Monthly Archives: January 2012

Awesome Austin Tech Meetups

Austin is such a great place to be a techie.

  • The Austin Cloud User Group (I help run it) meets every third Tuesday evening, and we’ve ben having 50+ people come in to check out some awesome stuff.  Next meeting Feb 21 on Puppet, hosted by Pervasive.
  • The Agile Austin DevOps SIG meets fourth Wednesdays, we had our meeting today and had about 20 attendees, hosted by CA/Hyperformix. I also help run that one.
  • The Austin Big Data User Group is back meeting – next one is tomorrow night! Hosted by Bazaarvoice.
  • The Austin OWASP chapter is one of the biggest and most active in the country, and also meets monthly, hosted by National Instruments. Fellow Agile Admin James Wickett helps run that group.
  • The Cloud Security Alliance, Austin chapter is just getting started but has a lot of momentum and we’re coordinating with them from the ACUG and OWASP sides. Their first meeting is tonight, come out!

There are others but those are my favorites and therefore the coolest by definition.

There’s also cool events coming up you should keep an eye out for.

  • DevOpsDays Austin, Apr 2-3, hosted by National Instruments, and this’ll be big! Patrick Debois and the whole crew of DevOps illuminati will be here. Now taking sponsors and speakers! Register now!
  • AppSec USA 2012, Oct 23-26 – Austin OWASP kicks so much ass with LASCON that the annual OWASP convention is coming here to Austin this year!
  • South by Southwest Interactive, March 9-13 – quickly becoming theWeb conference in the flyover states :-). Lots of stuff happens during it, like:
    • Austin Cloud/DevOps party courtesy GeekAustin (ACUG is a community sponsor). March 10.
    • CloudCamp – Dave Nielsen will be bringing a CloudCamp to Austin again this year during SXSWi. Details TBD, sounding like Mar 11 maybe.
  • The Cloud Security Alliance and ACUG are hoping to put together an Austin cloud conference, too. Maybe early 2013.

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Filed under Cloud, Conferences, DevOps

Why Does Cloud Load Balancing Suck?

Back in the old world of real infrastructure, we used Netscalers or F5’s and we were happy.  Now in the cloud, you have several options all of which seem to have problems.

1. Open source.  But once you want SSL, and redundancy, and HTTP compression, you get people saying with a straight face “nginx (for HTTP compression) –> Varnish cache (for caching) –> HTTP level load balancer (HAProxy, or nginx, or the Varnish built-in) –> webservers.” (Quoted from Server Fault).  Like four levels, often with the same software twice in it. And don’t forget some kind of heartbeat between the two front-ends. Oh look I’ve spent $150/mo on just machines to run my load balancing. And I really want to load balance/failover between all my tiers not just the front end.  It’s a lot of software parts to go wrong.

2. Zeus.  For some reason none of the other LB vendors have gotten off their happy asses and delivered a good software load balancer you can use in Amazon.  I got tired of talking to our Netscaler reps about it after the first couple years.  They’re more interested in selling their hardware to the cloud data centers than helping real people load balance their apps. Zeus is the only one – and it’s really quite expensive

3. Amazon ELBs.  These just have a lot of problems under the hood.  We’ve been engaged with Amazon ELB product management on them – large files serve out super slow; users get hits refused due to throttling/changes during ELB scaling – basically if you want 100% of your hits to come through you can’t use them.

4. Geo-IP load balancing, through Dyn or whoever. They claim to have the failover problem fixed, but it still only works for the front end tier of what is a multitier architecture. I certainly don’t want to have to advertise every internal IP in external DNS to make load balancing work.

And really the frustrating part is there seems to have been no headway on any of this stuff in a decade. Same old open source options, same old techniques.  Can someone come up with a way to load balance on the cloud that a) doesn’t lose any hits, b) is one thing not 4 things, and c) is useful for front and back end balancing?  Seems like a necessary part of oh say every system ever, why is it still so hard?


Filed under Cloud, DevOps