Lone Star Ruby Conf 2008: Ruby in the Cloud

Posted in Conferences, Development, Cloud Computing on September 17, 2008

Lone Star Ruby Conf 2008: Ruby in the Cloud

This talk would be a case study in using Ruby to deploy, monitor, and manage a cluster of servers running in the Amazon Web Services virtual cloud.

The example cluster is operated by OtherInbox.com, a consumer-driven website that automates email tasks and spam blocking. Every system administration task imaginable is carried out using Ruby, which means the developers can enjoy all of Ruby’s benefits without having to delve into shell scripting, writing cron tasks, or use of other languages. It also means that porting the application to run on different operating systems is a trivial task, because Ruby is the glue connecting the Ruby components together; all that is required is a Ruby interpreter.

Two key Ruby technologies have matured in the previous 18 months which make it ideal for almost every layer of managing a cluster of servers:

  • god.rb allows fine-grained process monitoring and daemon control (replacing monit)
  • rufus-scheduler enables ruby-based scheduling (replacing cron, and providing a great facility for running daemons that must be executed on a recurring basis)

When combined with these Ruby workhorses, developers today can spend much more of their time writing Ruby code, and less time struggling with the vagaries of their production environment:

  • Ruby standard library utilities (File, FileUtils, etc.)
  • Rake
  • Capistrano (for any kind of remote application, not just Rails)

The talk would also include a discussion of using several different AWS gems to make cloud computing simple, by illustrating how Amazon’s S3 and SQS services can handle asychnronous work and communication between servers.

Mike Subelsky
Mike Subelsky is the lead developer of OtherInbox, an Austin-based startup using Rails to help consumers deal with email overload. He was a freelance web developer for two years before joining OtherInbox. Prior to becoming a full-time Ruby hacker, he served as a U.S. Navy information warfare officer with overseas assignments around the world for seven years. He has also worked as a civilian cybersecurity analyst for the Department of Defense and in private industry. He is the author of random-data, a open-source Ruby gem used for prototyping new Ruby applications, and two of his recipes are featured in the recently-released book Advanced Rails Recipes. He holds Bachelor and Master of Information Systems Management degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional. He blogs about Ruby and Rails at subelsky.com.

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Tags: Conferences, Ruby, Deployment, Capistrano, Amazon S3, Rake, Cloud Computing, Amazon SQS, Clustering, Monitoring, Confreaks, Amazon Web Services, Lone Star Ruby Conf 2008