Cloud computing – A must, a hype or something you had with a different name?

Usually I write about technical stuff, or my rc cars, but this time I’m going to write about cloud computing, which isn’t that technical.

While reading two magazines today one had in the cover “Cloud computing you can’t afford to leave this one out” and the other “Cloud computing a must for every company”.

So, if your in IT certainly heard about cloud computing, but lets start by defining cloud computing; cloud computing is is a style of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet. Users need not have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure in the “cloud” that supports them (Wikipedia definition).

Having said this you probably are using the cloud, if you use gmail,hotmail, or something like that, apart from the mail service you may be using picasa storage, dropbox, or even HI5 or Facebook to share photos and if you use a blog is probable that’s on the cloud too.  But the cloud concept is wider. Imagine that your company as all the info on the cloud, all the applications that support your business, and that your systems are on the cloud too. You just leave your cheap PC clients, or thin clients, or whatever equipment you use to connect to the Internet and your piece of the cloud.

In theory this is a great tool, you won’t have to worry about uptime, backups, system maintenance, sys admins, power failures,air conditioning, but on the other end you’ll be dependent on your providers and your ISP. You won’t be free to change and you won’t be so versatile, your choices will be your providers choices and in the end applications and systems won’t be made to suit your needs but they’ll suit part of your needs and all your provider needs. Apart from that you’ll probably end spending more than you would if you had your own IT.

Sometime ago I was thinking in using amazon S3 for backing up my personal  data, photos, personal movies, my documents, as well as my family ones. Right now I’ve a BackupPC on a server to do it all and backing up about 3.5TB of info. With my usage profile amazon would cost me about 350€ a month, so as fast as I though in using amazon I lost the idea of using it, with 2 month of service I could buy a new server to do all the backup and with another month of service I could pay electric bill,space, and man work hour for a year.

Then a client that happily uses Sugar CRM, heard about “the cloud” and thought that easily could migrate sugar to SalesForce and all the applications on the company to Google Apps. So we asked for prices and the price of the cloud was about 960% more than the regular prices of applications and Sugar licenses, and this including all the system maintenance, space and electric costs.

So I started wondering, in the end I don’t see people pay less for the cloud usage, I see people having a smaller initial cost that in the end will be much greater than the original one.

I’m sure many of you had already made your own investigations about the cloud? Are you getting to the same conclusions?

Till now I’ve been writing  about costs, now lets get to  flexibility and limitations.

Usually when talking about the cloud everyone sells you that the cloud is flexible, that the cloud will suit your needs and that it will grow when your business grow and get smaller when your business is going through a bad time.

In the end your cloud won’t be that flexible, most of “cloud providers” will have well established limits on amount of CPU usage/time, there will be limits on bandwidth, limits on connections per second and if you need to pass those limits you’ll be paying a lot for it. Then the small letter of the contract, sometimes you can have more processor power because you needed it but then you have to keep it for the minimum period, sometimes a year or even more.

But well the cloud is cutting edge innovation so this is something worth paying for. Once again this isn’t totally true, IBM as a cloud scheme running for decades, corporate clients may pay for processor, MIPs, processor time and memory usage. Apart from IBM, other companies worked like this for ages, companies like HP, SUN, and others.

So what’s new? In my opinion the news are the way you interact with the cloud, making the browser the central part and unification point. The larger bandwidth available today also made this possible and the content is much richer.

I can see a really good usage for the home user who don’t want to worry with tech things, I see youtube, twitter, hi5, facebook and others growing and companies using those with a business mind, honestly I don’t see companies putting their secrets, their know how, their experience, and their core on the hand of a cloud, I may be wrong but right now I don’t see it moving that way (maybe I need glasses). I see a big fuss on the cloud as I’ve seen the .com bubble and IT recession, I’ve seen the thin-client revolution and the virtualization boom, now I see the cloud hype and in a few months or years something new will come up and all this will be forgotten. I’ll see companies moving towards a new hype and I investors spending they bucks on something else.

So to conclude; I don’t think the cloud is a must, I think it’s something that you already had with a different name, and  it became an hype because of a lot of marketing and publicity. If you think a little bit you’ll see who wins  with all the hypes, usually isn’t your company nor mine.

Cheers,

Pedro Oliveira

Hobao Hyper 9 review

This week I’ve been working on my Hyper 9, changed some parts from the weekend at the track and today I am in the mood to write a little review about the car.I’ve been running it for 3-4 months now about every weekend so my experience with the setups is growing, I’m more at ease with the car and finally I can write about the experience I’ve had with the car.

First of all this was what I read about it before I bought it;

The positive:

  • Handles great
  • It’s fast on the corners
  • Jumps as no other
  • Well balanced
  • Tough

The negative:

  • The front harms break constantly
  • The differentials leak
  • The wing breaks
  • The rear break makes it harder to tune the car
  • The chassis is too soft

About the positive things I’ve nothing to add or talk about they are true and I love the car, about the negatives well some of those didn’t happen to me at all or when they did it was my fault. First my differentials never leaked, but i use to rebuild them every gallon of nitro spent, the plastics are ok and my wind never broke till now (and it have heavy back landings on the wing).  The front harms broke one time but it was my fault, when I was driving on one straight full throttle two of my friends chocked in middle air in front of me so I got distracted hitting the paddock protection while running full speed.  Just broke my front right upper and lower arm, but this was when the car was going at close to max. speed. Apart from that Also broke the front diff case, but once again it was my fault, I’ve lost control of the car (battery got loose) and it hit the fence.

Another very positive thing about this car, the shocks, they perform very well, never had to rebuild them for bad functioning just because wanted to change oil density.

Apart from those problems I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.

Now the things I think hobao didn’t do right in this car:

  1. The chassis is way too flexible, so flexible that when you have bad landing on a jump you damage your center dog bones. (I’ve bought the new 4mm chassis)
  2. The aluminum dog bones are way to fragile. (buy the upgrade in stell, you’ll add a few grams)
  3. The position of the rear brake is way too bad, not because of the brake itself but because of the linkage, if you need to change your battery or do something on electronics you need the get the break linkage out.
  4. The plastic stretchers are very very flexible. (buy the aluminum ones)
  5. The original tires are crap.
  6. The package should include an extra set of shock springs.

Hyper 9 Orange painting

These days a new version of the hyper 9 was realeased the Hyper 9.5 GL, I did buy the upgrade parts and I’m waiting to assemble it. I hope that in a month or two I can write about the Hyper 9.5 and give it a very positive review.

In the end with the Hyper 9 I’m a happy guy, if it wasn’t for the break linkage I would give it a 9/10 or even a 10/10, but in the end an 8 is a very good mark for the first version of the car, I hope it will get better when the upgrade kit is installed.

I had a hard time getting used to the car as the turning capabilites and amount of traccion on the read are huge and I took a while to get used to it, lost some time setting the car up, putting the right density silicone oils in the differentials and so on.

Usually my setup with this car is 3000-4000-1000 but after getting used… it runs like a charm and flies like super man.

Cheers,

Pedro Oliveira

PS – Updated on the Hobao Hyper 9.5 / Hyper 9 GL review here https://www.linux-geex.com/?p=189

New photos of my Hobao Hyper 9… it flies!

Hi!
It’s been a while since I wrote about my nitro buggie (linux is a big part of mi life…).
These photos were taken in Azambuja track in Portugal. That day we (my car and me) won the weekend club race.
I’m using a GO 7P engine.

If you want you may check some more photos in http://pitsar.myphotos.cc

Cheers,

Pedro Oliveira

Why use a redundant swap space or partition

Today I’ve had a problem in one of the servers we support, no web access, no ssh, and no console just a bunch of sentences passing so fast I couldn’t read it on the terminal. The solution a simple hard reset and the system came online, it was a hard disk failure but the system online without trouble because we were using a raid configuration. One of the disks didn’t show up in the RAID array, a few tests later and declared the hardware fault the cause of the downtime.

But why did the system came down because of a disk failure if there was a RAID system available, simple the swap was spread among the disks but not in a raid system so no redundant swap partitions, when the need for data in the swap of that file system came there wasn’t any data available and the system came to a stop.

From now on we’ll create a redundant swap partition using a RAID volume so this doesn’t happen again as a server should never stop because of a disk problem,  living and learning.

Cheers,

Pedro M. S. Oliveira

BTW – to reassemble the array I used mdadm, bellow there is a simple usage if you want to reassemble a previous build array:

mdadm –manage  /dev/md0 –add /dev/sda1

this command will add the partition /dev/sda1 to the raid array /dev/md0

if you want to learn more about RAID in linux just type man mdadm or mdadm –help

Story of a geek

Today I was talking to a work mate about our childhood and that brought me a lot of memories, I’ll share a few with you guys…

In the 80’s I was only a child but I had an holder brother who was an electronics geek. More I grew up in the middle of music, beta max and VHS tapes, Spectrums (from the 48K till the 128K), then the Atari, and the firsts Nintendos (that weren’t available here and a friend bought in the states and gave it to me), electric cables, transistors, oscilloscopes and so on… this till I was about 10 more or less.

Then it came the Amiga 500 (with the unique multi process capability at the time, 4096 colour display that was a fabulous display, 8 bit sound, etc, etc), dam I used to love that little machine connected to my tv. But the real thing was when my parents bought me a modem it was a US Robotics modem capable of reaching 9600Band that was the time of BBS, black boxes, blue boxes…

Check the Amiga 500 Capabilities…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaRkacQ-YMg

After that came the turbulent teenage times and computer and tech moved a bit to the side way, but only to come back very strong around 95 with the mass usage of Internet and Internet dating.

After that it came the IBM compatible PC (after updating my Amiga 500 to the A600 and then to the A2000), the first one it was a P100 witch i recall my friends complaining that the 32 MB RAM were a waste and never in my live i would fully use it… guess who got it right.

From then till now i don’t know how many systems I’ve owned and manage at work, probably hundreds or even thousands.

For the people who read this you may think that I didn’t do much more than computers in my live but it’s not like that, since I was a kid I always wanted to be a scientist or teacher, so the first university year I studied Biology even got a scholarship but in the end I didn’t enjoy the lab has i thought I would and moved to Computers. I still love chemistry, physics, and biology but nevertheless I like computers better.

IT gave a nice live till now, took me to far away countries to work, managed to work in large and small companies, did some huge projects and other just for fun. The best of all made make a lot of friends and open my mind about different ways of working, different ways of seeing life and what surround us. In the end while working abroad I knew a girl who latter on became my wife…

Well hope this little story may bring your stories about those times, if you wish leave a comment.

Cheers,
Pedro

Running sudo without password

sudo - suck it up and do as ordered

Hi,

Usually I run openSuSE distro and I use the command sudo a lot but if you use Ubuntu I’m sure that you’ve come across with it. It’s a great tool that will help you keep up you server/laptop safe an secure.

Secure because you’ll always know who executed what. Every sudo command line is recorded in /var/log/messages.

Safe because it will protect the system from yourself (if you are the sysadmin or owner), and yes guys you all know that sometimes we are the biggest threat for the systems we run. Who never deleted the wrong dir? Who never changed the wrong file?

Well with sudo you may avoid these hassles by limiting your permissions while doing administrative tasks. If you ALWAYS use a regular user on the server/laptop and just jump to root  when need you may avoid much trouble, but if you use just the command you wish with root permissions it will be even better.

To do this you may use the command sudo, lets imagine you want to change a ip address from the command line using your own user:

sudo ifconfig eth0 192.168.1.1

After doing the command you’ll see that it will ask the root passwd and voilá… it’s done.

But now imagine that it is your own laptop and you don’t want to put the root passwd all the time. After all if you are the laptop owner and you have a strong passwd it should be enough (now I’ll have a thousand replies by people telling this isn’t that secure, but just remember it’s your own machine, and your user as a nice and powerful passwd) you may want to change that sudo behavior so it doesn’t requests your passwd all the time.

To do this you’ll use the command visudo

and add a line like this:

your_username_goes_here  ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD:ALL

You may find more information here

Cheers and see you next time