Homegstevens's blog

Elastic Load Balancing

Amazon Web Services (AWS) users will be happy to hear about one of the new features of the Elastic Compute Cloud(EC2). The Elastic Load Balancing(ELB) capability does what many of us have solved using a special AMI instance. Specifically, instead of making an instance with a load balancer such as NGINX or Squid so as to maximize performance of a system, you can now use the ELB instead.

Elastic Block Store on AWS

Amazon Web Services is frankly the best thing since sliced bread. We've been using it for over a year and it gets better and better all the time. The APIs are robust, and the structure of the compute and storages services is such that you must think in new ways to make a solution 'elastic' to conserve resources (and reduce costs).

Green Computing

Imagine the day when we look back and laugh that we measured the performance and speed of hard drives by how fast their platters were spinning. Boasting of a RAID array composed of 15K SAS drives will seem ludicrous.

The 5 E's Apply to the Web, too.

Marketers are an amusing group. They have many lists of same-lettered words that try to clarify a particular aspect of their profession. For example, there are the 4 Ps (Product, Price, Placement, Promotion). Some call it the 5 Ps and add "People". They also have the 5 Es, which have a surprising application to the web.

The 5 Es are the five different Experiences that you, as a web presence, need to focus on for maximizing customer delight. Specifically, the 5 Es are:

Web of Trust

We have all heard about rogue websites that can, by merely loading a page from these sites, infect your browser and system with malware. That is a scary prospect for many of us who get into a surfing frenzy and might click a link before thinking whether it is safe or not.

Track - and actually use - your webstats

If you aren't capturing statistics about your website visitors, you won't be able to identify and implement beneficial changes. Changes that could easily increase your visibility and value to your customers.


If your system needs just a little bit of computing power most of the time but it also needs to suddenly scale to significant horsepower, what exactly do you do? Get some cloudware.

More specifically, use services that allow your system to scale up (and possibly scale out) as necessary. Cloud computing is increasingly emerging as an important configuration to consider for critical systems. Part of cloud computing is the concept of "cloud infrastructure" which provides enterprises with an Internet based datacenter.

The rise and fall of web browsers

Recently, Firefox reached a milestone of surpassing 20% of the browser usage on the net. Data at wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers) shows a very respectable increase of Firefox over the last four years. Meanwhile, Internet Explorer has had a steady decline. There are many reasons for this, not least of which is Microsoft's previous attempts to lay unilateral claim to the browser as a proprietary platform.

Its about Eyeballs!

I remember back in the heady days of the Internet boom talking with the strategy director of a web-based startup company we were putting together. She was adamantly defending the notion that selling online, or generating a company-sustaining level of advertising revenue was not important. What was important were the eyeballs.

A couple of years later during business school, the program director gaffawed at the notion that startups were focusing just on 'the eyeballs'. It was his scholarly claim that eyeballs don't make payroll!

SEO, no longer an option

Search Engine Optimization is the process of increasing the ecosystem that surrounds your web presence with the specific goal of moving your search result ranking toward the top of the list. The process is complex and SEO firms have developed a set of artful tools to assist in getting results. Long gone are the simple days of merely setting a snappy collection of keywords in metatags. Today, its about link-ins, link-outs, cross-chatter, clarity of copy, purposefulness of page titles, cleanliness of the markup and a host of other items that take careful and constant attention.