May Hack Day Highlight: IP Geolocation Map
Our May Hack Day just concluded, and as usual the event yielded some impressive projects. Here’s one that’s particularly awesomesauce: Ken Rose’s IP geolocation map.
The IT IP Map App Hack
A critical requirement of providing reliable service to our customers is making sure that our servers are up when our customers’ servers go down. So it’s helpful to know where our clients’ servers are located, to ensure that we use different providers. To easily view that information, Ken Rose created an app that visually displays our customers’ server locations on a map, based on their IP addresses.
PagerDuty generally receives notifications from customer systems by e-mail or HTTP. HTTP notification logs show the IP addresses of the servers that send the requests. Ken grabbed the servers’ IP addresses, used a service called freegeoip.net to get the IPs’ latitude and longitude, and plotted the data on a map. This is called IP geolocation, and it lets us get a rough estimate of the distribution of our customers’ servers around the world.
You can check out the initial result online. The various clusters show the different data centers where our customers’ servers are, similar to a heat map.
Ken is in the midst of making some improvements to the quality and accuracy of the map—collecting samples over a longer time period and switching over to Google Maps with a clustering library—but already, the app has provided some helpful insight: It shows that we have more customers in Europe than we realized, and we would like to investigate hosting some messaging servers in Europe. That would reduce the latency between our customers’ servers and our own, and our European customers would get their notifications even faster.
Honorable Mention: A Refreshing Solution
There were several other terrific Hack Day projects in May, but we would be remiss if we didn’t mention one of the non-programming projects: Arup Chakrabarti and Evan Gilman’s refrigerator rearchitecture. This project involved changing the direction the company’s fridge door opens so that it’s easier to access water, beer, and other beverages. Ok, mostly just beer. After making a very rough (and questionable) estimate, the owners expect to see a savings of 30 minutes per week due to the increased efficiency.