Last week I started floating in the cloud, installing a simple WordPress on top of an EC2 VM. Since then I’ve spent some time poking around with PHP, wordpress themes, and mucking about with CSS and even a little Photoshop. I’m not locking myself into any design or aesthetic or technology. I’m just feeling my way around as I go, learning what is available and having a good time doing it. It’s really exciting having a lightweight system that I can move around as my whims take me. Hacking around like this feels a lot like it did a decade ago, but with monstrous building blocks.
Key among my priorities is minimizing my effort for maximized effect. I don’t want to spend a hundred hours solving simple problems that have been solved by others before and I know all to well that real scalability is a Hard Problem(™). This is a monster that I’ve wrestled with in the past: huge epic battles with millions of page views at stake, and was always happy to slay that dragon. But even at my incredibly tiny scale of a single user wordpress install being read by a handful of friends, I quickly learned that I can’t take performance for granted. My Micro VM is TINY. If I don’t want it to go squish, I need to coddle it Sure, I could get more pretend iron, but the challenge of all this is really to see what I can do with so little. It’s that challenge that’s making this fun. I’ve run clusters with dozens of machines. What can I do with just a few clock cycles more than nothing? Continue reading