From Inception to Acquisition: One Startup's Journey through the Cloud

Cloud Computing
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Part 1: The business plan

  • Using open source as the root for everything (Selenium, MySQL, Ubuntu, etc)
  • Traditional load testing assumes hardware is a scarce resource
  • We challenged this thinking by leverage Amazon EC2
  • Show early financial model that proved out business concept
  • Show how cloud-based architecture leads directly to predictable finance models

Part 2: Launching thousands of machines

  • Benchmarking different EC2 instance types
  • Know your AWS account manager (and other ways to raise your EC2 instance capacity)
  • Being a good cloud-neighbor
  • Architecture tips for managing large EC2 deployments (ie: user-data, how to reduce bandwidth costs to S3, etc)

Part 3: Processing the data

  • One size doesn’t fit all, use the right tool for the right job, and other important lessons
  • Using colo MySQL, MySQL-on-EC2, and RDS – all at the same time
  • Migrating from SimpleDB to RDS to RDS + S3 (flat HAR files) while still maintaining sanity
  • Why it’s OK to get it wrong the first and even second time around

Part 4: Sleeping well at night

  • Monitor everything (including monitor the monitoring!)
  • Auto-heal your network when possible
  • Using voice calls via Twillio to alert even the heaviest sleepers
  • “Press 1 on your dial pad to launch more servers” and other ways to salvage “date night”
Photo of Patrick Lightbody

Patrick Lightbody

New Relic

Patrick runs product management for New Relic, the leader in software analytics. Prior to that, Patrick started two startups in the website monitoring and load testing space, which were acquired by Gomez and Neustar, respectively.

Patrick is an avid open source contributor, having founded OpenQA, created Selenium Remote Control, and co-created Struts 2.

Patrick has held management and software engineering positions with Jive Software, Spoke Software, and Cisco Systems.