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Clouducation 101

As long as I can remember I have been involved with all aspects of computing

by Salvatore Poliandro III - FortressITX Director of Datacenter Operations

I would like to take a few moments to introduce myself, my background and a little bit about what this blog contains. As long as I can remember I have been involved with all aspects of computing. From an enthusiast, professional, and consumer side, I have always been involved with the computing world.

When I was a few years old my father owned a small computer company and he realized that I was fascinated by electronics around the time I started to speak.  He nurtured my technophilia every step of the way. For example when I was learning to count he didn’t teach me like every other normal kid, rather, I learned binary first.  When I hit kindergarten the thought of there being more then 1’s and 0’s involved and not writing out numbers using the exponential of 2 format confused me for a little while.  I was 110 years old damn it, not 6.  I picked up base-10 rather easy and adjusted to a base-10 world but the world seemed a little off from that moment on.

I started developing software in BASIC around age 6 and moved to Visual Basic 2 around age 11.  Somewhere along the way I picked up COBOL, Pascal and a handful of other languages.  During the glory days of prodigy (and my ASU dial up connection) I moved into web development.  Simple stuff at first, but by the time I was 16 and graduating High School I was developing custom multi-tier applications for combine simple desktop tasks with hosted web back-ends to facilitate companies to e-commute easily.

It has been over a decade since my first application but the issues we faced ten years ago are the very same issues we still face today. How do you manage the scalability of your back-end, volume of data, and availability of your application all without interruption to your users?  There are a few ways that rely on duplicating physical machines, centralized storage, and other not so new concepts.  At my current position with FortressITX / DedicatedNOW I do a lot of planning of these solutions.  There are a lot of neat tricks you can do to maximize uptime and try and keep duplication to a minimum however things generally get more expensive as you scale or as your dataset grows without having to make major changes to your application.  At a certain point your infrastructure becomes a mess that takes a lot of effort to maintain.

We are not just talking about applications; the same applies to almost every facet of today’s technological hosted world.  Picture you own a small web hosting company.  You have a dozen or so webhosting servers and a few hundred customers.  It takes a decent amount of work to manage all your servers, balancing out disk space, memory, disk IO to maximize your resources and therefore your profit.  Not to mention balancing the downtime that comes with hardware failures, resource additions, application issues and upgrades with customer expectations.  As you grow, this challenge becomes even more challenging and time consuming.

So, now that you know a little about me, in the coming weeks I am going to take the time to answer a basic set of questions I believe every business owner, private “Cloud” user and IT head needs to know the answer to. Some of these questions include:

  • Can the “Cloud” help you manage your application scalability?
  • Can the “Cloud” save you time while managing your web hosting company?
  • Who uses the “Cloud”? How do I know if I should be utilizing “Cloud” services?

Starting next week, I will answer the most basic yet often most confusing of these questions: what is the “Cloud” anyway, and why do I keep putting it in quotes?

Read the original blog entry...

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