Wednesday Jan 27, 2010

Technology Evolution

With Sun now officially being part of Oracle, one could once again recite that great technology often outlive the company boundaries. By working with startups, it is quite interesting to see how their technology evolve and some of the startups become part of larger organization. As a matter of fact..[Read More]

Friday Oct 16, 2009

OOW and Social Networking

In case you missed the Oracle BMW sailboat (doubt you did), here it is.

The event itself was quite energizing and technology centric, filled with events, two exhibit floors, and multiple sessions. Exhibit floors included Cloud vendors like Amazon, as Oracle is available on EC2. There was a large presence by with their CRM on the cloud and developer cloud offerings. The Oracle development team had a long stretch of booths on the expo floor as well. Below are a few technology snapshots that particularly apply to Social Networking applications.

To improve performance and scalability of PHP applications, you can pool DB connections with Oracle's Database Resident Connection Pool (DRCP). This is important because by default, HTTP requests are handled by individual process in the following manner. A PHP application is deployed on an Apache server using a mod_php module. Individual HTTP requests are processed within a corresponding Apache child process, which is spawned for each request. All resources, including the database connections, are created and destroyed within the context of that child process. However, creating individual database connections for each HTTP request is a resource expensive operation. Oracle's DRCP allows PHP applications to leverage a connection pool. DRCP keeps track of open connections and recycles them in a fashion similar to a JDBC connection pool. It times out idle connections and a Connection Broker of DRCP manages incoming connection requests. Using persistent db connections improves web application scalability.

Mapping and GIS applications can leverage Oracle's database spatial and mapping technology. With Oracle Locator you can quickly calculate a distance from point A to point B, trace a travel route, and perform amny other mapping functions. Most startups in the GIS space rely on PostgreSQL, but if you happen to use Oracle there are definitely many useful features you can utilize.

Oracle's open source, in-memory database, Berkeley DB transactional data store, is used across a multitude popular Web 2.0 apps. To name a few, MemcacheD uses Berkeley DB as it's core in-memory engine. It's often used as an embedded DB. For example, Sun's large scale, open source, networking platform for gaming and virtual world applications, Project Darkstar, also leverages Berkeley DB. Berkeley DB is also used by Internet Archive's Wayback Machine and Heretrix, an open source Internet crawler project. Ulike TimesTen, Berkeley DB is not designed with a primary goal of SQL query execution, instead it can be used as a key-value pair for large objects. The db stores data in a shallow B+ tree, which contributes to quick data retrieval as well as fast writes. The implementation is available in C and Java.

Oracle's Open Source resources can be found here.

Aside from the Oracle technologies that can be applied for building Social Networking applications, partner applications were a big part of the exhibit. There were multiple startups (in SSE definition) that demonstrated technologies for efficient data transfer, data archival and replication.

Friday Sep 04, 2009

Mobility and Technology

According to Juniper research the mobile app market will be worth $25 billion in 5 years. So which technology would you pick to develop the mobile application. That's the topic Sun and Micello will try to address during the upcoming Sun Startup Essentails Webinar next week.[Read More]

Thursday Aug 13, 2009

Why Amber Road for Startups

Many of the SSE members are utilizing Sun's Amber Road storage system, while many other startups wonder what it can do for them. The answer is if you have an application that has a heavy use of data such as accessing or operating with the large volume of media files, or an application that requires instant accesses of the persistent data, you may want to consider Amber Road storage systems. Get some insights on the Amber Road functionality and check out the snapshots of the storage management console that is based on DTrace and provides real time analytics of your application storage usage. [Read More]

Wednesday Dec 03, 2008

Holiday Party 2.0

Holiday Party 2.0

From Web 2.0 to Holiday 2.0. Ready for a holiday bash? Sun Startup Essentials is co-sponsoring Holiday Party 2.0 - Show Me the Money! Don't miss the event which is coming up this Friday in San Francisco, see details  and RSVP if you're planning to attend. See you all there.

Sunday Nov 30, 2008

Silicon Valley Code Camp: Scaling Platform with Bebo, Sun, and Yahoo

Code Camp '08

This year's Code Camp attracted somewhere between 700-900 developers, much bigger compared to the last year one. I had a chance to present on both days of the event. The Sun, Yahoo, and Bebo panel focused around discussion on Scaling Platform with Bebo, Sun, and Yahoo on Saturday Nov 8 that has been recorded and posted. The idea behind this panel is to outline some of the key criteria for building scalable and reliable Web 2.0 applications. Steve Cohen, a head of engineering for the Bebo platform, outlined MVC based Java framework enabling the Bebo site. It was pretty exciting to see Java as a key technology powering up one of the top Social Networking site, that has around 40Mln users across the globe. As you can see in the podcast, Steve outlined their core architecture, benefits, and challenges that they're facing with increasing the scalability requirements. On the Sun side, I had a chance to to present some of the key aspects of building, deploying, and scaling a Web 2.0 application. Sun's tools and technologies including NetBeans, Glassfish, AMP Stack on OpenSolaris, MySQL, xVM, OpenSolaris, DTrace, and ZFS are essential componets of the Web 2.0 application development and deployment environment. Tom Huphes-Croucher, a tech evangelist from Yahoo, outlining open developer APIs and providing some insights on Yahoo scalability story. We had great questions from the audience on how to optimally manage, test, and prepare for the large scale.

Saturday Nov 29, 2008

Cloud Computing Bootcamp

Cloud Computing Bootcamp

Silicon Valley Cloud Computing gurus, SOA experts, and Virtualization vendors had a chance to explore and share the technology insights during the Cloud Computing Expo event in November. I attended the Cloud Computing Bootcamp, led by Alan Williamson, as well as preview products and offerings at the expo floor. The bootcamp was quite informative and started with the definition of Cloud Computing term. Well, there is no formal definition commonly shared in industry, unlike Web 2.0, and it is very broadly defined as on-demand provisioning of application, resources, and services, that allow resources to be scaled up and down.  Wikipedia's definition, authored by Sam Johnston, specifies a six layer stack that encompasses Client, Services, Application, Platform, Storage, and Infrastructure. That was the basis for the bootcamp session, with individual layers explored in depth with regards to their nature, pros & cons, and players in each space. I'd like to summarize just a few of the layers and mention Sun technology in each category.

Layer #1
is the Infrastructure Layer. It consists of an operating system on demand, i.e. cpu/memory/processing. Some of the vendors in this space include Amazon EC2, FlexiScale, GoGrid, AppNexus, and Joyent. Sun partners with a number of hosting vendors to enable OpenSolaris as part of the deployment platform, which is available with Amazon EC2 and Joyent among others. With OpenSolaris, you can leverage DTrace, optimized AMP stack, and ZFS. Additional value add for Sun Startup Essentials members is FREE one year hosting available for Facebook, Bebo, and OpenSocial application developers on Joyent.

If you are a hosting provider, Sun offers all the building block for setting up the hosting environment. Starting with servers, storage, virtualization, OS, management components, AMP stack, you can leverage many of the proven Sun technologies to build up a cloud environment.

On the Infrastructure layer management side, RightScale and ElasticServer are the top two players that help you to monitor your site, provision new instances, and manage your environment. Similar to other layers and vendors in the space, there is no out of the box interoperability among the infrastructure providers. Therefore, your application stack should be very portable so that if you decide to move from one hosting environment to another, you can do so.

Layer #2 is the Storage Layer, which includes file or object based data storage. Users are billed based on the bandwidth and consumed storage. Amazon S3, Nirvanix, Mosso, Amazon's SimpleDB, Google's BigTable, Azure Storage are among storage providers in this space. With growing number of Web 2.0 companies offering media based applications, e.g. content aggregation, image searching and processing, these services are quite popular. On the down side, there are no common storage data access API shared among the vendors; also, there are limitation on the size of the data. As your storage consumption growth, the bandwidth cost of the service provider may become higher than the cost of the custom managed storage infrastructure. Thus, it's important to monitor and provision storage in a way that is cost effective for your business.

Sun has introduced recently Sun Storage 7000 series, and with Sun Storage 7210 Storage Array (SS7210) in either striped or mirrored configuration you can stream over 700MB/sec video content with 90% CPU utilization.

On the storage management side, Jungle Disk  (acquired by Rackspace), ElephantDisk, are a few popular service providers.

Layer # 3
Platform Layer comprises a complete software stack and an IDE for the cloud. This layer is responsible for the load balancing and resource provisioning. A few players include Google App Engine with support for Python, (SalesForce), MS Azure for .NET developers, for Ruby On Rails gurus. The latter one is built on Amazon's EC2.

In this layer, Sun offers to developers Zembly platform that enables building and deploying Facebook, OpenSocial, Meebo and iPhone applications.

With great benefits offered by each of the providers, there are still deployment differences, vendor lock in, and limitations to the underlying language support.

Cloud Computing paradigm became a de facto deployment environment for many startups, but before jumping on on its bandwagon, it is important to keep in mind your application requirements from the infrastructure, platform, database, performance, and scalability standpoint. The greatest value of the Cloud Computing is reduced TCO for application deployment and management, thus many companies take advantage of a cloud particularly for the initial launch of their sites. Once user based grows, some companies realize that for their specific application and data usage, cloud many no longer be the most effective alternative from the cost perspective. Aside from that, Cloud Computing may not offer the same server configuration, security, and SLA's critical to the business, as you may setup in your datacenter. Cloud provides you with a sandbox for your application deployment, thus flexibility is limited.

Thursday Oct 02, 2008


I'm at Startonomics in San Francisco, where you can see the live streaming of all sessions and live blog. The session content will also be available afterwords. Great event, I got a chance to meet old buddies from other SF events, meet new people like Scott Rafer, as well as meet local startups and talk to them about technologies. Don't know if it's just my opinion, but Ruby seem to be a very popular and enjoyable language to use, fast to learn, fast to deploy, and fun all around. The great foodies of SF are now in the startup business including TastyR - SF restaurants review, TCHO - a new delicious chocolate startup, try it out while at the event.. yammy and I'm not even a chocoholic. And of course we're here to educate startups on the Sun's Startup Essential program. A few offerings like VC Connect and discounted storage for those who're storing large media file are getting a lot of momentum.

Guess where the SF startups and bloggers are going next.. Amsterdam Blog 08 Rockstar of the Web

Monday Jul 28, 2008

Energizing Mashable in San Francisco

This was by far the craziest Mashable event I’ve attended so far (of course NY may be even bigger and better). Not only with the unique SF atmosphere of Mighty night club that was overfilled with young guys and gals of Social Networking and Social Media startups, but just the entire event that was energizing, accelerating, and to some extend overwhelming. The new generation of the Bay Area LAMP developers were sizzling with hot ideas. Our discussions covered different ways to scale up and tips on how utilize OpenSolaris features such as ZFS and DTrace. Event sponsors were giving away drink tickets among other giveaways, so you can imagine how busy my table was the entire night. I had an OpenSolaris demo running and people were very interested in Sun Startup Essentials program, specifically the hosting offerings we have with Joyent and other partners. Everyone was Twittering the entire time, with messages displayed live by the EventVue site that was projected on a large screen for everyone to enjoy.

Monday Apr 21, 2008

SAP Virtualization Week 2008

SAP virtualizaton week 2008 is a great event for partners and Sun was participating in this year event.[Read More]

Marina Fisher is a member of Oracle ISV Engineering team, posting blogs around industries, technologies, and applications she is working with.


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