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NoSQL Choices: To Misfit or Cargo Cult?

By Eric Redmond
July 29, 2013

Retreading old topics can be a powerful source of epiphany, sometimes more so than simple extra-box thinking. I was a computer science student, of course I knew statistics. But my recent years as a NoSQL (or better stated: distributed systems) …

Beyond Puppet and Chef: Managing PostgreSQL with Ansible

By Courtney Nash
May 28, 2013

Think configuration management is simply a decision between Chef or Puppet? PalaminoDB CTO (and Lead DB Engineer for Obama’s 2012 campaign) Jay Edwards (@meangrape) discusses his upcoming Velocity talk about Ansible, an alternative configuration management offering that is quick and easy …

The EC2 API as a Defacto Standard

By George Reese
August 9, 2011

The argument for EC2 as a defacto standard is, at some level, the same as it is for any defacto standard: through the EC2 API, you eliminate the need for others to learn some custom API and you can leverage the existing, sizable ecosystem. But there is no such thing as the EC2 API. EC2 is actually many different APIs and adopting the EC2 API as a standard ultimately implies supporting all of those APIs.

Four short links: 3 August 2011

By Nat Torkington
August 3, 2011

Just Say No To Freegal -- an interesting view from the inside, speaking out against a music licensing system called Freegal which is selling to libraries. Libraries typically buy one copy of something, and then lend it out to multiple users sequentially, in order to get a good return on investment. Participating in a product like Freegal means that...

Four short links: 29 March 2011

By Nat Torkington
March 29, 2011

Serve -- American Express mobile payments play. Money on mobiles is a huge potential, look for others to bang around here before the right answer is found. (via Mike Olson) Move Mayonnaise and Ketchup (YouTube) -- I don't know why you'd want to move mayonnaise and ketchup intact, but this is the machine for it. (via Russell Brown) Duplicates...

Four short links: 24 March 2010

By Nat Torkington
March 24, 2011

Digital Subscription Prices -- the NY Times in context. Aie. Trinity -- Microsoft Research graph database. (via Hacker News) Data Science Toolkit -- prepackaged EC2 image of most useful data tools. (via Pete Warden) Snappy -- Google's open sourced compression library, as used in BigTable and MapReduce. Emphasis is on speed, with resulting lack of quality in filesize (20-100%...

Defining clouds, web services, and other remote computing

By Andy Oram
December 15, 2010

Technology commentators are a bit trapped by the term "cloud," which has been kicked and slapped around enough to become truly shapeless. So in this section I'll offer a history of services that have led up to our cloud-obsessed era, hoping to help readers distinguish the impacts and trade-offs created by all the trends that lie in the "cloud."

Four short links: 6 August 2010

By Nat Torkington
August 6, 2010

AWS: Forget the Revenue, Did You See the Margins? (RedMonk) -- According to UBS, Amazon Web Services gross margins for the years 2006 through 2014 are 47%, 48%, 48%, 49%, 49%, 50%, 50.5%, 51%, 53%. (these are analyst projections, so take with grain of salt, but those are some sweet margins if they're even close to accurate) Science Pipes...

Four short links: 23 July 2010

By Nat Torkington
July 23, 2010

5 Reputation Missteps (and how to avoid them) (YouTube) -- a Google Tech Talk from one of the authors of the O'Reilly-published Building Web Reputation Systems. Solr on EC2 Tutorial -- the tutorial shows how to index Wikipedia with Solr. (via Matt Biddulph) clive -- a command line utility for extracting (or downloading) videos from Youtube and other video...

White House moves to Amazon's cloud

By Alex Howard
May 13, 2010 will be the first government website to be hosted within's public cloud.

Four short links: 4 February 2010

By Nat Torkington
February 4, 2010

Google Ad Preferences -- my defaults look reasonable and tailored to my interest. Creepy but kinda cool: I guess that if I have to have ads, they should be ones I'm not going to hate. (via rabble on Twitter) Android and the Linux Kernel -- the Android kernel is forked from the standard Linux kernel, and a Linux kernel...

Four short links: 5 November 2009

By Nat Torkington
November 5, 2009

Heat Maps in R -- We used financial data here because it's easier to access than the airline data, but it's actually a pretty interesting way of looking at a financial time series. Weekend and holiday effects are a bit more obvious, and it's a bit like being able to see the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly closes all...

Four short links: 16 October 2009

By Nat Torkington
October 16, 2009

Wiimote Audio Geotagging -- match audio with the map movement and annotations made with an IR pen and a Wiimote. Very cool! (and from New Zealand) San Francisco: Open For Data -- Two months after it launched, the project is already reaping rewards from San Francisco's huge community of programmers. Applications using the data include Routesy, which offers directions...

Four short links: 8 October 2009

By Nat Torkington
October 8, 2009

Linux Baby Rocker -- inventive use of a CD drive and the eject command ... (via Hacker News) I Like Unicorn Because It's Unix -- forceful rant about the need to rediscover Unix systems programming. Reminds me of the Varnish notes where the author explains that it works better because it uses the operating system instead of recreating it...

Four short links: 22 September 2009

By Nat Torkington
September 22, 2009

The City is a Battlesuit for Surviving the Future (IO9) -- a great essay by Matt Jones, based on his talk at Webstock this year. Urban design is how we created alternate realities before we had iPhones, and the new technology lets us choose which science fiction future we want to inhabit. We are now a predominantly urban species,...

Four short links: 24 June 2009

By Nat Torkington
June 24, 2009

The Digital Open -- The Digital Open is an online technology community and competition for youth around the world, age 17 and under. Building a community of young open source hackers. Four Crowdsoucing Lessons from the Guardian's Spectacular Expenses Scandal Experiment -- Your workers are unpaid, so make it fun. How to lure them? By making it feel like...

Four short links: 11 June 2009

By Nat Torkington
June 11, 2009

Trending Topics -- full source code for, Wikipedia trend analysis. Rails app running on the Cloudera Hadoop Distribution on EC2. (via mattb on Delicious) Graffiti from Pompeii -- I can't help but read these as Tweets. Herculaneum (on the exterior wall of a house); 10619: Apollinaris, the doctor of the emperor Titus, defecated well here (see also olde...

Four short links: 8 June 2009

By Nat Torkington
June 8, 2009

How to Project on 3D Geometry -- the fine art (and math) of distorting an image so that it looks undistorted when projected onto a non-flat 3D surface. Confused? See the images below. (via straup on Delicious) ZinePal -- Create your own printable magazine from any online content. (via warrenellis on Delicious) What The Government Doesn't Understand About The...

A Quick Look at Amazon CloudWatch, Load Balancing, and Auto-Scaling

By George Reese
June 1, 2009

Amazon recently made available to the public three new services that will have a huge impact on the way people architect systems to be deployed in the Amazon cloud. I have put together my first look thoughts on these new offerings.

MySQL 2009 conference wrap-up: news flash about Flash and other notes from the experts

MySQL 2009 conference wrap-up: news flash about Flash and other notes from the experts
By Andy Oram
April 24, 2009

MySQL conference wrap-up: Flash, cloud computing, managing large installations, the value of community, and how to fumble your way to winning the presidency.

[AWS:EC2] EC2 Reserved Instances Launched In EU Data Center

By M. David Peterson
April 15, 2009

As per a recent post to the EC2 forums, there's now support for reserved instances inside the EC2 EU Data Center.

Using the Cloud for Disaster Recovery

By George Reese
April 12, 2009

Few companies have a solid disaster recovery plan and fewer companies actually verify their DR plans are working. One of the often missed benefits of cloud computing is that it makes rapid disaster recovery with minimal data loss extremely cost effective and enables the automation of those processes that can be tested often using automated tools.

Open Cloud Manifesto: about openness, standards, and the vitality of SMTP

Open Cloud Manifesto: about openness, standards, and the vitality of SMTP
By Andy Oram
March 28, 2009

Thanks to George Reese, I learned about the bruhaha over an Open Cloud Manifesto. Let's put the debate in the context of some basic and perennial issues about openness and standards.

The Weakness of Commodity Server to Cloud Server Cost Comparisons

By George Reese
March 19, 2009

Though the conventional wisdom on the Internet is that the economic benefits of cloud computing fail for applications with steady usage needs, the reality is that the commodity-server to cloud-server comparisons on which this wisdom is based are flawed. The reality is that the cloud often provides compelling economic benefits even when you have an application with consistent resource demands.

AWS:EC2 Introduces Reserved Instances; Massive Potential Cost Reduction

By M. David Peterson
March 12, 2009

What's the best way to jump start a stalling economy? Provide reasons for people to spend money by reducing costs for goods they're already paying for, freeing up capital to be invested into places they otherwise would not be invested into. Enter Amazon Web Services and the introduction of EC2 Reserved Instances.

Blame the Credit Card Franchise: Criminals on Amazon's EC2 (Elastic Compute) Cloud

By Nitesh Dhanjani
March 11, 2009

Amazon EC2 is an extraordinarily powerful infrastructure available to anyone with a stolen credit card. Even if someone is able to use the EC2 platform for a few hours with a stolen credit card, he or she will be able to initiate a vicious cycle that may become impossible to halt.

[AWS:EC2] Windows Gains EC2:EU Support; Additional US Availability Zone

By M. David Peterson
March 3, 2009

As per the recent announcement in the AWS:EC2 forums, Amazon Web Services has beefed up their support of Windows 2k3, adding an additional availability zone in the U.S. as well as extending support via two availability zones to EC2:EU.

PCI in the Cloud

By George Reese
February 26, 2009

Compliance is the most significant issue confronting organizations looking at a move into the cloud. Here are a number of recommended architectures that should provide PCI compliance for pure-cloud infrastructures.

Cloud Tips: Sending Email from an EC2 Instance

By George Reese
January 16, 2009

Many email systems mark email coming from an SMTP server in the Amazon cloud as spam. As a result, you can't use traditional mail delivery techniques for sending out form submissions or program alerts from the cloud. In this cloud tip, I describe how you can successfully send legitimate email from an Amazon EC2 instance.

Why the AWS Console is Good for Cloud Tool Vendors

By George Reese
January 9, 2009

The release of the Amazon Web Services console has had a number of people predicting doom for cloud tools providers. On the contrary, by removing a barrier to experimentation that has kept people out of the cloud, the Amazon Web Services console should bring more people in the cloud and benefit tools providers whose value propositions are beyond Amazon's core value proposition.

Microsoft's Cloud Tax

By George Reese
December 24, 2008

The importance of the differences among web application platforms like .NET, JSP, PHP, etc. drops dramatically under the cloud computing paradigm. Which architecture you choose really comes down to one question: what kind of programming and support resources do you have? If the answer is "Microsoft technologies", however, you should be aware of the Microsoft cloud tax.

Java in the Cloud

Java in the Cloud
By Hari K. Gottipati
December 20, 2008

Every one is talking about building apps in cloud or moving the apps to cloud. There are plenty of jobs on job boards looking for the people with the skills: "familiarity with cloud" or "expertise in cloud". The latest buzzword is "Cloud Computing". What is Cloud? Why all of sudden Cloud is a buzz? What are my options to move Java app to the Cloud? What are the features and limitations of the Cloud? How IaaS and PaaS will fit in the Cloud? Read 'Java in the Cloud' for details ......

How I Ended Up in the Cloud

By George Reese
December 13, 2008

Like most of us, I have been in the cloud longer than I have thought about being "in the cloud". But it took the need for a significant capital investment in hardware to drive Valtira into cloud computing using Amazon Web Services like Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3. Our journey into the cloud began with a new product offering and an attempt to avoiding shelling out huge up-front cash on hardware. Today, we have a complex infrastructure that saves us money over other options and provides greater flexibility.


By M. David Peterson
December 10, 2008

Proving yet again that attempting to boil the ocean results in nothing more than a few dead fish, Amazon Web Services continues is "one customer at a time" assault on the utility computing marketplace, this go round bringing EC2 a little closer to home for customers based in Europe.

On Why I Don't Like Auto-Scaling in the Cloud

By George Reese
December 6, 2008

Cloud environments like Amazon EC2 have the ability to dynamically add and remove capacity based on your actual demand. Some tools extend this capability into auto-scaling. Auto-scaling, however, can be dangerous and often serves as a crutch for poor capacity planning.

Key Security Issues for the Amazon Cloud

By George Reese
November 30, 2008

This follow-on article to the Twenty Rules for Amazon Cloud Security examines six real security concerns that gave rise to the 20 rules.

Increasing Availability in the Amazon Cloud

By George Reese
November 10, 2008

If you have done any experimentation in the cloud, you have likely realized that virtual server instances in the Amazon cloud are much less reliable than their real world counterparts. How do you compare availability in the cloud to a physical infrastructure and leverage the cloud to increase overall availability.

Amazon's new EC2 SLA

By Jesse Robbins
October 24, 2008

Amazon announced a new SLA for EC2, similar to the one for S3. This is a notable step for Amazon and cloud computing as a whole, as it establishes a new bar for utility computing services. Amazon is committing to 99.95% availability for the EC2 service on a yearly basis, which corresponds to approximately four hours and twenty three minutes...


By M. David Peterson
October 1, 2008

In a surprise announcement just a few moments ago, Jeff Barr, Amazon Web Services lead technical evangelist announced they would now be supporting Windows on EC2. This is a /HUGE/ deal, especially when you consider the fact that Microsoft is rumored to be preparing a competitor to EC2, something they will supposedly be announcing at the PDC in November.

Video of Rich Wolski's incredible EUCALYPTUS talk at Velocity

By Jesse Robbins
June 24, 2008

Rich Wolski gave a truly impressive talk at Velocity about an open-source software infrastructure for cloud computing called EUCALYPTUS . The API is compatible with Amazon's EC2 interface, and the underlying infrastructure is designed to support multiple client-side interfaces. EUCALYPTUS is implemented using commonly-available Linux tools and basic Web-service technologies making it easy to install and maintain. Watch and learn......

Two new open source projects at Velocity

By Jesse Robbins
June 17, 2008

At Velocity next week there will be two significant open source projects debuting. The first is the Jiffy: Open Source Performance Measurement and Instrumentation tool created by Scott Ruthfield and his team at Most tools for measuring web performance come in two flavors: Developer-installed tools (Firebug, Fiddler, etc.) that allow individuals to closely trace single sessions Third-party performance monitoring...

CloudCamp gathering after Velocity

By Jesse Robbins
June 13, 2008

On Tuesday after Velocity closes there will be a CloudCamp gathering at Microsoft's San Francisco Office. I'll be going (unless I'm too exhausted to stand). CloudCamp was formed in order to provide a common ground for the introduction and advancement of cloud computing Through a series of local cloudcamp events, attendees can exchange ideas, knowledge and information in a creative...

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