After the marketing and sales people leave the room, what does it
*really* take to run a successful business relying on the cloud? Using
real world use-cases, Mobile Commons CTO Benjamin Stein discusses the
unique challenges of building a company reliant on 3rd party APIs,
including vendor selection, system architecture, production support,
and the factors that determine customer loyalty.
By leveraging web services and cloud computing, small teams can build
massively scalable and fully featured applications that would have
never been possible before. But for all its benefits and promise, the
web as a platform is not a silver bullet; building a business on top
of web services comes with hidden costs and business risks that must
be considered and properly managed.
The talk will begin with the vendor selection process and how to
properly perform due diligence. Why do SLAs, uptime guarantees, and
open standards all seem very important but matter very little in the
real world? Are there good sniff tests to determine if a service will
be reliable or not?
Next we’ll learn about the technical challenges your engineers will
face architecting a highly available system reliant on the (inherently
unreliable) Internet. How can you achieve data integrity when using
HTTP, a non-transactional protocol? And a very important but often
overlooked requirement: how do you design the system up front to
minimize inevitable switching costs down the road?
After your software is up and running in production, your operations
team will then need to manage it. While sys admins are very
comfortable getting paged when disk space is low, will they know what
to do when a critical web service returns malformed XML at 3am? And
what mechanisms have you setup to monitor these services and alert
them of the errors in the first place?
While this talk is targeted to businesses and technologists looking to
leverage the web as a platform, it will be extremely valuable to
companies providing APIs because it gives an honest, first-hand
account of what really matters to their customers.