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It's Not Always Sunny In the Clouds: Lessons Learned

About the Talk

May 7, 2009 7:45 AM

Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas, NV

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?

Speaker interview with Mike Subelsky

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