Archive | September, 2008

See David Weekly at the SDForum Cloud Computing Conference

30 Sep

Are you a cloud computing user?  If you use PBwiki, you are.

Not only is PBwiki a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution, but we also run significant portions of our infrastructure “in the cloud.”

If you’re interested in cloud computing, or in how PBwiki uses cloud computing to lower its costs and deliver better service, check out David’s panel at 10 AM on Wednesday, October 1.

While you’re there, you should probably check out the rest of the conference as well.  Here’s how SDForum describes it:

The burgeoning availability of computing resources “in the cloud”, while still something that’s only being utilized by early adopters and for small projects, is going to transform software development as much as any of the revolutions mentioned above.

Join SDForum as we present our first-ever Cloud Computing conference. This daylong event will address the issues and controversies surrounding cloud computing help you to understand the technologies and risks involved, and enable you to figure out what, exactly, your company should do to take advantage of the ongoing revolution.

Click here for more information about the conference.

Click here to register for the conference.

PBwiki cruise lines

4 Sep

When you think of taking a vacation cruise, you probably think of all the food you’ll eat, shuffle board you’ll play, and booze you’ll drink. But what do the folks running the ship think about? My bet is they think about some of the same things I think about everyday: keeping the ship operating smoothly, charting a halcyon course, and making sure that process never enters the minds of its customers. Come with me for a tour of the ship we pilot for the pleasure voyage we like to call

Surf\'s up on PBwiki traffic

“Safety first” isn’t just the mantra of cruise liners and middle school crossing guards, we take it seriously here, too. Your data is kept on three different PBwiki machines, then additionally encrypted and backed up off-site. How much data are we talking about? Your average desktop computer can hold about 200GB of data, of which about 6GB is your illegal music collection. We track over 25 times that amount: 5400GB of your data. In the past year we’ve had to triple the number of servers we use to store it all!

Engines are pretty important to cruise ships, but they’re also complicated and can break down. Putting in multiple engines is difficult and expensive, but it’s worth it: if one breaks down, you’ve got a spare. PBwiki is the same way with computers. Over the last year, we’ve worked to add “hot standby” servers that automatically take over if another computer experiences a failure. Ever wish you could just switch computers when Word or Windows crashes and pick up where you left off? With PBwiki you can!

Expanding RAM and capacityCaptains don’t drive a ship blindfolded, and neither do we. Earlier this year we fully instrumented our machines and services with a program called “ganglia.” It takes measurements and displays them on our dashboard so we can detect problems and calculate trends. The graph at left shows the effects of adding RAM to a beleaguered backup database: CPU usage drops and we are even more prepared in the unlikely event of a problem.

Although calling it a “captain’s log” would evoke too many Star Trek jokes, our Operations team logs all changes to the service, so we have a point of reference when tracking down performance issues, or to make sure certain checks were made. We keep it on PBwiki itself and simply call it the “log.”

Of course, this metaphor only goes so far: I haven’t yet secured the right to use deadly force to suppress piracy and mutiny. Apparently that would be against the “laws” and we haven’t relocated to my ideal office in international waters. Join me next time when we go into more technical details about PBwiki’s commitment to operational excellence!

Earn your free classroom upgrade and learn how to wiki

3 Sep

Join the PBwiki Back to School Challenge to earn a free gold upgrade, plus the chance to win tons of classroom resources.

In addition to earning awesome classroom swag — legos, books, and gift certificates for school supplies — the PBwiki Back to School Challenge will teach you how to:

  • Build an interactive website – add video and images to your existing lessons
  • Develop group projects and encourage collaboration and participation
  • Find out how other educators have built their wiki
  • The Back to School Challenge is the best way to learn how to use your wiki and earn a free upgrade along the way.