Run your own cloud service

Eat your own dog food.The Omni Group: “We’ve designed OmniPresence around open web protocols, so you’re welcome to use our free Omni Sync Server or to host your own cloud server. We think that the option to host your own cloud is important—not just because of concerns with respect to privacy and security (though that’s key for many businesses), but because it means you can keep that cloud running as long as you want to keep using it. As we saw with MobileMe shutting down earlier this year, individual cloud services can easily disappear as business models change. Building a solution around open standards means that our customers have a choice of hosting providers rather than being tied to a single ephemeral cloud solution.”

Omni is taking an interesting approach to their cloud services. Besides running a cloud service you can use they’re going to let you run your own based on open web standards and protocols.

Very nice.

Cloud Social

Facebook, one giant app

ars technica: “Because Facebook’s entire code base is compiled down to a single binary executable, the company’s deployment process is quite different from what you’d normally expect in a PHP environment. Rossi told me that the binary, which represents the entire Facebook application, is approximately 1.5GB in size. When Facebook updates its code and generates a new build, the new binary has to be pushed to all of the company’s servers.”

As much as I rail against Facebook, they don’t mess around when it comes to their technology. If they can’t find what they’re after, they build it.

Most web sites are built from a little of this and a little of that. Now doubt Facebook has many components that make it up.

The idea that they’ve gone against conventional wisdom and built a monolithic application is kind of refreshing. They own the world because they’ve continued to make their own path.

The Hacker Way, indeed.


Flavor of the Day

AHHHHHH!Real Free Market: “Clueless people get obsessed with languages and frameworks. No matter what language and framework you use, you have to write your application code. If you use a fancy framework, then you have to write framework-compliant code in addition to your program’s code. With node.js, you’re fiddling around with callback functions and manually managing timing, instead of letting Apache and the OS do it for you.”

It looks like node.js is good, for simple apps. If you want to get serious, find a bigger hammer.

Hey, don’t expect much from JavaScript. It’s an ugly hack. But ugly hacks become standards, if you don’t pay attention.


Webscale, Not Easy

Watch out! It's a blog fly!High Scalability: “Tumblr started as a fairly typical large LAMP application. The direction they are moving in now is towards a distributed services model built around Scala, HBase, Redis, Kafka, Finagle, and an intriguing cell based architecture for powering their Dashboard. Effort is now going into fixing short term problems in their PHP application, pulling things out, and doing it right using services.”

Even the companies you believe are doing it right, start by doing it wrong, and evolve. Twitter, Facebook, and now Tumblr. Webscale is not easy to achieve. Running node.js with a MySQL database isn’t going to cut it. It takes serious planning and thought, and a great operations team to keep the beast running. I know this by experience. I made those same mistakes and learned a lot in the process.

I love this stuff.

Business Cloud

New Facebook? Sounds like a Weblog.

ArrrrrrBrian Solis: “Timeline is a new kind of profile, one that lets people tell their story in a visually-rich and artistic fashion. In addition to aesthetics, Timeline is essentially a social home page for all that moves you, from media to experiences to people. The biggest difference you’ll notice is presentation. Starting with the substantial image that you choose to depict your persona, the new format essentially turns your profile into a Flipboard-esque (magazine) pictorial rich with updates, content, and connections…all designed to tell your story, your way. Don’t be confused by the name however, Timeline is much more than that, it’s essentially a storyboard for your digital and real life as told by what you share and what others share with you.”

“Timeline is the story of your life,” said Mark Zuckerberg “All your stories, all your apps, express who you are.”

It sounds just like a weblog, imagine that? I don’t need a siloed service to provide that. I already have it, I have a weblog.

If you care about your content, you should publish it yourself, you don’t need Facebook as much as they’d like you to think that. Use Facebook as a connector, drive traffic back to your weblog and your content. It is your content, right?

Business Cloud Life

The Dark Side of the Cloud

Skull and BonesThomas Monopoly @thomasmonopoly: “On July 15 2011 you turned off my entire Google account. You had absolutely no reason to do this, despite your automated message telling me your system “perceived a violation.” I did not violate any Terms of Service, either Google’s or account specific ToS, and your refusal to provide me with any proof otherwise makes me absolutely certain of this. And I would like to bring to your attention how much damage your carelessness has done.”

Here’s an example of The Mythical Cloud gone wrong.


SmugMug’s use of The Mythical Cloud (A.K.A. network)

Don MacAskill: “Which brings us to fourth, we aren’t 100% cloud yet. We’re working as quickly as possible to get there, but the lack of a performant, predictable cloud database at our scale has kept us from going there 100%. As a result, the exact types of data that would have potentially been disabled by the EBS meltdown don’t actually live at AWS at all – it all still lives in our own datacenters, where we can provide predictable performance. This has its own downsides – we had two major outages ourselves this week (we lost a core router and its redundancy earlier, and a core master database server later). I wish I didn’t have to deal with routers or database hardware failures anymore, which is why we’re still marching towards the cloud.”

Something to remember when you put your data in the hands of someone else, they don’t care about it as much as you do.

Case in point, an ECG monitoring company had a life and death situation because of the failure. They should’ve been a bit better prepared, but I’m sure they thought “The Mythical Cloud” would never fail.

Bottom line: It’s still a network, they’re still just computers, they’re over used, humans are in charge, and you should have a backup plan.


My brother, the cloud guy

Jerry Fahrni: “The installation went very well. I didn’t have a single problem, which is why I’m creating this blog post on my tablet with a freshly installed Windows 7 OS. Of course I didn’t even attempt an upgrade from Windows XP Pro because it just wasn’t an option. And because I practice what I preach I had almost nothing to re-install once Windows 7 was up and running on the tablet. It’s all about the cloud making my life easier.” – I guess my brother’s obsession with web services is really paying off.

Jay, what’s up with the creepy desktop wallpaper? I hope you swapped that out?