Dubset Spins Tunes and Servers with Style [VIDEO]

Dubset is a Brooklyn-based company that exemplifies the best of startup culture: finding a need, creating technology that solves the problem and looking good the whole time.

The need? A place for DJs to share their music—and not just a sample or two, but a whole set, the way you’d hear it in a club. Of course it had to be streaming, searchable and legal. That’s just what Dubset has created: the next generation of Internet radio, curated by the world’s top DJs. (They’re also a part of the Rackspace Startup Program.)

Dubset succeeds by keeping the human element amid the endless sonic choice on the Internet. “All of these music startups out there try to outsource your playlist to an algorithm,” says Charlie Robbins, Technology Director at Dubset. “But we’ve crowdsourced it to real people—DJs. It’s going to be challenging for a computer to ever get that good.”

Because Dubset’s business is streaming music, they needed a hosting solution that could easily scale up, and that wouldn’t cost them enormous bandwidth charges. Rackspace Cloud Files was the ideal solution.

“We use a lot of Cloud Files, because we’re streaming to CDN,” says Robbins. “We were on Slicehost for a while, literally serving this stuff off the disk. But our tra­ffic got to a point where we couldn’t even back up the servers on Slicehost, because it was too big. If you get above 50GB or so, it becomes a network storage issue.”

So Robbins and his team moved their data onto Rackspace Cloud Files. “Cloud Files works great,” says Robbins. “It’s really simple, and it’s cheap. We’re streaming 1.5-2TB a month—a huge amount of data. With Cloud Files, we don’t have to worry about it, it just works.”

Cloud Files’ CDN powered by Akamai is a major advantage for Dubset, says Robbins. “Most of our tra­ffic is on CDN. By using Cloud Files, we’ve off-loaded a ton of the work that used to be done by the server onto the CDN.”

For Robbins, the options allowed by the Rackspace Cloud were a major selling point. “One things about the Rackspace Cloud that I like is you can get really small slices,” he says. “Other providers have sizes that are too big for a lot of applications. If you want to take full advantage of virtual servers, you want to have ones that are small enough for low traffic sites.”

“When you’re developing, most of the time you want to turn on a server and leave it on, especially in dev mode,” explains Robbins. “You’re just testing; it’s not live traffic. If you need five servers, why spin up five full-size servers elsewhere for $75 for a month, when you could spin up five Rackspace servers for $10 a month?”

Robbins also appreciates the reliability he has found with Rackspace: “We’re a platform built on Rackspace. We had 100 percent uptime last year.”

For Robbins, the attraction of the Rackspace Cloud was both the Cloud Servers and Cloud Files API. “They are modern, RESTful, JSON-based APIs that are easy to work with.”

Furthermore, says Robbins, “Creating images is super easy on the Rackspace Cloud. To back up Cloud Servers, I can literally make that call for the Rackspace API—that whatever’s on this machine right now, that’s an image. That goes in Cloud Files, and it’s really easy and friction-free. That’s far more appealing than the process for creating images on other hosting providers.”

As Dubset grows, they’ll consider using dedicated servers, as well. “At some point we will use a combo of cloud and dedicated,” says Robbins. “Rackspace would be the first [provider] we look at. It makes sense for the company I’m getting hosting from to have hosting as their primary business.”

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