Monner - Monitor CPU, memory and network whilst running a program

I'm looking at re-implementing one of our services in various different ways. To help me decide between the different ways I want to run a benchmark of the services and monitor how much of a systems resources they use. After a lot of digging the best solutions I found involved ... Read more

SSDs on AWS - Impact on Conversocial

AWS releases SSD instances AWS recently released a new instance type with two 1TB SSDs attached locally. These SSDs are fast. Especially compared to EBS. EBS will push to about 700 random reads/second when RAIDed and network conditions are kind. The new SSDs will do about 120,000 random reads/second, a ... Read more

MongoDB - Collection Per User Performance

Theory On the MongoDB site there is a suggestion that collections can be used to cluster data and get better performance as a result. The idea is that a different collection could be used for each user's data. Internally, MongoDB will use different extents for each collection (an extent is ... Read more

Powering Conversocial's Analytics

Powering Conversocial's Analytics We recently released our new analytics functionality for our customers. It allows them to see stats like: Number of messages received each day Messages processed by each agent Response times split into buckets (less than 30 minutes, less than 1 hour, etc) Sentiment breakdown All of this ... Read more

Considerations when Sharding

Whilst this is talking about our use of MongoDB there is relevance here for any sharding discussion. We currently use MongoDB at Conversocial for our main content store. We're now starting to think about how we shard as the main store is getting pretty large (150 million documents across 300gb). ... Read more

MongoDB - Strategies when hitting disk

I gave a lightning talk on this at the London MongoDB User Group and thought I'd write it up here MongoDB sucks when it hits disk (ignoring SSDs). The general advice is to never hit disk. What if you have to hit disk? Conversocial's new metrics infrastructure will allow people ... Read more

This is What We Make Happen

In a startup it's easy to lose focus. When you're worrying about investment, recruitment, customer requirements and all the other things you need to do, it's easy to lose sight of the problem your company is trying to solve. This is where a simple daily e-mail can really help. At ... Read more

Never use Your ORM Directly

ORMs are great for helping a startup create a product quickly. The downside is that they make it incredibly easy to litter your codebase with code like this: post = BlogPost.objects.get(id=post_id) This seems relatively innocent at first, but, as your codebase grows you'll find it suffers from a few problems: ... Read more

Tackling Technical Debt

Most startups accrue a large amount of technical debt whilst they develop the first versions of their product. This isn't a problem. Many startups don't know exactly what they need to build until after they've shown something to their users - spending time perfecting these initial versions might be valuable ... Read more

If Your Database Server Fails, What Happens?

I'm writing up everything I think someone running engineering at a startup needs to know. Every post will have a checklist at the end that can be used as a quick sanity check.This is my first post for the series. Let me know what you think! If Your Database Server ... Read more

Colin Howe

I'm Colin. I like coding, ultimate frisbee and startups. I am VP of engineering at Conversocial