While taking in my daily RSS feeds, I came across a post from Matthew Mullenweg linking over to another Web post describing one of the better forms of communicating technical information to end users. A few months ago I read (also from a post on Matt’s site) about a hosting company called Media Temple that was developing a new way of large scale Web hosting based on GRID computing.
As an enterprise applications architect for a large financial company, I’ve primarily concerned myself with designing application hosting platforms that focus on scalability, availability and management automation. We started with 10 servers and 1 application and are now hosting 200+ servers with 170+ applications. I’ve been fairly successful with our designs and configuration for the last 6 years – but one thing that always seems to be a problem is diagnosing our failures, communicating collectively our direction for change and then implementing quickly. Sure, part of that is directly related to “big business”. There are a lot of dependencies, regression testing and risk assessment with any of our changes that essentially slow down our process… That’s why it was refreshing to read a public discussion from Media Temple that outlined their problems in an understandable way, explain why they made the choices that they did, develop a solution to fix it, and set an implementation date for completion.
Now granted, Media Temple is in the business to make money. Obviously they had to deliver a method of hosting that kept them competitive in a saturated hosting environment, provide trust for their customers, and shrink their time to market… But I was most impressed with how they communicated their assessment of their strategy. Too may times changes just happen… good or bad… and the end user just scratches their heads and assumes you know what you’re doing. Clearly one thing that annoys me more than anything else is not change – but lack of communication. I like to feel involved. I want to know what’s going on.
While I was curious about MT’s technology a few months ago and even thought about moving my own hosting to their services, it’s nice to know that MT takes is very seriously when it comes to their technology platform and does a fantastic job with their communications.