Category Archives: Cloud

The Google vs Amazon Platform Rant – A Must-Read From Steve Yegge

Google logo

What does Amazon.com do so much better than Google? And why does Amazon do everything “wrong” while Google does everything “right”… yet offer a better platform? How should you construct a “platform” so that everyone can use it?

If you are a developer, IT manager, product manager, system architect, product marketer, CTO or even a CEO, you really need to take a bit to read this “Mother of all Reply-All failures” that was written by Googler Steve Yegge and accidentally posted publicly back on October 12th. Steve pulled down his own posting of the rant, but it was re-posted to Google+ by Rip Rowan and also posted over to Hacker News. The long rant – and the comments on both sites – are worth a read:

It’s a LONG piece that gives some fascinating insight into both Amazon and Google as companies, but also into what it takes to be a “platform”.

A bit later, on October 21st, Steve Yegge posted an update indicating that he did not get fired and in fact people actually listened within Google. He also dove a bit more into Amazon.com and Jeff Bezos. And just this week he wrote a lengthy piece describing how amazing it is to work at Google, explaining a bit more about what he meant in his rant about how Google “does everything right”.

The original platform rant, though, should definitely be on a “must-read” list for people thinking about how their services could really be a “platform”…

P.S. Are we connected on Google+? If not, you can find my Google+ profile and add me to a circle…

Deep Tech Dives Into Cloud Availability In Light Of Amazon’s EC2/EBS Problems From Joyent and enStratus

With Amazon’s ongoing struggles with part of their cloud, I’ve obviously been watching closely, given that I work for a company that provides a cloud for communication applications (hosted almost entirely on our own global carrier-grade infrastructure). Watching Amazon’s status site, they continue to not be entirely back in action a couple of days later.

There have been a lot of great technical posts out there related to what’s happening with AWS. Two that caught my eye are admittedly by an Amazon competitor, Joyent, but are definitely worth a read:

The latter post about abstraction layers hits a few major points with me, particularly around the need for abstraction layers to allow some type of control… and some type of transparency into what is going on.

Black boxes are great… until they break.

Another great post was by George Reese over in the O’Reilly Community (he is CTO of enStratus, a company making equipment to assist in infrastructure automation):

Reese argues that it is the application developer’s responsibility to design apps in such a way that they aren’t dependent at all on the underlying infrastructure.

This all takes me back to my post I wrote in 2009 about the need for services to be distributed and decentralized. Now I was talking in there about Twitter and Facebook… but the same argument can be made for apps in general…

It’s a fascinating time… I hope for Amazon’s sake that they can get everything back in action soon… and it will be interesting to see what questions this all makes developers ask with regard to cloud providers. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying many of these deep technical posts… I expect to see more coming in the days and weeks ahead.

NodeFu – Free Hosting of Your Node.JS Apps In The Cloud!

NodeFu.jpgHave you been experimenting with Node.JS (as I have) and wished you had a place to host your Node.js apps? If so, you may want to check out NodeFu.com, a new hosting service that just launched today.

Created by my friend and co-worker Chris Matthieu out of frustration with not getting invites for some of the other new Node.js hosting services, NodeFu is hosted up in Amazon EC2 and currently offers free hosting of Node.js apps to anyone interested.

Getting Started

As shown on the NodeFu home page, the process of using NodeFu is fairly straightforward. You request a coupon (an invite) via a commandline curl:

curl -X POST -d "email=your_address@example.com" http://nodefu.com/coupon

When you get an email confirming your invite, you can register an account, provide our ssh public key, etc.

From then on out all deployments happen purely through git commands. You start out by registering a new NodeFu application via another command-line curl command:

curl -X POST -u "testuser:123" -d "appname=myapp&start=hello.js" http://api.nodefu.com/app

NodeFu will respond with some JSON that includes the port number your app will run on and the name of the git repo you will push to. You then just do two git commands:

git remote add nodefu the_url_returned_by_our_api
git push nodefu master

And your NodeFu app will be live at http://appname.nodefu.com. As you work on your app, you just do more commits to your local git repo and then do a “git push nodefu master” when you want to update the live app. Once you push to NodeFu, your app should automagically be updated.

A Very Basic Example

You can see NodeFu in action in a VERY basic form at:

http://dany2.nodefu.com

As I write this post today, that app is literally a super basic “Hello, World” Node.js app. The code is visible up on GitHub at https://github.com/danyork/nodefu-dany2 and hopefully in the next bit I’ll have a chance to turn it into something a bit more involved.

Building Voice and SMS Apps with NodeFu

I’ve also created a Tropo app at http://tropohello.nodefu.com which uses the Tropo WebAPI library for Node.js to return JSON to Tropo.com where you can connect to the app using voice, SMS, IM or Twitter. Right now I only have voice and SMS wired up, but you can try out the app at any of these numbers:

Voice & SMS Messaging: +1-850-462-8472
Skype Voice: +990009369991478810
SIP Voice: sip:9991478810@sip.tropo.com
INum Voice: +883510001827346

Tropo is providing the voice and SMS connectivity and then communicating with my app running over on NodeFu.com. Pretty cool stuff!

Learning More and Trying It Out

You can just go to NodeFu.com to learn more and ask for an invite. Chris has invited 50 people in so far and plans to be giving out more invites over the next few days. It’s notable that Chris has open-sourced the entire codebase for NodeFu, so anyone else could really just download Chris’ code and set themselves up with their own NodeFu-like site:

https://github.com/chrismatthieu/nodefu

Here’s a video explaining what Chris is trying to do:

Other Options

I should note that Chris isn’t alone in coming up with a service like this. The comments to the Hacker News story about Chris’ site (and also the Mashable story) show a range of other Node.js hosting options, including:

… and a couple of others were listed, too, but they seem to offer other forms of hosted JavaScript versus Node.JS hosting.

The key point of all of this is that for those of us experimenting with Node.JS, this is truly a wonderful time to be trying it out, because we now have so many options before us!