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November 25, 2016

‘Redundancy Rocks’ – Mage Titans talk overview

On Saturday 12th November we were proud to host Mage Titans in Manchester. An annual Magento developer conference featuring talks from the leading names in Magento. Here our Technical Lead, Andrei talks us through one of the talks from the day, ‘Redundancy Rocks. Redundancy Rocks.’ by Fabrizio Branca.

‘Redundancy Rocks. Redundancy Rocks.’ is about the reliability of the server infrastructure. Fabrizio began by presenting a basic server setup with all services (web server, php, database) running on only one physical server. There are 2 problems with that approach: running out of resources (CPU, RAM, Disk I/O), or if only one of the services fails it will break the whole website.

In order to address these issues the services are split onto separate servers, that actually creates even more points of failure.

The solution to this second set of problems is redundancy – having multiple sets of identical server setups that can automatically replace old ones when they stop working correctly. This automation can be achieved by having a script to provision servers/services (varnish, databases, redis, etc.) using cloud hosting (like Amazon AWS).

Fabrizio’s talk then covered the benefits of having autoscale groups, even if only one server instance is needed. If that one dies it will automatically be replaced with a new one via a Launch Configuration script. He then described in detail on how to use different AWS services to glue everything together.

The end of the talk focused on being prepared to recover fast instead of trying to anticipate all the possible things that can go wrong and preparing just for those.

In summary

Although the talk was aimed at DevOps, it was very interesting to see how scalable and resilient to failure an automated infrastructure can be, compared to a rigid cluster of servers that can’t be configured to respond to traffic increase. It made me read more about what AWS is and what it offers and how others are writing scripts to deploy code and configure cloud infrastructures for Magento.

If you want to watch to Fabrizio’s talk, you can now on our Mage Titans YouTube channel.