Brian Altenhofel

Entrepreneur, Drupal Developer, Libertarian

Oklahoma Supreme Court: OSSAA Arbitrarily and Capriciously Applies Rules and Penalties

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court decided Scott v. OSSAA. In the opinion, the Court had some rather strong words about the conduct of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association, particularly about the manner by which it applies it’s rules and assesses penalties and sanctions against schools.

Of note is that the Court decided that, because OSSAA is a state actor, and because OSSAA is not truly a voluntary organization, OSSAA is subject to the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act.

Real World Cost of Amazon CloudFront vs Rackspace CDN

I keep the lights on at the Oklahoma Shooters Association forums. Part of that job involves ensuring that pages load at a reasonable speed. One of the overall cost-cutting measures I use is offloading as much static content as possible to a CDN.

As everything that I host with Anrhizan is on Rackspace, I have a preference for using Rackspace’s CDN. The pricing is very straightforward ($0.12/GB at the time of this post) and thus easy to estimate based on projected traffic load. In contrast, Amazon charges per GB transferred and per request.

Up until recently, I had been serving just the JavaScript, CSS, and images that were provided by either vBulletin or a theme over Rackspace’s CDN. It had worked rather well in reducing load on the webservers, but it still leaves the user-generated content such as custom avatars, signature pictures, profile pictures, and attachments served via the webserver itself. (If I could find a plugin for vBulletin for FileConveyor, all except the attachments could be handled by the CDN).

I decided to give CloudFront a shot, even though I knew it would cost more. The main advantage to CloudFront is that it’s an origin-pull CDN. Basically, if it receives a request for a file that doesn’t exist on the CloudFront edge server that was hit, it pulls it from the original source and caches it.

The forums get around 100K page hits per day, with 70K of those being users who accessed the site within the previous 30 days. The static files provided by either vBulletin or the themes that we use total up to just under 20MB, so storage costs are not an issue. However, this results in ~468MB of transfer per day. On Rackspace, this cost was ~$0.057/day.

On CloudFront, using SSL (default cloudfront wildcard, not a custom certificate), the cost is $0.19/day. That’s basically a 233% increase. The only real thing that increase is buying is ease of use, and it does give me the option to add all user-generated content (except attachments).

This is all the more incentive for me to finally get around to building a decent Drupal-based forum application.