November 25, 2003

Some recent quickies

It has been a long time since I had a minute to come up for air. With the holidays coming up and with the recent Sputnik release, I've finally got a chance to briefly point to some things that I think are important:
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November 24, 2003

Sputnik Launches!

I'm extremely proud to herald the launch of Sputnik's newest product set, Sputnik Central Control 2.2 and the award-winning AP 120 WiFi Access Point. These products have made it to the light of day after thousands of man-hours of testing and real-world use, bugs and bug-fixes, dozens of deployments, new feature enhancements, and hundreds of hours spent listening and working with customers and partners.

These products make it easy for Wireless ISPs, Hotspot operators, and IT Services companies to roll out managed, authenticated wireless access. At $185 per AP, the Sputnik AP 120 (buy) is one half to one fifth the price of wireless Access Points with equivalent features. The Access Point is completely managable centrally - everything from initial provisioning to ongoing maintenance and firmware upgrades, can be done centrally. Sputnik Central Control (buy) acts as the centralized management console, and the $895 price includes a software license to manage up to 20 Access Points. Additional licensing packs are available as well. Add it all up, and the complete Sputnik system is at least one half to one tenth the price of similar solutions. Sputnik even offers completely free licensing for community wireless groups - making it easy to start and manage a community wireless network.

Here's what some customers are saying:

Chad M. Smith of Washington Broadband, Inc: I want to thank you for your support and providing such an excellent solution. We have researched for months for a solution like yours. I have even attempted developing our own with little success. Since the database and cgi is "open" we will have no problems integrating Sputnik into our billing system. We will definitely be purchasing your products in the short term.

Craig Fine, director of sales for Softmatrix: It would have been really difficult without Sputnik because there's not really a solution that lets you manage multiple hot spots with one server.

How do they do that?

Here's the scoop: Sputnik Central Control and the AP120 were built from the ground up with the conviction that you could have commodity hardware pricing and enterprise-class management. And because Sputnik built itself up organically, without Venture Capitalist funding, we are able to offer the products at a radically lower price point than our competitors. Everyone said "It can't be done." But we put our heads together and came up with a completely different approach from everyone else in the industry - and we have happy customers who are using the system every day. Here's what the architecture looks like:

Don't just take my word for it - LinuxDevices took a thorough look at the system, and came away impressed:

The Sputnik Agent provides all of the manageability hooks that enable automatic configuration, dynamic firewalling, multiple captive portal redirects, policy routing, centralized management, and end-user tracking.

Wi-Fi Networking News, the leading trade publication covering Wi-Fi and IEEE 802.11 standards liked what they saw:

With Sputnik's server software and access points (APs) that include Sputnik edge software, operators get centralized network management functions with usage analysis, security, AP provisioning, and an end user interface.

All this adds up to secure, managed wireless networking with lower capital costs, lower operating costs and greater flexibility than any alternative. See how people are using Sputnik technology in a variety of situations, like WISPs and Hot Spot Providers.

Sputnik is talking with select VARs and System Integrators. If you're interested in reselling the Sputnik system, send an email to, but you'd better hurry - we're getting overwhelmed with requests.

I'm incredibly honored to have worked with the talented team of industry veterans at Sputnik. Everyone has worked their butts off to create a system built around user requests - an inexpensive, centrally managed, plug-and-play Wi-Fi system that provides group policy and access control - and one that could be plugged directly into a corporate LAN - no need for special VLANs or convoluted network architecture, just a dynamic firewall at each ingress/egress point in your network, all acting in unison, as part of a "hive mind".

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Vive la France!

I got a ping last night from some folks at U-blog, one of the leading French weblog companies, asking for a friendlier interface for all the blogging frogs out there. Best of all, they sent over all the internationalized HTML I needed to convert the pages for them. So, now you can see the French homepage with top 100 french language weblogs - seems like the French aren't using the high-priority indexer much yet, so only a few major weblog services are currently represented. I'm sure that that will change over time. Note to weblog developers: There's an XML-RPC interface and instructions on how to use it available as well.

To say thanks to the u-blog folks, I put up a special u-blog top 100 just for them. Kudos guys - working code is always the easiest way to my heart. Thanks Loic, for pulling it all together.
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November 16, 2003

Technorati Growing Pains

These past weeks have been a pretty busy one for me and the growing Technorati team. Before I get too far in this post, I've got a mea culpa - Technorati hasn't been very responsive lately. Fact is, we've been getting a lot of attention and new searches, and the blogosphere seems to be growing at a pretty steep rate as well. This double whammy has caused our current infrastructure to buckle, and has caused some service outages.

I'm sorry.

Here's what we're doing to fix it: I've got a new, much more scalable infrastructure designed and currently being built. I'm committed to having it up and running by the end of the month, just in time for Technorati's first anniversary. This will be the third generation of our infrastructure, each designed to be more scalable and flexible than the last. After stability, the next priority is response time - we're gunning for a response time of under 1 second.

Allow me to give you some growth statistics: One year ago, when I started Technorati on a single server in my basement, we were adding between 2,000-3,000 new weblogs each day, not counting the people who were updating sites we were already tracking. In March of this year, when we switched over to a 5 server cluster, we were keeping up with about 4,000-5,000 new weblogs each day. Right now, we're adding 8,000-9,000 new weblogs every day, not counting the 1.2 Million weblogs we already are tracking. That means that on average, a brand new weblog is created every 11 seconds. We're also seeing about 100,000 weblogs update every day as well, which means that on average, a weblog is updated every 0.86 seconds.

So, for those of you who have written to me wondering about the recent outages, again, I'm sorry. Keep the feedback coming, btw - we really appreciate it. And if you have written lately and no one has responded, we haven't stopped caring - we've just been really busy fighting fires and getting the new infrastructure built. Don't hesitate to drop me a line if you want to express something privately.