Sunday Night: JibberJobber Transitions to Amazon Servers

Almost eleven years ago this year I got laid off… just a few months later JibberJobber launched. At first we hosted on GoDaddy’s servers, but the site was just too slow and kept going down.  It was a mess that only lasted a few days.  I then arranged to host JibberJobber with a friend, who was a brilliant server admin from my last company.  That worked fine until he had a change in his career and wasn’t doing hosting anymore.  That’s when we switched to another friend I met while networking… and we’ve been in their server farm for years.

Sunday night, though, we move to Amazon’s hosting services.  Why didn’t we do this eleven years ago?  Because I didn’t think Amazon was ready to host JibberJobber.  Too often there were articles about how Amazon’s cloud went down, and tens of thousands of websites went down with it.  I figured hosting in-house, with our own physical server, would give us more of the control that we needed.  We had already proven with GoDaddy’s package that JibberJobber was too complex for a general hosting solution.

Obviously Amazon has matured a lot in the last eleven years. Big, huge websites host there, and I haven’t read about downtime for years. That’s not to say I’m confident there won’t be problems, but I think the problems that Amazon might have are a better risk than the issues that we currently have. Not necessarily with the company we are hosting with now, but just with owning our own server, and managing all that goes along with that.

All this is to say that Sunday night JibberJobber will be down for about an hour (if all goes well), after which JibberJobber should look the same, but will be housed in a different place.  What does that mean for you?

It should mean better security. For the last couple of years we have been hammered by bad guys who have been trying to take JibberJobber down. Sometimes they have been successful, and it’s been super frustrating to deal with. Attacking in the middle of the night, or on a three day weekend, was especially not fun, as it made us be more vigilant and reactive all the time.  There’s a special place in h e double hockey sticks for the people who do this.  We implemented the automated security we could, but there are still ways to get around that. My understanding is that Amazon hosting services provides some extra security that will help this fight.

It should mean a faster JibberJobber experience. Or server isn’t too shabby, but Amazon has some options that allow us to ramp up the hardware when things seem slow. Combine that with some some technical changes we are making with how we have things organized, at the server level, and we hope to see much less latency in the user experience.

It will mean that our developers have more time for YOUR experience. Whether it’s improving a particular workflow (or process), or working on a particular slow or cumbersome experience, moving to this solution and bringing on a dedicated server admin will mean my development team doesn’t have to spend time on server stuff, and can focus on development.

More reliability, faster user experience, and better development… all are good things.  In the back of my mind I keep hoping that this is the right solution.  Time will tell.

More of the back story: this switch has been talked about for years… and the last few months have been nonstop work to make it happen.  The amount of work, and the level of detail, to move from one hosting environment to another is crazy.  Lot’s of moving parts, lots of planning and coordinating and testing, and really, many points of failure.  Here’s to a problem free transition!

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