Penguins? In the Iditarod? Microsoft Gets Served, by Linux.
This year's Iditarod race is a bit different from past seasons. Oh sure, there are many of the same things going on, like dogs, sleds, snow, and mushing -- but this year there's also GPS enabled tracking.
If you go to the Iditarod website, you'll see a link on the right hand side to live GPS musher tracking. After a mildly annoying email login box (fake emails work, don't tell them I told you), you get to see a map of the race with live stats of the racers. Or at least 18 of the 90 odd racers. (Not all racers are participating in the trial run of the satellite tracking this year)
Once you arrive at the site, you'll immediately notice it's using Microsoft's Virtual Earth technology, and you'll likely think I'm a sellout. Rest assured, I'm not writing this to point your attention to the mapping technology, but rather a bit about what's running behind the scenes.
The company in charge of tracking all the mushers is IonEarth. Their lead programmer, Russ Ryba, (also a personal friend of mine) was concerned that a race as large as the Iditarod would generate more traffic than their normal servers could handle. He managed to take the raw text data from the GPS units, and using Python, create web pages automatically with simple cron jobs. Those html pages are then pushed to a large group of Linux servers running Apache. Keeping things as simple as possible, load balancing (well, more precisely, load distributing) is done with round robin DNS, and as the server load increases, more servers are brought online.
Could IonEarth have done the same thing with a group of Windows servers? Sure, I suppose so. The beauty is that they didn't need to use Windows to serve all the Iditarod traffic. When stability and simple scalability were the needs, Linux was the solution that made the most sense. For me, it's great to see a company that historically depended on Microsoft utilize Linux when the demand for inexpensive, reliable service was required.
Go Linux! Go Ion Earth! And most importantly, Go Mushers!!!
- The Tiny Internet Project, Part I
- Machine Learning with Python
- SUSECON 2016: Where Technology Reigns Supreme
- Download "Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI"
- Free Today: September Issue of Linux Journal (Retail value: $5.99)
- Bitcoin on Amazon! Sort of...
- Android Browser Security--What You Haven't Been Told
- Securing the Programmer
- The Many Paths to a Solution
Pick up any e-commerce web or mobile app today, and you’ll be holding a mashup of interconnected applications and services from a variety of different providers. For instance, when you connect to Amazon’s e-commerce app, cookies, tags and pixels that are monitored by solutions like Exact Target, BazaarVoice, Bing, Shopzilla, Liveramp and Google Tag Manager track every action you take. You’re presented with special offers and coupons based on your viewing and buying patterns. If you find something you want for your birthday, a third party manages your wish list, which you can share through multiple social- media outlets or email to a friend. When you select something to buy, you find yourself presented with similar items as kind suggestions. And when you finally check out, you’re offered the ability to pay with promo codes, gifts cards, PayPal or a variety of credit cards.Get the Guide