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Making Systems Operable

By Richard Cook
October 7, 2013

There’s an old joke about the aviation cockpit of the future that it will contain just a pilot and a dog. The pilot will be there to watch the automation. The dog will be there to bite the pilot if …

Efficient, Effective Communication Still Often Elusive

By J. Paul Reed
September 25, 2013

Editor’s note: This is part two in a four-part series on the “-ations” of aviation that can provide further insight into DevOps best practices and achieving them. Part one, on how standardization helps organizations scale and is actually a part …

Sharing is a competitive advantage

By Courtney Nash
September 5, 2013

In October, we’re bringing our Velocity conference to New York for the first time. Let’s face it, a company expanding its conference to other locations isn’t anything that unique. And given the thriving startup scene in New York, there’s no …

Sharing is a competitive advantage

By Courtney Nash
September 4, 2013

In October, we’re bringing our Velocity conference to New York for the first time. Let’s face it, a company expanding its conference to other locations isn’t anything that unique. And given the thriving startup scene in New York, there’s no …

Surfacing anomalies and patterns in Machine Data

By Ben Lorica
August 11, 2013

I’ve been noticing that many interesting big data systems are coming out of IT operations. These are systems that go beyond the standard “capture/measure, display charts, and send alerts”. IT operations has long been a source of many interesting big …

Zero Downtime Application Updates with Ansible

By Michael DeHaan
July 18, 2013

Automating the configuration management of your operating systems and the rollout of your applications is one of the most important things an administrator or developer can do to avoid surprises when updating services, scaling up, or recovering from failures. However, …

Ops Mythology

By Courtney Nash
June 4, 2013

At some point, we’ve all ended up trading horror stories over drinks with colleagues. Heads nod and shake in sympathy, and the stories get hairier as the night goes on. And while it of course feels good to get some …

What Is the Risk That Amazon Will Go Down (Again)?

By Johan Bergström
May 29, 2013

Why should we at all bother about notions such as risk and safety in web operations? Do web operations face risk? Do web operations manage risk? Do web operations produce risk? Last Christmas Eve, Amazon had an AWS outage affecting …

Kate Matsudaira: If You Don’t Understand People, You Don’t Understand Ops

By Courtney Nash
May 20, 2013

While automation is clearly making everyone’s lives who work in Operations much better, startup founder Kate Matsudaira (@katemats) acknowledges that “No one ever does their work in a vaccum.” You can try as much as possible to Automate All The …

Velocity Profile: Schlomo Schapiro

By Mac Slocum
June 12, 2012

A profile of web operations and performance expert Schlomo Schapiro, systems architect and open source evangelist at ImmobilienScout24.

What is DevOps?

What is DevOps?
By Mike Loukides
June 7, 2012

NoOps, DevOps — no matter what you call it, operations won't go away. Ops experts and development teams will jointly evolve to meet the challenges of delivering reliable software to customers.

Velocity Profile: Kate Matsudaira

By Mac Slocum
June 5, 2012

A profile of web operations and performance expert Kate Matsudaira, vice president of engineering at Decide.com.

Which is easier to tune, humans or machines?

Which is easier to tune, humans or machines?
By Mike Hendrickson
May 30, 2012

In this Velocity podcast, Kate Matsudaira discusses the human side of performance and operations, including how to teach people to address time, cost, quality and scope.

Top Stories: May 7-11, 2012

Top Stories: May 7-11, 2012
By Mac Slocum
May 11, 2012

This week on O'Reilly: We learned how the Velocity Conference site got a big makeover thanks to Velocity practices, Liliana Bounegru offered a brief history of data journalism, and Joe Wikert explained how booksellers can reinvent themselves.

Jesse Robbins on the state of infrastructure automation

By Timothy M. O'Brien
May 11, 2012

OpsCode chief community officer Jesse Robbins discusses cloud infrastructure automation and the most surprising use of Chef he's seen so far.

Velocity Profile: Nicole Sullivan

By Mac Slocum
May 9, 2012

Nicole Sullivan discusses her favorite CSS tools and who she follows in the web ops & performance world.

Velocity Profile: Hooman Beheshti

By Mac Slocum
April 18, 2012

Hooman Beheshti, the vice president of technology at Strangeloop, talks about how he got into web ops and performance, the biggest problems he's encountered, and the tools he relies on most.

Top Stories: April 9-13, 2012

Top Stories: April 9-13, 2012
By Mac Slocum
April 13, 2012

This week on O'Reilly: How Zipcar's technology is saving big money for U.S. city governments, why scalable clouds need simple parts, and pondering the possibilities of web ops and machine learning.

Operations, machine learning and premature babies

By Mike Loukides
April 9, 2012

Machine learning and access to huge amounts of data allowed IBM to make an important discovery about premature infants. If web operations teams could capture everything — network data, environmental data, I/O subsystem data, etc. — what would they find out?

Operations, machine learning and premature babies

By Mike Loukides
April 9, 2012

Machine learning and access to huge amounts of data allowed IBM to make an important discovery about premature infants. If web operations teams could capture everything — network data, environmental data, I/O subsystem data, etc. — what would they find out?

The feedback economy

By Alistair Croll
January 4, 2012

We're moving beyond an information economy. The efficiencies and optimizations that come from constant and iterative feedback will soon become the norm for businesses and governments.

The feedback economy

The feedback economy
By Alistair Croll
January 4, 2012

We're moving beyond an information economy. The efficiencies and optimizations that come from constant and iterative feedback will soon become the norm for businesses and governments.

What's on the agenda for Velocity Europe

What's on the agenda for Velocity Europe
By Steve Souders
October 27, 2011

Velocity co-chair Steve Souders highlights a number of Velocity Europe speakers and sessions that caught his attention.

Velocity 2011 retrospective

By Mike Loukides
June 27, 2011

A number of emerging themes are defining the web operations world, including: resilience engineering, new approaches to failure, and the role data plays in boosting performance.

Velocity 2011 retrospective

Velocity 2011 retrospective
By Mike Loukides
June 27, 2011

A number of emerging themes are defining the web operations world, including: resilience engineering, new approaches to failure, and the role data plays in boosting performance.

Velocity 2011

Velocity 2011
By Mike Loukides
June 2, 2011

As we approach the fourth Velocity conference, here's a look at how the web performance and operations communities came together, what they've done to improve the web experience, and the work that lies ahead.

Operations: The secret sauce revisited

By Andrew Shafer
August 2, 2010

No one who really understands compound interest would intentionally make frivolous purchases on a credit card. No one who really understands web operations would create infrastructure with an exponentially increasing cost of maintenance. Yet, people do both of these things.

Creating Cultural Change

Creating Cultural Change
By Jesse Robbins
June 29, 2010

At Velocity 2010, John Rauser presented four funny & powerful examples of cultural change, from a campaign at his office to get people to fill the coffee pot after taking the last cup, to an award winning advertising campaign. This talk explains how to "sneak past people's mental filters" and make things happen....

On the performance of clouds

By Alistair Croll
June 21, 2010

Bitcurrent and Webmetrics ran five cloud providers through a series of tests: a small object, a large object, a million calculations, and a 500,000-row table scan. Here's some of the results and lessons learned.

Velocity Culture: Web Operations, DevOps, etc...

Velocity Culture: Web Operations, DevOps, etc...
By Jesse Robbins
June 3, 2010

Velocity 2010 is on June 22-24 (right around the corner!). This year we've added third track, Velocity Culture, dedicated to exploring what we've learned about how great teams & organizations work together to succeed at scale. Web Operations, or WebOps, is what many of us have been calling these ideas for years.  Recently the term "DevOps" has become a kind of...

Velocity 2010: Fast By Default

Velocity 2010: Fast By Default
By Jesse Robbins
November 24, 2009

We're entering our third year of Velocity, the Web Performance & Operations Conference.. Velocity 2010 will be June 22-24, 2010 in Santa Clara, CA. It's going to be another incredible year. Steve Souders & I have set a new theme this year, "Fast by Default".  We want the broader Velocity community & to adopt it as a shared mission &...

More on how web performance impacts revenue...

By Jesse Robbins
October 1, 2009

At Velocity this year Microsoft, Google and Shopzilla each presented data on how web performance directly impacts revenue. Their data showed that slow sites get fewer search queries per user, less revenue per visitor, fewer clicks, fewer searches, and lower search engine rankings. They found that in some cases even after site performance was improved users continued to interact as...

Four short links: 4 September 2009

By Nat Torkington
September 3, 2009

Flood Maps -- what the world will look like when the oceans rise. Interactive, so you can dial up your preferred level of environmental horror. (via Hans Nowak) Citability -- making government accessible, reliable, and transparent with advanced permalinks, as Government websites are ever changing and cannot be cited. Content changes without notice or accountability. Bootstrapping EC2 Images as...

Is intimate personal information a toxic asset in cloud datacenters?

By Carl Hewitt
August 17, 2009

Guest blogger Carl Hewitt, Emeritus at MIT in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department, is known for his research on strongly paraconsistent logic, privacy-friendly client cloud computing, norms and commitments for organizational computing, and concurrent programming languages, models, and theories. Aggregators (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, etc.) tend to believe that personal information is a valuable asset for several reasons....

John Adams on Fixing Twitter: Improving the Performance and Scalability of the World's Most Popular Micro-blogging Site

By Jesse Robbins
August 6, 2009

Twitter is suffering outages today as they fend off a Denial of Service attack, and so I thought it would be helpful to post John Adams’ exceptional Velocity session about Operations at Twitter. Good luck today John & team… I know it’s going to be a long day!...

Four short links: 29 June 2009

By Nat Torkington
June 29, 2009

Server Fault -- Wikipedia-like sysadmin guide, built by the Stack Overflow team, who are branching out to reach a more general IT Professional audience. (via Brady in email) Sixty Symbols -- 5m videos about the symbols of physics and astronomy. Great stuff! (via Glutnix on Twitter) US National Archives launches YouTube Channel -- a mixture of archives-nerd stuff (directors...

Jonathan Heiliger on Web Performance, Operations, and Culture

By Jesse Robbins
June 24, 2009

We were honored to have Jonathan Heiliger, Facebook’s VP of Technology Operations, as our opening keynote speaker at Velocity. Jonathan is one of the most accomplished leaders in our field, and is a master of the craft. Here is his keynote in it’s entirety:...

Announcing: Spike Night at Velocity

Announcing: Spike Night at Velocity
By Scott Ruthfield
June 19, 2009

Guest blogger Scott Ruthfield is a Program Committee member of the O'Reilly Velocity: Web Performance & Operations Conference.  Web Operations is not for the casual observer: it's for a particular kind of adrenaline junkie that's motivated by graphs and servers spinning out of control.  Jumping in, on-your-feet analysis, and experience-based-experimentation are all part of solving new problems caused by unexpected user and machine behavior,...

Velocity Preview - The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number at Microsoft

Velocity Preview - The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number at Microsoft
By James Turner
May 18, 2009

The psychology of engineering user experiences on the web can be difficult. How much rich content can you place up on a page before the load time drives away your visitors? Get the answer wrong, and you can end up with a ghost town; get it right and you're a star. Eric Schurman knows this well, since he is responsible for just those kind of trade-off decisions on some of Microsoft's highest traffic pages. He'll be speaking at O'Reilly's Velocity Conference in June, and he recently talked with us about how Microsoft tests different user experiences on small groups of visitors.

Velocity 2009 - Big Ideas (early registration deadline)

Velocity 2009 - Big Ideas (early registration deadline)
By Jesse Robbins
May 8, 2009

(tag cloud created from Velocity session & speaker information using wordle.net) My favorite interview question to ask candidates is: "What happens when you type www.(amazon|google|yahoo).com in your browser and press return?" While the actual process of serving and rendering a page takes seconds to complete, describing it in real detail can take an hour. A good answer spans every part...

AT&T Fiber cuts remind us: Location is a Basket too!

By Jesse Robbins
April 10, 2009

The fiber cuts affecting much of the San Francisco Bay Area this week are similar to the outages in the Middle East last year (radar post), although far more limited in scope and impact.   What I said last year still holds true and is repeated below: From an operations perspective these kinds of outages are nothing new, and underscore why...

Karmic Koalas Love Eucalyptus

By Simon Wardley
February 26, 2009

An introduction into Canonical's strategy for open source cloud computing with Ubuntu.

Cloud Computing defined by Berkeley RAD Labs

By Artur Bergman
February 12, 2009

I am pleased to finally have found a paper that manages to bring together the different aspects of cloud computing in a coherent fashion, and suggests the requirements for it to develop further. Written by the Berkeley RAD Lab (UC Berkeley Reliable Adaptive Distributed Systems Laboratory) the paper succinctly brings together Software as a Service with Utility Computing to come...

Understanding Web Operations Culture - the Graph & Data Obsession

Understanding Web Operations Culture - the Graph & Data Obsession
By Jesse Robbins
February 5, 2009

We’re quite addicted to data pr0n here at Flickr. We’ve got graphs for pretty much everything, and add graphs all of the time. -John Allspaw, Operations Engineering Manager at Flickr & author of The Art of Capacity Planning One of the most interesting parts of running a large website is watching the effects of unrelated events affect user traffic...

My Web Doesn't Like Your Enterprise, at Least While it's More Fun

By Jim Stogdill
November 25, 2008

The enterprise sucks, just ask the web. But will the web always be fun?

Velocity 2009: Themes, ideas, and call for participation...

Velocity 2009: Themes, ideas, and call for participation...
By Jesse Robbins
November 21, 2008

Last year's Velocity conference was an incredible success. We expected around 400 people and we ended up maxing out the facility with over 600. This year we're moving the conference to a bigger space and extending it to 3 days to accommodate workshops and longer sessions. Velocity 2009 will be on June 22-24th, 2009 at the Fairmont Hotel in San...

Sprint blocking Cogent network traffic...

By Jesse Robbins
October 31, 2008

It appears that Sprint has stopped routing traffic (called "depeering") from Cogent as a result of some sort of legal dispute. Sprint customers cannot reach Cogent customers, and vice versa. The effect is similar to what would happen if Sprint were to block voice phonecalls to AT&T customers. Here's a graph that shows the outage, courtesy of Keynote : I...

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...

Kaminsky DNS Patch Visualization

By Jesse Robbins
August 7, 2008

Dan Kaminsky has posted the details of the widespread DNS vulnerability. Clarified Networks created this visualization of DNS patch deployment over the past month: Red = Unpatched Yellow = Patched, "but NAT is screwing things up" Green = OK...

The new internet traffic spikes

By Jesse Robbins
June 29, 2008

Theo Schlossnagle, author of Scalable Internet Architectures, gave a great explanation of how internet traffic spikes are shifting: Lately, I see more sudden eyeballs and what used to be an established trend seems to fall into a more chaotic pattern that is the aggregate of different spike signatures around a smooth curve. This graph is from two consecutive days where...


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