is a product that helps companies track the pulse of their staff (or customers). Throughout 2013 as I developed I used Heroku. As the product has recently seen a surge in traffic and usage I decided to reevaluate hosting options with two goals in mind:

  1. Performance
  2. Cost

After looking around I found Ninefold. They explain their performance and also have a free tier (just like Heroku):

How does the free tier work?

  1. Sign-up to Ninefold
  2. Deploy a Rails app
  3. Enter your billing details within 30 days
  4. They waive the first $50 of your monthly invoice – forever

So, is getting more users, more concurrent traffic, and starting to cost more on Heroku. Hence the switch to Ninefold to see how it compares (find my performance analysis below).

Switch from Heroku to Ninefold

Once you have set up an account and deployed the latest revision of your app a migration is not too hard. Here are the steps:

  1. Put the Heroku app in maintenance mode
  2. Take a database dump from Heroku
  3. Import the database dump into Ninefold Postgres
  4. Change the CNAME to point to the Ninefold host

See the Ninefold migration guide for more information.

Ninefold Performance

The two most common actions on according to analytics are the iPad voting page and the actual votes results page for a survey/location combo:

  1. 1s off the load time for the admin analytics page
  2. ~100ms off the iPad voting page load time
  3. ~200ms off the voting results page load time

All in all I’m happy with the performance improvement and the small monthly cost saving doesn’t hurt either – allows me to handle the additional traffic at the same monthly cost.



The Principles of Product Development Flow – Don Reinersten

Get it. Read it. Re-read it.

Kanban – David J. Anderson

My introduction to Kanban. Simple, good case study to get folks started.

Honestly, this was pivotal for the introduction of Kanban to GreenHopper (JIRA Agile). These days it is instrumental in how we approach work at Twitter for teams in Platform and Infrastructure Operations.

Continuous Delivery – Humble, Farley

Once you’ve got continuous integration in place, and if your customers can accept value on an on-going basis, then have a read of Continuous Delivery and take your development to the next level. You’ll get faster feedback and deliver value to customers frequently.

The Phoenix Project – Kim, Behr, Spafford

I love this book. Walks through a fairly common scenario from the not too distant past (or perhaps the present for some companies) and shows how to alleviate the pain through a compelling and enjoyable story. Get it.

Scrum Shortcuts without Cutting Corners – Ilan Goldstein

Great book with all the tips and tricks in a condensed form. Leave it on your desk and pick it up for a quick reference when you need it – or hand them out to your colleagues or new engineering managers to give them the shortcuts too!


What have I missed? Tweet and let me know.

I’ve started looking at Topgrading at the suggestion of my colleague Kristen Johnson here at Twitter.

In short, the goal is to hire great team players that have the technical skills and an ability to collaborate effectively – two traits essential to driving the business forward. The thinking goes: it is better to falsely reject than mistakenly hire.

If, like me, you’re not familiar with Topgrading here are some resources to get you up to speed:

I’ve not put this into practice yet – merely learning what this is about and thinking of how best to apply this approach to hiring for product teams. Of note was the final step of the interview where the candidate arranges a reference check call directly with their present/former boss.

What has your experience been with Topgrading?