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How My Website Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cloud


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Presented at EduComm 2010 on June 8, 2010.

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How My Website Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cloud

  1. 1. How My website Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cloud<br />EduComm 2010<br />
  2. 2.
  3. 3. Playing the role of…<br />Mike Richwalsky<br />Director of Marketing Services, John Carroll University<br />NITLE Technology Fellow 2009-10<br /><br />Tw/FB: mrichwalsky<br /><br />
  4. 4. If you can talk brilliantly about a problem, it can create the consoling illusion that it has been mastered.<br />Stanley Kubrick<br />
  5. 5. What is the cloud?<br />Use of external infrastructure to solve internal technology issues and needs<br />Use resources only as you need them<br />Scale up and down quickly and easily<br />Pay only for what you use.<br />
  6. 6. Why the cloud?<br />
  7. 7.
  8. 8. Old and busted.<br />
  9. 9. New hotness.<br />
  10. 10. It can cost less to take advantage of external infrastructure than building your own from scratch, especially for short-term projects.<br />
  11. 11.
  12. 12. It’s not all or nothing. <br />
  13. 13. The days of custom writing web apps for every single possible scenario are coming to an end. Not because I don’t want to write and support them, but other places and companies can do it way better than I ever could.<br />
  14. 14. 10 ways to integrate the cloud<br />
  15. 15. Content Delivery<br />
  16. 16. Content Delivery<br />Speed and reliability<br />Geo-targeting<br />Bandwidth + access are cheap<br />Asset hosting+CMS<br />
  17. 17. Which elements are cloud served?<br />
  18. 18. Which elements are cloud served?<br />Images<br />CSS<br />jQuery<br />javascripts<br />
  19. 19. CMS User Assets<br />On-campus: finite storage<br />Cloud: limitless storage<br />Security for uploaded content<br />Served quickly and efficiently<br />CMS Plugins:<br />WordPress<br />Joomla<br />Drupal Module<br />
  20. 20. Forms<br />
  21. 21. Forms<br />Ugh.<br />Remember<br />Ever write custom ASP or PHP?<br />Custom CGI per form does not scale.<br />
  22. 22.
  23. 23. I <3 Wufoo<br />Give access to campus users to do their own forms<br />Secure out of the box<br />Branded for the institution<br />Conditional processing<br />
  24. 24. I <3Wufoo<br />Continuity across all forms<br />Email, Database, Excel output<br />Payment processing<br />Embed in site or Wufoo url<br />
  25. 25.
  26. 26. If you build it…<br />Offices saw a dramatic increase in student response rates and interest when a form was included with an email.<br />Continuity is nice<br />The form they filled out to receive info is the same form they’ll see when they’re on campus.<br />
  27. 27. Backups<br />
  28. 28. Backup to the cloud<br />Yes, your IT team do backups<br />More is always better<br />Cloud storage + bandwidth is inexpensive<br />
  29. 29. Backup WordPress Blog/CMS<br />
  30. 30. Backup WordPress Blog/CMS<br />
  31. 31. Backup your web server to S3<br />Command-line scripts and tools written in a variety of languages<br />PHP, Python, Ruby, Perl and more<br />Control to just backup web content and/or MySQL databases<br />Zipped up, these are small and cheap to move and store<br />
  32. 32. Command line backups<br />
  33. 33.
  34. 34. Media Streaming<br />
  35. 35. But we have have YouTube!<br />Not every video we create is meant for YouTube.<br />Fundraising, admissions, on-campus only videos<br />The cloud gives my video super fast availability and speed across the globe.<br />
  36. 36. Case Study: Allegheny College<br />
  37. 37. Case Study, Allegheny College<br />Need to provide high quality video experience for fundraising effort<br />Outsourced video hosting to Amazon S3<br />Site handled initial load+long tail<br />Total Cost: $9<br />
  38. 38. Development Sandbox<br />
  39. 39. Spin up a server<br />Test a plugin, piece of code, new version quickly and easily<br />If it breaks, no problem. Shut it down and start over. <br />
  40. 40. CMS Derby<br />Total Cost:<br />In the course of an afternoon, we tried 7 CMS systems<br />$1.10<br />WordPress<br />Drupal<br />Joomla<br />Umbraco<br />Hippo<br />SilverStripe<br />Typo3<br />
  41. 41. How did we do it?<br />Started up pre-built Amazon Servers<br />$0.085 per hour<br />Started up some Rackspace Cloud Servers<br />$0.01 per hour, no pre-built images. <br />We wanted to see how easy or hard it was to install, setup, customize and break. <br />
  42. 42. Case Study, Pace University<br />MaharaePortfolioPlatform Testing + Buildout<br />Started Amazon EC2 server to develop on before launching production environment on campus<br />Total cost: ~$60<br />More info:<br />
  43. 43.<br />
  44. 44. Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud<br /><br />
  45. 45. Rackspace Cloud<br /><br />
  46. 46. DNS<br />
  47. 47. DNS? Seriously?<br />DNS is not sexy. At all.<br />But…<br />OpenDNS and Google DNS refresh faster and easier than on-campus DNS, which is helpful if you’re doing testing, pushing site updates, adding domains, etc. <br />
  48. 48. World’s Largest Focus Group<br />
  49. 49. Mechanical Turk<br />“Mechanical Turk is a marketplace for work.”<br />What does that mean?<br />
  50. 50. Mechanical Turk<br />
  51. 51. Mechanical Turk<br />
  52. 52. Instant Focus Group<br />Spend a few dollars to get opinions, research, answers from an audience you can qualify and pay for their work/opinions. <br />Quicky test a design element, graphic or navigation UI. <br />HITs are easy to create, via web, API or spreadsheet.<br /><br />
  53. 53.
  54. 54. ProjectManagement/CRM<br />
  55. 55. Management made easy<br />Basecamp<br />Wrike<br />Quickbase<br />Zoho<br />These systems make managing projects across campus and contributors much easier. <br />
  56. 56.
  57. 57.
  58. 58. Collaboration<br />
  59. 59. “Let’s Use Sharepoint!”<br />
  60. 60.
  61. 61. Google Docs<br />This has become an integral tool in our web development group.<br />Share information, best practices, research<br />Multiple people can have access<br />Including students who do my research<br />
  62. 62. WordPress use in Higher Ed<br />
  63. 63. Encoding & Crunching Lots of Data<br />
  64. 64. We shoot a lot of video<br />We encode video for multiple audiences, platforms and devices. <br />Can do on my desktop Mac, but this is time consuming.<br />Don’t have access to all codecs<br />Look to the cloud!<br />
  65. 65.<br />
  66. 66. Hey!Watch<br /><br />
  67. 67. Why are these interesting?<br />API<br />Pay as you go<br />Hey!Watch as low as $0.40 for HD with 2 pass encoding for high quality<br />Multiple codecs, platforms with just a click<br />Time saves = win.<br />
  68. 68. Security<br />Your data and services are only as secure as you make them. <br />If data and processes on your campus are not secure, your cloud data and processes will not be secure.<br />
  69. 69. Quick Cloud Project Checklist<br />What is the duration of your project?<br />What type of service do you need<br />Remember the cloud is better at some things than others<br />Amount of data you need to move in and out<br />You often pay for both upload and download<br />
  70. 70. Questions?<br />Twitter: @mrichwalsky<br />Email:<br />Slides posted at EduComm Site and<br />