The Scale with Rails Workshops

On a daily basis we receive emails containing things like

“I am looking for a host for a commercial ‘Ruby on rails’ website development that is due to go live in 3 weeks time. It is an update to a relatively busy PHP-based site, which is also on old hardware. The site features media streaming, user uploads and E-commerce functionality.”

“We are concerned about the long-term viability of Ruby on Rails as a development language.”

“My company has some concerns on whether or not Ruby on Rails is the right platform to deploy on if we have a very large scale app.”

These statements are interesting for a few reasons:

  • The first requires a good deal of systems infrastructure and expertise that has nothing to do with the Rails framework: Rails is likely to be the least of their worries.
  • The second equates Rails to a “language”, which it isn’t, Ruby is the language, Rails is a framework for certain kinds of applications. Both are open source and if one is truly concerned (as in “worried”) about the long term viability then you can easily invest in it by simply hiring people to work on them. That’s how we address our concerns.
  • And the critical point about the last statement is that Ruby On Rails isn’t a platform. It is a development framework that allows people to code “modern” web-based applications, and is just one part of the platform required for releasing, sustaining and growing an application out in the wild. “Rails” is not a replacement for Java, Python or PHP, that would be Ruby.

But the word platform is in fact key, and exactly what’s missing for most people. What’s the best stack and how does that “scale” now (both up and down) and years into the future?

I thought why not take all of the questions and concerns that I’ve heard over the last two years and all of the issues we’ve studied and addressed ourselves, and present a platform?

That platform would not only be best practices for even the largest of companies (because we’ve all been in large Fortune 500 companies), but then we’ll frame the entire discussion in a set of questions that should be and likely are on anyone’s mind. A set of questions that in fact are unlikely to change. What you’ll get then is not blind Rails evangelism, but the perspective of an architect, engineer and executive who currently thinks that the answer to one of those questions was to use the Ruby and then the Rails framework (and sometimes it isn’t, sometimes C++ is).

The resulting workshop then is a two-day, focused, logical and complete bottom-to-top workshop where people can learn about how to staff, plan, manage, develop, stage, test, deploy, monitor, scale their Rails-based applications on an entire platform and actual do it in Solaris grid containers. And it won’t end there, you can keep those setups for another month after your workshop, and you’ll be part of an elite community that’ll have continued access to us and each other.

We’re a solid, revenue-funded company with a staff of about twenty people. Besides our Connector and Strongspace applications, we have a number of internal and external “enterprise” applications like customer.joyent itself, our e-commerce core, our store and our monitoring and management tools. We also founded and run the hosting service TextDrive. We’re fortunate in that each Joyent developer has been working with Rails since it’s public release in 2004, many have been with Ruby for longer, have solid backgrounds in other languages and a few of them are members of the Rails core team.

If you have any questions about the series, feel free to email me (jason at joyent) or Luke (lkanies at joyent).

There’s some additional information at the Scale with Rails site and you can go and sign up for the workshops

Some have emailed me asking for little buttons for their sites, here they are and thank you for asking. Looking forward to seeing many of you at the workshops.

<a href="" title="Scale With Rails"><img src="" alt="Scale With Rails Logo" /></a>

What sysadmins start doing when hanging around designers

Bryan and Justin always crank out great looking stuff, so the systems guys try to keep up.

Red and orange run out to storage switches.

Black is the dark, private interconnects between servers.

Blue is out to the public like water flowing.

White is for remote ALOM and goes to the console servers, like a the archetypal knight in white shining armor.

Green which don’t see is used for the interconnecting and meshing the switches themselves. What’s green mean to you?

DTrace through a rails app

Bryan has a couple of quick quick examples of using DTrace to go through some parts of a Rails application.

As one starts working more and more with web frameworks that depends on many pieces from other people, it’s pretty clear that being able to quickly and completely look at what your application is doing from the request all the way down to the kernel and networking stack is critical (look there’s even DTrace providers for PostgreSQL).

And this is done in production and in a non-interfering way.


If you’re coming to one of the Scale With Rails workshops, expect to see plenty of this.

Scale With Rails Conferences

Big news for those intent on building the next dapper, gleaming and endlessly scalable web application on the Ruby on Rails platform. Joyent is presenting three conferences this year called Scale With Rails, featuring our own Jason Hoffman and Luke Kanies. Jason and Luke will be focusing on every aspect of building high-end Rails apps: “power, space, location, staffing, hardware, components, network, operating system(s), development, staging, servers and, most importantly, the cost.” These are intense, two-day sessions, invaluable for everyone from developers to CTOs.

Early registration and team discounts are available.