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Posts Tagged ‘aws

Datacenter Networking trends run counter to Moore’s Law

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James Hamilton is the man when it comes to datacenter efficiency and economics, so if he says it, believe it…

Networking is interesting because it’s an area that is running counter-Moore and actually getting relatively more expensive while the rest of the industry is going the other way

via Perspectives – AWS re:Invent Conference.

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Written by John Gannon

November 8, 2014 at 10:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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Netflix’s Advice on Moving to Amazon Web Services

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“You have to assume that the hardware and underlying services are ephemeral, unreliable and may be broken or unavailable at any point, and that the other tenants in the multi-tenant public cloud will add random congestion and variance. In reality you always had this problem at scale, even with the most reliable hardware, so cloud ready architecture is about taking the patterns you have to use at large scale, and using them at a smaller scale to leverage the lowest cost infrastructure.”

via Netflix’s Advice on Moving to Amazon Web Services – ReadWriteCloud.

Written by John Gannon

April 1, 2011 at 10:21 am

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Technologies I wish we had in 2001

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Music for 2001: A Space Odyssey album cover
Image via Wikipedia

The best and worst thing about working in the technology industry is that you constantly build custom solutions to problems, sometimes quite expensively, and then years later see the same problems get solved through affordable (or free) off-the-shelf products.

Recently I’ve been thinking about solutions that we could have really used during my stint at FOXSports.com, but didn’t exist at the time (2001-2003).

Amazon Web Services (EC2 and S3): It was exciting to support interactive polls during major FOX broadcasts like Super Bowl and World Series, but a huge challenge for the technology organization, particularly in the areas of capacity planning and scaling.  We literally had our hosting provider bring in additional servers for these events, and then decommission them after the events ended.  If we had EC2 we might have been able to scale more flexibly during these events.  Also, we had loads of static content stored in our Oracle database, and served up by our web servers.  S3 would have allowed us to serve this content more effectively while reducing our reliance on a homegrown caching system.

Cloud integration (a la Boomi, CastIron Systems): As a sports website, we had a whole bunch of data and content feeds that we’d get from third parties.  Each feed was a custom integration using different protocols, authentication methods, and required specialized operations support.   If we had solutions like Boomi or CastIron available to us, we could have saved ourselves and our partners a whole lot of development time, and the end result would have been a more operationally supportable set of systems, with more flexibility to onboard new business partners quickly.

Application caching layer (e.g. memcached): We built our own caching platform within our app so that we wouldn’t hit our Oracle database so often with reads.  The cache logic was built in our app and the storage for the cache was an NFS shared volume sitting on a Netapp NAS device.  If we built the site today, we could have leveraged memached (or one of its commercial derivatives) and saved a bunch of dev, testing and debugging time.

Google Analytics: We spent a ton of money on web analytics solutions back in the day.  Google Analytics would have given us much of the same functionality, for free.  Enough said :)

All of these solutions would have addressed big pain points for our tech team, and consequently for our business as a whole.

Would love to hear any of your war stories related to this topic in the comments.

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Written by John Gannon

June 24, 2009 at 11:39 am

Understanding cloud computing costs in the enterprise

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Amazon has gone live with Windows support in the EC2 cloud while at the same time announcing a private beta for some new scaling and load balancing features.  These features will certainly be useful for the smaller customers of EC2, but my guess is that those features were driven by a desire to make the Amazon cloud more “enterprise friendly”.  And speaking of enterprise friendly…

In an earlier post I discussed some areas that Amazon and the other cloud providers will need to address before they’ll see mass enterprise adoption.  One area I did not discuss, but that is also important, is cloud financial management (cloud “chargeback”).

Chargeback methodologies and technologies are used to help medium-to-large enterprise IT departments meter usage of key IT resources (storage, network, compute) and then allocate usage back to individual business units, applications, etc.

Although cloud computing provides financial benefits like reduction of CAPEX and the ability to pay-as-you-go, organizations will still need a reasonable amount of granularity in the reporting of cloud usage and the ability to map that usage into a financial chargeback model that makes sense.  Knowing which applications and departments are driving IT expenses is critical now, and will continue to be critical as cloud computing goes mainstream in the enterprise.  Therefore, any cloud chargeback solution should integrate with the chargeback framework that the company uses to manage their physical assets.

I can also see forecasting of cloud computing demand within enterprises becoming more important as greater usage variability  drives expense variability.  Avoiding CAPEX is a great thing, but if you’re unable to predict OPEX, you’re going to have other problems.  Traditionally, capacity planning and demand forecasting has been a dark art (at least in the distributed systems world), but I think the industry as a whole needs to think about new ways to address the problem in a hybrid cloud/non-clouded world.

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Written by John Gannon

October 24, 2008 at 7:19 pm

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