Programming for the Amazon EC2 cloud
Building software for cloud computing is largely about optimizing the application given the new tools available to you.
When you need to scale, your first question is: How? Do you have a lot of users, or just a lot of hits? Can users share some data, or is each user's data unique? What must happen when users hit the site, and what can you cache in advance?
If you compare how people have solved the problems of scaling common applications, such as WordPress, and online applications, such as Twitter, you'll see that there are very different problems.
Scaling on the cloud involves a lot of decoupling – making one thing work completely independently of another so that each process isn't held up by another. Sometimes, doing this will require re-working your application, but if you're lucky enough to be building from scratch, make sure you don't choose methods out of habit.
If you are scaling an existing application or building one from scratch, you will need to optimize. Optimization is one of the never-ending tasks – Google goes on about how they shave every millisecond off the page load time as possible, and if you've ever had to optimize, you'll understand this.
Make sure you have tools for optimizing and you know how to use them – each language has a host of tools for benchmarking and profiling the code. Optimization is important when you think about scaling, because if your code contains a bottleneck, the speed problem will multiply with the number of users. Plus, bottlenecks are good candidates for decoupling the application.
Building in Clouds
As soon as you worked out the quickest way to deliver a web page from your rack servers, along came cloud computing providers with thousands of servers and a whole new approach. Getting these cloud services into your toolset will save you from much of what Amazon calls the "heavy lifting."
- Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2): http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/
- GoGrid: http://www.gogrid.com/
- Rackspace: http://www.rackspace.com/solutions/cloud_hosting/index.php
- Google Apps Engine: http://code.google.com/appengine/
- "Using SimpleDB and Rails": http://developer.amazonwebservices.com/connect/entry.jspa?externalID=1242
Buy this article as PDF
New tool will look like GParted but support a wider range of storage technologies.
New public key pinning feature will help prevent man-in-the-middle attacks.
Carnegie Mellon researchers say 3 million pages could fall down the phishing hole in the next year.
The US government rolls new best-practice rules for protecting SSH.
Klaus Knopper announces the latest version of his iconic Live Linux system.
All websites that use these popular CMS tools could be vulnerable to denial of service attacks if users don't install the updates.
According to a report, many potential victims of the Heartbleed attack have patched their systems, but few have cleaned up the crime scene to protect themselves from the effects of a previous intrusion.
DARPA and NICTA release the code for the ultra-secure microkernel system used in aerial drones.
Should you trust an online service to store your online passwords?
New B+ board lets you build cool things without the complication of a powered USB hub.