Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category
January 4, 2013
If you use AWS, you’ve probably seen first-hand how easy it is to forget about unused resources. These servers, DBs and volumes have a bad habit of sitting there, doing nothing and costing you money.
As one of the largest AWS users in existence, Netflix knows that these unused resources quickly add up to wasted money. In their case, it can mean the difference of millions of dollars if they don’t keep waste under control.
That’s why Netflix created, as part of their “Simian Army”, the Janitor Monkey. The concept is simple:
September 12, 2012
Often enough, I find myself explaining to people what this whole “cloud” thing is about. That’s a subject for another time, because it’s just complicated enough to be slightly tedious. More interesting is the conversation that comes immediately after that one: how can I start using this “cloud” thing?
At first blush, it’s easy enough. You just sign up and start using, right? Spin up a few instances, set up an app, configure an autoscaler and away you go! Hey, if you’ve got an unlimited amout of someone else’s money to work with, that might even be a good way to go about it.
The rest of us, including me, have to work within a budget. Buying a server and putting it in a colo may not be cheap, but the costs are pretty predictable. In the cloud, I just get a bill at the end of the month. There’s no predictability there! Not to mention that Finance is breathing down my neck about the bit where they no longer have control over what’s being spent on what. Makes them unhappy, and usually for good reason.
Maybe you’re like me, and would rather seek forgiveness than ask permission and occasionally do so in the form of an expense report. About eight months back, I was setting up my own copy of the full Cloudability development environment. This was a fairly involved procedure that relied in part upon having a reasonably beefy RDS instance running. After about two weeks of utility, I shut it all down, turned all the things off, and deleted all the data. Then I filed the expense report and forgot about it. A few weeks later, my boss notices the expense claim and wants to know what this is about and why he’s getting a surprise cloud expense claim.
Oops. I’m lucky he’s a forgiving sort.
Had I been thinking about it, I would have taken advantage of the then-beta Tribes functionality so that he could see my cloud spend as it accrued. Instead, it came as a surprise when he went over expense claims. It’s probably a good thing we didn’t have Finance then, or they’d have been breathing down my neck faster than you can say “audit”.
You’re smarter than me, though. You know that the cloud is pretty awesome, you just need to convince Finance to let you do it. So you show them this neat thing and how it lets them look over your shoulder at your spending. Three crazy days later you’re got a complex heroku-aws-pingdom-new relic-softlayer-sendgrid-akamai enterprise stack going and nobody has asked you any awkward questions about how much all this will cost them.
Just be careful with that autoscaler. You’ll put somebody’s inode out.
August 21, 2012
In the before-times of web design, there was a (usually) clear process of how things were supposed to be done.
You’d open Photoshop, design a high fidelity static comp, receive feedback, tweak the comp, so on and so forth, until you have a design everyone could agree upon. Once the comp was complete you’d start coding the frontend and backend simultaneously.
It was great for static sites, but there was no way to really model interactivity during the design stage. This lead to interactive sites that looked good, but either took forever to build or were frustrating to use.
Fast forward to the present day. We now have fully responsive layouts, creating the need for Photoshop comps for phones, tablets and desktop browsers. This is a huge drain on time and it still doesn’t completely fix our issue of managing the expectations of user experience.
At Cloudability we’ve addressed the issue by employing low fidelity comps to ensure we are on the same page then designing directly in the browser. Not only is the turn around time considerably faster but the product owner has a clear understanding of the full interaction experience. If you’re looking to implement something similar, use these three steps to get the ball rolling. Read the rest of this entry »
August 3, 2012
The tech world is a-buzz around the cloud. But a lot of that pontificating focuses on the current state of the cloud. What about next month, or next year?
On July 19th, we were fortunate enough to have Ben Kepes (@BenKepes), Krishnan “Krish” Subramanian (@Krishnan) and Alex Williams (@AlexWilliams) in our neck of the woods, and it seemed silly not to point a camera at them while they imparted some prophetic wisdom about the cloud, where it’s headed and what that will mean for the rest of us.
- Open clouds?
- Measuring your cloud
- Private clouds
August 1, 2012
These days, user experience makes up a significant part of almost any SaaS product’s value proposition. In fact, some companies are competing on user experience alone.