New Chapter: Swiftype
31 Jan2013

So, after a few weeks of looking for a new job I’m really excited to start my journey in a young, but very ambitious startup called Swiftype which is focused on developing a technology for private site search, that could be used on everything from small blogs to large product sites. The company is growing really fast and I’m going to lead all the work on infrastructure, build the ops team and hope to get a chance to do some coding along the way.

Stay tuned – I really hope to finally get a chance to do more blogging this year. :-)


Looking for a New Gig
14 Jan2013

As of today I’m no longer working for LivingSocial and I’m looking for the next thing to work on. Since my family is in Toronto and I have an apartment (mortgage) here, I’m not looking to relocate and currently looking for something remote (I have 7+ years of remote work experience) or something local in Toronto.

For more information on my background, please check my Github profile, my linkedin profile or the resume section on this blog. If you need to contact me, feel free to use any channels listed on the contacts page.

Update: After a few initial interviews I’d like to update this post with a bit more details on what I’m looking for in the new position.

First of all, I’m really not sure I want to be yet another ops engineer working on “everything ops” in my next company. If I’d be to join a company as a regular ops engineer, I’d prefer it to be a clearly defined role with a clear focus on some set of challenging problems. I’m honestly tired of setting up cacti/nagios/chef at this point and would like the job to be a little bit more challenging.

Though even more I’m interested in being able to make strategic technical decisions for an operations team and apply my experience and knowledge for solving challenging tasks with a dedicated team of ops engineers. This could be anything from a tech ops team lead role (in a medium/large companies) to a director of technical operations (in a small-to-medium sized startups).

Update: Ok, I’ve found a new job – I work for Swiftype now!


Momentum MTA Performance Tuning Tips
7 Jan2012

This post is being constantly updated as we find out more useful information on Momentum tuning. Last update: 2012-05-05.

About 2 months ago I’ve joined LivingSocial technical operations team and one of my first tasks there was to figure out a way to make our MTAs perform better and deliver faster. We use a really great product called Momentum MTA (former Ecelerity) and it is really fast, but it is always good to be able to squeeze as much performance as possible so I’ve started looking for a ways to make our system faster.

While working on it I’ve created a set of scripts to integrate Momentum with Graphite for all kinds of crazy stats graphing, those scripts will be opensourced soon, but for now I’ve decided to share a few tips about performance-related changes we’ve made to improve our performance at least 2x:

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DbCharmer 1.7.0 Release: Rails 3.0 Support and Forced Slave Reads
1 Sep2011

This week, after 3 months in the works, we’ve finally released version 1.7.0 of DbCharmer ruby gem – Rails plugin that significantly extends ActiveRecord’s ability to work with multiple databases and/or database servers by adding features like multiple databases support, master/slave topologies support, sharding, etc.

New features in this release:

  • Rails 3.0 support. We’ve worked really hard to bring all the features we supported in Rails 2.X to the new version of Rails and now I’m proud that we’ve implemented them all and the implementation looks much cleaner and more universal (all kinds of relations in rails 3 work in exactly the same way and we do not need to implement connection switching for all kinds of weird corner-cases in ActiveRecord).
  • Forced Slave Reads functionality. Now we could have models with slaves that are not used by default, but could be turned on globally (per-controller, per-action or in a block). This is a new feature that brings our master/slave routing capabilities to a really new level – we could now use it for a really mission-critical models on demand and not be afraid of breaking major functionality of our applications by switching them to slave reads.
  • Lots of changes were made in the structure of our code and tests to make sure it would be much easier for new developers to understand DbCharmer internals and make changes in its code.

Along with the new release we’ve got a brand new web site. You can find much better, cleaner and, most importantly, correct documentation for the library on the web site. We’ll be adding more examples, will try to add more in-depth explanation of our core functions, etc.

If you have any questions about the release, feel free to ask them in our new mailing list: DbCharmer Users Group.

For more updates on our releases, you can follow @DbCharmer on Twitter.


Softlayer Cloud: a Scary Story of One Bad Service
2 May2011

Disclaimer: the information in this post is the author’s personal opinion and is not the opinion or policy of his employer.


It was spring 2010 when we decided that even though Softlayer‘s server provisioning system is really great and it takes only a few hours to get a new server when we need it, it is still too long sometimes. We wanted to be able to scale up when needed and do it faster. It was especially critical because we were working hard on bringing up Facebook integration to our site and that project could have dramatically changed our application servers cloud capacity requirements.

What buzzword comes to your mind when we talk about scaling up really fast, sometimes within minutes, not hours or days? Exactly – cloud computing! So, after some initial testing and playing around with Softlayer’s (really young back then) cloud solution called CloudLayer and talking to our account manager we’ve decided to switch our application from a bunch of huge and at the time pretty expensive 24-core monster servers to a cluster of 8-core cloud instances. To give you some perspective: we had ~250 cores at the start of the project and at the end of 2010 we’d have more then 100 instances – we weren’t a small client with a few instances).

For those who are not familiar with Softlayer cloud: they sell you “dedicated” cores and memory, which is supposed to give you an awesome performance characteristics comparing to shared clouds like EC2.

Long story short, after a month of work on the project we had our application running on the cloud and were able to scale it up and down pretty fast if needed. And since the cloud was based on faster cpu and faster memory machines, we even saw improved performance of single-threaded requests processing (avg. response time dropped by ~30% as far as I remember). We were one happy operations team…

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