The Grid: Woes of a web warrior 4
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So, you want a new website? What do you think the odds are of getting a site that you're happy with…a near certainty? 1 in 2? 1 in 6? I can't say that I have all the answers, but I do have some stories to tell - and I hope these tales will help you beat the odds.
So, why did I write this series? I'll admit it is partly a rant, and partly a sales gimmick…On the one hand these tales illustrate some of the risks of building websites. On the other hand, I am a busy guy, I can't help everyone, and I do like to see websites built right, even when I'm not involved. After all, I never know if I might end up using them! Whether you're working with me or not, I hope these tales will help you avoid some of the pitfalls that await even the wary.
- "We know best"
- If it's worth doing once, it's worth doing again and again and again
- Agility is the answer
- "The Grid"
- I can haz environments?
"The Grid". What is this "Grid", I hear you ask? Well, honestly, to this day I still do not know.
It was some sort of cloud computing thingy. "The Grid" was an abstraction system that allowed several distinct pieces of hardware to be treated as a single server. It housed apache, mysql, memcache, and a few other things.
It was also exorbitantly expensive, proprietary (whilst I don't know what it was, it certainly wasn't any of the standard VM platforms such as Xen), and had a setup/configuration that was alien to any common platform such as CentOS, RedHat, Ubuntu, Debian, Suse, etc. It couldn't be configured with puppet. It didn't fit any of our standard practices or the mental models used with common distros.
In theory, The Grid appeared a sensible design: abstracted hardware, scalable…However, commodity hardware is simple and cheap, and community standards - such as Ubuntu/RHEL and puppet - are priceless. Unusual is almost always expensive, and unless you are Google, your requirements are almost certainly not unusual enough to warrant such as unusual setup.