Friday, April 30, 2010

HowTo Set Up Your Own Cloud Server

Every average linux geek needs some server to manage. Why? You ask me why? It's simple. For fun :). It's great to admin my own svn repository for my will_be_next_killer_app code, benchmarking new cutting edge webservers, experimenting with new web frameworks, having acces to some spare computational power for scientific (1/1*4%5+1=? :)) computations or cracking my own security settings. Small server connected to the Internet can be small lab or playground for your geeky mind. So, you still haven't one? It's time to get one. Today it is really simple and quite cheap to hire such a server from the one of the available cloud hosting services. For myself I had considered these two options of the on-demand cloud server hostings (both were the cheapest offered):
  • Amazon EC2 (0.085$/hour) - Small Instance 1.7 GB of memory, 160 GB of local instance storage, 32-bit platform
  • Rackspace Cloud Servers (0.015$/hour) - 256 MB of memory, 10 GB local storage, 64-bit platform
My experimental purposes have better suited the Rackspace offer. I've also read this performance analysis that made me definitely think only about the Rackspace option. It's about 11$ per month and it means lot of fun for funny budget. And as bonus to my new server I can explore new possibilities of the cloud like scaling (both horizontal and vertical), fooling around with loadbalancing techniques, observing the unlimited file storage service and thinking about how could I use the Rackspace CDN (Content Delivery Network) infrastructure. I'm fascinated with all these possibilities which doesn't go with an ordinary dedicated server, that would be probably far more expensive to hire.

How To Get Your Cloud Server Running

Well, first you have to sign up. Don't worry, you will pay nothing until you start your first server. In less than 15 minutes you will receive a confirmation call on your mobile phone (See, it's a part of their trademarked Fanatical Support(tm) :)). After that you can have your own cloud running in less than 3 minutes. I created a video to show you how simple it is to start new cloud server, connect to it via ssh and than delete it.

The perfect thing about the cloud is that you can start these on-demand servers in such small amount of time and scale your infrastructure very quickly. It is useful when your infrastructure for whatever reason doesn't meet your varying needs (for example traffic peaks on some web site). You simply scale up, wait till the traffic/load falls down, and than scale down. It's very effective because all the time you only pay for resources that you really need (pay as you go). Hope it helped you and maybe encouraged you to explore the world of cloud computing. If you've liked my video, it should be easy for you to start with cloud computing with Rackspace Cloud Servers. Stay tuned for more videos and howtos. 

If you have any question or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment.

Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Released

The day before Walpurgis Night, long expected new LTS (means three years support for desktop and five years support for server edition) version of Ubuntu has been released. For server administrators it's a good news because they can easily update to the latest software. In addition Ubuntu has quite remarkable support for establishing and using clouds. There is an option to set up Ubuntu on the well known Amazon EC2 or Rackspace Cloud Servers, but you can also (if you are an adventurer; kidding, it's pretty easy ;)) set your own private cloud powered by an open source project Eucalyptus which is used for example by NASA by the way. On an official Ubuntu page I've read that with their Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) technology you can have your own cloud up and running in less than 30 minutes (current record is 25 minutes :)).

Desktop changes

On the desktop version many visual changes took place. New color scheme (no more Human theme colors) moving towards Mac OS X look and feel. Window buttons are on the left by default (IMHO pointless change).
There are also changes on some packages and default software. Gimp was removed for the default instalation and according to Ubuntu distro developers, for edditing and managing your photos you should use F-spot (which isn't bad). One of the major changes is new integrated music store which is huge step forward I think. Music store is "backuped" by 7digital.

If you are a social person you may find useful Gwibber, which integrates all kinds of social networks into one simple interface. If you are a home video geek, you can use new simple video editing tool called PiTiVi.

Of course, there is a lot more changes like new hardware support, new kernel etc. Give it a try, you won't regret (I guess ;)). Download from official Ubuntu download site. Stay tuned for further reviews of this nice open source operating system.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cutting Edge Bullshit

Well, hello. So what's going on here? Well, may be nothing. But sometimes I have a strong feeling that I have to share my (fuckin' extensive:)) knowledge of IT and IT related fields like cooking, linux administration, sustainable gardening, cloud computing, math problems, simulations, knitting, programming of useless utils etc. :). And if there is a field which I know nothing about, be prepared to be overhelmed how educated posts on a topics from such a field I can produce :). So I hope that every visitor of this blog (granny, hippie mid-aged man, 7 years old genius child, averege geek etc.) will find here something interesting that will catch his eye.

Dear reader, welcome in a geek's heaven.