Archive for December, 2008

Looking For Amazon Cloud Computing Book Beta Readers

December 31st, 2008 8 comments

I am writing a book about Amazon AWS and the tools that work with it. It does a deep dive into the various services offered by AWS followed by a deep dive in the tools available to work with those services. I cover the EC2 command line tools, ElasticFox, Cloud Studio, RightScale, S3 Browser and S3 Organizer. I also provide a brief explanation of RDP, SSH and PuTTY.

The book, Cloud Computing with Amazon AWS, is subtitled A Database Geeks Guide to Amazon Web Services.

I am very close to finishing the book and I am looking for some people to read the draft and provide feedback. I would like a few people who are familiar with the tools so that they can fact check me but I would also like some people completely new to AWS so that they can make sure the text is clear enough.

All reviewers get a mention in the acknowledgments (along with your blog if you have one) and a free copy of the e-version of the book.

If you would like to be a reviewer for me, please leave a comment here or email me at


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100% AWS

December 30th, 2008 Comments off

People frequently ask me about cloud examples and success stories. Of course, the biggest success story has to be Animoto on RightScale.

On April 14, 2008, Animoto launched a Facebook plugin for their Rails application where users create music videos with photos and music of their choice. Its instant popularity forced them to scale up the number of application and worker servers at an unprecendented rate in just a few days. They were also able to easily scale down their deployment after the initial traffic spike was over. Animoto satisfied each request and only paid for the EC2 instances that they used.

AWS just posted an example of a site that has switched entirely to AWS. 100% on Amazon Web Services: is an address book on steroids. It works with (or will work with soon): outlook, blackberry, gmail, mac address book and other phones. They just need to add Yahoo and Windows Contacts.

The architecture seems to be EC2 with EBS and RabbitMQ for messaging. Interestingly enough, they are running PostgreSQL and pgpool II as the database. They are sharding (server partitioning) the data for scalability. They are also using snapshots for backups. Nice.

I still haven’t found anyone relying on SimpleDB (or any other eventually consistent database) for anything beyond catalogs. I’d be curious as to why they chose RabbitMQ instead of SQS. I guess you could say that are really 65% AWS. 😉


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AWS and Google Cloud Status Dashboard

December 28th, 2008 Comments off

I ran across this cloud computing dashboard a few days ago. It’s a service from Hyperic, a company that sells monitoring and performance software.

The dashboard lets you view the general health of various AWS and GAE features.

You can drill in on the various services by clicking the available links. For example, you can get more details on EC2.

EC2 status is determined by how long it takes to start a small instance.

S3 also has additional information. A graph mode:

And a table mode:

There’s plenty of additional information for the other features of AWS and for the GAE features.

While the information does not tell you everything about YOUR usage, it is a nice tool for general use. You can sign up for a service from Hyperic that will let you monitor your instances. I plan to give the software a try and post my findings here.

You can also signup for twitter updates.

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Financial Services in the Cloud

December 22nd, 2008 Comments off

IBM offers a SaaS Specialty partner program that provides resources, technical enablement and marketing support to its partners. IBM also offers hardware, software and infrastructure technologies to help its Business Partners deliver secure and scaleable cloud services. In addition, Business Partners gain access to over 40 worldwide IBM Innovation Centers, providing them with technical support and expertise for helping them test, build and optimize cloud services based on open platforms.

Fortent is a global specialist in anti-money laundering and regulatory compliance. Since 1993 they have served 26 of the world’s 30 largest financial institutions. Fortent’s advanced monitoring and detection technology is endorsed by the American Banking Association and uses a variety of IBM software, hardware and services to deliver the solution including: Tivoli Workload Scheduler, WebSphere Application Server and DB2 Enterprise Database Server, on virtualized IBM System p servers in an IBM e-Business managed hosting facility.

As the financial sector seeks to contain risk and rising compliance costs in the wake of unprecedented industry pressures, Fortent announced that it joined the IBM Software as a Service (SaaS) Specialty to deliver new anti-money laundering (AML), Know Your Customer (KYC) and fraud systems as cloud services to leading large-and mid-sized financial institutions around the world.

“This teaming helps financial organizations achieve two key goals during this turbulent time in the marketplace: lowering their total costs of compliance while managing risk effectively and efficiently,” says Ed Baum, Fortent’s Chief Marketing Officer. The collaboration between the two companies began in 1998, he notes. Today Fortent is one of IBM’s largest financial crimes and compliance technology partners in the world.

This is a huge step for SaaS and IaaS. With Capgemini creating a practice around cloud computing and now with IBM offering it’s cloud infrastructure and consulting expertise, I can see a faster enterprise cloud adoption on the horizon. Mix in a bad economy and lack of captial and the cloud looks like a no-brainer for many applications.

“SaaS is one of the fastest growing segments of the IT industry because it provides companies of all sizes with access to innovative solutions delivered remotely via a subscription model,” said Dave Mitchell, director of strategy, IBM ISV & Developer Relations. “Fortent’s commitment to SaaS can provide its customers with a powerful way to reduce implementation costs while rapidly deploying their compliance solutions.”

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Flexiscale Lives!

December 22nd, 2008 1 comment

A couple of days ago, I asked, “Does Flexiscale Still Exist?” Apparently it does. I got an email this morning from the Sales Manager at xcalibre, Jacqui Petrie. He said they are still in business and realize that the web site needs to be updated. New customer signups are currently frozen while they look at expanding and stabilizing the platform.

They expect to be open for new business after the New Year. Stay tuned as I plan to sign up and give them a run through as soon as I am able.


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