Our New Infrastructure
As some of you may already know I’m relatively new to the Galaxy Zoo team having joined in January. One of the main reasons I was brought on board the team was to help plan and implement a more scalable web architecture for the future.
Galaxy Zoo 2 launched on Tuesday and was our first live test of our new approach. I’m pleased to say that apart from a small hiccup with our database server on day two we’ve managed to collect 3.7 million classifications in just over three days – well done everyone!
*Warning here begins gory technical details!* You can safely stop reading here unless you are a techy.
Galaxy Zoo is now hosted on Amazon Web Services. We are using a combination of S3 (their storage solution) for hosting the galaxy images, EC2 (their compute service) for the Galaxy Zoo website (and our super-secret API) and EBS (Elastic Block Store) for instant backups of our databases. The great thing about Amazon Web Services is that you pay for what you use (by the hour) and more significantly you can scale up to as many servers as you like to handle the load you are experiencing when busy.
Those of you who are particularly observant may have also noticed that the Zoo 2 site is now written in the web framework Ruby on Rails. Rails is great fit for us, it’s a modern web framework that follows a great design pattern (MVC) and encourages best practice development.
For those of you who have found the last two paragraphs interesting, I’m going to find a place where I can write about what we are up to on the technical side of things. Watch this space!