Monday Dec 21, 2009 - How do they stream all that data ? is a great case of a Sun Startup Essential customer starting off two years ago by discussing their architecture, and how could Sun help them as a startup, well two years down the line we have saved them money, reduced their output and helped them scale beyond boundaries they didnt think feasible, Mike Brodbelt explains their latest success using SSD's to stream to a new audience, XBOX LIVE.

The music streaming architecture at is an area of our infrastructure that has been scaling steadily for some time. The final stage of delivering streams to users fetches the raw mp3 data from a MogileFS distributed file system before passing it through our audio streaming software, which handles the actual audio serving. There are two main considerations with this streaming system: physical disk capacity, and raw IO throughput. The number of random IO operations a storage system can support has a big effect on how many users we can serve from it, so this number (IOPS) is a metric we’re very interested in. The disk capacity of the cluster has effectively ceased being a problem with the capacities available from newer SATA drives, so our biggest concern is having enough IO performance across the cluster to serve all our concurrent users. To put some numbers on this, a single 7200rpm SATA drive can produce enough IOPS to serve around 300 concurrent connections.

[Read More]

Thursday Jul 02, 2009

Music Hack Day - Sponsored by Sun Startup Essentials 11/12th July 2009

Finally, a hack day based on the best industry to hack on, with the cleanest APIs and the most enjoyable content.

European music sites are revolutionising the music industry, not least with their eagerness to open up their data with APIs.

We will be running a Hack Day independent from, but working with the companies at the forefront of this movement. We hope you'll be able to join us.

We will be sorting tickets out soon, to be on the list of people who would like to attend then drop your details into the register page.

When: 11th - 12th July 2009

Where: Guardian Offices

Sign up now HERE 

Sponsored by Sun Startup Essentials

Friday Jun 12, 2009

Twitter Growth - An indepth look inside the data

Over the past few months, Twitter has experienced explosive growth, attracting celebrity users such as Oprah, and a growing mountain of media and blog coverage. Sysomos Inc., one of the world's leading social media analytics companies, conducted an extensive study to document Twitter's growth and how people are using it. After analyzing information disclosed on 11.5 million Twitters accounts, we discovered that:

  • 72.5% of all users joining during the first five months of 2009.
  • 85.3% of all Twitter users post less than one update/day
  • 21% of users have never posted a Tweet
  • 93.6% of users have less than 100 followers, while 92.4% follow less than 100 people.
  • 5% of Twitter users account for 75% of all activity
  • New York has the most Twitters users, followed by Los Angeles, Toronto, San Francisco and Boston; while Detroit was the fast-growing city over the first five months of 2009
  • More than 50% of all updates are published using tools, mobile and Web-based, other than TweetDeck is the most popular tool with 19.7% market share.
  • There are more women on Twitter (53%) than men (47%)
  • Of people who identify themselves as social media marketers, 65.5% have never posted an update
  • Of the people who identify themselves as marketers, 15% follow more than 2,000 people. This compares with 0.29% of overall Twitter users who follow more than 2,000 people.

"We wanted to take an extensive snapshot of Twitter that goes far beyond anything done to document Twitter's use, growth and demographics," said Nick Koudas, Sysomos' co-founder and chief executive. "While Twitter's growth has been well documented, we wanted to put the spotlight on how people use Twitter, as well as identify many of the key trends in their backgrounds, demographics and activity. Our study, based on the most comprehensive dataset of Twitter users, provides a wealth of information for anyone interested in getting in-depth details about Twitter."

This is an interesting report that has been produced from 11m+ profiles on twitter data and characteristics of its users, for the full report and to download then go to

Its interesting that the media hype has increased the user base but again that has then increased the amount of people doing nothing, thus it is still the top 30% of the users who are generating the traffic and making it look like there is more activity, whilst an interesting fact is more than 65 of the so called social marketers have never even tweeted !!!

Go and read it now, a great concise set of data points that dismisses some of the hype this year over the user base and activity around Twitter.

Wednesday Feb 18, 2009

Hadoop User Group UK meeting in London Sponsored by Startup Essentials

  • Location: London, UK
  • Venue: Sun, Regis House, 45 King William Street, EC4R 9AN
  • Date: April 14th 2009
  • Presenters:
  • Tom White (Cloudera): Practical MapReduce
  • Michael Stack (Powerset): Apache HBase
  • Isabel Drost (ASF): Introducing Apache Mahout
  • Iadh Ounis and Craig Macdonald (University of Glasgow): Terrier
  • Paolo Castagna (HP): "Having Fun with PageRank and MapReduce"

10.00 - 10.15: Arriving and chatting
10.15 - 11.15: Practical MapReduce (Tom White, Cloudera)
11.15 - 12.15: Introducing Apache Mahout (Isabel Drost, ASF)
12.15 - 13.15: Lunch
13.15 - 14.15: Terrier (Iadh Ounis and Craig Macdonald, University of Glasgow)
14.15 - 15.15: Having Fun with PageRank and MapReduce (Paolo Castagna, HP)
15.15 - 16.15: Apache HBase (Michael Stack, Powerset)
16.15 - 17.00: General chat, perhaps lightning talks (powered by Sun beer)
17.00 - 00.00: Discussions continues at a nearby pub (suggestions welcome in the comments)

This is the second HUGUK meeting and if you would like to attend then sign up here now

Thursday Jan 29, 2009

Spotify - Beta Invites

So who wants a FREE beta invite to Spotify ?

Based in the UK ? A company less than 6 years old ? Join Startup Essentials today and put the ref SPOTIFY in and Ill send you an invite once you are approved.

Thats it.

Wednesday Dec 03, 2008

Make IT Scale - scaling and more scaling......what a night.

So what a night was had at Make IT Scale.

We had Mike from discussing how to scale a large startup and some of the pitfalls to be wary of, power and good coding all help to grow the company and yes it did start with the guys sleeping in tents on the office roof, to make it happen.

Phil Harman from Sun microsystems explained about OpenSolaris, Dtrace, ZFS and all the lovely stuff available within the OS that can help reduce barriers and pain points, to make your apps scale quickly and fastly for very little time in looking at the code or making changes, and how to enable this now, not later.

Quick beer break, chat and networking then back on the podium for Mike from Proven Scaling talking about what he sees in the customers he consults with in scaling MySQL mostly, but also generally talking to them about saving time upfront to allow for scaling later on. Indepth presentation that left him being barraged by questions till late in the evening.

Then to wrap the evening up we had Nick from  a Startup Essential customer as well, who discussed how he used to write games in Assembler and thus it has to be an efficent scaling schema from the startup, and by building  based on those virtues he has a scaleable startup ready for traffic and volume, he doesnt have to worry when that volume hits him.

75 people attending, 30 Pizzas consumed, 200 bottles of beer and 10 cartons of orange, lots of positive feedback and the videos will all be online soon, in the meantime do you want to attend a Make IT scale session ?

Sign up for the meetup group to hear about the next one - Startup Essential Meetup

Want to see the presentations ? Make IT Scale Presentations

Want to see the lovely Nick from

Make IT Scale brought to you by Startup Essentials from stewart townsend on Vimeo.

Thursday Nov 20, 2008

Make IT Scale -,, Proven Scaling and Phil Harman talk on how to scale your startup

Make It Scale seminars exist to help facilitate networking and knowledge sharing amongst entrepreneurs and innovators that are on the path to building thriving new businesses.

Which is why we're delighted to welcome Nick Halstead, founder of, together with Mike Brodbelt of LastFM and Mike Griffiths of Proven Scaling to our inaugural event on the 27th November, to talk about their experiences, different perspectives and the good, the bad and the ugly of scaling resources.

If you're thinking about starting a business, or are running one that's less than 6 years old, you're welcome to join us at 6.00pm., at Sun's City Customer Briefing Centre. For any new business, good information can make a real difference and a positive contribution to success. Make It Scale and the opportunity to network that it brings are free, so click below for more details and to register.


 Sun - London CBC - 45 King William St


Thurs 27th November

Register HERE now 


18:00: Registration/Networking
18:30: Last FM
Why you should scale and lessons learnt
Mike Brodbelt
18:45: Sun Microsystems,
OpenSolaris- ZFS, Dtrace: Scaling and more scaling the easy way
Phil Harman
19:15: Break
19:30: Proven Scaling: MySQL
Optimise and Scale, now for the future
Mike Griffiths
Why I thought about scaling from day 1
Nick Halstead
20:15: Q&A Roundtable
20:30: Beer and pizza


Connecting the Startup Essentials community with all the events, information and resources required for them to grow and scale.


« July 2016