Great work by Brad Allison in creating SUMO and for the data center and SA teams for pushing its usage. This tool allows AOL to identify underutilized servers and either decommission them – or bundle them up onto virtualized hosts.
It is great to work with dedicated people that are not only smart, but care about their environment at the same time.
Back sometime in 2004/2005 when I was the CIO/SVP of Engineering for CNET Networks, they shot a video of me explaining, “Scaling out an Internet Architecture“. I was thinking about the current publishing system at AOL, DynaPub, that we developed in 2007 after I arrived. It was interesting after I watched the video again how close DynaPub follows the key principles described in it.
The only parts the video does not cover are:
Use of Lucene as the Search engine and SOLR as the container to hold Lucene (we invented SOLR while I was at CNET).
Use of XML over HTTP as the transport layer between the App Servers and DBs / Search engine.
Use of denormalized MySQL tables for speed
The main tool, the CMS, and its very specialized table structure for high-performance.
The AOL Publishing system is the fourth generation publishing system that I have been involved in either designing or managing. IMHO, most of the: bloated, over-designed, needlessly complex issues from previous publishing systems have been eradicated in DynaPub. It also has ZERO licensing or maintenance costs as it is all built on open-source – including the operating system – as mentioned in a previous blog post here.
I recently ordered and received a couple more servers from the AOL Employee Purchase Program. They are a couple of Dell 2850s with 4GB of RAM. I also picked up a nice Dell desktop for $100 as well. Can never have enough of those. I grabbed some speakers for $5 to hook up to one of my Apple AirPort Express units to allow music in a remote room through iTunes.
Onto installing CentOS on the servers and Windows on the PC. This should complete my home data center. I am really racking up a power bill.
I upgraded my home “data center” recently with the addition of two used HP DL320s. They both have 4GB of RAM and two 15k 36GB drives in a RAID1 configuration. I build and buy hardware as a hobby to keep me close to the reality of managing corporate software systems and data centers.
From RHEL to CentOS
I decided to run CentOS 5.2 on these new home systems. It is fantastic. You have to love the GPL that makes this possible. Some companies making their first foray into Linux might not feel comfortable using CentOS. Mature companies that have been using some form of RHEL for a few years should feel very comfortable. How many Linux OS support calls do you make in a year anyway? Needless to say, we are migrating AOL from RHEL to CentOS at a significant annual savings.
I would have gone to Debian, as I needed a free alternative to improve my company’s operating margins, but why not use CentOS when it is binary compatible with RHEL and FREE? Easy decision.
Open Source Commoditization of Software
Similar to my decisions to move my previous companies off of BEA WebLogic to Tomcat and Sybase to MySQL. It is almost hard to believe that companies payed for the Netscape Web Server now that Apache is ubiquitous. Distant memories of companies paying for Alta Vista, Verity, or FAST search products now with Lucene and SOLR. Thank you Open Source!
Managing my home data center takes more time lately. I now have a mac mini and a Fedora Core 3 box in my office. This is in addition to the servers in my garage.
I enjoy the Fedora Core 3 box and am looking to upgrade an older AS2.1 box to Fedora. First I need to move the old applications off of it. I am keeping notes in a Wiki on one of my machines now to track all the stuff I am doing to these boxes. At least I have MRTG graphs for my PIX and my NICs on all the machines in the garage. I also have RRD graphs for all of the web servers on those machines as well.
Connecting my DSL and Cable Modem Networks
I plan on buying a PIX for the upstairs office. This way I can make a site-to-site VPN that auto connects between the upstairs cable modem and the garage’s DSL line. Then I will instrument the upstairs machines with MRTG and RRD as well.
Maybe I will start my Harley some time in May. It has been so long the battery may be dead by now. 🙁 It is overcast and cold this morning up here in the hills – so no ride today.
Wednesday night at the races at Infineon Raceway. Isn’t it great to live in the USA? Anyone with a license and mom’s station wagon can burn up the tires. For me it was 111 mph and 13.08 second quarter mile in my 2001 Z06 Corvette with street tires and my work clothes on. Kudos to Ross at work for actually dragging me away from the office!
Now I need to take my Harley Fatboy up there and see how the 96 ci motor I put in there runs. I doubt I am talented enough to go sub 13 seconds on it. Not even sure if a really good pilot could do it. Maybe I will ask John Strickland to run it once. He did a 12.25 on my old 1200 Sportster that I sold him…
Modifications to the 2001 Z06 Corvette?
Hmmm… Now I am thinking of buying a “second” set of rims and tires so I can see if I am capable of running in the low 12 second range with my Z06. Some kids there were telling me about a super-charger I could bolt on to take myself to 450 hp. Or I could just wait for the 2006 Z06 to come out – rumor has it that it will be 500 hp out of the box… That sounds nice – an ’06 Z06…
Fedora Core 3 is really nice. Running it on a P4 3GHz w/ 2GB RAM. Now if I could just get the PPTP stuff from SourceForge to work I could see if the Ximian connector is worth using with a corporate Exchange account.
I know – PPTP? We also have an SSL VPN – so maybe I should use that…
I guess you can’t scribble with a keyboard very well…
This post was mostly just to try out the system and get my feet wet – so to speak. Not that anyone should read this. I am just an obscure guy whacking away on some interesting technology in the community space. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Brad Fitzpatrick, founder of Live Journal, and decided to see what the buzz was all about.
The more I poke around, the more I realize that I need to get some hobbies that involve other humans! Maybe I should go and look up the Oakland chapter of HOG now that I have lived here for over 2 years. It should not be too much trouble to ride at 9AM on a weekend day.
My big event last weekend was replacing my ATA/100 RAID 1 setup in my desktop with a SATA setup (big 150MBps!!!). Not that I wanted the extra speed, the damn controller kept crashing and corrupting the drives, and I was tired of playing with them. Now I am back to more fun projects like connecting my cable modem to my DSL line through two Cisco PIX 501s…