In this 2-part mini-series, Joshua Hoffman examines some of the common issues companies face when designing for scalability. Read part 1 here.
In my previous blog I looked at what I call the first three sins of web scale – pride (the refusal to use tools not invented here), envy (the desire for a more exciting project) and gluttony (ignoring scope and capacity). Today I’ll discuss the other four sins you need to be aware of when building and deploying your app or product. So without further ado, let’s check them out.
Throughout my career I’ve had the opportunity to work at a variety of different companies both large and small. They each had their own set of unique challenges regarding growth but one thing I noticed with time and experience was that the solutions to the problems they faced were not specific to the company itself. The approaches that were taken and the lessons that were learned could be extrapolated and applied to many of the situations facing a company looking to expand and grow technically.
There is a concept in some religions that before you save a sinner you have to tell them how they have sinned. In other words, if someone doesn’t know what the problem is they won’t be able to change. For a company just starting out, there are no wrong ways to build and deploy your app or product. Once you begin to grow however, you realize there are things you didn’t know and that some or all of the decisions that you made at the beginning were mistakes. This is the point where you need to decide how to address these issues. New companies are started all the time so I decided to draw from my experience to put together what I call the Seven Deadly Sins of Web Scale using seven real world examples from my career.
Recently I was reading this article in the New York Times about Minecraft. It’s a story about how Minecraft is changing the way children play, learn and create things. It does so by bringing them into a digital environment that provides the freedom to let them fully design their own world, complete with houses, vehicles and more. Players start mining and expand their environment by chopping trees, mining blocks and creating their own tools. In Minecraft, the article goes, you’re provided with a toolbox to do so, which allows you to be creative and build things. The physical equivalent of Minecraft is somewhat like Lego.
The theme of TechSummit 2016 Berlin and Amsterdam is “Designing for Scalability”. But what do we really mean by the word “scalability”?
Well, we’re all familiar with the standard definition along the lines of Wikipedia’s definition: “The capability of a system, network, or process to handle a growing amount of work… A system whose performance improves after adding hardware, proportionally to the capacity added, is said to be a scalable system.”
In the past two years we’ve witnessed various events that have had an impact on the open character of the Internet. In October 2015 European Net Neutrality rules were published, providing guidelines for regulation, but they were criticized by many as being too open and leaving too much room for uncompetitive behavior (here’s an example). In June 2015 the FCC published its US Open Internet order along the line of “no blocking, no throttling, no paid prioritization”, driving a significant change in the IP Interconnection landscape especially. In parallel, we saw ongoing consolidation on the side of the ISPs, with large ones absorbing their smaller competitors or other players in the digital value chain (e.g. cloud hosting services, “Over-The-Top” – OTT – video services) or even merging with mobile providers. Another trend we saw was the launch of services for which the related Internet traffic is not counted towards the “monthly data budget” of the customer, typically referred to as “zero rating”.
By now, the concept of the cloud is ubiquitous, but for many business leaders the idea still presents more challenges than opportunities. Understanding the complicated technology, not to mention the vast array of delivery models, degrees of services and levels of security available, can be a daunting task for companies under pressure to adapt or adopt.
In a new white paper, “Developing a Cloud Sourcing Strategy: Six Steps to Select the Right Cloud Partner,” LeaseWeb gives decision makers the tools they need to formulate an effective cloud strategy or to identify the right cloud partner to executive it. In summary form, these six tips will help you find the cloud partner for your business.
LeaseWeb, as a hosting provider, operates in a dynamic industry. It is thus imperative to keep on top of changes in the technologies we and our customers use and the different legal jurisdictions we operate in. This especially comes in to play when we discuss the topic of ‘Abuse Prevention’. LeaseWeb’s Abuse Prevention department faces ever-evolving abuse-related threats and challenges that need to be overcome and, of course, we can’t do this alone. To be effective, we need to develop mutually beneficial relationships with those who have the same goals and vision.
Finding allies in the fight against online abuse sounds like a simple, yet effective plan. However, forging long lasting relationships and trust takes time, energy and especially commitment from both parties.
Community Outreach Program
The Community Outreach Program was founded in 2010 with an initial focus on gathering more data in order be able to reduce abuse within the LeaseWeb network better. While on the lookout for feeds and other information sources to extract data from, it became more and more apparent that there were quite a few projects that truly contribute to a safer internet with the work they deliver.
At the same time, we also realized that many of these projects are privately funded and in need of sponsorship, on which they are dependent due to their non-profit nature. For us, the decision to support them was simple as 1+1=2. So we now provide sponsorship to organizations like these – and others that provide open information that is beneficial to the overall online community including commercial bodies – through our Community Outreach Program.
When we set up the Community Outreach Program, our first members (such Abuse.ch, specialists in identifying and researching online abuse) joined quickly due to us actively approaching them. They found that becoming a member of the Community Outreach program involves more than us just providing one or two free servers: we like to stay in touch with our members and, where possible, meet-up! In fact we have met most of our members in person – and even see some on a regular basis.
Besides forging relationships with other parties through sponsorship agreements, we also started to search for organizations that are not necessarily in need of sponsorship, but are looking to establish trusting relationships with parties such as ISPs like ourselves. These organizations benefit from short lines of contact and become so-called ‘trusted parties’ for LeaseWeb which allows them to quickly address issues within our network.
From this need, our SAFE partner program came to life. SAFE stands for Specialists, Analysts, Forensics and Experts, who together form the core of building a safer internet.
The battle against abuse
Due to the ever changing digital landscape, the need for dedicated organizations focused on battling (technical) internet abuse increases on a daily basis. These companies emerge on either a non-profit or a commercial basis but, one way or another, they contribute to a safer internet. LeaseWeb Abuse Prevention is glad to be part of this revolution by integrating these organizations into our partner programs which allows us to support those closest to the battle lines the best way possible.
Interested in learning more about our Community Outreach Program members or our partners? Through this blog, we introduce newly joined members and, on our special section devoted to these programs, you can learn and read more about them all.
This is the final blog in a five-part series in which Freek Hemminga, LeaseWeb’s Global Channel & Strategic Alliances Manager, looks ahead to the challenges and opportunities for channel partners in the coming year. Here are part 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Every business has to foster good relationships with its customers. But right now, it’s more important than ever for solution providers to pay attention to maintaining strong connections not only with existing customers but with new ones too. That’s because the inevitable transformation from a transaction based business model to a recurring revenue based one takes time. So it’s going to be vital to keep the installed base satisfied during the process because they will be providing the bread and butter funding in the short term. Then, once the recurring business model is established, it will be necessary to build relationships from scratch with new customers who will provide the profits in the long term.
Having your IP address end up on a so called ‘blacklist’ can be a troublesome experience, especially when not anticipated. In most cases, it is a sign that something is wrong on the server(s) you rent or own, or that maybe one of the end users hasn’t followed email sending guidelines. This post is dedicated to those who want to know more about IP address reputation and what can be done to resolve issues identified by other parties.
The ongoing fight against spam
As we have already explained in the Spam blogs (I and II), email spam continues to be an issue. Due to the ever-evolving problem of email spam, there is an understandable need to have measures to combat this. Over the years, several efforts have been made to prevent unsolicited emails from reaching email inboxes by a plethora of means. Many of these proposed solutions have had promising technical white papers but few have actually resulted in an implementation that is either scalable, reliable or both.