The latest health scandal reveals that wearable gadgets can hamper your fitness regime. There is a surprising lesson in here for users of Amazon Web Services (AWS) which we shall reveal below.
Reports say that people who use gadgets such as Fitbit to monitor and manage their training regimes tend to lose less weight than those who manually document their diet and exercise.
Why could this be? Is it because those who manually write down the details of every sprint, press-up and marathon are doing that little bit of extra exercise when they drag that pencil across their notebook? Must be a really heavy pencil. Hang on though, what if they are typing the results into a spreadsheet? How many extra calories does that burn?
The answer, amazingly, comes down to expectation and rewards, according to the The University of Pittsburgh which publishes its study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
When gadget users instantly see on screen how much exercise they’ve done, they feel justified in rewarding themselves, according to the study authors. It’s easily done. How many of us will feel justified in having a beer after we’ve just put in a good session at the gym? Or a cake. Or both.
The problem is that those extra calories far outweigh the work you’ve done. Even heavyweight pro boxers are forced to eat boiled chicken with the skin removed. And they have 17 stone of muscle that is burning calories in day-long gym sessions. If they can’t eat what they want, who can?
Like calories, web services can be easy to ingest but the effects can take lots of work to rationalise. Creating a new virtual server is the work of moments. This often leads to server sprawl, and visible license lines, as administrators get a taste for virtualisation. Delicious though it is to be able to spin up new servers and earn the approval of everyone who wants their own virtual machines, this ‘instance gratification’ can be very dangerous. Yes, I know that the taste of success is very more-ish but at some stage in the near future you will come to regret it.
That point normally comes when you look at your infrastructure in the monitor and see that you’ve put on a lot of weight on your SAN and your data circulation is getting a bit clogged. These circulation problems are known in the business as ‘cluster creep’ and even ‘cluster-esterol’. That’s when the pounds start to pile up – on your monthly bill.
That’s why you need to go on a cluster-controlled exercise. There is a really good set of machinery for this, called Amazon CloudWatch. This is where the similarity with Fitbit style gadgets ends, because the constant collection and processing of raw data doesn’t make you flabby. In fact Amazon EC2 is able to metabolise the bites of information into readable, near real-time metrics that give you a better perspective on how your web application or service is performing.
It carries out all kind of fine tunings of parts of your computing body you didn’t realise existed: disk performance, Disk ReadOps, DiskWriteOps, CPU Utilisation – the list is impressive. Instil a disciplined regime of exercise to keep these areas toned and your infrastructure will be as lean and powerful as possible.
Just don’t reward yourself with a cake after every Instance Fitness class.