Automated deployments now in the Rackspace Control Panel

The hardest part about using new technology is knowing where to begin. Spending hours sifting through blog posts and documentation to set up a server environment is often enough to extinguish the excitement about a new framework or application. By the same token, it is frustrating to deploy hosting architecture when you are excited to see how your latest code will perform. And no one likes having to do the same things over and over to create consistent testing, staging and production environments.

Deploying your application to the cloud requires expertise in both system administration and development; often, people have expertise in some areas while having gaps in others. The Rackspace Deployments service was created so we could collect this information and expertise in machine and human readable format and use it to automatically and consistently deploy hosting configurations, frameworks and applications and alleviate some of this stress.

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Why I use SaltStack

I am part of a team (along with Bruce Stringer and Jason Swindle) working on an internal application called Graffiti, which provides an easy way for front-line Rackers to record interactions with customers and provide valuable data with each interaction. It also creates a much simpler way for leads to be passed from the front line to the IB sales team here in SMB cloud.

We knew from the start that we wanted this to be an agile cloud application that utilizes all the things a cloud should be. We had some limitations which meant we had to home grow a few solutions. Since this is an internal application, we could not rely on third-party solutions for off loading workloads. We also had to be careful with our security practices, of course. We ended up going with a configuration that utilizes our internal nova solution for hosting in Cloud Servers. The downside to this is that we have no automated backups, no load balancers and no Cloud Files - much to my dismay.

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Agile application support: The Toyota way

Agile. Scrum. Extreme programming. RAD. Lean. These terms all represent a departure from the traditional Waterfall development process in favor of a more rapid, iterative approach to application development. For companies with large-scale web applications, there are significant benefits to the agile methodology, but it also presents significant challenges.

When every minute of downtime represents significant lost revenue and increased support costs, it stands to reason that application support should be just as agile as application development. Among other things, this means tearing down l ong-standing walls between teams, and getting all business units working together toward common goals.

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Using message queues in cloud applications

You can consider message queues as a way to achieve parallel computing in an application. In this post, we dive into the different message queues out there and how to implement a message queue in an application.

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Rate limiting with Repose, the restful proxy service engine

Chad Lung is a software engineer on the Rackspace Cloud Integration team and is the maintainer of Atom Hopper. Be sure to check out his personal blog at http://www.giantflyingsaucer.com/blog/ and follow @chadlung on Twitter.

I recently wrote an article introducing Repose, which is a sponsored open-source project that is built to scale for the cloud. Repose is used within Rackspace as a a key element of our internal OpenStack.

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