BookRenter, which tries to make education more affordable by allowing students to rent textbooks for up to 80% off the retail price, has starting using Hosted Chef from Opscode to rapidly spin up additional servers and handle application updates and editing without manual interference.

BookRenter is also using Hosted Chef to give it the capability to launch a mirror site in a separate data center in a matter of minutes, a preemptive move in the event of any kind of outage at its primary data center, according to Opscode, a provider of cloud infrastructure automation products.

"From day one, we've always felt it was important to automate, and we couldn't do it without Hosted Chef," Chris Williams, BookRenter co-founder and DevOps manager, said in a statement. "It would be impossible for any human to manage the complexity that Hosted Chef takes on. Now, we can easily manage different sets of dependencies across our applications and servers, everything from what libraries they require to what systems they need to interact with.”

With huge loads during busy academic periods, BookRenter needed to easily scale resources as server demand increased and as the business continued to grow.

BookRenter established a secondary data center location at the beginning of 2011. In its initial test, the company used Hosted Chef to switch live traffic on its servers from the primary data center to the secondary site within 10 minutes, with only one minute of downtime.



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