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Promoting Open Source Software Through Cloud Deployment:. Library à la Carte, Heroku, and OSU. Michael B. Klein Digital Applications Librarian Margaret Mellinger Engineering Librarian About Library à la Carte

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promoting open source software through cloud deployment

Promoting Open Source Software Through Cloud Deployment:

Library à la Carte, Heroku, and OSU

Michael B. Klein

Digital Applications Librarian

michael.klein@oregonstate.eduMargaret Mellinger

Engineering Librarian

presentation overview

About Library à la Carte

    • What is Library à la Carte?
    • Distribution & Adoption
  • Cloud Deployment
    • Why the Cloud?
    • Hosting Options
    • Challenges and Compromises
    • Pilot Project
    • Evaluation
    • Future Directions
Presentation Overview
what is library la carte

Custom content management system

    • Course assignment pages, subject guides, portal pages and tutorials
  • Pages built around reusable modules
    • Text, images, media widgets, links, feeds
  • Free & open-source 
  • Download, install, and start using 
  • Customizable and extensible
What is Library à la Carte?

5 major releases since 2007

  • Scores of demo accounts requested
  • Downloaded hundreds of times
  • 20+ known installations
barriers to adoption

Lack of in-house technical expertise

    • Installing Ruby and dependencies
    • Setting permissions
    • Webserver configuration
    • Database administration
    • Running scripts from the command line
    • Hand-editing configuration files
    • Installing upgrades/applying patches
    • Diagnosing and reporting problems
  • Unwillingness or inability to devote technical or human resources
Barriers to Adoption
why the cloud


    • Lower the barrier for adoption
  • Dedicated
    • Provide libraries with their own installations where they can do real work
  • Portable
    • Entire installation can be moved from the cloud to a local install or vice versa
  • Elastic
    • Storage space and resources can be allocated on the fly
Why the Cloud?
hosting options

Amazon Web Services

    • Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
    • Controllable via console or API
    • Infrastructure as a Service (“Bare Metal”)
    • Small instance: 10¢/hr. = $72/mo. = $864/yr.
    • Boot volume and storage costs are extra
    • Refactoring required to take advantage of elasticity
    • Additional refactoring required to compensate for ephemeral server instances
Hosting Options
hosting options1


    • Portable virtual machine
    • Still “Bare Metal,” but host-agnostic
    • Requires acceptance by JumpBox team
    • Installation, maintenance, and upgrades may require vendor action
    • Still need to provide hardware or pay EC2 costs
Hosting Options
hosting options2


    • Open Source cloud platform
    • Based on Amazon cloud model and API
    • Software is free; infrastructure is not
    • We would have to provide hardware and additional support
Hosting Options
hosting options3


    • Platform as a Service
    • Dedicated Ruby/Rack/Rails platform
    • Git-based deployment
    • Ruby API
    • Automatic, easy scaling and load balancing
    • Predictable costs
    • Over 2 dozen available add-ons
    • Smallest instance: FREE
Hosting Options
challenges and compromises

No server-side file storage

    • Requires another solution such as Amazon S3
  • No dedicated configuration files
  • Library à La Carte was written for MySQL
  • Heroku uses PostgreSQL
  • Developers aren’t necessarily thinking of the cloud when adding new features
Challenges and Compromises
pilot project

Single insitutional partner

  • Deployed in January 2010
  • Goals:
    • Administer and monitor installation
    • Track usage, database size, bandwidth
    • Develop cost model based on likely usage scenarios
    • Gather feedback from partner
Pilot Project
pilot project librarian evaluation

Initial evaluation June 2010

  • Overall experience very positive
  • Need to document differences between standalone and cloud-based app
  • Users used to page creation had trouble adjusting to content management workflow
Pilot Project – Librarian Evaluation
pilot project user evaluation

Faculty and students consider Library à la Carte to be a valuable resource

  • Goal: “Collect all the necessary sources students need to use in their clinical year.”
  • Students “thrilled with having one starting place.”
  • Already receiving requests for additional content.
Pilot Project – User Evaluation
pilot project osu evaluation

Administration & Maintenance

    • 2 software updates in 6 months
    • 30 minutes to install, including code review
    • Marginal time cost of updating additional hosted sites would be 2-3 minutes
  • Support
    • Installation/configuration support eliminated
    • Some hand-holding still required
Pilot Project – OSU Evaluation
future directions

Revisit hosting model

    • Is Heroku working for us?
    • Would Amazon EC2 make more sense?
  • Determine costs based on size and use
  • Consider other partnerships
    • Hand hosting off to consortium?
Future Directions