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[#] Mon Aug 22 2011 22:05:16 EDT from LoanShark @ Uncensored

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start it by acquiring SAP, but even with that head start, they'd need

to have top management with flawless execution -- something that HP
hasn't had much of lately.

Hey, they've always got printers. Paperless orifice be damned. PC load letter?

Perhaps I might add that DEC went out of business!

[#] Mon Aug 22 2011 23:09:39 EDT from Ford II @ Uncensored

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(Itanium). It isn't dead -- it simply failed to take its intended
place


Right, it's resting.

When I have time, I'm going to port OS/2 to the itanium, then you guys will know true beauty.

[#] Tue Aug 23 2011 00:40:18 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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True beauty was SPARC, during the era when Sun was a company run by engineers.

"We had joy, we had fun, we had Netscape on the Sun..."

(Even in its very first generation, x86 assembler was *never* elegant.)

[#] Tue Aug 23 2011 00:48:48 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Perhaps I might add that DEC went out of business!

Zing! Nailed it this time :)

Perhaps that's the answer. All of the technology of three different companis, and HP goes strategic with the ones that suck the most. So it's obvious that this is a race to the bottom for them.

I wonder if there's a technology in there somewhere that's just an albatross around the neck of whatever company owns it. If that's the case, they should just go out and buy whatever's left of WordPerfect so they have the complete stack.

[#] Tue Aug 23 2011 13:32:04 EDT from LoanShark @ Uncensored

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True beauty was SPARC, during the era when Sun was a company run by

Too bad about that crazy rotating register file which requires all those interconnects on the chip... maybe a nice architecture for the assembly programmer (who?) but a tough one to implement in silicon with decent performance.

[#] Tue Aug 23 2011 13:29:59 EDT from LoanShark @ Uncensored

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Divesting the unprofitable parts of a large, corporate conglomerate is probably a lot like divesting the bad assets of an involvent bank. You could split it into a "bad bank" and a "good bank", give the bad bank all the bad assets and a disproportionate share of the liabilities... but that's equivalent to defaulting on your debts, and the investors will sue.

No doubt they've got a few albatrosses in there somewhere... I'm guessing that thosse are going to have to be handled as asset sales if they can find a willing buyer who can work with the smaller margins of the PC business (like Lenovo was for IBM)

[#] Tue Aug 23 2011 14:07:57 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Oh.. oh no... I can't resist..

SPARCitus.

[#] Wed Aug 31 2011 16:22:32 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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I guess this is as good a place as any to chronicle the rebuild of my server here at the Big Blue X, which is host to the various virtual machines I run ... including a site called uncensored.citadel.org (you're soaking in it).

Having been toasted by software RAID failures twice now, I'm simply not going to run RAID at all this time. And I don't have the money to spend on a hardware RAID controller.

I've been wanting to switch my server from CentOS to ProxMox VE [http://proxmox.org/products/proxmox-ve] which is, quite simply, the best way to deploy open source virtualization, hands down. I've touted the merits of this distribution before. It's based on a Debian build with the kernel optimized for KVM and OpenVZ deployments, and it's got a really nice web interface. Supports clustering, live migration, shared storage ... the works.

The question for me was how to begin taking full backups of the VM images without shutting them down. I settled on a practice that is fairly common among system administrators once you begin to think of the virtual machines as "database-like" applications. In my new deployment, the virtual disks (.qcow2 files) reside in a filesystem that lives on an LVM2 logical volume. I have written a script that will perform a snapshot of the logical volume, mount the snapshot read-only, rsync it to the backup destination, then unmount and destroy the snapshot.

After a couple of test runs I can confirm that I still *do* get the benefit of the rsync speedup, even though we are copying virtual machine images instead of files within the guest OS.

Once things settle in a bit I'll probably have it sync to both on-site and off-site backups.

[#] Wed Aug 31 2011 16:40:05 EDT from LoanShark @ Uncensored

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Sounds fishy. I think you may not get a time-consistent snapshot of the guest filesystems that you're backing up unless you perform xfs_freeze (or its equivalent under ext4 4, write_super_{un,}lockfs) in the *guest*

[#] Wed Aug 31 2011 16:44:30 EDT from zooer @ Uncensored

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Wed Aug 31 2011 16:22:32 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored
Having been toasted by software RAID failures twice now, I'm simply not going to run RAID at all this time. And I don't have the money to spend on a hardware RAID controller.

 

A hardware RAID can also fail, and take data with it.



[#] Wed Aug 31 2011 17:17:41 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Yeah, I experienced the hardware RAID failure problem at work, shortly after I started on this job.

We had replaced a drive, then Microsoft decided to restart the operating system (against our requests) while the hardware was busy updating the new drive. It cost us over $15,000 to recover the data lost by that event.

[#] Wed Aug 31 2011 17:22:34 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Well, if it's a true snapshot, the guest images will certainly not be cleanly unmounted, but they ought to be time-consistent, because LVM snapshots are COW-based...

Theoretically, a restored image ought to have the same level of consistency as a non-virtual server that was powered down during normal operation.

Obviously there will have to be quite a lot of verification of these backups, at least initially. I will probably also continue to do my rsync backups, perhaps to another destination. I may consider doing the VM image backups onsite and rsync backups offsite, or something like that...

[#] Wed Aug 31 2011 17:26:13 EDT from skpacman @ Uncensored

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ouch... 15 grand just because of microsoft... wait... that comment should be in the Microsoft Bashing room.

I've never worked with RAID setups before, but know how either side (soft or hard) works... I just use .img/.iso backups. I have it set to freeze the system and write to an .img every couple of days. I used to use the automated backup to .tar.gz approach but felt it necessary (and slightly easier) to do disk images...

-- 
Stephen D King
skpacman8629@gmail.com



[#] Wed Aug 31 2011 17:30:01 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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We had replaced a drive, then Microsoft decided to restart the
operating system (against our requests) while the hardware was busy
updating the new drive. It cost us over $15,000 to recover the data
lost by that event.

We frequently have to remind people that RAID is *not a backup strategy*.
Even with the best RAID you still have to do off-host backups.

RAID is a technology intended for high availability, not for backups.

As for hardware vs. software, it doesn't really matter how much money you've sunk into it; if you have two disk failures in a RAID5 set, your volume is going bye-bye. If the application is mission critical, then hopefully you've invested in good storage with things like predictive failure detection, automatic and immediate rebuilding of failed disks onto hot spares, etc. High end storage systems will even "call home" so that the vendor can send a tech with replacement parts to you right away.

And of course you could always do RAID6 or even RAID60, and really be able to lose two disks and still keep going. Good luck getting that past your DBA, though. "The Book" says that anything other than RAID1 or RAID10 is Teh Evil And Must Never Be Implemented, so your paper DBA will usually refuse to actually analyze the application's performance requirements vs. the hardware's capabilities. DBA will instead see that you want to implement RAID5/50/6/60 and say "This is unacceptable we require RAID10 please do the needful"

[#] Wed Aug 31 2011 18:58:29 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Yeah, consider our lesson 'the hard way'.

After that, we implemented a very paranoid backup strategy, with seven days of backups stored off-site, etc.

We didn't have the option of something cool like RAID6, sadly. So it goes.
I was thinking at the time that it was crazy to rely upon RAID entirely, but I was new, and didn't feel comfortable voicing my opinions. I'm more vocal now.

[#] Thu Sep 01 2011 03:10:10 EDT from dothebart @ Uncensored

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IG, maybe dividing the system into data partition could also do some good and reduce the amount of data needed to be backed up?

Fleeb, fancy that your windows done wrong event doesn't seem to have the same conclusions as linux done wrong...



[#] Thu Sep 01 2011 08:34:14 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Yeah.

When pressed, the real reason we do not do linux is that he is not familiiar with the operating system. And he is not interested in learning it.

Note that Android really turned him around about linux.

[#] Thu Sep 01 2011 09:28:23 EDT from dothebart @ Uncensored

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did you use that situation to tell him that linux doesn't try to solve your problems on its own and doesn't do that fataly wrong therefore?

having done an exchange recovery a while ago... they tell you the point & click lie, which lasts as long until you run into real trouble. suddenly "cryptic commandline tools" show up promising to solve your problems after lots of documentation reading.



[#] Thu Sep 01 2011 11:31:40 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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We have two fundamental problems with Linux for production use in our systems.

My boss is very, very comfortable with the Windows operating system, for all its faults, and simply does not want to invest the time to learn another operating system, end of discussion, yadda yadda.  This is, frankly, the second largest impediment to using Linux.

With that kind of mindset, *I* don't want us to move to Linux.  Because if we did, I will be the only person doing technical support for all of our boxes, installations, etc, and I want to be able to take vacations, and sleep at night (our customers call 24/7 if there are problems), and actually work on real code instead of constantly handling support.  We aren't going to hire another person (at a loss) just to do technical support because we wanted to change operating systems.

He's well aware by now that Linux is a viable operating system, one that is essentially free to use, and one that doesn't fuck up any more than any other operating system if you use it correctly.  But he just doesn't want to get comfortable with it.  He has had many opportunities, but just won't do it.  He's happy enough with Android, but I don't think Android is the right operating system for what we do.  It's perfect for hand-held machines but not server/workstation systems.  This sorta cracks me up in some ways, as he will complain bitterly about having to pay for Windows, but he won't do anything to get away from it.

The other problem involves licenses.  If we moved to Linux, we would almost certainly have to open source everything because of the viral nature of GNU licensing, and he is completely unwilling to do that at this point.  He doesn't want to risk some other company stealing our work, and using it to enhance their own products.  There's very nearly a 100% chance that would happen to us (e.g. a certain company that has created an automation system that claims to do what we can do would love to steal our code and actually make it happen instead of just advertise it falsely).  We'd effectively find ourselves killed as a company, at least at this point in time.

I keep saying 'at least at this point in time' because we know we need to change.  Our core business right now isn't really moving us forward, so we have to adjust.  We have plans towards change, but as ever, hush-hush.  Furthermore, unfortunately, much of our core code relies on APIs within the Windows operating system.  I'm slowly working to change that, but I can only do so much at a time.  And, unfortunately, because Linux doesn't have a more componentialized approach to working with media as far as I can tell, some of what we're trying to do can't be properly done in the Linux operating system.  I hate Microsoft, but they did a very impressive thing with that DirectMedia environment.  Closest thing to that in the Linux world is VideoLAN's efforts, but they're way behind right now, and nowhere near as flexible as the DirectMedia environment.



[#] Thu Sep 01 2011 12:07:52 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Whoa ... hold the show a minute here.

There is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON you would have to open source your code just because you're running it on Linux. The GNU GPL is only "viral" if you combine your code with their code. Microsoft spent a considerable amount of time pushing the myth that "GPL will eat all your stuff!!!1" but that myth was dismissed quite some time ago.

You have my utter and complete sympathy about the support issue, though.
You don't want to be stuck holding the bag that way with *any* technology.

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