UPDATE: The price for spot instances has risen and the value of LiteCoin has dropped. The combination of these two factors makes LiteCoin mining on EC2 likely to be unprofitable at the present time. I'm sure a lot of people will be paying close attention paid to the spot prices now though…
I've been building and maintaining technical infrastructure since the late 90's, which means I have spent a lot of time wondering "How can I make X better?", "Why isn't Y working?", and "What is paging me at 3AM?". I've also spent a lot of time thinking about how I can help others learn systems administration topics in a less painful way.
I'm currently writing an ebook called AWS Architecture about designing and implementing reliable, secure systems on Amazon Web Services. Even with a background in systems administration, there has been a lot to learn about building systems on top of AWS since I started using it in 2007. Although AWS makes things like scaling quickly easier, building resilient systems still takes work and there are a lot of "gotchas" you can stumble on along the way.
Many systems administrators, developers, and technical managers struggle when getting started with Amazon Web Services — I know I sure did. Getting up to speed on terminology, architecture design patterns, and everything else involved with AWS by reading through the mountains of Amazon documentation in a short time period is tough.
If you are already using AWS, you know it can be hard to stay on top of the best practices. Amazon puts out a lot of great content and training resources, but having it all boiled down to the essentials makes a big difference.
My new site, AWS Architecture, is devoted to the upcoming ebook and sharing knowledge about Amazon Web Services. Head over there and sign up for my free 30 day course about AWS best practices and you'll also be the first to know when the book is released.
I've been talking a lot about zero-downtime deployments with MySQL as your database backend (including schema changes/migrations!) recently.
I gave a 45 minute presentation called Zero Downtime Deployments with Database Migrations, from a DevOps conference that Vladimir Vuksan and I organized back in November 2012.
Using low-overhead virtualization methods like chroots, containers, etc. is a great way to gain most of the benefits of virtualization without the overhead of traditional hypervisor-based virtualization. Since 2011, lxc has become the standard, kernel-integrated lightweight virtualization method.
Before 2010 comes to a close, be sure to check out the sysadmin's Advent calendar, SysAdvent! Last year, I contributed an article about ATA over Ethernet (AoE), and I wrote about Website Performance Optimization this year.
HAProxy is a great load balancer; however, it doesn't natively terminate SSL connections. Fortunately, stunnel can terminate SSL connections and seamlessly forward them to HAProxy. To be able to log the client's IP address, we'll need to patch stunnel to provide X-Forwarded-For headers to HAProxy.