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Cloud Computing Discussion: Reliability at Cloud Scale

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This week's cloud computing discussion covers Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Hadoop-style massively parallel data processing systems. SOA is interesting because this is how new internet services are being developed. It is also a huge engineering challenge.

An epic blog post that helped me understand the importance of this was written by software engineer Steve Yegge, it is known as Stevey's Google Platforms Rant. Yegge used to work for Amazon and now works for Google. Apparently, it was meant to be internal to Google, but it was accidentally published to great acclaim. Please read it for his passionate advocacy of a service oriented architecture and developer tools, and for his rather humorous, if somewhat salty and irreverent, description of life while working at these software companies.

Hadoop is an amazing system that was started by Doug Cutting, who wanted to provide the means to be able to index the entire internet overnight, which at the time, only Google was doing effectively. Please read the Wikipedia entry on Apache Hadoop for background. Hadoop is quite powerful, but also notoriously tricky to get working. Amazon has an interesting service called Elastic MapReduce which claims to take a way a lot of the pain of setting up and maintaining such systems.

Deliverables for this week's cloud discussion:

  1. Read Stevey's Google Platforms Rant, the Wikipedia entry for Hadoop, and the introduction to these topics earlier in this page.
  2. Post a comment in the lesson discussion in Canvas that describes how SOAs and parallel data processing systems, as described in these articles, could benefit GIS applications and services.
  3. Then I'd like you to offer additional insight, critique, a counter-example, or something else constructive in response to one of your colleagues' posts.
  4. Brownie points for linking to other technology demos, pictures, blog posts, etc. that you've found to enrich your posts so that we may all benefit.
  5. If there are concepts or vocabulary items that are not familar to you, don't suffer alone! Please post a question in the Technical Discussion Forum in Canvas. Posting a question is a form of participation, but doesn't take the place of your substantive post requested in step 2 above.