Archive for the 'donations' Category

Amazon EC2+S3, Here We Come

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

I’ll explain in detail once I’m moved, but if you’re having problems with FeedBlendr, it’s probably because I’m in the process of moving servers (for real this time).

UPDATE 2007-05-13: As promised, here’s some more information about this Amazon business.

After running FeedBlendr on DreamHost for a year and bit, and having a few problems along the way with causing too much load, they finally pulled the pin on me. They’ve been very good about things, and worked with me to help identify and solve the problems I was causing (I was on a shared server, so my usage was affecting other customers). Basically, in the end there wasn’t a “fix” per se, because I just had too many people requesting blends too many times a day (over a MILLION times a month!), and had to do something about it.

In comes Amazon. For those of you who don’t know, Amazon has started getting into the Web Services world, and 2 of their offerings are of particular interest to me (us!):

  1. Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2): A system whereby I can request a new “copy” of a complete server on-demand, and use it as part of a cluster of machines to power FeedBlendr.
  2. Simple Storage Solution (S3) Unlimited, fully-redundant (in the good way) online storage, allowing me to keep copies of things out there in “Amazon-space” where my new EC2 servers can get at it.

I won’t bore you with all the details (although feel free to get in touch if you’re interested), but FeedBlendr is now running on 2 Amazon EC2 “instances” in a balanced manner (requests go to both machines), so hopefully performance is a lot better, and things will be more reliable. You may also have noticed that I fixed some caching bugs, so blends load faster, and should be more stable. I’ve also bumped up the minimum age for blends slightly, so you may notice now that blends can get slightly older before they will get refreshed. This is mainly because people were just requesting their blends too often, causing my servers to have to rebuild a complete blend every 5 minutes, just because a single feed changed. I’ll be looking at better ways to address this, but in the mean time, please let me know if this causes any problems.

Here’s to looking forward, and seeing FeedBlendr continue to improve and serve your feed-blending needs better!

Server Load Problems – Now Accepting Donations

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

With increasing popularity come a number of problems that are only to be expected. Right now, FeedBlendr is experiencing one of those problems – scalability/load issues.

After a number of warnings/notifications from DreamHost, I’ve been asked to either figure out a way to lower my processor usage immediately, or risk having my account disabled until I can do so. I’m using too much of the processor on my shared server and it’s unfair to the other users – fair enough.

Now I’m faced with a decision: do I shut FeedBlendr down (I don’t want to)? is there something I can do to lower usage (not that I’ve found yet)? can I justify upgrading my hosting (without making any money from FeedBlendr under the current model)?
At the moment I’m considering upgrading to a dedicated server from Hosting.com, which should give me the power/flexibility I need, but it’s a lot of extra management/set up etc that I’d have to deal with just to get it all happening, and life is just plain busy right now. So as a stop-gap, and either way, I’ve decided to open up for donations, allowing anyone who would like to do so to show their appreciation for the service FeedBlendr offers, by dropping a few bucks in my virtual tip-jar.

This may well affect my decision on whether or not to keep FeedBlendr live – if people aren’t even willing to drop a few dollars once-off in appreciation of the service, then I don’t know if I can continue providing it, and pay extra for the privelege of keeping FeedBlendr public and free.

It’s up to you people – so please show how you feel about FeedBlendr and donate now!

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