Music Mastermind is a consumer-facing company that allows music lovers to compose their own songs online. Using their PCs, would-be composers can log into Music Mastermind's ZyaMusic.com, where a system captures the user tapping a beat and humming a tune into a PC microphone. Zya can take the melody and convert it into any instrument, as directed by the end user, then apply the beat. Splices or hooks from a wide range of licensed, popular music can be added as well, such as guitar riffs.
Forbes writer Tomio Geron called Zya "my favorite product that I saw at South by Southwest," the arts and technical culture show in Austin, Texas, where Zya was on display. Billboard led off its Zya feature story with "Zya Strikes A Chord." HP has pre-loaded Zya on its PCs since November.
Music Mastermind is what you get when you pair a former Grammy Award-winning songwriter and CEO of Virgin Records, Matt Serletic, with a bond market titan, Bo Bazylevsky, former head of emerging markets corporate bond trading at JP Morgan. The two founded Music Mastermind to let the musically inclined produce a song when they might otherwise be thwarted by lack of studio, instruments, or even musical skill.
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Reza Rassool, CTO of Music Mastermind, said it's a challenge to offer such a service in a small company's data center because Music Mastermind's two development engineers also have to serve as its operational staff. For that reason, Music Mastermind established a large IBM iDataPlex server cluster with Intel Xeon E5 CPUs and installed Citrix Systems' CloudStack, a version of Open Stack open source code, to run it as a cloud. Then it turned the operation of the cluster over to RightScale, a front-end cloud management service, so that those two engineers could get back to work building new Zya features.
But there was another reason Music Mastermind turned to a third-party manager for its private cloud operation. It didn't wish to build out a large data center, but it did wish to be able to respond to rapid expansions and contractions in Zya usage. With RightScale at the management console, as activity on Zya moves toward full capacity, RightScale automatically triggers an expansion of the service in the Amazon Web Services cloud.
One such spillover occurred as Zya was aired at South by Southwest and interest temporarily spiked. "We would have needed 12 or more IT staffers to maintain a data center" to have the necessary capacity to handle that event. "Just doing the security patching would be a humongous chore," said Rassool.
"As we release new content, we get spikes in user activity. When a famous artist tweets about his new song on Zya, we'll get a massive spike from his fan base," he adds. Music Mastermind needs an internal cloud to host its high-traffic, customer-facing Zya music assembly system. It needs the public cloud to handle the spikes in its use, he said.