LT Pact ’08 – Overview of Experience

I just left the last session of the LT Pact ’08 conference and it has been fun. I’ve learned a lot and there were a lot of common themes among the conference. I’ll briefly touch on the themes and over the next week or so I’ll be writing more in-depth on each one. Besides, I need to enjoy Las Vegas while I’m here and not just blog.

Virtualization & Cloud Computing

Virtualization is the future of server hosting. It won’t be optimal for all scenarios of course, but there are so many advantages to virtualization that they can’t be passed up:

  • Backups & Snapshots
  • Allocate hardware resources appropriately
  • Fast deployment
  • Easier management of data centers
  • Scalability

The abstraction of an Application’s OS and the hardware offers so many different options and empowers engineers to successfully utilize their hardware to it’s fullest power. There is a very large emphasis on viewing utilization on a per application level and not per server. This allows for many servers to be deployed with only one “role” for the organization, properly spec’d for their function.

Cloud computing is the next step of Virtualization. Instead of just properly allocating resources to virtual servers, cloud computing allows for organizations to “tap” into a Data Center’s cloud and utilize their CPU, Memory, and Disk Space, pay for exactly what they use, and then walk away. This allows for very agile development. Not only scale as you go, but some times in a blue moon you need access to extremely large amounts of CPU and Disk Space, use it, and then move on. It isn’t practical to buy all of that horsepower to only be used once. They gave a story of the New York Times and how they used the Amazon web services to perform an incredible task that just needed to be done once. To be honest, it was incredible and paradigm shattering.

The Forrester Researcher that spoke warned of avoiding the “hype” of cloud computing and keeping things in a realistic expectations. Hype creates unreal expectations and customers find themselves in a state of “disillusionment” once reality hits them. In short, cloud computing is the future, but keep it in a realistic context.

Sun & MySQL

The team is managing to turn eyes. While sticking true to open source roots and looking at open source as a friend, the Sun & MySQL partnership is starting to look very promising. I’m actually going to download and try out OpenSolaris. From what it sounds like, a dedicated OpenSolaris machine could be the perfect high performance database machine with MySQL. Only time will tell, and we’ll see if that trent catches on.

Blogging: The Software, The Community, and The Business of It

Wow, did they talk a lot about blogging. While most of it I already had a hunch about, there were some serious perspectives that I saw, especially from Matt Mullenweg, that were very insightful. Matt explained that blogging is so much more than just a publishing platform, that “[it] is about people talking to people.” The other two panelists were very insightful, and it was interesting many of them had different views on almost any topic. how

Personal blogging should be, as they said, personal and can be just about anything. To keep it interesting personally, it should be just whatever your mind is on. Now this doesn’t mean to blog every single thought (that for some twitter people… sheesh), but to blog what you feel is important. It should be something you do for yourself first and your readers benefit is a byproduct of that desire to write. Whether for no readers or millions, your blogs should be motivated personally.

Business blogs are more important to stay on topic and put a personal face on your blog. Being relevant will help your customers know what your company is about, and will help in SEO. There were a lot of pointers and I’ll put them down in the upcoming weeks.

My only complaint was that throughout the entire session members of the audience repeatedly raised their hands, but not to ask questions, but just add “comments” which were basically saying what the panelists in different words. It was frustrating because it constantly happened, and we were only able to make it through about 1/3 to 1/2 of the questions. I didn’t sit down so I could hear the audience just agree with anything, but to here what the panelists had to say.

Final Thoughts

I didn’t realize how influential Layered Tech has been in the server hosting world, and how large of clients they have, like WordPress.com. They are pushing the boundries with 3Tera and other companies. I hope that I will be able to attend next year and if so, I look forward to it.

Justin is currently the Director of Development for the Deseret News. He is active in the Utah Open Source community. He is an advisory member of the Utah Open Source Foundation, and helps with the anual Utah Open Source Conference. He primarily focuses on PHP, MySQL, Redis, HTML, CSS, jQuery, and JavaScript. When he gets the time, he enjoys to play jazz piano. Read More

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