Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What Can You Learn from Pirates?

When it comes to ensuring uptime, reliability and service, we can learn alot from pirates. Not the Somalia kind, but the clever founders of The Pirate Bay. The site, notorious as the premier search engine for torrents on the internet, nevertheless serves a large and discerning clientele. Reasons cited for the move to the cloud centered on making the site less vulnerable to outside threats (and DDoS is not the only threat to your infrastructure), but also hosting in the cloud also makes the site easier to scale, reduces downtime, and is less costly. The Pirate Bay is hosted at cloud hosting companies in multiple countries where they run several Virtual Machine instances. The setup also makes the BitTorrent site portable -- it can move elsewhere without too much work. “Moving to the cloud lets TPB move from country to country, crossing borders seamlessly without downtime. All the servers don’t even have to be hosted with the same provider, or even on the same continent,” The Pirate Bay told these reporters. "If one cloud-provider cuts us off, goes offline or goes bankrupt, we can just buy new virtual servers from the next provider. Then we only have to upload the VM-images and reconfigure the load-balancer to get the site up and running again.” While this model de-centralized most of their infrastructure, not everything was moved to the cloud: load balancers and transit-routers are still maintained by The Pirate Bay, enabling the site to hide the location of the cloud provider and secure the privacy of users. All-in-all, a very reasonable strategy for a high-volume site.

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