Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Speaking at Lone Star Ruby Conference

I will be speaking at the Lone Star Ruby Conference in September about how we use Ruby to deploy, monitor, and manage a cluster of servers running in the Amazon Web Services virtual cloud.   Below is a summary of what I'll be talking about.

In OtherInbox, almost every system administration task imaginable is carried out using Ruby, meaning we as developers can enjoy all of Ruby's expressive benefits and spend less time scripting the shell, writing cron tasks, or using other languages. Because we make fewer context switches from thinking in Ruby to thinking in other languages, we also reap a big productivity benefit.

Using Ruby throughout our cloud also means that porting the application to run in different production environments is a trivial task, because Ruby is the glue connecting the Ruby components together, thus all we require is a Ruby interpreter to deploy.

Two key Ruby technologies have matured in the previous 18 months which make it ideal for almost every layer of managing a cluster of servers:
  • god.rb allows fine-grained process monitoring and daemon control (a la monit)
  • rufus-scheduler enables Ruby-based scheduling (replacing cron, and providing a great facility for running daemons that must be executed on a recurring basis)
When combined with these Ruby workhorses, developers today can spend much more of their time writing Ruby code, and less time struggling with the vagaries of their production environment:The talk will also include a discussion of using several different AWS gems to make cloud computing simple, by illustrating the use of Amazon's S3 and SQS services to distribute asychnronous work and handle communication between servers.

(cross-posted from the OtherInbox blog)

Friday, June 6, 2008

random_data v1.3.1 released

random_data v1.3.1 is out.  Courtesy of stalwart contributor Hugh Sasse, this release includes more firstnames, and two new methods: Random.firstname_male and Random.firstname_female

Install it via:
sudo gem install random_data
or get it manually.

Monday, June 2, 2008

RailsConf 2008 Recap

I wrote up a few articles on the OtherInbox blog about my experiences at RailsConf 2008:
The best blow-by-blow coverage so far is from Drew Blas.  Of the ones I attended or heard the best feedback about, I most strongly recommend looking at the slides for these: