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Posts Tagged ‘tips’

 

Riverbed Stingray 8.1 Now in the GoGrid Cloud!

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 by

As of today, GoGrid has released multiple images of the leading software load balancer, Riverbed Stingray! The following images are available on the GoGrid Partner Exchange in both San Francisco and Amsterdam:

  • Riverbed 7.4 Simple Load Balancer 10 Mbps
  • Riverbed 8.1 Load Balancer 10 Mbps
  • Riverbed 8.1 Load Balancer 200 Mbps
  • Riverbed 8.1 Load Balancer 200 Mbps WAF

How to Monitor Your Windows 2008 Server on GoGrid with Cacti 0.8.7g

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 by

This is the 3rd and final post in my setup and use of the GoGrid Community GSI server for Cacti Monitoring. In my first post, “Set Up A Cacti Monitoring Server in Minutes with this GoGrid Community Server Image,,” I covered how to deploy Cacti in your GoGrid environment using a Community GSI. My second post, “How to Monitor Your Ubuntu Server on GoGrid in 6 Steps Using Cacti 0.8.7g,” I discussed how to initiate monitoring of your GoGrid Ubuntu server. Now to round things off, I want to show you how to link up your Cacti monitoring server to a Windows Server 2008 server on your GoGrid network. The base install of Cacti 0.8.7g will allow you to monitor the server’s bandwidth utilization, Ethernet errors, number of logged in users, and total number of processes. There are other templates available to monitor other components and services on your Windows server, but they require using an additional SNMP service beyond the Microsoft SNMP service. My blog post won’t get into the latter, but I will cover the former.

Objectives:

  1. Configure GoGrid private network connectivity on Windows 2008 Server and test connectivity to Cacti server
  2. Configure and start Microsoft SNMP service on your Windows 2008 Server
  3. Add new Cacti device
  4. Create graphs to log Local Connection and Local Connection 2 bandwidth and errors, Logged in Users, and server processes

Configure GoGrid private network connectivity on Windows 2008 Server and test connectivity to Cacti server

Below we see that we have a server (“Web2”) deployed on GoGrid with a public IP. Let’s log into this server and configure the private network with a private IP from the same subnet of the Cacti Monitor server. As I described in my previous post – I am using the prescribed private IP subnet from my GoGrid portal, contained under the List tab and then under Network – Private Network.

Selection_101

(more…) «How to Monitor Your Windows 2008 Server on GoGrid with Cacti 0.8.7g»

10 Things to Consider When Purchasing Cloud Computing Infrastructure

Monday, February 28th, 2011 by

So you’re looking at purchasing cloud infrastructure for your business? That’s great! While we believe cloud infrastructure is a viable solution for everybody, each company needs to find an implementation and provider that best meets their specific need. We call it crafting your “Cloud Fingerprint“. Every cloud infrastructure solution is unique to the business looking for a solution. If you choose a provider that tries to convince you that their solution is the only way to go, you might want to consider looking around for another vendor. Your cloud provider should really be your cloud partner. And, they should work with you in crafting your unique cloud solution, not try to jam a round peg into a square hole.

Cloud-Fingerprint

Before breaking out the checkbook there are several things to consider internally and questions you should ask your potential cloud provider to make sure you are getting the best solution for your business.

Internal Question for your Company

Cloud infrastructure comes in many different shapes and sizes. Having a clear understanding of how your organization will be using this infrastructure will help narrow down which providers will have solutions that fit your need. Here are some questions to ask yourself before approaching vendors:

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The Microsoft/Danger/T-Mobile Sidekick Fiasco is NOT a Failure of Cloud Computing!

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009 by

sidekickblue_flame Over the past few days, I have seen a lot of articles, tweets and commentary about how the recent failure within Danger (who was purchased by Microsoft about a year ago) of data for the T-Mobile Sidekick was “the Cloud’s fault,” and this really bothered me. As Microsoft is poised to do something with the Danger brand (“Project Pink“) as well as soon release their Cloud Computing Platform called Azure, this could not have come at a worse time for them. There is obviously a lot of attention being paid to the cell phone market place as the Android platform is trying to make a positioning move to attempt to dethrone Apple’s iPhone. The Danger (now Microsoft) Sidekick was a device that provided great functionality “back in the day” (I actually went through quite a few generations of Sidekicks – from the B&W version up to a few color ones a few years ago). The Sidekick has a tiny market share and the user demographic is really much younger (e.g., teens) than the iPhone/Android/Blackberry crowd.

Last week, the Danger data network started experiencing some degradation of service where users were unable to access their data. A quick side note about the Sidekick, unlike other data-containing cellphones, the Sidekick stores all of the data (contacts, appointments, pictures, etc.) in a network datastore and not within the device itself. Most users rely solely on this service and don’t back up their data to a local computer. Other “smarter” phones like the Blackberry and iPhone rely on data synchronization with a physical computer or an Exchange Server to reliably back up their data. In my opinion, this is where the failure of the Sidekick started – single remote source of data only.

Details on the data issue are still being revealed (recently, there is a discussion about “dogfooding” or even “sabotage” where Microsoft may have wanted to replace the existing technology with their own – I will let the conspiracy theory experts battle that one out) but my understanding is that Microsoft wanted to upgrade the SAN (Storage Area Network) that powered the Sidekick data network and contracted with Hitachi to get the job done. Unfortunately for reasons unknown, no backup of the data was performed prior to this upgrade attempt (Failure #2). The upgrade of the SAN proceeded without a backup in place and the data was “destroyed” resulting in thousands of Sidekick users stuck without their data. As of this writing, some users have actually been able to recover data (e.g., if they didn’t power off their device or if they did a “reverse sync” from their Sidekick back to the Danger servers – I don’t have details on this so please don’t try anything without doing any research first).

This brings me back to the title of this post: this fiasco is NOT a failure of Cloud Computing, it is simply a failure of not following standard IT practices, ones that even an average computer user knows. Back up your data, your servers and your infrastructure regularly and store it securely in different locations.

It is somewhat understandable (and unfortunate) that mainstream media and even the tech community jump so quickly to the conclusion that the Cloud is at fault here. Cloud Computing is relatively new and as with any new technology or service, people are looking for any and all holes therein. The same could be said about the launch of eCommerce back in the mid-1990′s. There were failures, fraud and other issues associated with it and the naysayers were quick to point out only the negatives of the movement. Today, people use eCommerce for everything and could not live without it (there are still issues with fraud and security but the technology has evolved and stabilized). Cloud Computing is now going through a similar hype-cycle and we are in the phase where many are adopting and using it wholeheartedly but others are sitting in wait, hoping for some sort of a failure to point out the disadvantages of it.

With recent Gmail failures, users were quick to blame the Cloud. Gmail is a great example of a SaaS application (which many, including me, call a “Cloud Application”). However, Gmail has been around longer than the term “Cloud Computing” so have we simply compartmentalized it into a Cloud Application category? It is not a huge issue if we have. However, what DOES bother me is when a failure happens therein and people simply say “oh, it’s the Cloud’s fault”. Sorry, but what would we have said if a similar failure happened 4 years ago? “Oh, it’s a failure of SaaS” and “SaaS is evil”?

(more…) «The Microsoft/Danger/T-Mobile Sidekick Fiasco is NOT a Failure of Cloud Computing!»

10 Tips for StartUps to Survive the “Recession”

Friday, October 3rd, 2008 by

DontPanic_1024 “Don’t Panic!” These are two words (made popular by Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) that every day become more appropriate and valid. Credit has dried up as has funding by Venture Capitalists, Angel Funders and the like. If you are a bootstrapped company, a startup or a company in “stealth mode,” right now you might be wishing that you had taken a more stable job at a large corporation (hopefully not in the Financial sector) or that you had planned better for another bubble to burst. Well fear not…there is always a way to survive, through careful planning and management.

I would like to offer the following “Guide” of my own to those small companies or startups that are struggling now, on the verge of closing shop or just ready to give up. First, let me restate Adams’ words: “Don’t Panic!” There are methods to keep your company and vision moving forward, maybe in a different direction or perhaps a bit more slowly.

Here are a few things that you may want to consider as you re-architect your survival strategy:

  1. Start Now – don’t take a “wait and see” attitude. If you have a great idea, keep moving forward, but DO start your cash conservation immediately. The mere fact that you are searching for information and reading this post is a great sign that you are being active!
  2. Outsource – sure, doing things in-house can save you some cash, but only part of the time. Truly evaluate what makes sense (cents) in your day-to-day operations. If it takes your developer a week to do something and an outside “specialist” a day or two, evaluate the costs of both actions. If you aren’t paying your employees and they are doing work in their free time, try to factor in the time-to-market of that approach. While you may save money in up-front costs, you may lose it in terms of beating your competitors to market. Here are a couple factors within “outsourcing” to consider:
    • Human Capital – frequently small boutiques who are experts in a particular field can do things faster and better than you can in-house. They, too, might be effected by the economic downturn and may be willing to cut some of their costs just to have your business.
    • Operations – this can be both on the technical or just the basic company operations side. If you are providing healthcare benefits, see if you can change your plans or even ask your employees if they have other means to get healthcare (e.g., through a spouse).
  3. Avoid Capital Expenditures (CapEx) – hardware costs money, lots of it. Of course this all depends on what stage your company is at. If you are just starting, you may be able to get away with repurposing old computers and sharing bandwidth, but as you grow and get closer to having to “prove your value proposition” to investors or even end-users, you do need some sort of infrastructure. Consider using Cloud Computing (e.g., GoGrid) to host your infrastructure, whether it be a development environment or eventually your production infrastructure. By using “the Cloud” you have zero CapEx, no monthly/yearly contracts and are billed by your usage. This is a great way to control your costs and scale only on-demand. You can easily control your capacity, and avoid having your infrastructure sitting around unused or idle.
  4. Simplify/Set Realistic Goals – The more complex you make things, the harder they are to undo. Figure out what you really want to do with your business. Is it a hobby or your life work? Do you want to be the next Google? If so, you probably want to rethink that. While it is good to have lofty goals, keep them closer to earth. Did you hire someone who sold you on reaching something unattainable? You may want to reconsider that, hard as it may be, and let those people go. Re-architect your strategies. Clearly identify the most fundamental and basic goals you want to achieve. Sometimes through simplification, you can find a niche that others haven’t. That makes you more viable and attractive. If you are doing something that everyone else is gunning for, and you are struggling, it probably isn’t worth it. You don’t need to throw it all away, but you might want to evaluate what you want to do and choose 1-2 things that are (somewhat) unique. Remember K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple, Stupid).
  5. Remain Flexible – the worst thing that you can do in these trying times is not move or be rigid. Being a startup or small company has definite advantages. You have the ability to move much more quickly than larger companies. Look to be flexibility in many areas: strategic direction, product or service feature set, tools and infrastructures and even work ethic. Keep your employees happy by finding out what works best for them. I’m reminded of a story I heard about a hair dresser who was looking for a change. After some soul searching and help from some personality profiles, they became a landscape architect: similar ideas of grooming but in a completely different field (literally). So stay flexible in your own thinking as well.
  6. Network & Socialize – as you start to panic, the worst thing you can do is do it alone. Trust me, there are many people and business who are sharing your same concerns. Some may be further down the process of recovery or re-architecting and may be willing to share with you their experiences and what to or not to do. There are so many ways to connect with people nowadays. There is the obvious Social Media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, etc.) and I’m a big proponent of these methods. However, in this case, you may really need to just “get out” and talk to people face-to-face. If you live near a big metropolitan area, there is most likely some sort of meetup (check MeetUp.com for example – their video really is great!) or event that meets your needs. Go to them. Start talking to people. (If you are in San Francisco, check out an event I host called StartUpSF.) You may be surprised as to how many great ideas you may get and even how many people really want to help. New strategic partnerships are frequently started at events like this. It’s important to listen to new ideas and see how they apply to your own. Some of the things you hear may influence how you attack other points on this list. Remember too that you can socialize your Public Relations very easily now. Read some experts’ tips and you may save costs and time there too.
  7. Conserve Expenses – this is obvious enough. Watch your energy expenditure especially. I mentioned the Cloud before; by outsourcing your IT infrastructure, you can save tremendous costs, especially if you are doing it yourself through your own server rack in your closet. Don’t travel if you don’t need to. With large bandwidth pipes, it’s easy to have video conferencing with almost the same result as a face-to-face. Save the face-to-face for closing the deal. Oh, and pack your own lunch.
  8. Don’t Ignore the Rest of the World – the US economy may be seeing some hard times, but there are other markets out there that may want to spend their money with you. Invest some time in reviewing these other markets. Their currency may be a lot stronger than the US dollar, so they may be more willing to pay for your product or service, or even invest in your business. Don’t ignore the fact that with advances in technologies, the world is a much smaller place than we actually realize.
  9. Cash Flow Management – this is true on both billables and receivables. If you have existing vendor contracts and they are part of your lifeblood, see if you can renegotiate them. As I mentioned before, you are not alone in this economic crunch and many vendors (and even lenders) would rather renegotiate than lose your business. If your own business model is not getting the traction that you desired, you might want to try to tweak it a bit. Consider offering pre-payment discounts (e.g., have people commit for a longer amount of time but discount it against a monthly or smaller cycle rate). ServePath does this type of thing with managed hosting, by offering “server specials” at a lower cost. Old inventory may be sitting around so leverage it through discounts as well.
  10. Keep your Day Job – I had to end with some humor. If your startup is your life-long passion, it is your day job so take these tips to heart. If it isn’t, remember you have to pay your bills somehow.

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