Scalr 1.1.0 – getting in touch – Part I

August 6th, 2009

Today my friend and business partner Raphael pointed me to the new release of Scalr. I knew Scalr from the past, but i did not get in detailed touch yet. Scalr released version 1.1.0 under the GPL v2- and now I thought about to give it a detailed try.
Scalr promise alot of value within Cloud Computing and the use of Amazon EC2.

Scalr is a fully redundant, self-curing and self-scaling hosting environment using Amazon’s EC2.

It allows you to create server farms through a web-based interface using prebuilt AMI’s for load balancers (pound, nginx, or Amazon’s load balancing service), app servers (apache, rails, others), databases (mysql master-slave, others), and a generic AMI to build on top of.

The health of the farm is continuously monitored and maintained. When the Load Average on a type of node goes above a configurable threshold a new node is inserted into the farm to spread the load and the cluster is reconfigured. When a node crashes a new machine of that type is inserted into the farm to replace it.

Multiple AMI’s are provided for load balancers, mysql databases, application servers, and a generic base image to customize. Scalr allows you to further customize each image, bundle the image and use that for future nodes that are inserted into the farm. You can make changes to one machine and use that for a specific type of node. New machines of this type will be brought online to meet current levels and the old machines are terminated one by one.

Under is also a pay service available, but i want to build my own environment.

If you want to install Scalr the wiki is a good starting point.
I droped some lines here in my blog to document my installation on a Ubuntu 9.04 Server.

Systemrequirements are definied on the project website as follows:

  • PHP 5.2.5 or higher
  • MySQL 5.0 or higher (MySQL 5.1 or higher preferred)
  • My server installation was build up with a LAMP. A good How-To for LAMP installation you can find here.

    I had to customize my PHP5 installation for the required PHP extension listed in the project wiki. I searched for the plugins with following command
    apt-cache search php5-*, and installed the required extensions manually.

    Furthermore I created a database for scalr and a valid user for it.

    # mysql -u -p
    Enter password:
    Welcome to the MySQL monitor. Commands end with ; or \g.
    Your MySQL connection id is 41
    Server version: 5.0.75-0ubuntu10.2 (Ubuntu)
    mysql> CREATE DATABASE ;
    Query OK, 1 row affected (0.00 sec)

    mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON .* TO ""@"localhost" IDENTIFIED BY "";
    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.01 sec)

    mysql> EXIT

    Read the rest of this entry »

    List of VC Twitter Accounts: Are You Following the Funds?

    August 5th, 2009

    Found a nice article on O’reilly’s Under The Radar blog.

    Want an inside look into what VCs are doing and thinking? Wish you could get into their heads to know what they’re actually looking for so you can tailor your pitch “just so?”

    Here’s your chance. Twitter provides a way to follow and communicate with many of the startup world’s top funders – and the social warmth it provides in being able to hear their insights and ask questions is terrific.

    List of VC Twitter Accounts: Are You Following the Funds?

    From now i am following some of those VC’s (e.g. Guy Kawasaki) – looking forward to get some cool and interesting informations about venture strategies and ventured startups via Twitter.

    Ian Foster – What’s faster–a supercomputer or EC2?

    August 5th, 2009

    I found this interesting article about a comparison today, you should read the whole article here:

    • On EC2, I am told that it may take ~5 minutes to start 32 nodes (depending on image size), so with high probability we will finish the LU benchmark within 100 + 300 = 400 secs.
    • On the supercomputer, we can use Rich Wolksi’s QBETS queue time estimation service to get a bound on the queue time. When I tried this in June, QBETS told me that if I wanted 32 nodes for 20 seconds, the probability of me getting those nodes within 400 secs was only 34%–not good odds.
    •, Ian Foster, Aug 2009


    These comparisons depends from my point of view always on experienced data and mainly on your various scenario Neutral declarations are hard to find. I asked Thijs Metsch for some experienced data of RESERVOIR project he mentoined in Twitter. Looking forward for an answer from him…
    Does anyone else have some own experienced data for starting EC2 images in different environments and with various scenarios?

    Fireside Chat with Greg Papadopoulos & Werner Vogels

    August 5th, 2009

    I watched an absorbing discussion about Cloud Computing on cloudbooknet.

    Former keynote speakers Greg Papadopoulos, CTO and EVP, Research and Development at Sun Microsystems and Werner Vogels, VP and CTO at, return to share their thoughts on the rise of Cloud Computing and what direction they see Amazon and Sun leading the evolution of the Cloud Computing industry and the opportunities it generates.

    There are some more videos of Werner Vogels you can check out on website – i can also recommend his nice blog All Things Distributed.

    Seamus McManus: Beekeeper; Father of Cloud Computing

    August 5th, 2009

    IBM is introducing in a funny video to Cloud Computing:

    ElasticVapor :: Life in the Cloud: A Trusted Cloud Entropy Authority

    August 4th, 2009

    Ruv Cohen posted in his blog an intersting thought about a “Trusted Cloud Entropy Authority” ElasticVapor :: Life in the Cloud: A Trusted Cloud Entropy Authority

    Gordon says “How about getting signed entropy from a trusted server on the network/internet?”

    Gordon’s comments did get me thinking, maybe there an opportunity to create a trusted cloud authority to provide signed verified and certified entropy. Think of it like a certificate authority (CA) but for chaos. Actually, Amazon Web Service itself could act as this entropy authority via a simple encrypted web service call. I even have a name for it, Simple Entropy Service (SES).

    This idea is very exciting and useful. However, if you are to classical CA’s thinking as e.g. “Web Server Certificate” field, then i believe only an independent CA guarantees in such a position, future potential of Cloud Computing without a provider lock-in. The provider lock-in here refers not only to the CA itself, but also to pave the CA by a certified Provider / Services. In my view, therefore the target must be to create a largely self-sufficient CA, which also allows small businesses and companies to be able to offer certified and therefore “trusted” Cloud Computing services and resources without an expensive certification process. If you think for example on  Amazon EC2 Images, it should be possible in future to continue creating an own AMI image but then also free from Amazon certify it. That would be a real added value – for Amazon as IaaS Provider and for us as AWS user and enabler.

    The Anatomy Of The Twitter Attack

    August 3rd, 2009

    Found another quite interesting article on TechCrunch about “The Anatomy Of The Twitter Attack”
    The Anatomy Of The Twitter Attack

    A short quote of author’s conclusion:

    What’s the takeaway from all this? Cloud services are convenient and cheap, and can help a company grow more quickly. But security infrastructure is still nascent. And while any single service can be fairly secure, the important thing is that the ecosystem most certainly is not. Combine the fact that so much personal information about individuals is so easily findable on the web with the reality that most people have merged their work and personal identities and you’ve got the seed of a problem. A single Gmail account falls, and soon the security integrity of an entire startup crumbles. So for a start, reset those passwords and don’t use the same passwords for different services. Don’t use password recovery questions that can easily be answered with a simple web search (an easy solution is to answer those questions falsely). And just in general be paranoid about data security. You may be happy you were.

    I totally agree with that point of view. From my experience most users (private and business) use weak same passwords for different services.

    For choosing and creating good and strong passwords follow this guide.

    reBlog from A VC

    August 2nd, 2009

    I found this fascinating quote today:

    The world wide web is a global network of interconnected communications systems that allows any computing device to connect to it. Those devices run operating systems that allow any application to be installed on them. And so any developer anywhere in the world can build a web app (or desktop app) that can participate in the world wide web.

    That is not true of the mobile web. The mobile carriers have all connected to each other and to the web. But not every device can run on every mobile network. And not every mobile app can operate on every mobile device that is connected to the mobile web….

    I love what Google is doing with Android and while I’ve yet to find an Android phone that can replace my trusted Blackberry, I think Android is going to be a big success. They’ve got the right approach to the market, they are open in every way possible. That’s the winning model, for Google, for the consumer, and for the mobile web. I’d like to see Apple emulate it, but they did not with the Mac twenty-five years ago and they may make the same mistake again. I hope, A VC, Aug 2009

    You should read the whole article.

    Use APIs to do market research – O’Reilly Broadcast

    August 2nd, 2009

    Found an interesting article on O’Reilly Broadcast about doing market research using APIs: Use APIs to do market research – O’Reilly Broadcast

    Posted using ShareThis

    Whitepaper – Cloud Computing Use Cases

    August 1st, 2009

    Via Twitter i got news from Reuven Cohen about a interesting whitepaper. He also mentioned it in his blog.
    ElasticVapor :: Life in the Cloud: IBM’s Crowd-Sourced Cloud Computing Use Cases White Paper Published: “‘The goal of this white paper is to highlight the capabilities and requirements that need to be standardized in a cloud environment to ensure interoperability, ease of integration and portability. It must be possible to implement all of the use cases described in this paper without using closed, proprietary technologies. Cloud computing must evolve as an open environment, minimizing vendor lock-in and increasing customer choice.’”

    Thanks to Reuven who linked this document to Scribd.

    Cloud Computing Use Cases Whitepaper

    If you want to get more information or take part in discussion and conversation join google group cloud-computing-use-case. I look forward to the response and feedback from the community to that whitepaper excited. My personal feedback could be followed at mentioned google group.

    Power of the Pentatonic Scale

    July 31st, 2009

    Today Tim O’Reilly shared on Twitter a really awesome vimeo video from Bobby McFerrin who demonstrates the “Power of the Pentatonic Scale”. I embeded this video here in my blog:

    World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale from World Science Festival on Vimeo.


    July 30th, 2009

    I watched a very nice short movie from Honda today. For short it is about human dreams – here it is: