A JISC-funded Managing Research Data project

Posts tagged World Wide Web

One of the cool things about Orbital from my point of view is that I’m not just responsible for putting together a bit of software that runs on a web server, but also for designing the reference platform which you run those bits of software on.

At this point I could digress into discussing exactly what boxes we’re running Orbital on top of, but that doesn’t really matter. What is more interesting is how the various servers click together into building the complete Orbital platform, and how those servers can help us scale and provide a resilient service.

You’re probably used to thinking of most web applications like this:

A 'traditional' server model

It’s simple. You install what you need to run your application on a server, hook it up to the internet, and off you go. Everything is contained on a single box which gives you epic simplicity benefits and is often a lot more cost efficient, but you lose scalability. If one day your application has a traffic spike your Serv-O-Matic 100 may not be able to cope. The solution is to make your server bigger!

Throw more power at it!

This is all well and good, until you start to factor in resiliency as well. Your Serv-O-Matic 500 may be sporting 16 processor cores and 96GB of RAM, but it’s only doing it’s job until the OS decides it’s going to fall over, or your network card gives up, or somebody knocks the Big Red Switch.

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Hi everyone! For those who don’t know me (this is my first blog post for Orbital) I’m Nick Jackson, the lead web developer for the project. I’ll be blogging about all kinds of bits and pieces, ranging from discussion of user requirements through to the rationale for features, how certain bits of Orbital fit together with the wider world, overviews of technologies that we’re using and the minutiae of implementation.

If you’re interested in this kind of stuff at an institutional level you may also be interested in following my other blog, where I discuss things I’m working on in a wider context along with the occasional opinion piece on technology in education.

For those of you who enjoy Twitter you can find me at @jacksonj04, and don’t forget that you can keep up with the latest from Orbital at #OrbitalMRD. If you’re more a face-to-face person then you can find me most days at the University of Lincoln’s Brayford campus, and I’m open to being plied with coffee.