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Servers: Clown Computing, Sysadmin, Databases and Automating Stuff

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  • Which cloud strategy is right for you in 2020?

    While most organisations are certain that the cloud has a vital role to play in the future of business, the various strategies, from a public or private cloud first approach to the hybrid or multicloud routes, can be confusing to some.

    At Red Hat, we’re constantly receiving useful industry insights from our customers when speaking to them about their current priorities and issues. Our recent Global Customer Tech Outlook study revealed that many organisations don’t know what cloud strategy to put in place, with 17% stating that this was something they were still working on. A further 12% had not yet developed any plans at all for their cloud.

    So what do organisations unsure of their strategy need to know?

    [...]

    Lock-in only matters when you want to move or do something new but, in today’s business world, who knows when your apps or workloads will have new requirements or need to change? An open approach can shield against this, offering flexibility and a platform to innovate.

    Ultimately, on any journey to develop a hybrid cloud infrastructure, it is vital to remember that every cloud is unique. While it is important to understand the basic principles of building an interconnected and agile cloud environment, it is equally important to understand that private clouds are one of a kind and there are thousands of public cloud providers.

    Businesses today value agility, to adapt and move workloads, create new workloads, to exit or enter new clouds. More than ever before, organisations can’t afford to put all their eggs in one basket. A public-cloud-only-and-first approach is likely to hamper agility. Instead, small steps led by business needs, and the ability to pivot quickly, will be crucial to navigating this complex landscape.

    By James Read, EMEA Principal Solution Architect, Cloud and Service Providers, Red Hat.

  • Sysadmin careers: Is your sysadmin job going away?

    An industry pundit who claims that system administrator jobs are evaporating or shrinking at an alarming rate either has no idea what they're talking about, or they have something to gain by saying it; in my opinion, it's about a 50-50 split between the two. The short response is no, system administrator jobs are not going away in the foreseeable future, and are likely never going away at all. I've heard many of these gloom and doom predictions for the past 20 years; from the Y2K bug to zero administration packages to automated system administrator suites, someone is always trying to label us extinct. Well, it's not happening in my lifetime, and you can take that to the bank.

    [...]

    If I got a dollar every time I heard some know-nothing know-it-all say that cloud computing and automation will eliminate the needs for sysadmins, I'd be able to retire, and you wouldn't have to read my musings. The reality is that many so-called industry experts or insiders are actually neither, and they don't really understand that cloud computing might change what jobs are, but it doesn't eliminate them. Oh sure, they've read about it on Wikipedia and enough tech news stories to use the phrase with impunity, but their understanding of what's underneath is nil.

    To get an idea of automation and jobs, look again at the auto industry. Lots of automation. Lots of auto workers are still employed. By the way, did you know that, since the very early days of automobile manufacture, some sort of automation has been in place? Just look at old photos of the Ford Model T and Model A assembly lines. Still, surprisingly, we have thousands of autoworkers who show up to work every day. If only our brilliant technology pundits had seen that coming.

    [...]

    Today's job market for sysadmins is still going strong and growing. Don't allow the naysayers and the conservative growth numbers to discourage you from continuing on your career course. There will be plenty of sysadmin jobs for the next twenty years, just as there were when the pundits said system administration was dying twenty years ago.

  • Yugabyte boosts distributed SQL database with new funding

    Bill Cook: We were doing this fund raising in parallel with the company recruiting me to join. But, you know, the impetus is obviously that there is a big market opportunity in front of us.

    As to why $30 million, it was really around what was going to be required to continue the investment on the engineering product side to grow the organization aggressively. And we're also ramping on the enterprise go-to-market side.

    If you think about things like the pandemic and the changes that are going on more globally, it really just starts to accelerate how people think about technology. When you're an open source database company like we are, with the services that we deliver, I think it is an accelerant.

  • MongoDB grows with Atlas Data Lake and mobile services

    MongoDB Inc. on Tuesday launched its Atlas Data Lake service, along with the latest update of its namesake database and the release of new mobile database services.

    With Atlas Data Lake, now in general availability after being in beta release for a year, the New York City-based vendor has expanded its Atlas Cloud platform.

    Meanwhile, the MongoDB 4.4 release provides enhanced features to the open source database intended to improve performance and scalability. Beyond the core database, the new MongoDB Realm mobile database builds on technology that the vendor acquired with the acquisition of open source mobile database vendor Realm in April 2019.

  • Automating business for Covid-19 continuity

    While the global situation demands urgency, it’s important to clarify that IT automation won’t provide a rapid return on investment rapidly if your organisation tries to automate a complex business process or operation all at once. Automating small tasks allows you to gain experience in select automation solutions (in turn helping to build your team’s confidence), and it will allow you to develop a foundation of automated processes that can become the building blocks of more complex automation projects. When aggregated together, all the small tasks you automate away can represent a significant time-save for your organisation and will let you focus attention on the bigger projects.

    Another way to accelerate the return on the automation investment is by paying special attention to the skill levels necessary to master the automation solution of choice. Some automation languages tools are much easier to write, understand, and troubleshoot than actual development code, requiring smaller investments in sourcing or developing the skills necessary to operate the automation solution.

    Choosing an easy-to-understand automation language means that more people in your organisation can use the automation solution in their respective domains of expertise compared to a few highly skilled and expensive-to-hire professionals. Similarly, an easy-to -understand language implies a milder learning curve and a faster transition from education to application.

Back End: DCs in Lockdown, Kubernetes in War and Databases

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  • Organizations tackle data center operations during COVID-19

    Many organizations now wonder how their admins can manage a data center they can't physically access. This causes IT teams to turn to remote infrastructure management.

    "Many of our customers are not even letting people into the data centers, which really boosts the demand for our remote monitored, outlet switched and environmental monitoring solutions. This includes understanding if there are any temperature [requirements] and that the proper humidity levels are maintained," Nicholson said.

    For data center providers that must have essential personnel on-site, top fixes include plans to cross-train admins and shift schedules. Cross-training allows admins to address issues they were previously unfamiliar with or unable to troubleshoot; this is essential for operations as providers must limit how many people they can have in the data center at once. To be successful, organizations must have effective training policies and onboarding procedures in place.

    "During a time like this, there is certainly more risk for those who don't plan and are thus unable to execute at the speed that they need to. For example, if a data center provider needs to bring on new staff quickly, whether it's to perform critical IT maintenance or simply move equipment around, they need to have good onboarding procedures in place. Human error, through either bad procedures or bad training, all comes to light in this type of situation," Kirby said.

  • Talk about a control plane... US Air Force says upcoming B-21 stealth bomber will use Kubernetes

    An assistant secretary of the United States Air Force appears to have revealed that its forthcoming B-21 stealth bomber will use container-orchestration tool Kubernetes.

    The B-21 is expected to fly in 2025 and to have intercontinental range and nuke capability, making it a significant strike weapon. It's touted as a likely replacement for America's heavy bomber fleet.

  • What is MySQL? How Does MySQL Work?

    MySQL is the world’s most popular enterprise-grade open-source relational database management system (RDBMS) that is being used at Facebook, Google, Adobe, Alcatel Lucent, and Zappos, and by many online websites/applications.

    It is developed, distributed, and supported by Oracle Corporation. It is a cross-platform, powerful, flexible, and extensible relational database that is based on the SQL (Structured Query Language) standardized language used to create and manipulate databases.

    The latest version of MySQL (version 8.0 at the time of writing) comes with support for NoSQL (“Not Only SQL”) document databases. It can be installed in Linux, macOS, and other UNIX-like operating systems, and Windows.

  • Not all open source is created equal

    Open Source, Free and Open Source Software, Code Available, GNU General Public License (GPL), Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), Business Source License (BSL) — aren’t they all the same? Why does that matter? Isn’t it all open source?

    I often encounter these questions in discussions with CIOs, CDOs, developers and software cognoscenti. In discussions with my colleague Bruce Momjian, co-founder of the open source project PostgreSQL, I have learned that the differences are substantial and meaningful. In my past life as an IT leader, I cared about virulent licenses, such as the GPL, and permissive licenses, such as BSD. But I never understood the deeper mechanisms behind the open source projects and why those structures should matter to strategic decision makers.

    Many open source projects, such as MongoDB or CockroachDB, are largely driven by single commercial entities. These projects use open source licenses, such as GNU General Public License, or ‘source available’ licenses like Business Source License, that allow the users to inspect the code and potentially contribute to the code, but the majority of development is funded and driven by a single commercial entity. In these projects, there is a very limited ‘community’ effect.

Servers: Kubernetes, Compression and Debian Activities

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  • The state of Kubernetes: 6 facts you might not know

    Kubernetes celebrates its sixth birthday on June 7: One of the fastest-growing open source projects ever, it’s driving significant change in enterprise IT, helping developers manage containers at scale. Moreover, it helps them develop applications faster and manage resources in automated ways. That’s important not only in DevOps and agile environments, but also in any enterprise IT environment pushing for faster software development and more experimentation. And any CIO or IT leader will tell you, the CEO’s biggest wish right now is faster response to customer needs and outside changes - most recently, a global pandemic.

    How much Kubernetes growth are we talking about? According to the CNCF Cloud Native Survey for 2019, 78 percent of respondents were using Kubernetes in production, up from 58 percent the previous year.

  • Russell Coker: Comparing Compression

    For distributions like Debian which have large archives of files that are compressed once and transferred a lot the “zstd --ultra -22” compression might be useful with multi-threaded compression. But given that Debian already has xz in use it might not be worth changing until faster CPUs with lots of cores become more commonly available. One could argue that for Debian it doesn’t make sense to change from xz as hard drives seem to be getting larger capacity (and also smaller physical size) faster than the Debian archive is growing. One possible reason for adopting zstd in a distribution like Debian is that there are more tuning options for things like memory use. It would be possible to have packages for an architecture like ARM that tends to have less RAM compressed in a way that decreases memory use on decompression.

    For general compression such as compressing log files and making backups it seems that zstd is the clear winner. Even bzip2 is far too slow and in my tests zstd clearly beats gzip for every combination of compression and time taken. There may be some corner cases where gzip can compete on compression time due to CPU features, optimisation for CPUs, etc but I expect that in almost all cases zstd will win for compression size and time. As an aside I once noticed the 32bit of gzip compressing faster than the 64bit version on an Opteron system, the 32bit version had assembly optimisation and the 64bit version didn’t at that time.

  • Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in May 2020

    This month I accepted 211 packages and rejected only 9. The overall number of packages that got accepted was 228.

All about Kubernetes

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OSS
HowTos

Kubernetes is an enterprise-grade container-orchestration system designed from the start to be cloud-native. It has grown to be the de-facto cloud container platform, continuing to expand as it has embraced new technologies, including container-native virtualization and serverless computing.

Kubernetes manages containers and more, from micro-scale at the edge to massive scale, in both public and private cloud environments. It is a perfect choice for a "private cloud at home" project, providing both robust container orchestration and the opportunity to learn about a technology in such demand and so thoroughly integrated into the cloud that its name is practically synonymous with "cloud computing."

Read more

Also: Provision Kubernetes NFS clients on a Raspberry Pi homelab

A beginner's guide to Kubernetes container orchestration

6 Kubernetes Security Best Practices Every Linux Administrator Should Know

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Security

Kubernetes is a popular container orchestration platform used by many professionals around the world. It’s an open-source platform that enables you to manage containerization, providing you with feature-rich controls. However, Kubernetes is not easy to learn and maintain. To properly secure Kubernetes operations, you need to adopt certain best practices.

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Nextcloud Hub 19

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  • Michael Meeks: Making Collabora Online trivial to setup

    Today we release a big step in improving Collabora Online installability for home users. Collabora has typically focused on supporting our enterprise users who pay the bills: most of whom are familiar with getting certificates, configuring web server proxies, port numbers, and so on (with our help). The problem is that this has left home-users, eager to take advantage of our privacy and ease of use, with a large barrier to entry. We set about adding easy-to-setup Demo Servers for users - but of course, people want to use their own hardware and not let their documents out of their site. So - today we've released a new way to do that - using a new PHP proxying protocol and app-image bundled into a single-click installable Nextcloud app (we will be bringing this to other PHP solutions soon too). This is a quick write-up of how this works.

  • Michael Meeks: 2020-06-02 Tuesday

    Mail; admin, wrote up the Nextcloud proxy pieces.

  • Collabora Online as default in Nextcloud Hub

    Collabora Online has been available as integrated solution for many productivity use cases for more than three years. However, feedback from home users and the community showed an increasing need for a much easier way to setup LibreOffice online. Users found configuring separate certificates, ports, docker images, and so on too complex, so Collabora created a totally new way to deploy Collabora Online using an innovative PHP proxy and a new custom protocol. With the release of NC 19, this work is ready to use: the new app “Collabora Online: built-in CODE server” can be installed and activated with a single click.

    The new app is the same fully functional productivity solution that people already know, with the same feature richness, easy collaboration and excellent interoperability as a normal CODE – Collabora Online Development Edition – installation. Naturally it has its limitations in performance and scalability that are provided by a normal server installation.
    This makes it much easier for people to make the right choice, with an open standards based, solution built on fully open source code that respects their privacy. It has never been easier for users to work and collaborate on office documents online, on their own hardware.

  • Nextcloud Hub 19 Brings Passwordless Authentication, Collabora Online as Default Office App

    Nextcloud GmbH announced today the general availability of Nextcloud Hub 19, a major release of their popular and open-source self-hosted on-premises collaboration platform.

    With Nextcloud Hub 19, the file sharing and collaboration platform introduces much-needed features for people who are forced to work from home during the COVID-19 crisis, including passwordless authentication with support for security keys. This implementation not only makes Nextcloud logins painless, but also strengthens them through the use of hardware keys, and the first to be supported is Nitrokey.

    New security measures are also in place to make it easier for administrators to secure the accounts of remote workers. These include password expiration features, password reuse limitations, automatic locking of account after multiple failed login attempts, as well as optional automatic logout.

Servers: Kuberhealthy, Red Hat and Denuvo DRM

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  • K8s KPIs with Kuberhealthy

    Last November at KubeCon San Diego 2019, we announced the release of Kuberhealthy 2.0.0 - transforming Kuberhealthy into a Kubernetes operator for synthetic monitoring. This new ability granted developers the means to create their own Kuberhealthy check containers to synthetically monitor their applications and clusters. The community was quick to adopt this new feature and we’re grateful for everyone who implemented and tested Kuberhealthy 2.0.0 in their clusters. Thanks to all of you who reported issues and contributed to discussions on the #kuberhealthy Slack channel. We quickly set to work to address all your feedback with a newer version of Kuberhealthy. Additionally, we created a guide on how to easily install and use Kuberhealthy in order to capture some helpful synthetic KPIs.

  • Empowering remote teams to collaborate in a WFH world

    Many more people are working at home these days, and although much of this started with COVID-19, remote work from home (WFH) could become standard procedure for businesses around the world.

    Team members may no longer work on-site, in the same building, but proper communication and collaboration is still the foundation of teamwork. Of course, this means teams need to conduct remote meetings on a regular basis, more than they ever have before. Many of us already attend conference calls all the time, but remote meetings—where every team member is working from home—that is a completely new encounter for most teams.

  • Fedora program update: 2020-22

    Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week. Fedora 30 has reached end-of-life. Elections voting is open through 11 June.

    I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

  • Earn a badge with the new IBM Blockchain Foundation Developer course
  • FINOS expands industry presence by joining the Linux Foundation

    Red Hat is part of many communities, and one community that is important to us, and to the financial services industry, is the Fintech Open Source Foundation (FINOS). This community helps drive open source advancements geared specifically towards the unique needs of the financial services firms, accelerating innovation and collaboration through the adoption of open source software, standards, best practices and governance.

    Red Hat joined FINOS as a Gold Member in spring of 2018, and Red Hat OpenShift is providing the underlying technology for the FINOS Open Developer Platform (ODP), one of the leading venues for community development within the financial services community.

    Red Hat has also contributed its open source leadership experience to the Open Source Readiness Project, which provides governance and open source legal guidance to banks who are first participating in open source. Additionally, we’ve provided our experience and expertise in the hybrid cloud to help progress the Cloud Services Certification project under FINOS, which works to accelerate firms’ journeys to open source readiness.

    Red Hat is also an active member of the Linux Foundation, which is dedicated to building sustainable ecosystems around open source projects, with the goal of accelerating technology development and adoption. The Linux Foundation was founded in 2000, and has helped to establish and build some of the most critical open source technologies in use. Additionally, it has expanded its work beyond Linux, to foster innovation at every layer of the stack.

  • Denuvo's Anti-Cheat Software Now Getting Ripped From Games At Record Speed Too

    Remember Denuvo? Back in the far simpler times of 2016-2018, which somehow seem light years better than 2020 despite being veritable dumpster fires in and of themselves, we wrote a series of posts about Denuvo's DRM and how it went from nigh-uncrackable to totally crackable upon games being released with it. Did we take a bit too much pleasure in this precipitous fall? Sure, though our general anti-DRM stance sort of mandated dunking on a company that once touted itself as invincible. Either way, it started to get comical watching publishers release a game with Denuvo, have the game cracked in a matter of days, if not hours, and then release a patch to remove Denuvo entirely from the game.

Servers: Linux clickbait, Cloud-native, Kubernetes

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  • What happens when you run Linux on a toaster?

    In today’s data centre, software-defined-everything is the new normal, and for plenty of good reasons: agility, flexibility, longevity. Amongst all the hype however, the precious role of hardware in the ecosystem seems to have been forgotten, cast aside in the insatiable quest for better results. But what has that actually done for those hard-fought-for results? Are you cashing in on false efficiencies by using cheap, off-the-shelf, generic appliances? We’d like to argue that yes, you have.

    Hardware has been so commoditised in the data centre to the point of obscurity, and in so doing, we’ve shot ourselves in the foot because it’s been to the detriment of the results we’re seeking.

    Think about it - just because you can build a toaster that runs Linux, it doesn’t mean you should.

  • Solo.io intros API management tools for the open-source Istio service mesh

    Cloud-native software company Solo.io Inc. today is making available what it says is the industry’s first Istio Developer Portal, which aims to streamline the onboarding process for developers in order to improve experiences and productivity.

    Solo sells software that helps companies address the challenges of implementing microservices, which are the components of modern, containerized applications that can run in multiple computing environments. It offers a variety of tools that help with this, including its Service Mesh Hub, which helps organizations streamline the deployment, management and extensibility of any service mesh on any cloud, for any application.

  • Rancher Labs Launches Rancher Academy

    Rancher Labs, creators of the most widely adopted Kubernetes management platform, today announced the launch of Rancher Academy. Rapid enterprise adoption of containers and Rancher's emergence as a leader in enterprise Kubernetes management have created strong demand for a professional, Rancher-led certification program. The announcement not only addresses this need, but further cements Rancher's commitment to education and to enabling the complete democratization of Kubernetes.

Databases Leftovers

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Announcing Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU21

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Server

We've just released SRU 21 for Oracle Solaris 11.4. It is available via 'pkg update' from the support repository or by downloading the SRU from My Oracle Support Doc ID 2433412.1.

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Also: Oracle Updates Many Packages With Solaris 11.4 SRU21

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Android Leftovers

Arm Officially Supports Panfrost Open-Source Mali GPU Driver Development

Most GPU drivers found in Arm processors are known to be closed-source making it difficult and time-consuming to fix some of the bugs since everybody needs to rely on the silicon vendor to fix those for them, and they may even decide a particular bug is not important to them, so you’d be out of luck. So the developer community has long tried to reverse-engineer GPU drivers with projects like Freedreno (Qualcomm Adreno), Etnaviv (Vivante), as well as Lima and Panfrost for Arm Mali GPUs. Several years ago, Arm management was not interested at all collaborating with open-source GPU driver development for Mali GPUs, but as noted by Phoronix, Alyssa Rosenzweig, a graphics software engineer employed by Collabora, explained Panfrost development was now done in partnership with Arm during a talk at the annual X.Org Developers’ Conference (XDC 2020). Read more

Open Up: Open Source Hardware — A Chat with Carl

From a broader lens, to produce “open source hardware” means that we have developed and shared the recipe to create a high-end commercial product that can be learned from, adapted, and used by anyone else. In the same way we’ve stood on the shoulders of the Linux and open source software giants who came before us, we now get to be pioneers in developing open source hardware for those who come next. If you want to learn more how a computer is designed or how something is made, our schematics are the instructions for how to do it. It describes every step of the process, from each piece of the machine and its dimensions, to the type of aluminum used and how to bend it. It’s similar to open source software in that you can learn from the product, adapt it to your needs, and distribute it. The difference is that it requires outside equipment to produce your own version. Open hardware has become more accessible with 3-D printing, but as we found when we were making acrylic prototypes of Thelio, you reach a point where it’s time to work with metal, which presents its own challenges. You have to cut it, bend it, and paint it, all of which requires specific equipment. Read more

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