It’s a dogs life!

There is an old saying that is often used by companies to describe using their own products… that is “Eat your own dog food!”. I’m sure it’s hardly surprising to learn that we use our own products, however it is often tricky to actively use all the features, or utilize the products in all the different ways users do. For example, Drive Bender is used on a number of servers in our office mainly for file and machine backups. Personally I also used it on a WHS 2011 machine at home for movies, music and home backups. Over the years this has proved to be an excellent way to tune real world performance, and discover potential new features. However when it comes to Cloud Xtender, this is more difficult. In the past we have used a third party cloud backup service (CrashPlan as a matter of fact), but during the development of Cloud Xtender, we switched to it for our off site backups. Files are sync’d to a server running a Cloud Xtender drive, and these are then pushed to the cloud. This all works a treat, however used in this manner we really don’t interact with the Cloud Xtender drive as such, so things like real world performance are harder to gauge. So the challenge here is to use Cloud Xtender in a more extreme manner… so a couple of months ago I decided to go all out and install it on my primary development machine. It replaced my “files” drive which contains all work related documents, source code and a bunch or personal files… in all there are over 550,000 files! In addition, this drive is also used to build software against (including Cloud Xtender itself), which has allowed me to asses it’s real world performance, while also providing real time cloud backup. As you could imagine, performance is everything… for example when compiling there are over 12K files system requests a second, quite the load for a virtual drive. I would like to say it was all was peachy from the get go, but using it under these conditions did expose a number of performance issues and bugs. On the plus side however, it has allowed me to tweak the performance and iron out these bugs… all of which is the basis of the current v1.6 release. It’s is hard to imagine a more extreme environment, although I’m sure there is 😉