25 January, 2010

Calling all Americans (and Australians/NZ/Pacific Rim...)

For about 3 weeks now researchers in the US have had their default Ensembl go to our US west mirror (uswest.ensembl.org) automatically - if you just go to www.ensembl.org you brower gets automatically redirected. The US joined Japan and Canada who we switched in late 2009.

From our perspective, this is all working fine; the usage of uswest has gone up, and IP tracking on that shows far more US IP addresses (so the redirect is working fine!). We get some 3,000 odd visits a day, with some 50,000 pages delivered from our uswest site - about 20% of our total hits. Brilliant.

What is slightly more surprising is that we're not getting any queries on this. Given the usage, we think this means the default browser, content and other functionality must be working well (or Americans are very shy about complaining... but that doesn't sound like a good description of all Americans...). But we'd also like to hear from American users - have you noticed ensembl "go faster?". Are there any glitches?

Another issue we are unclear about is whether we should automatically shift other users on the Pacific Rim to automatically go to uswest - in terms of usage, the biggest country would be Australia, but New Zealand, Phillipines and other Pacific Rim countries would also be candidates. It's quite hard for us to assess whether our Europe (Cambridge UK) based servers or US west servers are best for this - both latency and throughput changes on different routes, and the time zone shift makes things complex to assess systematically in an easy way.

So - feedback welcome - either on this post or to helpdesk@ensembl.org about what your experience is, either from the US or from the pacific rim.

22 January, 2010

Ensembl Events in February 2010

In February we will have the following Ensembl events:

3-4 Feb: Ensembl module in the EBI Bioinformatics Roadshow at the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
11 Feb: Browser workshop for the NHS at Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK
11-12 Feb: Browser workshop at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
16-18 Feb: Ensembl module in the EBI Bioinformatics Roadshow at the Jozef Stefan Institute and University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
22-26 Feb: Ensembl API module in the Hands-on training at EBI - Programmatic Access To Biological Databases (Perl), Hinxton, UK

For details about these and other upcoming events, please have a look at the complete list of Ensembl training events.