We’ve not been talking much about it and that’s partially my fault as well (busy with other projects), but Cognifide has a really cool initiative called Cognifide Labs that we intend to grow over time. The plan is to devote up to 10% company time into side projects that help us grow expertise and allow our devs to dwell into interesting technologies, methodologies and languages and develop their skills.

One of the first projects (that I took part in) is CogniScale – an app that allows FlexiScale users to manage their servers. Here’s the story…

Being the agile company taking part in many EPiServer projects we never seem to have enough environments to test our web-apps and software in general in various scenarios. We find ourselves constantly reinstalling and trying to keep our servers in a state that can can at least remotely be called as stable. After all how many deployments and tearing down of various EPiServer, CruiseControl, TeamCity, SQL Server and other "I need to have" apps can a server take before slowing down to a crawl or collapsing all together (that said I bow before our faithful THOTH for taking all the abuse it does). We definitely needed more servers! And we needed them now!

Early this year we’ve started to talk to the guys at XCalibre that came up with a great idea. What if you could have an unlimited amount of servers available for you at any given time? I mean really what if you could have 0 servers one day and the next day have a rich farm of servers for literally no cost, paying only when you power them up and not paying a bit if you take them down.  This turned out to be quite a project for them that turned to materialize as FlexiScale. (you can read more about it here). Looking at all that I’ve mentioned before while eliminating the cost of maintaining the servers locally we decided to give FlexiScale a spin.

Early this year FlexiScale published a set of API’s that we looked at and (being the geeks we are) tried to utilize it in a desktop application with a limited success. It turned out that the initial API was perfectly accessible from dynamically typed languages while statically typed languages like C# didn’t really get their love in the initial release :) So we started opening the support tickets and shortly after that establishing a lively dialogue with the great folks there. Let me tell you, the guys in the FlexiScale support are really an amazing and responsive bunch. Not only did we get the support and the fixes we needed for the language we chose but we also pretty much got all our suggestions implemented and added to the API’s.

Thus CogniScale was born:


The app allows for easy powering up and down the servers (allowing you to describe the reason for the action) from a nice and shiny GUI as well as scheduling it with windows task scheduler through its command line interface. it allows you to connect using FTP or Remote Desktop as well as any other app you can run from command line (it features a custom command editor that allows you to configure any app to work with it) with a single click. The app also allows you to quickly go through the history of servers’ maintenance to determine how often and for what reason were they taken on and off-line.

Should you decide that FlexiScale is your thing, please give CogniScale a whirl and let us know what you think.

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This entry (Permalink) was posted on Monday, June 2nd, 2008 at 10:10 pm and is filed under C#, Downloadable, EPiServer, Internet Information Services, Microsoft SqlServer, Software, Software Development, Web applications. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response , or trackback from your own site.