Saturday, December 10, 2011

Amazon Web Services...

On the topic of virtualization... it seems AWS is a version of virtualization.  Not as much control as a local version (duh) but something to look at anyway.

Another interesting concept of the AWS system is scalable web hosting.  A service is offered that allows running a WordPress blog from an AWS account for about $1.50/month.  Very interesting stuff, gonna have to look in to this more!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

All atwitter

No, not Twitter (though I'm scubabum there too it you want to follow)...

My ADD is kicking in hard tonight... three screens, three computers, one remote connection and a virtual machine!  Gotta love it!

I got interested in hardware virtualization long ago but never had the hardware or software to support it.  Last year I built a modern computer (AMD Phenom 6 core processor with 8 GB of RAM) and started playing with virtualization.

I never really got things cooking because every virtual machine requires software and each instance requires its own license so toying with Windows would have cost me $100 a pop for new installs (my old Windows XP installation media was corrupt, never saved any Vista media).  Now, since I'm a student (check out Dreamspark), I have access to free versions of Windows Server 2008.  I installed Virtualbox and away we go!

The first step was to create the space for the virtual machine (VM) to run in.  The Virtualbox software stepped me through the process and very quickly I had a 20 GB virtual harddrive for my install.

Installing Server 2008 wasn't much different than installing it directly on a computer.  I downloaded the software to my file server (Unraid server that will soon be virtualized using ESXi) and shared the ISO using an addon for Unraid and attached the ISO to the VM I created above.  On initial start of the VM the installation media booted as if it were a CD-ROM in a real computer and allowed me to install my operating system. 

Once Server 2008 was running it automatically detected virtual network access and started downloading updates and service packs.  After a few restarts to get all of the updates installed I had a fully functional VM.

Running Windows 7 Professional and Windows Server 2008 on the same hardware was causing some serious lag issues.  My initial thought was that I was overburdening the processor but after downloading Windows widgets to track CPU, RAM and SWAP usage I found that my 8GB of RAM was the bottleneck.  Luckily, RAM is cheap right now ($45ish for 2x4GB DDR3 non-ECC 240 pin RAM) so I upgraded to 16GB and my lag went away.

Great, now I have two OSs running on the same hardware (dual monitors are important here), so what?  Since I'm a student... I also have access to a free version of MS Visual Studio 2010 Pro!  I have a modern MS OS that is isolated from my production/play machine that I can install an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) in!  If I right some code and it breaks my machine, it's a virtual machine that can be quickly returned to a useful state, all while I keep plugging away on my real machine!

The remote connection is to my Unraid server, I'm moving files from four smaller drives to two larger drives in preparation for moving that machine to a virtual OS.  Should be fun!

And, for the haters, I already installed Ubuntu desktop and server and Slackware as VMs.  Ubuntu works like a champ but my Linux noobishness has kept me from getting the Slackware VM up, probably going to host those on the ESXi box when it's up, speed of execution for me will be more important on those OS's so I'd rather they be closer to bare metal rather than running in a VM on top of another OS.  Those installs will be another post though.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Twice in one day!

Yup, trying to be more communicative....

I really was looking forward to coming home and finding out how to move my blog but, the internet was down!

After about 2 1/2 years and a trip or two around the world, my Linksys WRT-120N called it quits. The thought crossed my mind that it might be under warranty but going without internet at home for the period of time to do the warranty exchange was out of the question. Now I'm the owner of a new Belkin N-750DB. So far so good...

I was a bit leery about getting the Belkin, I've had issues with their stuff in the past, but it had very similar specs to the Linksys E4200 I was going to buy but cost $50 less. We'll see how it goes.

Off to check on that warranty, a spare world traveling router isn't a bad thing to have!

EDIT: WRT-120N waaayyy out of warranty, tech supports best advice "Dispose of properly." ;-)

I'm baaack!

I've been meaning to get back into blogging for a while.

I liked blogspot/blogger because it allowed me to email my post to my blog. I didn't like the layout of the blog. I always thought I would just use blogger and then forward the site to my domain ( I kind of forgot about it.

Now I've come back and tried again. I still haven't gotten the posts to forward but I have found new cool tools to post stuff to this obscure address.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Hello world!
It's been a very long time since I posted on my blog but I'm sitting
at the airport in Dubai with a few minutes until boarding.
That brings me to the title of this post. I'm sitting in one of 4
Starbucks in this airport. I'm enjoying a venti coffee of the day
(Kenya if you're into such things) and I heard a Windows computer
start up. Here I am, very remote from the US, surrounded by US company
branding. I walked past a Costa coffee shop to get here and I know it
was a Windows computer because of the distinctive chime when it is
turned on.
Some things, like the Windows computer, aren't here so much for the
brand or current marketing as for past marketing and making the PC
user friendly. Starbucks though? That's all marketing!
There are not many computer operating systems out there that are
accepted by the masses but there are a ton of coffee shops! Here in
Dubai I can visit big chains (Costa, Starbucks, Cafe Nero, Gloria
Jeans, Coffee and Tea House, Caribou to name a few) or any smaller
chain but the one with 4 in the airport is Starbucks. In all fairness,
Costa has three here.
They just passed a boarding call for an Iranian Air flight to Tehran.
I wonder what an Iranian thinks of all these American brands with such
dominance just a few miles from their shores?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Not looking forward...

I’m a Dad now.  That’s a great thing.  I’m headed back out on deployment.  That’s not such a good thing.

This dad thing is pretty awesome.  I never realized how much one little person could influence your life!  He’s a bundle of joy and just so precious you want to hug him all day.

Tomorrow is going to suck though.  Time to head back to my unit and the work that I’m not looking forward to.  The only upside is that we have been so busy the last few months that it kind of slipped on by.  Hopefully the remaining few months will do the same so I can get back to my family.