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> We identified the bottlenecks and supported GitHub and the community by making patches to ssh to allow key lookup in MySQL rather than a text file. That remains, to this day, one of the finest examples of Engine Yard support and it makes me extremely proud just thinking of it.

This seems... odd to me. It doesn't feel like the right boundary between businesses. From a hosting provider, I expect good, steady service, reboots, a root console, and that they'll fix anything that's on their end (hardware, for instance).

Patching ssh is development work, and is something I would expect to pay for to meet specific goals, but not something that comes as part of my hosting package. I mean, what if you are just cruising along, and don't need any deep hacking over a couple of months. Is your money being wasted? With actual developers, I could redeploy them to do other things. Can I do that with EY?

They seem like really good, sharp guys, but I don't quite get the business, I guess.

From our perspective, it was a matter of helping our partner and the Ruby community succeed.

We're working really hard to make Ruby on Rails succeed. This is just one of the many ways that we've pitched in to help it do so.

If, during that downtime, when the "Twitter's problems are Ruby on Rails" FUD was running high, would anyone believe that a Github scale failure wasn't a Ruby on Rails problem? We weren't willing to test it, so we solved the problem, i.e. we put our money where our mouth is -- That Ruby on Rails scales just fine, the bottlenecks are generally elsewhere.

> From our perspective, it was a matter of helping our partner and the Ruby community succeed.

I suppose what seems confusing to me is that there are a lot of things you could do to help your customers succeed, but many of them are fairly expensive - such as cutting your rates, or doing high end development work.

With more basic hosting, say EC2, I know that Amazon isn't going to do beans for me, so I'm on my own. I know exactly what the price does and doesn't include, and what I have to provide myself. EY seems fuzzier... it's almost like having an extra developer on staff in terms of talent, but it is and it isn't: you can't tell that person to go off and do something else.

Say I move one of my sites to EY; is your "whatever it takes" attitude going to include fixing up my ugly design/graphics work?:-)

It seems to me that the patch wasn't for "GitHub, the EngineYard client", but instead, "GitHub, the Ruby community resource", just as they support JRuby, Rubinius, and Rails development.

If you operated a site that EngineYard saw as a valuable resource for the Ruby community, I'm sure they'd help you out in whatever way possible as well.

What you describe is that paying customers subsidize 'community resources', which is great for me as a mooching Rails (and github) user, but perhaps not so great for paying customers. I don't think they'd put it that way; and indeed I believe they must provide a lot of 'extras' for their customers for the cost of that service. Still though, it seems that it's a service that will be best with clients who make a lot of help requests, getting their money's worth.

Maybe the developers building apps that run on EY aren't the best developers to be patching ssh? Is your money wasted if you hire a lawyer on retainer and don't ask enough questions?

EY publicizes their Ruby expertise, not their 'hack on security-critical crypto code' expertise, and while it's impressive, and to their credit that they were able to do it, it still leaves me thinking that a fixed monthly fee is the wrong way to pay for that kind of talent.

> if you hire a lawyer on retainer and don't ask enough questions?

At a certain point, yes.

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