I attended HTTP’s Best-Kept Secret: Caching with Ryan Tomayko for the early morning session. Ryan gave a brief overview of different types of HTTP caching (client, shared proxy and gateway), eventually focusing on the server-side gateway caching. This form of caching still sends data over the wire, but allows you to avoid hitting Rails entirely, or else – using something like ETags – allows you to minimize the amount of work done within Rails to generate the content. It sounds like HTTP caching in its current form is still a bit awkward to handle when the content of the response varies based on session state, e.g., whether or not the user is logged in.
My late morning session was It’s Not Always Sunny in the Clouds: Lessons Learned with Mike Subelsky. Mike described some of the surprises and challenges he encountered over the past year working with Amazon EC2. He’s still a fan of the power and convenience introduced by cloud computing, but he’s developed a healthy respect for the complications and expenses it introduces over the old tangible, colocated server route. Turnkey provisioning rocks, but it involves a lot of work.