Two new open source projects at Velocity

At Velocity next week there will be two significant open source projects debuting. The first is the Jiffy: Open Source Performance Measurement and Instrumentation tool created by Scott Ruthfield and his team at

Most tools for measuring web performance come in two flavors:

  • Developer-installed tools (Firebug, Fiddler, etc.) that allow individuals to closely trace single sessions
  • Third-party performance monitoring systems (Gomez, Keynote, etc.) that will hit your site occasionally and report back component-level metrics (for a fee)

Neither of these tools give you real-world information on what’s actually happening with your clients—how long are pages really taking to load, what’s the real cost of client-side execution, and what’s the impact of your loading or dependency chain. This is even more important when you don’t host all of your own assets, such as when you load ads or JavaScript from third parties, for example, and you need to monitor their performance.

Thus we built Jiffy—an end-to-end system for instrumenting your web pages, capturing client-side timings for any event that you determine, and storing and reporting on those timings. You run Jiffy yourself, so you aren’t dependent on the performance characteristics, inflexibility, or costs of third-party hosted services.

The second is project is EUCALYPTUS, the Elastic Utility Computing Architecture for Linking Your Programs To Useful Systems, presented by Rich Wolski from UCSB. This project has already started getting attention. (Many thanks to Surj Patel of Structure08/GigaOM for connecting us!)

Eucalyptus is an open-source software infrastructure for implementing “cloud computing” on clusters. The current interface to EUCALYPTUS is compatible with Amazon’s EC2 interface, but the infrastructure is designed to support multiple client-side interfaces. EUCALYPTUS is implemented using commonly-available Linux tools and basic Web-service technologies making it easy to install and maintain.

The talk will focus on the design, the implementation tradeoffs we have identified in implementing Eucalyptus as an exploratory tool, and the ways in which we have chosen to address these tradeoffs in the first version of the software.

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