Pet Sitter Plus is the sole product of the UK based company Pet Software Ltd. It is written in Java by a small development team headed by Martyn Cutcher. The design philosophy from day one has been based on Martyn’s many years of research into lean, high performance technologies.
In a sea of mediocre solutions, Pet Sitter Plus is unique in that it does not rely on multiple third party technologies in order to function. This means that we (Pet Software Ltd) are less reliant on third parties in the design, development and maintenance of our high availability solution. In short we have much more control over our technical landscape than most modern cloud software providers.
The main benefit of this approach is simple – “if there is a problem we can fix it” and in today’s complex world, that means everything. It is our lean technology stack combined with skilful developers that makes Pet Sitter Plus the fastest and most reliable pet sitting software solution in the marketplace today.
The need for resilience, performance and scalability in a cloud based solution.
At Pet Software we like our sleep. We knew from day one that large geographies of our user base would be busy using our product whilst we slept. It is true today that most of our Australian user base is 11 hours ahead of us and so Pet Sitter Plus had to be as close to 100% reliable as we could make it. Part of the design requirement became that we should never have to wake up to a list of angry emails from clients who could not get access to their schedules, and that most importantly, our clients should never have to write those emails.
So there are a number of factors that have lead to our impressively high performance and high availability solution which include;
Amazon EC2 (Elastic compute cloud services)
A fail fast design.
Web apps with auto re-start.
Lean technology stack.
Skillful developers and application design.
Release frequency & easy patch for new version roll out.
1. Amazon EC2 (Elastic computer cloud services)
Our server platform is based on Amazon’s EC2 Elastic Compute Cloud Services. Refer http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/ for more information. This platform enables us to quickly deploy virtual servers anywhere in the world in minutes. We currently operate three servers, one based in the United States, one in the UK and a third in Australia but we could deploy more if required almost at the touch of a button. Our servers all feature best in class resilience such as raid disk arrays etc but most importantly, if we suspect a server has failed (which has never happened), we can re-start the virtual image on different hardware in minutes.
With Amazon EC2 we have unlimited capacity. If we require two or four or eight servers in the USA, we can have them built, started and ready to go in minutes. If we need to double the capacity of an existing server we can make this happen in minutes. So in short, at Pet Software we can deploy any amount of reliable and scalable server hardware anywhere in the world in minutes, which assures maximum possible performance and uptime for our clients.
2. A fail fast design.
In the years we have been supplying solutions to a rapidly expanding user base, our clients have not experienced any significant data corruption in any of their databases which means that we have never had to restore any single client database from a backup copy. This in turn means that none of our clients has experienced significant downtime due to this type of issue.
At the core of our application design is a “fail fast” policy which means that our application “gets out” at the first sign of trouble. This significantly reduces the risk of bad data finding its way into the data store which can lead to the worst type of support headache. At Pet Software our support desk generally deals with only very minor technical issues and product queries because at a fundamental level our technology works, which means everyone benefits including our own organisation.
3. Web-apps with auto restart.
Due in part to our fail fast design, Pet Sitter Plus web apps can be re-started with confidence. Pet Software employs web robots that are always interrogating our live web apps which in turn support Pet Sitter Plus users around the world. If a web app has stopped functioning, the robot will ask it a series of questions and will restart the web app if it does not like the answers.
Pet Sitter Plus has been designed so that its web apps can be restarted at any time with no impact on system data integrity and this means that our robots can work to keep all servers and all applications alive around the world day and night. This maintains optimum system performance and reliability in a 24/7 environment.
4. Lean technology stack.
Pet Sitter Plus is “powered by” CTC technology which is a suite of java development tools written and maintained by Martyn Cutcher. This open source toolset improves the accuracy and performance of the resulting java code and helps create a reliable and high performance solution.
At Pet Software we enjoy a unique advantage. Not only do we have full jurisdiction over the Pet Sitter Plus source code but we also have full jurisdiction over the source code of the toolset in which Pet Sitter Plus is written. This means that we have unprecedented control over the full technology stack so that our ability to resolve problems quickly is unmatched.
5. Skillful developers and application design.
If you talk for any length of time to Martyn Cutcher, you find a man obsessed with lean application design and system performance. So often with technology today, development methodologies waste valuable computer resources and assume that processor and memory capacities are both free and limitless. Martyn has quite the opposite view and takes pride in making his technologies work well on even the most modest of computing platforms.
This focus on lean design has lead to huge benefits not just for our clients but for our own business too. So for example our host servers around the world do not need to be large machines because our technology does not require it.
The feedback from users is that Pet Sitter Plus is a very high performance application. Financial reports compile in seconds and screen responses feel instant and these are all very important factors when we assess overall client satisfaction.
6. Release frequency & easy patch for new version rollout.
At Pet Software we have developed a great methodology for managing new releases. We rollout about 5 / 6 new releases each year and each one is fully documented on our website here http://www.petsitter-software.com/#!new-releases/c11vf
Our clients receive an email notice of new releases but happily they experience almost no significant downtime when upgrades occur. Our development team has developed an automated process that ensures new updates are reliably deployed worldwide in a few minutes.
The maximum impact on users during upgrades is a few minutes loss of service. Feedback from the support desk is that no one seems to notice when this happens.
Pet Sitter Plus uses a variety of secure tecnologies to make it a safe platform to use online. For a full description of the online security protocols and technoclogies we employ please click here
In summary of the above, Pet Sitter Plus is unique in the marketplace today. It employs technologies that are unmatched in their efficiency and design philosophies that make it a best in class product when viewed from the perspective of reliability, scalability and availability.