[AUUG-Talk]: Proprietary Unixes (Dead?)

Andrew McRae amcrae at employees.org
Thu Oct 4 15:59:56 EST 2007

On Thu, 2007-10-04 at 15:32 +1000, Gary R. Schmidt wrote:
> Andrew McRae wrote:
> [SNIP]
> > 
> > Well, hmmm, there are certain organisations out there that
> > have shown you get much better price/performance at real scale
> > when you avoid the expensive stuff and use a layer of software
> > over inherently unreliable hardware. The price you pay
> > for the 5 9's hardware is fine when you want 5 or 10 servers,
> > but starts to become expensive as you increase the orders
> > of magnitude.
> True, but it's a jugging/balancing act, and you *have* to get it right.

I think there is a break-even phase, where once you go past that,
the margin widens rapidly. If your applications need to run on more than
5 or 10 big end servers, and grows to where you need 100, 200 or even
1000, 2000 servers, then I think the `farm of cheap linux servers'
becomes significantly less expensive on multiple fronts.
Where businesses get caught is when they write their app and run
it on a 5 9's server, and then the app takes off and suddenly they're
faced with scaling it beyond their early considerations, and they're
forking out big $ for lots of these 5 9's servers, and they're _still_
having to handle failure scenarios anyway (because when you get
enough of the 5 9's servers, some are sure to fail :-)

> If an HA solution that only handles a maximum of two nodes is fine for 
> you, then a pair of Linux boxes running DRBD may be enough, but what if 
> you need more?

I did say `orders of magnitude'. I'm not talking one or two systems.

> Or have a requirement for geographically separated systems, to handle 
> big-time worst-case stuff.

Yes, I guess that's business I'm in. Perhaps the pendulum is swinging
back towards hosted applications. If you have the framework for
`big time, worst case, geographically separated systems', I guess
all you need is allow people to host their apps on it, and they
don't have to bother dealing with 5 9's servers.

> Of course the low-cost solution can work, but it's not always simple.

It's never simple :-)

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