about going to BarCamp Melbourne the registrations were well over the limit. More regret as I hear it too was excellent.

Because of this I decided that I will make much more of an effort in going to (and possibly helping with) more of these type of community events. Even if the topic of the event doesn’t necessarily interest me. I generally get as much or more out of the discussions over drinks/dinner (the ‘talks’) than I get out of the main presentation (the ‘talk’). It is this type of thing that makes it a community.

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Amazon Web Services

Monday, February 25th, 2008 at 11:51pm

Tonight I went to a presentation by Mike Culver (not the harpist by the sea, the one from Amazon Web Services) in the lecture hall of The Royal Society of Victoria in the city.

Getting there was straightforward: bus, train and then another train to get back around the loop to Parliament Station a bit quicker. One thing to remember about Parliament is that there are two concourses, each located past the end of the platforms. If you go down the platform in the wrong direction you end up having to double back more than the platform length once you leave the station. Not good if you are running a bit late. But it is good to know for the next Web Standards Group meeting as once entrance/exit is very convenient for the current meeting venue.

Afterward a few (about 10) made it to a nearby bar for a drink, an even smaller group (of 7) then made it to a Japanese resaurant for some food and a discussion of how technology has evolved over time.

What about the presentation itself?

Mike gave an overview and examples of how people are using there of the Amazon Web Services:

I hadn’t really looked into any of these before and I now need to have a look. Of what was said there are two things that stuck in my mind. The first being that it is possible to serve data directly from S3 by making the objects public and pointing a subdomain of yours at the S3 service. Would be very useful to push your static content out onto a highly available and high performance service.

The second thing that stick in my mind is that people are monitoring their virtual servers in EC2 and automatically adjusting for load by increasing or decreasing the number of instances. At work, virtualisation of our web nodes is (sort of) under consideration. I see this type of thing as the only tanglible benefit of virtualisation of our nodes.

You would need to have a generic image that when booted up as a new instance will grab the current production code, add itself to the load balancer and start serving content. Implementing it in such a way that the new instances have the appropriate permissions to databases, etc would be tricky. But it could make it trivial to double or triple your capacity during a few peak times.

Of course this is assuming your bottleneck is CPU…

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