Always online with PaaS

by Luca Baldini on 02/13/2014

Last week Andrea described to you our long-term development strategy, and the first thing you’ll find on that list is PaaS. In recent months I’ve worked full time on developing the Instant Developer PaaS, which allows you to acquire and manage your servers in the Cloud in just a few clicks.

One of the benefits offered by Cloud architecture is the option of being able to create configurations that auto-scale, meaning that they can automatically adapt to the load conditions. It was quite a coincidence, but I ended up finding out for myself what can happen when a system is not designed to handle load increases.

As you’ll recall, in December we visited London for the “developers festival“. It was an interesting experience, during which we learned a lot about how to approach a non-Italian market. But what I really want to tell you about is what happened afterward.

On December 7, 2013, the day we had planned to return to Italy, there was a problem: due to a software bug over 60% of flights were stuck on the ground. As soon as we stepped into the airport we joined a very, very long line. Anyone who follows me on Twitter will have read about what was happening. In the end, we were in line for over 18 hours, from noon until 6 the next morning.

All it would have taken to fix the situation was to pull out our smartphones and choose another flight on the website of the airline in a few clicks. Heathrow airport had provided Wi-Fi for everyone and it worked perfectly. The same however could not be said for the website of the English airline, which had gone down almost immediately, and stayed down until the next morning. After 18 hours in line, when we got to the counter, the agent got our new tickets in a few clicks and we were on our way home.

Over the course of those 18 hours, I asked myself more than once why there couldn’t be a system that, even automatically, could create new servers on the fly in order to handle unexpected load increases, just like the system we were working on ourselves. Back in Italy I investigated how Amazon Web Services worked, and I saw that a solution to this kind of problem already exists.

We need to use PaaS. Instant Developer users are increasing, and we need a system that is able not only to manage load increases (including sudden ones), but one that in the event of hardware or software malfunctions will also be able to create new servers on the fly and reduce downtimes to a minimum. I’m convinced that this is a necessity for those who provide online services.

What do you think? Are you ready to move to the cloud?

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: