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This is the story of rapid deployment of an ecommerce store using Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Bitnami. Our Flux7 AWS Migration consultants installed Magento and hosted it on AWS. But first, some background: Undoubtedly, an ecommerce business directly depends upon its website’s uptime and ability to handle heavy traffic. It’s ability to manage random traffic spikes in special-case scenarios. Ready-made online store platforms providing a web portal, logistics and easy-payment processing often solve the problems for the businesses willing to sell online. However, for complex products sold online which require more options in product configuration and selectability, there’s a need of a comprehensive ecommerce solution, such as Magento. And, that goes hand-in-hand with a promising host environment, can easily scale during the portal’s hour of need with either predictive-based services on running campaigns or in case of any sudden, overloading event. AWS solves a lot of challenges using Magento in regard to scalability as an ecommerce website behaves spontaneously. You never know which one of your campaigns may go viral socially and everyone is behind your stock until the last piece is sold. Why Use AWS AWS is considered the leader in cloud-based services, because it has matured during the years in its web service offerings. It has a strong ecosystem of third-party vendors, tools and partners. Put simply, Amazon is tough to beat for its cost, stability and robust tool set. With more than 35 major services and with more than 925 sub-services and features, AWS offers a wide range of benefits.
October 21, 2014—Austin, TX | Flux7, an IT consultancy focused on delivering cloud migration, application development and process optimization solutions using DevOps-based approaches, today announced the availability of Cloud Attune, a new service focused on helping startups, incubators and venture capital companies to develop production-ready cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Flux7’s cloud architecture expertise, provided by AWS-certified consultants, helps growing organizations to minimize risk and increase business agility to meet new opportunities while postponing hiring of specialized staff. “Working with Flux7 brought key AWS expertise to our team, sped our overall product development, and helped us to meet a number of short-term business opportunities while improving business agility for the long-term by improving our time to market,” said Mark Troutfetter, vice president engineering at Pristine, a company pioneering Google Glass solutions for healthcare. Startups and incubators that are aiming to optimize an existing cloud solution to better scale, be more cost efficient, or meet compliance requirements benefit from Cloud Attune services. Cloud Attune also helps organizations with basic AWS setups turn their infrastructure into a production-ready environment. “Incubators, venture capital firms and startups need solutions that minimize risk and foster growth,” said Aater Suleman, CEO of Flux7. “Access to proven expertise that is provided at a clear, simple price — with no surprise fees — helps these early stage companies to bring great ideas to market.” Often, young companies must prioritize the hiring of developers who can deliver great front-end customer experiences. AWS architecture knowledge, a skill in high demand, can be difficult and expensive to hire, yet can provide considerable benefits to the business.
This week, Flux7 is enthusiastic about speaking at three notable conferences. That’s a new record for us. It’s also an increasing (and welcome!) challenge. Our team is becoming recognized as experts and leaders in Docker, IoT and the cloud infrastructure … all of which are needed to support agile business and development projects, like yours. Our engineer, Anubhav Sinha, presented this past weekend at PyCon India in Bangalore. Anubhav (@dockerbook) is an instrumental part of several of our Docker projects. At the conference, he presented how Docker can help improve web developer productivity. You can review his slides here. Flux7 CTO Ali Hussain (@Ali_A_Hussain) is presenting a workshop called “The Coming Internet of Things (IoT) and Developer Challenges.” It starts at 12:15pm, October 2, at the Cloud Developer Summit presented by @cloudassn in Austin, Texas. And, not to be left out, later in the week, Flux7 CEO Aater Suleman (@FutureChips) appears at the @pytexas PyTexas 2014 event at Texas A&M University. He will speak from 1pm through 4pm, Friday, October 3. His presentation is entitled “3 Hours to Docker Fundamentals: Jumpstart Your Docker Knowledge.” Click here so we can send you the slides from this presentation Docker Is Key In all three of these presentations, Docker plays a key role. It can be a valuable part of a DevOps tool set. And, it can be used either in conjunction with a configuration management tool or even standalone. We want to mention that we’ve found Docker is well-suited for eight primary use cases. You can read about them here. What’s more, Docker is an essential part of our three strategies for startups to fail fast, fail cheap, and get agile. IoT on the Rise We recently noted that IoT projects are taking off.
Cloud based infrastructure and IT self service models have made it incredibly easy for developers and operations to spin up servers and meet fluctuating business needs. This elasticity is great for business agility and is a quintessential DevOps goal, but there is a dark side of easily obtained infrastructure that can work against company efficiency. For many businesses, their cloud infrastructure needs are lumpy. There are distinct peaks in compute needs that can be mapped to any number of reasons; a marketing campaign goes live and causes a spike in web traffic, an analytics or simulation project must scale to crunch data, or perhaps an event occurs, such as a training or user conference, where additional scalable infrastructure is needed. Often the focus is preparing for this spike and avoiding the associated risks of failure. And following this spike, businesses are often busy responding to the outcomes the spike drove such as more leads, adjusting development, or preparing for the next event. It’s during this time when businesses are exposed to unnecessary costs from resources that were fully utilized but have since become unused. We were recently contacted by a large software vendor to address the specific problem of unused infrastructure. By automating the process of decommissioning servers after use, the company hopes to reduce a significant amount of wasted spend. The idea is to provide users with the option of extending a lease if needed, but otherwise to automatically go through a process of dropping the compute needs after a certain date. A similar problem occurs in businesses which have distinct phases. An organization may have very different compute needs in the research and development phase, vs the build or execution phase.
In our last post about MySQL benchmarking, we benchmarked MySQL performance on an m3.large instance using both instance store and different types of Amazon Web Service’s (AWS) Elastic Block Store (EBS) storage. In this post, we have extended the benchmarks on m3.xlarge and m3.2xlarge. We ran the benchmarks with and without optimizations. We explained the optimization and the rationale behind each of them in a previous post about using Sysbench for benchmarking. Here is a comparison of the different metrics we measured in Sysbench: Without Optimization With Optimization Transactions Per Second Transactions Per Second Avg. Response Time Avg. Response Time 95% Response Time 95% Response Time We noticed a couple of interesting items in the graphs: 1. Even though we see an increase in the transactions per second (TPS) as we move to a more powerful instance type, we also see an increase in the response times. Ideally, the response time would decrease as TPS increases. The reason behind this can be explained using Little’s Law, which states: Occupancy = Latency x Throughput As TPS increases, occupancy increases. Throughput = Occupancy / Latency The increase in occupancy leads to increased throughput amidst the increased latency. To better understand the relationship between latency and throughput, read this blog post about Little’s Law. 2. We can see that the benefits of optimization is most evident in larger tables. We also collected metrics for resource utilization. Here is a summary of resource utilization when the benchmark was run with and without optimizations. We saw a significant differences in disk octets when optimization was applied. We also saw differences in the way memory was consumed. Without Optimization With Optimization CPU CPU Memory Memory Disk Octets Disk Octets Disk Operations Disk Operations There it is. Benchmarking results of MySQL on m3.xlarge and m3.2xlarge.
Just this month, Google made headlines for offering a $100,000 cloud credit for startups. As a startup, did that get your attention? The Google Cloud Platform for Startups is a program opened to early-stage startups. The can qualify for a $100,000 credit and 24/7 support. Well, that’s an interesting offer on the table! In a recent annual survey, the Future of Cloud Computing, North Bridge, in collaboration with Gigaom Research, found that 45% of respondents wanted to or were already running their business on the cloud. It also uncovered that 65% to 70% of business applications will transition to the cloud by next year. While 49% cited revenue generation and product development as cloud benefits, another 35% claimed innovation and competitive advantage as reasons for cloud migration. Aren’t those promising cloud stats? Did the benefits mentioned above in regard to migrating to the cloud relate to your startup needs for a cloud infrastructure? Consider IDC’s 2013 Global CloudTrack survey that was released last November. One of the findings were that nearly 44% of the respondents indicated a lack of good skills to thoroughly enjoy the cloud benefits. Click here to learn “Why Startups Need Good Cloud Consulting Partners.” There have been mixed experiences and views when considering the pros and cons of cloud services. Following the crowd takes you nowhere … fast. Why? Cloud migration is not just a technology or tool to experiment with; rather, it means a whole lot of process and culture change throughout your organization. It is important to apprehend this change at both the business and technical levels. Your stakeholders’ or C-level executives’ questions to ask while choosing a cloud infrastructure strategy must be focused on cloud benefits. In this way, the decision adds to your organization’s customers, resources, cost and time.
This week, we’re starting a new project with a client who is laser-focused on improving the performance of its website. This ecommerce company knows its customers won’t stand for slow load times. And, a poor-performing site can damage its search rankings, risks it doesn’t want to take. Small and large businesses alike are increasingly migrating their mission-critical business functions to the cloud. They are increasingly linking their success and business agility with their ability to maintain high-performance websites and services. While cloud service providers strive to maintain 99.9% uptime rates, risk still exists. They are in regard to service providers and related to how a business’ cloud infrastructure is architected and maintained. Most of us use cloud or web-based (SaaS) ecommerce, games, business applications, data storage, and social or information services on a near basis. And, while many of us rely on these applications or cloud services to run our own business, we won’t stand for poor performance. Read more here: 3 strategies to fail fast, fail cheap & get agile Why startups are choosing AWS 4 tips to better decisions for cloud benefits vs cloud computing disadvantages Businesses that rely on large, time-sensitive or high volumes of web-based transaction (such as brokerages) are even more significantly impacted by downtime. Other organizations, such as those aiming to achieve continuous integration and continuous deployment practices using web-based development, can experience significant disruption when web services are down. What’s more, the ecosystem of businesses dependant on website or web service uptime is expanding. Increasingly, new business models are relying on performance to maintain their revenue streams and keep their sites highly ranked on search engines. Four new markets that can’t compromise on uptime include: Sharing Marketplaces: Uber, Airbnb, and, now, B2B services are experiencing rapid growth.
It’s making both business and trade headlines. You are reading all about it every day. What is it? The constant and steadily increasing buzz from organizations of all sizes about the business advantages and possibilities of adopting a cloud infrastructure. No doubt, the cloud is increasingly seen, not just as a way to cut the costs of hardware, but as a way to drive business growth. However, there’s still an element of fear, uncertainty and doubt about migrating a business’ infrastructure to the cloud. It tends to haunt business leaders and IT alike. Even seasoned IT pros are surprised and overwhelmed by cloud providers, their extensive lists of services and features, and cloud architecture options. On the other hand, there may be many questions during a cloud migration that are left unanswered. IT teams are often left to fend for themselves. This latter point by itself is a good reason to delay decisions and engage with a reputable cloud consulting organization. Not doing so, can lead to disaster. A few common questions you might have include: What are cloud security best practices? Will my organization be able to meet industry standards of cloud compliance? What is the expected extent of vendor lock-in? These are questions that should be considered after you commit to a cloud strategy and before you choose a cloud vendor. But first, it’s smart to really understand whether the cloud is right for you. Will your business benefit from this transformational trend? Cloud migration can be the first step toward changing your organizational culture. It requires a basic understanding of how the cloud affects your business and why you should, from a business perspective, want to move to the cloud.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said: “The only thing that is constant is change.” No truer words have ever been spoken, And, your business is no exception here. New technologies are constantly replacing older ones. We are in the era of technology advancements. And, this defines the existence of businesses. Your business is under constant pressure by the digital natives or Gen-Z. Business requirements are no longer predictable. Making your customer happy is not a cakewalk. On the other hand, your list of competitors outruns your list of customers. According to the industry analyst firm Forrester Research: Every industry is subject to disruption. Only a true agile business is equipped to respond. Indeed. Companies that existed a few years back have become dust because of their lack of business agility. While you may have the best team that’s booming with ideas, a misalignment with the actual trend or customer requirement is fatal to your business. So, what’s this business agility that everyone keeps talking about? And, how can you make sure your business is capable of handling this fast-growing necessity? Business agility as defined by Forrester is: The quality that allows an enterprise to embrace market and operational changes as a matter of routine. In other words, the mantra to adhere to business agility is to follow a “fail fast, fail cheap” strategy. Similar to any DevOps approach, business agility is a process or culture change. While there are a lot of technologies and tools to help optimize or improve business agility, they can’t be THE go-to solution. Tools and technologies only complement the strategies you put in place to adapt to changes.
At the New York Times, one intern recently learned a painful lesson: It can take a long time to set up a development environment. In this case, about two weeks. While set-up time varies for a number of reasons, can your business afford even half of those cycles every time your developer needs to test something new? Sure, it’s the New York Times. This intern is probably dewy-eyed and ambitious. Wait, isn’t that good? Don’t you wish you could capture that passionate spirit of creativity and innovation for your startup? Are innovation and efficiency juxtaposed in the world of software development? Or, can you have your cake and eat it, too? That’s just what Djed Studios was aiming to do when the consumer Internet company created push-button development environments using technologies, including Docker. Djed Studios’ stack is in Python, a skill set lacking in most developers. A push-button reset and automated code deployment process helps developers test the impact of new code, create a streamlined web development workflow, and foster a self-service culture that reduces the workload for the infrastructure team. Eat your heart out New York Times. Read this turnaround story today about how Djed Studios leveraged Docker to improve web developer productivity. Right now, app development, specifically for mobile, is one of the hottest jobs in IT, according to CompTIA and as reported in this FierceCIO article. These developers must test their app on any number of constantly changing platforms. That means a whole lot of test and Q&A cycles. In order to create efficient, high quality (i.e., non-buggy) apps, mobile app developers must test in their local development environment as much as possible.
Against the backdrop of repeated and well-publicized data and privacy breaches, businesses are continuing to evaluate cloud benefits against cloud computing disadvantages. The tradeoffs are difficult: streamlined, cost effective infrastructure vs. loss of control. But cloud infrastructure is not sorcery or black magic. While you can expect a whole new level of automation features out of the cloud, expecting the cloud to automatically fix issues for you is unreasonable. The cloud has come a long way over the past few decades. What was once a dream is now achievable for most businesses. Media Darlings: Cloud Computing Fails While the tremendous advantages and features of the cloud are now largely understood, the media frequently focuses on the setbacks of a virtual infrastructure when it’s not properly set up. It was roughly a month ago when we learned that Code Spaces shut down because its AWS account was hacked by the bad guys. You can read the full story here. While we are just recovering from the chills of this incident and others, the very recent security breach of celebrities’ iCloud accounts is in the headlines. On one end, Apple denies that the hack is linked to a security breach of iCloud. While on the other end, it has stirred up serious debates in the community questioning the reliability of the cloud. Two Sides of the Cloud We certainly can praise the advantages of the cloud and the features it has to offer. By using the cloud the right way, you can end up revolutionizing your industry. It’s enticing at various levels by simply addressing issues at technical and business perspectives.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 offers a variety of instance families and types, each serving specific use cases. The instance families include: General Purpose: T2, M3 Computer Optimized: C3 Memory Optimized: R3 Storage Optimized: I2 GPU: G2 In this post, let’s pick the general purpose M3 family. It’s a balance of compute, storage and network services. Let’s analyze it in depth. M3 is the new generation of the the ‘m’ family, while m1 is the previous generation. So, first things first. Let’s refresh some M3 basics: Best suited for: Data processing, caching and running backend servers. Features: Processor: Intel Xeon E5-2670 (Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge) Storage: SSD Let’s analyze the following with respect to m3: CPU Performance To understand CPU performance of m3 instances, we used CoreMark, an industry standard benchmarking suite. Read the experiment setup here: CoreMark setup. The average CoreMark score for the m3 instances are tabulated as follows: Instance Type CoreMark Score Std Dev Std Dev as % CoreMark /$ per hour m3.medium 6879.731 30.062 0.4369 60882.577 m3.large 19539.593 101.749 0.5207 86842.639 m3.xlarge 36699.549 75.971 0.2070 81554.553 m3.2xlarge 73522.869 579.416 0.788 81692.077 The following graph shows the CoreMark score for the m3 instances: It’s pretty clear that the CoreMark score per dollar is off the charts for m3.large. This means that it offers the best performance per dollar. Disk Bandwidth FIO, a tool for benchmarking and stress testing IO, was used to analyze the disk bandwidth of m3 instances. Read the experiment setup here: FIO setup. Four IO operations were benchmarked using the tool.