05 Dec 2006

Next Net

Thanks to Ewan Silver and others for organizing the Next Net meet up. It’s sort of a London Jini Group, but more general: a gathering of people interested in distributed (utility computing, grid computing, massively scalable, resilient) systems.

I unfortunately missed a large chunk of Dan Creswell’s presentation on Utility Computing with Amazon EC2. What I could figure out rekindled my interest in these technologies.

For example: On my way over to the meeting I was wondering about how best to distribute database load somehow or other. When I walked into the meeting, the presentation was discussing doing-away with things like relational databases to obtain big scalability, and shifting mindsets away from Java EE. Ah. So think different.

Why would you bother? I think I’m finally starting to get utility computing. If you’ve worked in an environment where budgets for hardware involve a lot of hoop-jumping, it suddenly makes sense to be able to call on a dynamic network of resources at the moment you need it. What’s more, it’s looking like it’s cheap. There’s effort in building systems that take advantage of that kind of an environment, but if the cost savings are there, the pressure will come to build them that way.

It’s interesting stuff, and now I have a larger-than-usual reading list as a result: MapReduce, Bigtable, Chubby, Google File System, Hadoop the 10th Jini Community Meeting papers and the Amazon Web Services Developer Connection docs.

The next Next Net will be Thur 18 Jan 2007 at Brunel.