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Acquia Hosting: an update after 8 months of Drupal hosting

Roughly 8 months ago at DrupalCon Paris, we launched Acquia Hosting. In this blog post, I wanted to give a quick update on where we are after 8 months. Current status For those who don't know, Acquia Hosting is a highly-available cloud-based hosting platform tuned for Drupal performance and scalability. From a technology point of view, we've built tools to automatically launch multi-server hosting environments... Plus

Enterprise Drupal Gardens

Early last year, shortly after I had officially joined Acquia as an employee, I was thinking about critical issues that enterprises face when confronting the interactive web. Acquia had heard from several corners of the market about their headaches with current technologies. The head of NBC digital had spoken at a conference in Boston, and talked about their number one issue: creating micro sites. We had some conversations with a large university, who has over 400 web sites. Each professor, every department, individual libraries, etc. all had their own sites. The vast majority of... Plus

Venti Drupalccino coming right up! Acquia Hosting's automated provisioning system

Acquia Hosting is designed to be a high performance, high reliability, highly scalable, and highly manageable Drupal hosting infrastructure. Our goal was to be able to quickly provision small and large sites, meet the enormous requirements of Drupal Gardens, and keep all of it running reliably, with a small engineering and operations team. It is easy to say that "the cloud solves all of that," and indeed cloud technology provides a substantial number of benefits. However, in my recent talk at Drupalcon,... Plus

Aspiring Drupal users want Drupal Gardens

Can the Drupal community expand by 100X? Yes! And Drupal Gardens will help. As the product manager of Drupal Gardens, my days at Drupalcon last month were filled with product demos and discussions about Drupal Gardens. The product was previewed last fall at Drupalcon in Paris, but it wasn't yet in beta. This Drupalcon was a different story. I was able to talk to dozens of Gardens beta testers each day and meet new people who wanted to use it. The thing that pleased me most was how excited new Drupal users are about Drupal Gardens. Each... Plus

Innovation is at the Heart of Open Source

Network World published a story about the decision that the US Veteran's Administration has made to pursue open source for their next generation VistA (VA Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture)system. While the current VistA system currently works well, "its roots make it too hard to innovate on the system". This is precisely the point I made in an earlier... Plus

Acquia Hosting Customer Hits 5,000 requests/second! (or Why I Love Load Testing...)

Who says Drupal doesn't scale? Certainly not Acquia! A large global PR firm recently measured their Acquia-hosted web site performance to over 3 million page views per hour (or 830 pages per second). When including all content, that's 5,000 requests per second. Wow! Drupal gave them the flexibility to quickly respond to events. Of course, the bottom line is customer success and they reported that it was one of their "best web launches... ever". Following industry best practices, they performed load testing multiple times during the development process.... Plus

The Lifestyle of Drupal Support

When people hear the word support, it often drums up images of overcrowded call centers in a faraway land staffed by the lowest bidder and a digitized voice that tells you how important your call is to them. So important, in fact, that it will be answered in the order received. That may be true in the proprietary software market and, oftentimes, rightfully so given the repeatability of solutions that are often present in that space. While I don't believe proprietary software is inherently evil (Yes, I use a Mac and a Windows 7 machine), that's a model that cannot work for open source software... Plus

Building Drupal publishing sites on OpenPublish

Publishers love Drupal. We see this everyday at Acquia. In fact, they make up one of our largest group of customers including the Slate Group, Thomson Reuters, and MotherJones.com. Publishers continue adopting and migrating existing sites because they can leverage thousands of modules, features, and monetization capabilities of Drupal to stay on top of the latest web trends and technologies. This is no surprise due to Drupal’s inherit social capabilities, custom content types, media and third party integration, and flexibility to customize or build on the CMS in any way you desire. In... Plus

DrupalCon Buzz - Can We Say the "R" word for Drupal 8?

If you are reading this and Drupal 7 is not yet released, pop over to the critical issue queue and roll, review, or comment on a patch before you go any further! Ok, done? Drupal 7 is the top priority, but getting people together for the core developer summit stimulated (as intended) lots of excitement and... Plus

Simpleviews on Drupal 7 - how we did it

Early on in the development of Drupal Gardens, it was clear that we needed some type of simple Views-like functionality. You know, letting users set up simple lists of content beyond what is included with Drupal 7 core, but simpler than the Views UI which can be quite intimidating to first-time users. Drupal Gardens' goals include making Drupal easy to use, and that sometimes comes with feature sacrifices. You cannot do everything you could do with a self-hosted solution, but you can do most things easier. If you exceed what Drupal Gardens can do, no... Plus

How Acquia keeps aHEAD of Drupal 7

When we (Acquia) started planning our hosted Drupal service (Drupal Gardens) a year ago we had to take the call of developing in Drupal 7 or Drupal 6.  I don't think this was ever really in doubt, but the decision to try to build a product on Drupal 7 core at that stage was certainly a risky one. Why? there were almost no contributed modules or themes and the architecture and APIs were changing daily. Acquia's business is squarely Drupal.  Drupal support, Drupal promotion, Drupal hosting, Drupal polish, Drupal architecture... Plus

DrupalCon San Francisco wrapup

DrupalCon San Francisco ended a few days ago, so once again I'm sitting here with post-DrupalCon blues, trying to wrap my head around what just happened, digging out my backlog of work, and rediscovering my usual rhythm. It happens to me every time, and it is a sign of having had a great time. In short, DrupalCon San Francisco was 'fantastic', a word I use sparingly. It is best expressed in numbers, like Matt Cheney of Chapter Three did in his closing session: Roughly 3000 registered attendees at an average... Plus

Drupal Software Publishing

Acquia announced a new program at Drupalcon last week, Drupal Software Publishing. I thought it might be useful to provide some of the thinking that went into establishing this program. Acquia’s core mission is to establish Drupal as the dominant social publishing platform. If we’re successful at this, there will be a thriving ecosystem around Drupal offering a broad variety of services and solutions. As a part of this, we continually think about how we can create more win-win opportunities for Acquia and our partners. Acquia has frequent discussions with our customers and partners, and... Plus

Drupalcon growth: Ideas on how we go from 300 to 30,000 participants based on 5 Drupalcons

Disclaimer I am a permanent member of the Drupal association, and the director of business development for the association. I do not speak officially for the association, nor do I speak on behalf of the Drupalcon organizing committees. But I do have a blog and I want to have a discussion with the community about smart growth at Drupalcon. (*I've also helped raise approximately a million dollars for the association so they at least listen to me) Growing smart The smartest thing I've heard about Drupal community growth over the last week was that Drupal should not grow beyond our ability to... Plus

Social Publishing in the Enterprise: Industry Case studies from Drupalcon to convince your technical executives

For Drupalcon San Francisco I lead the "Leveraging Drupal for your Business" track. Within the track there was a "Social Publishing in the Enterprise" sub-track designed to tell the story of how enterprises are succeeding with Drupal. At Acquia, one of my jobs is to help explain Drupal's capabilities to Enterprises. These case studies help tell the business success stories that can convince technical executives that they can succeed with Drupal in their enterprises. The first step is convincing technical executives that they are not unnecessarily taking risks, in effect that Drupal is a safe... Plus

How we trained 120 people to be core contributors at the Drupalcon sprints

In my previous post on Drupalcon innovations I addressed how we, the Drupalcon organizers, added a sprint before Drupalcon when contributors are passionate and well rested. This was one important part of growing the Drupal community. In this blog post I'll explain a larger strategy of how the community is training new community members to use quality assurance tools to improve Drupal sites. This sprinting has the side benefit of teaching people how to become core contributors. I've been... Plus

7 conference innovations that helped make Drupalcon San Francisco a success

On the last night of Drupalcon DC last year, I was at a bar with some of my friends from San Francisco. We were talking about what a great conference DCDC was. The drinks were flowing and we started throwing around ideas for Drupalcon San Francisco. Even though I was the organizer of Drupalcon Boston, I live and continue to work in San Francisco and I wanted a conference in my city. I knew how much work goes into a Drupalcon and that there was no way I could lead a Drupalcon again. But there was an opportunity to revisit lessons I learned from Drupalcon Boston, Szeged, and DC. The Drupalcon... Plus

Reflections on Drupalcon, D7, and DevSeed

I'm in my hotel room after the final day of Drupalcon San Francisco 2010. As always, I had a great time at the conference. I've been so busy building Acquia Hosting for the last year that I lost track of most of what went on with Drupal development in 2009 (except for the Field API project, of course), and I really enjoyed the opportunity to catch up. My personal Drupalcon experience was largely focused around two new developments: 1. The Examiner.com team is doing great things making their upcoming site performant and scalable. Their transition to using... Plus

Drupal Gardens and Typekit

Quick but cool update on Drupal Gardens: Drupal Gardens users can now use Typekit fonts on their sites. The ThemeBuilder in Drupal Gardens offers a nice set of fonts, but we wanted to work with Typekit to give users access to a huge library of fonts that they can use on their site. Users can create a free or paid account on Typekit, select their fonts and use them on their Drupal Gardens site. Attractive and distinctive fonts can transform a nice... Plus

Drupal Gardens update - helping the designer

Yesterday we completed our pre-DrupalCon sprint and are excited to introduce several great new features, with a special focus on designers and site creators who need an awesome looking site. Specifically in this release we have added great support for professional fonts. As designers know, font selection is one key area where average web sites are separated from remarkable sites. In the past, font options for web sites were limited or complex to implement: you could create your own images with embedded expensive licensed fonts, or you could purchase, install and embed fonts yourself. Now... Plus

Acquia launches training program for Drupal

For a long time now, I've been saying that we need to train more Drupalistas. Almost every Drupal company I talked to is trying to hire talented Drupal developers, but can't find any, to the point that it is holding back Drupal's adoption. To help train more Drupal users and developers around the world, Acquia will develop and maintain a Drupal training curriculum, and commercially license the curriculum to our partners so they can more easily deliver training to their customers.... Plus

Drupal Commons, meet Jive Software

DrupalCon San Francisco didn't even start, and already we have a first announcement to make! If you follow the Acquia blog, you might have read that we've begun building a free Drupal distribution, named "Drupal Commons", to go after social business software such as Jive Software. Drupal Commons will integrate groups, discussion forums, blogs, wikis, events into a single packaged solution. If you need a communication or collaboration website, or a corporate social network, Drupal Commons might... Plus

Drupal Training from Acquia

Acquia has long planned on offering Drupal learning services. While it has taken longer than we had hoped to mold our ideas, I’m very excited to share our plans just prior to the largest Drupalcon in history! The accelerating growth of Drupal has fueled a huge demand for knowledgeable designers and developers. The inability to educate new resources could soon hamper the pace of Drupal’s growth. We threw around a few different models for curriculum development and training delivery, but always seemed to come back to the same place: Leverage our partner channel to deliver classes... Plus

Don't Jive Me

The market for business oriented social software solutions is exploding, for good reason. Organizations are learning that their employees, customers and business partners collaborate more effectively in the web 2.0, interactive web world. At the same time, I thought that enterprises had started to learn a lesson about large, risky, proprietary software purchases. It would have been hard to miss Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com at conferences or in the press over the past 11 years, attacking the conventional software vendors’ licensing practices. And the folks at Red Hat and Canonical have... Plus

Advanced Apache Solr Example: IP-based Access

In the run-up to our talk "Apache Solr Search Mastery" at Drupalcon San Francisco, we decided that we would not have time to really cover all the advanced topics in the session. So we're going to put up a couple blog posts before hand to invite some discussion and encourage people to dig into the code ahead of time and then we can take questions at the end of the session or during a BoF. This first post describes the elements of a module that implements a customized IP-address-based scheme for access control... Plus

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