Roles Attributes: Embracing a Chef Anti-Pattern

There is a fairly large foundation of concepts in Chef that new adopters need to wrap their heads around. And even once they have done that, it doesn’t become any easier to find the right methodology to use when building your infrastructure. One of the main ideas that we have embraced at SimpleReach is pervasive use of roles and role attributes. Using role attributes is considered a Chef anti-pattern. Which begs the question, if this is really a Chef anti-pattern, why are we doing it? Read the rest of this entry »

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Recruiting Around a Series-A

If you’ve ever heard the saying, “the second you think it’s time for HR, it’s already too late,” then you’ll know what I’m talking about in this post. SimpleReach, having recently raised a round of funding, is now heavily in to the recruiting process on all fronts. But there is a dichotomy that comes with getting to this point…once you are at the point where can hire, you should have been recruiting for a long time. Read the rest of this entry »

Batching Work For Efficiency and Tuning

I’ve been talking a lot about message systems in distributed architectures lately. And one of the slides I show in my talks is a slide about compressing messages before writes to the database. In other words, if you have 150k messages per second coming in which would translate 1:1 in writes and force your database(s) to incur a 150k write per second load, you pull in all those messages in to memory for a short period (say one minute) and group them and write the group in batch. Depending on how much you can group, you can easily cut your write load by an order of magnitude. Read the rest of this entry »

Range Repairs: Step-by-Step

It’s been a long time since I was able to run a repair on my Cassandra cluster. Basically since I went to 1.2, it just hasn’t been possible. And since repairs in Cassandra are pretty much a requirement to normal operation, this is clearly a problem. So in order to deal with the disarray that is Cassandra repairs in 1.2, I found a script originally written by Matt Stump and edited to work with virtual nodes (vnodes) by Brian Gallew. The tl;dr is that the script breaks the repairs down into manageable chunks and allows the repairs to finish. It is available here. Read the rest of this entry »