Monthly Archives: November 2006

Economical Grids?

My friend Jason is blogging about Joyents grids and linked to one of their new whitepapers. The cost structures in the whitepaper were interesting to me, to give the executive summary for $2425 a month they got in aggregate 12 GB of RAM, 130GB of storage, and 750GB of public transfer. Some of the storage was block, and some was “distributed NFS mounted.” In systems terms, this came down to 800/mo for Big-IP load balancing, 1000/mo for 8 web servers, and 500/mo for 2 DBs.

Since a lot of startups ask me for hardware advice, I was curious this setup would compare to one of the better dedicated providers, LayeredTech. As disclosure, Automattic currently has 8 servers with Joyent that we got when first started (and they were called Textdrive) and we have 50+ with Layered Tech. Both are active, we serve blog traffic from Dallas (LT) and the main site/tags traffic from San Diego (Joyent).

However this raises an interesting question: If we had $2425/mo to burn and were just starting out, which would be a better choice?

We have the Joyent costs laid out there in a typographically-correct whitepaper, so I decided to dig into LayeredTech’s slightly-1999 website to see what would be comprable. First I started with the web nodes, their best deal currently seem to be the AMD 275 dual core with 2GB RAM, 250gb HD for 175/mo. Let’s get 10 of those. Let’s get two more but with dual 73gb SCSI mirrored drives for the DBs, at 190/mo. We need a file server, something CPU light, I went for this one and put two mirrored 500gb drives in it for 159/mo. Finally we need some load balancers. Two million hits a day is only 23 requests a second, which my laptop couuld probably do, but let’s get two 3800s at 109/mo each and we can put Pound + Wackamole on them for high availability. Those can easily balance probably about 30-40mbps of traffic each.

Continue reading Economical Grids?

El Pais Interview

There has been a ton of media attention here at the blog conference in Spain. Friday and Saturday were a whirlwind of TV and newspaper interviews. The most in-depth, I believe, was from Pablo Fenandez in El Pais and is now available online in Spanish. There is something really special going on here in Spain with blogs, the people are full of such energy and passion that it’s definitely going to be a space to watch over the coming years.

New Blog Design

It is now official get out of your RSS reader day. Take a few minutes to check out the new and browse around a bit. This is, I believe, the fifth major iteration of the design here but it’s the first one since 2003. When I last freshened the paint around here it got a link from Zeldman saying “lucky in redesign” and I figured I would never be able to top that, so I left the design the same for years. The only major change was the introduction of Asides in 2004.

Well I couldn’t top the last design, but Nicolò Volpato had no trouble creating something beautiful I started coding up earlier this weekend. Nicolò is still working on mocking up a few of the pages, and in the meantime I’ve been working on a little additional functionality around the site, particularly with photos.

Here are a few things you might notice so far: related posts on entry pages, recent entries shown in the sidebar on entries older than 2 weeks, when a blog is from the same day as a photo album random photos from that day are shown at the bottom, and likewise a photo will show when there’s a post that day.

The main goals of the photo integration were to enable a little more serendipity. There are a lot of other little Easter eggs, but those will remain an exercise for the reader.