ChatBots will replace humans, not programs

ChatBots will replace humans, not programs

Last week, I was on a panel discussion about communication in the enterprise, and I said something that elicited a gasp from the audience -- I said that chatbots will not replace programs, they will replace humans. I’d like to take some time to expand on that thought a little bit more. But we’ll get back to that in a moment. First, some history.

The rise of chat

Online chat was one of the earliest forms of communication on computers, dating back to the 1960s, when you could message other users on the same system. In the 1970s we …


Your Infrastructure is not a Unique Snowflake, and that's Ok.

Your Infrastructure is not a Unique Snowflake, and that's Ok.

This series of blog posts is based on a talk I did at Dotscale Paris, 2015

Overhead

How many of you have written software for a company that wasn't part of the main product? I imagine it is many if not all of the people reading this blog.

In the business world, this is called overhead -- work that is done to move the business forward but is not part of the core product. Generally speaking, businesses try to remove overhead, because while it may be important for the business, it's usually work that other businesses are doing too, and therefore …


Lambda Chat

Lambda Chat

AWS Lambda is the future, it's the new normal. Great! Awesome.

Can you do anything useful with it?

We took that as a challenge. Could we, using AWS Lambda, create a multi-user, dynamic web application without using EC2 or resorting to hacks? I mean no instances, no ELBs, not even a security group. And especially no hard-coded AWS credentials.

We did, and it's called Lambda Chat.

Live demo

http://lambda-chat.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/

Code on GitHub

https://github.com/cloudnative/lambda-chat/

Lambda Chat is a simple chat application using AWS Lambda, SNS, DynamoDB and S3.

Static websites can be hosted …


Fear the Chaos Monkey? Think again!

Fear the Chaos Monkey? Think again!

On July 30, 2012, Netflix open sourced the Simian Army, which includes the now world famous Chaos Monkey. That was 3 years ago. For those not familiar, Chaos Monkey is a little service that runs in the background and goes around killing EC2 instances. Yes, that's right:

Chaos Monkey terminates live servers with real users in production.

The question is...

Why is this scary?

Why would I, running a mission critical system, not want to be continuously testing the resiliency of my service? Why would I want to be woken up in the middle of the night by PagerDuty just …


AWS Route 53 Best Practices

AWS Route 53 Best Practices

After covering AWS's IAM, EC2, EBS, S3 and Blue/Green Deployments we now turn our attention to AWS's Route 53 service. Since it's a DNS service - it plays one of the most critical roles, if not the most critical - connecting us all together on the Internet. Take out DNS and the Internet will grind to a halt within mere hours if not immediately.

But Route 53 does way more that providing a DNS service for registration of your A, NS or MX records. This service goes to great lengths to provide many tools necessary for keeping your application highly available …


The DOs and DON'Ts of Blue/Green Deployment

The DOs and DON'Ts of Blue/Green Deployment

The term "blue/green deployment" is so misunderstood, we can't even decide on what to call it. Netflix call it Red/Black Deployment, while others call it A/B Deployment. Personally, I don't even know which color represents which thing, but this is only the beginning of the confusion.

So, I thought it might help to get some thoughts out there, have others weigh in, and see if we can't reach some consensus. After all, it's been 5 years since the oracle spoke. :-)

Here goes...

First off, blue/green deployment is the process of having 2 sets of machines, and …


AWS S3 Performance Tuning

AWS S3 Performance Tuning

Previous posts covered AWS IAM Best Practices, AWS EC2 Performance Tuning and AWS EBS Best Practices and Performance Tuning.

This time we're going to talk about one of the most essential (and earliest!) AWS services - Simple Storage Service or S3. How does one go about optimizing performance of one's S3 buckets? Is it infinitely scalable out of the box?

Let's find out by watching "Maximizing Amazon S3 Performance" AWS re:Invent 2014 session by Felipe Garcia. As it turns out, not everything about S3 buckets is as simple as it seems.

What do we learn from this session?

There are …


EBS Best Practices and Performance Tuning

EBS Best Practices and Performance Tuning

One of my ex-colleagues used to be a race car driver. He probably still is, and what he told me once has stuck in my mind ever since. "Do you know where the sport car starts? Oh no, not the engine. It's the tires, man. You see, tires are the only thing that hold you to the ground. And that's where it all starts and then everything else follows."

Similarly, EBS is where it all starts on AWS. All modern AMIs have their root volumes backed by EBS, meaning an EC2 instance's root device is an Amazon EBS volume created …


AWS EC2 Performance Tuning

AWS EC2 Performance Tuning

Last time we reviewed AWS IAM Best Practices to cover essentials of your AWS security barriers.

Now, let's get to basics - EC2 performance. When we "cloudify" our applications we tend to think of how we scale them and make robust, fault-tolerant and cloud-compatible in general. However, before going up and multiplying your EC2 instances with Auto Scaling groups you may need to look at that single EC2 box and ask yourself... "Why so slow?". Yes, that dreaded performance tuning task most of us never know enough to feel confident.

Fear not, for when talking about Linux performance there is one …


AWS IAM Best Practices

AWS IAM Best Practices

This is the first blog post in our "Cloud Best Practices" series. Today we start with the subject of AWS security, the most important one when moving your application up to the cloud.

As you may know, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) enables you to securely control access to AWS services and resources. Anders Samuelsson gave an excellent talk at AWS re:invent 2014 titled "IAM Best Practices", so let's start there and dig a little deeper.

What do we learn from this session?

Users and groups

  • DO NOT use root credentials. There's no way to control root's password …


Why you're wasting money on AWS

Why you're wasting money on AWS

What is cheaper than a reserved instance on AWS? How about not running an instance in the first place?

AWS announced a new reserved instance model, designed to save you up to 63% per instance. Most small and mid-sized companies aren’t going to commit for 3 years, so we are looking at something closer to 40% savings. That’s a good start.

However, chances are you are over provisioning - running more and/or larger EC2 instances than you actually need. Let me illustrate this with a few charts. Suppose the traffic to your site follows the usual wave.


Paravirtual vs HVM images

Paravirtual vs HVM images

Once upon a time, about last Monday, I thought PV AMIs were "the thing". Then I noticed the AWS Web Console had moved the HVM Amazon Linux AMI to the top of the list. I did a little more digging, and found that every 2nd generation instance type can use HVM, but only a subset can use PV. This is the opposite of the 1st generation instances.

Intrigued, I started asking around but no one could say for certain what the future held. So, since I was paying for Business Support anyway, I though I'd ask them. The response from …


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