Engine Yard Roadshow

I attended the Engine Yard Performance in the Cloud Roadshow in Boston this week.  Second Rotation used to host the Gazelle website at Engine Yard for several years but we ended up moving to Amazon EC2 with Rightscale so we could take advantage of dynamically scaling the site as traffic patterns changed.  On EC2, when we needed more instances, we could simply clone as many app servers (or front end load balancers) as we needed and be serving additional traffic in about 5 minutes!  As traffic subsided, we could simply remove the new instances from haproxy and terminate them, keeping our costs low.  This kind of dynamically scaling of your hardware environment was just not possible at Engine Yard, that is, until their Cloud product was released (I guess the service we had is now considered their Private Cloud product).  I was curious to the new cloud product in action.

The show included an intro by Tom Morini, Engine Yard’s CTO, Steve Hudson from New Relic, and Dave Murphy from Soasta who have an interesting product with CloudTest which allows you to simulate hundreds to potentially millions of users hitting your application.

The most interesting talk was given by Abheek Anand, Engine Yard’s product manager.  He demoed Engine Yard Cloud by deploying FatFreeCRM, an open source CRM application and gave some good tips about scaling your applications in the cloud.  Here is the Cloud Scaling Performance Mantra:

Here are my notes on Abheek’s 4 ways to Scale a Rails Application:

  1. Use the right stack
    managed EY
    high performance
    configured out of the box
    standards based, open source
  2. Scalable Application Design
    focus on user happiness
    BUT, be prepared to scale
    partition to scale
    optimize for common workflows
    move non-critical services out of http response path
    measure, measure, measure
  3. Agile Deployments
    1 click and repeatable deploys
    integrate deployments into development workflows
    environment cloning and tear-down
  4. The Right Components
    what is your performance bottleneck?

3 Takeaways
from Abheek’s talk:

  1. Start small, focus on user happiness
  2. Scaling is about iterating fast
  3. the Right Platform can let you scale (hmm, Engine Yards perhaps?)

Overall, my interest in Engine Yard was renewed because they now have a lower cost, more scalable architecture still backed by support engineers who know Rails really well.  For small teams, that support is invaluable when you’re trying to debug issues after you’ve deployed your app.  I’ll definitely be using up my $25 $50 Roadshow credit to test out their new cloud offering.

Posted on October 28, 2009 at 6:12 pm by James · Permalink
In: Cloud Computing · Tagged with: ,

2 Responses

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  1. Written by Leah Silber
    on November 4, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Hi James,

    So glad you enjoyed the show and liked the demo! Hope to catch you again next time we’re in town.

  2. Written by Rails Roadshow Recap | Engine Yard Blog
    on November 5, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    [...] James McElhiney beat me to the punch with his review, but I still wanted to take a few minutes to talk about how [...]

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