AWS Cloud Worshop, Chennai Event

November is rainy season in Chennai, despite it we at Amazon Web Services Enthusiasts and Users Group Chennai decided to host a AWS Cloud Workshop on Nov 10. While the Chennai infrastructure got clogged due to rains, (web)Infrastructure as a Service(IaaS) was discussed in-depth at the Workshop and Unconf.
The event had a record, runaway registration(170+), we had to change the venue just couple of weeks before the event to accommodate the overwhelming interest. Despite heavy downpour and traffic-congession, 100+ AWS Users attended the session. Here is audience in rapt attention absorbing the tech-gork rain:
AWS Cloud workshop Tidel Park Auditorium

The workshop was led by Jinesh Varia based out of Seattle from the Amazon Web Services Developer Relationship Team.
AWS Cloud workshop Jinesh Varia

Here is an excellent summary of Jinesh’s session by Veerabahu ( @veechand)

We had a vibrant unconference session was led by Kiruba. Here is @Kiruba doing the slap-thy-neighbor unconf ritual.

AWS Cloud workshop Unconference session kickoff

The AWS user community came alive during the unconference to tell their story in lightning talk format:
AWS Cloud workshop Unconference sessions

The first session was by Bhasker V Kode of Here are the slides from Bhasker’s session:

Followed by Hiran of They are the finalists of Blackberry Challenge and they leveraged AWS to overcome the mobile device limitations – a very good use case for cloud!

The Anantara team made a short talk on their elastic monitoring and management console.
Murthy and Sam from CSS Labs presented on Enterprise Cloud = Private Cloud + Public Cloud. Tools and Techniques. Eucalyptus and AWS EC2 are mixed and matched to make use of the internal as well as public infrastructure. Earlier in the forenoon session, Ezhil head CSS Labs made a presentation on taming the API with GUI featuring CloudBuddy platform.

Senthil Nayagam(@senthilnayagam) of RailsFactory‘s talk was a welcome break from the AWS Kool-Aid.
There were impromptu talks by Harish Ganesan, CTO 8KMiles outlining their biz model and Balamurugan, Excelsoft explaining their use-case.

Lakshmanan (Lux) Narayan, President, gave a crisp overview of their online backup consumer offering. The unconference ended with Lux playing the video of their viral video CloudCloud Maybe and a short talk on ‘Making of Cloud Cloud Maybe’ LOLZ.

Here is me doing impromptu compeering ( Kiruba was not able to attend the morning session – so the mantle fell on my shoulders!)
AWS Cloud workshop Labsji Compeering

Overall the event is a huge success in many count, except for the WiFi glitch due to equipment failure there were no major shortcomings. Yet there is enormous scope for improvement.

I’d like to thank the CSS team the excellent co-operation and Anantara for TIDEL venue coordination.

Hat tip to Gayathri for coming all the way from Bangalore and helping in coordinating the event.

Bonus Links:
CSS Labs Blog post on the event.
Twitter Hastag.

Posted in amazon ec2 and friends, Amazon Web Service, Chennai, technology, Uncategorized, unconference | 7 Comments

Amazon Web Services Worshop and Unconference 10 Nov Chennai

Posted in amazon ec2 and friends, Amazon Web Service, Chennai, Entrepreneurship, technology, technology as innovation enabler and equity enabler, unconference | Leave a comment

Got Wi-Fi at Home? Register WiFi or Face DOT Action

Do you enjoy a Wi-Fi connection at home or your small office? Like the the ones that connects your laptop magically on to the Internet? If yes, there is some little paper-work you need to do to comply with Department of Telecommunication‘s new regulation that mandates registration of every Wi-Fi usage point.

DoT wants Internet service providers to register all Wi-Fi users

Move aimed at preventing unauthorised usage.

New guidelinesConsumers who do not register themselves will get disconnected by their ISPs

No new connections will be activated before the subscriber’s details are registered by the ISP

Existing customers have been given time till June 23 to comply with the requirements

The intended purpose of the regulation is to prevent unauthorized usage of the powerful internet medium a tool for terrorist and public hoax activities.

Securing your Wi-Fi is always a good idea, more so with the uprise in terrorist and naxal activities. It is fairly simple process to setup. Added incentive is it can save you money too. If you leave your wifi open, perhaps the next door kid is watching youtube using it while you foot the hefty internet bills!

This regulation like any other regulation involving the Techies, Geeks and pseudo-intellectuals is expected create a huge fuss about freedom of speech, big-brother watching, ‘while I comply with every damn law, the powerful and underground are happy flouting every law possible – and the terrorist find a way around anyway!’ rants. Look at it this way, when you are leaving home, you are locking your home without any prompting or prodding by anyone. Same way just comply for Wi-Fi too!

For startup and geek techie types that want to rant/complain, look at the opportunity this opens up! Every bit of regulation mandating compliance by the masses creates opportunity for creating products and services around the compliance. For any compliance is a mild pain at best. And mild pain relievers are always in demand!

Remember the hugely successful Software product Tally‘s reason for existence is compliance!

Update: Here is the DoT letter notifying the regulation:

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Ada Lovelace Day 09

Much of technology we use daily has some element of software driving it. If not anything, there will be a software that meters usage and calculates the bills due. Programming is defining and most important aspect of software and software engineering. And today being Ada Lovelace Day 09, it is good time to blog about the first programmer. Instead of just nostalgia, it is also good time to celebrate the present day women in technology. The idea is to highlight the role models such that more get inspired and take up technology roles. But I can hear you say, ‘Hey, what is in it for me?’. Here you go: It is said that adding women to software engineering team makes the team more grounded and rounded and makes the business more focused. There is anecdotal evidence shared even in on of the earlier blog post. To put it more directly, celebrating women in technology could even extricate every one from global economic recession faster, cheaper, easier.

Instead of blogging about just one person, I think it is a good idea to blog about as many of them. So here is the list in no particular order( mostly influenced by my twitter timeline, duh):

  • @aDeSe Uninhibited sharing! Leveraging Technology to build a huge contact network. On the verge of spinning her own consulting practice.
  • @eve11 Mixing technology and telepathy at ease. Using one to bridge people on other side.[ Yes you can take it with a pinch of salt!]
  • @dina Not just using technology for making friends, and for social causes, puting it to work and making money!
  • @dstrawberrygirl Co-founder Reaction Grid – increasingly popular opensource virtual world. Self proclaimed coding Ninja!
  • @missrogue Wuffies, co-founder BarCamp movement, tech to the masses.
  • @Netra (Tech, entrepreneurship) Event coordinator, people connector, Power of 140 illustrator during Mumbai terrorist attack.
  • @PriyaRaju Passionate self-proclaimed geek balancing tech startup, writing, parenting, etc.
  • just_reva Outspoken. At home in Chennai away from home(Singapore) using technology for everything from day-to-day to one-of-a-kind.
  • Sanjukta Non-techie, finding expression via technology that makes expression faster, cheaper, smarter. At home with geeks. Passionate about collective action as well as individuality.
  • @torridluna Ace virtual world scripter, tech early adpter. At the intersection of Art, coding/scripting, system integration, and sharing.
  • @vintfalken Runs a blog that is by-word for Virtual World related developments. Apart from Breaking VW news, breaking new grounds, and pushing the limits of virtual world photography. [Example of defining a new category by practicing the work/art]

That is enough to make up a cricket team. I can go on and on. Well, you get the idea. Just look around and celebrate. You will be surprised and inspired!

Posted in inclusive development, technology as innovation enabler and equity enabler | Tagged | 2 Comments

Service Innovation – A workshop by Crafitti Consulting and Elephantversity

You like it or not, Indian Tech Industry is deeply entrenched in Service. With the global economic slowdown, service based biz are under severe pressure if not under threat. Indian tech industry players face the choice of reinventing themselves as product businesses or re-invent their service itself. Both requires a lot choices and design. And there is help available in the form of workshop. Karthikeyan Iyer of Crafitti writes:

As we experience unprecedented change in our business environment, the need for innovation has become more acute, more urgent.

In this context, Crafitti Consulting and Elephantversity Institute of Innovation are offering a focused workshop on Service Innovation, as a means to assist business stakeholders to unlock hidden bandwidth and create new growth opportunities.  Please find details of the workshop below.

We look forward to seeing you at the workshop! Also requesting you to forward this invite on to your colleagues and friends!

(The workshop brochure pdf can be downloaded from

I’m sure the course will be useful. I can vouch for the quality of the organizers(Both Crafitti and Elephant Design).  Feel free to visit my earlier post(
Ashwini Deshpande, Elephant Design) for some evidence.
The course is on 09 Apr 09 9am-5pm at Pune. Contact: Karthikeyan Iyer karthikeyan.iyer Shift2 crafitti doot com

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Amazon EC2 Reserved Instance: The Good, Bad and the Ugly

Amazon Web Services announced the Amazon Reserved Instance and tweaked the pricing accordingly.

It has all the awesomeness, technology advancement, and business innovativeness, that everyone has come to expect from Amazon these days. Yet in my opinion, Reserved Instance is a retrograde step.

There are few things rolled into one at play here. They are to be segregated first to explain my point of view:

  1. The technical concept of Reserved Instance – a mechanism to assure availability of an instance of specified type at the behest of an API call.
  2. The Reserved Instance pricing, or rather, the shift in the charging philosophy,  from post-pay to pre-pay model.
  3. Reserved Instance related API – the mechanism of interacting with the reservation system.

#1 is the Good part, #3 is at best Bad, and #2 is the Ugly!.

Distributed computing is always about uncertainty and  any kind of assurance  is a welcome simplification  for the system design. Thus #1(Reserved Instance the technical concept) is a  winner advancement. It is not easy to assure and that too assure with confidence  that something will work under all conditions, Amazon deserves a standing ovation( with Hats off !) daring this.

#3 – API mechanism to reserve instances. Is Bad.  Now, if I take the API for a spin – just for the heck of it, it will turn me back by upto $4000. I will not touch this API by a 10-foot pole. This wins the most un-imaginative API design by AWS! I think they got this done by outsourcing this to a financial services BPO sweat shop in India. 😉

#2( the Reserved Instance pricing) is ugly if you dwell a bit deep into it. On the surface, it is just a logical tweaking of the pricing model to reflect the usage pattern in practice. For example startups need to run at least one instance on a Always-On basis, so they can reserve an instance and get a ~50% discount when they commit for 3-years. Applicability/attractiveness of this pricing plan in the Enterprise IT context is obvious. Indeed, it is re-adaption of a IT budget spread sheet masquerading as a cloudservice pricing schedule. [This pricing plan has one advantage though, a fairly dumb CIO/VP IT of an enterprise need not smarten up much or build a major case for cloud adoption. The financial spreadsheets are going to look very similar to what it was all these years. Smooth transition to the cloud assured! ] Considered from the geek/system designer point of view, the Reserved Instance pricing has not reduced the per instance pricing. It has suddenly made the On-Demand Instances costlier. A system design that does not take the various costs into consideration is not a good design. The Reserved Instance pricing has just increased the (system design)complexity without any balancing advantages.

The 50% cost saving over a 3-year period is not a big saving at all. If you have more than 17% return on your working-capital, Reserved Instance pricing is outright unattractive. So startups – are you just aiming for less than 20% returns? Naw!

On the other hand, the Reserved Instance pricing has shifted the model from the post-paid billing to pre-pay. M. David Peterson mentioned that Reserved Instance as a game changer. Well, Amazon just changed the game to the good old rules of pre-pay and multi-year commitment. Amazon changed the game and now trying to change the game back, possibly to its advantage.

Well, that is enough of a rant! Do I have any constructive suggestion to offer? And alternative pricing model for example? Well, I cannot do the work of Amazon’s financial analysts. Here is my 2-cents on the principle to adopt while pricing Reserved Instance: The present pricing encourages upfront provisioning and payment for it. It is does not care if the usage is as per the provisioning. Indeed, if the usage is not as per the provisioning Amazon makes a nice profit. An alternative pricing could be based on penalizing the deviation from the reservation. This penalty for non-usage is already in practice with the Elastic IP( Where, a IP reserved  and not used is charged nominal and fairly high price) But this pricing will not help Amazon recoup the capital expenses involved in setting up a data center.

Let me close the post with a bonus rant: The Reserved Instance pricing requires reservation for each instance type. This takes the elastic out of the ec2!

Bonus bonus rant: The pricing slightly disturbs my Sim-OnDemand pricing calculator. So I’m annoyed! LOL. [ Ha ha, I somehow promoted my devpay gig!]

Flames, comments, Kool-aid, and alternative points of view welcome!

Posted in amazon ec2 and friends, Amazon Web Service | Leave a comment

Sim-OnDemand application : Opensim as data visualization tool

What is the point of a personal virtual world(Opensim) server like the Sim-OnDemand and what is the point of running it off Amazon Infrastructure?

One interesting answer is Visualization.


Well, here is a screen shot that illustrates visualization of ListMania related books of a given book.

Slicing and dicing data visually and collaboratively is one application for a personal virtual world. And Opensim with little python code can be very handy in that front.

Posted in Amazon Web Service | Tagged , , | 2 Comments