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linuxconf Archives - AWS Managed Services by Anchor

Overview of Checkpoint and Restore – live-migrating processes on a Linux system

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We’re attending Linuxconf 2013 this week, being held down in our fair capital Canberra. There’s been some great talks so far, we thought we’d share one of the most interesting with you. In a nutshell, Checkpoint and Restore In Userspace (CRIU) is the ability to take a point-in-time snapshot of a running process (checkpoint), and revive it later, either on the same system or another system (restore). We’ll go over the difficulties in pulling this off, and what it’s good for. Problems – the rabbit hole goes much deeper At first blush, this sounds simple enough – dump the process’ memory and stash it away, then later restore it and fix up a few references in the kernel, too easy! Not so fast there, there’s a lot of subtle problems…

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LCA day 4 – On freedom

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It goes without saying that Linuxconf is all about free software, as in both beer and/or speech. A number of today’s talks focused on freedom, in the context of access to data and code, and the freedom to use software (and hardware) the way you see fit. We actually had two great keynote talks on freedom, I’d like to step back to yesterday’s talk by Karen Sandler (you can see the talk for yourself on on youtube, which I’d highly recommended). Karen was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that means she could suddenly die at any time. Thankfully there are treatments available, one of which is a pacemaker. Being the person she is, she immediately asked “what software does it run?”. Long story short, the manufacturer ended up…

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LCA day 3 – High Availability

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Thursday was more of a “practical” day, with plenty of hands-on hacking. This is nothing new, but nowadays you’re more likely to talk about running a bittorrent client on your bluetooth headset than linux on your toaster. There’s some genuinely awesome, really cool hacks out there (Android and Arduino is where a lot of it’s at), but they’re unlikely to help us give you 99.8% uptime. 🙂 Instead, we’ll have a really quick rundown of the high availability (HA) and virtualisation talks, and why it’s a good thing we sent a sysadmin along to them. Complexity is your biggest enemy when trying to build reliable systems. Complex systems tend to be flaky, and that means they’re unpredictable. Unpredictable systems are bloody hard to support and rely upon. You won’t read…

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LCA day 2

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Bit of a quiet day today, the highlight was probably the presentations on btrfs and xfs. Btrfs has been developing nicely, and Avi Miller got up to spruik some of the newer features of the filesystem. A bit like ZFS (which isn’t compatible with Linux licensing terms), it pulls in a lot of smarts that are usually the domain of your RAID controller/subsystem. This means more flexibility in how you handle your data, but a lot of new complexity too. It’s exciting stuff, but we’ll be waiting a bit longer to consider it robust enough to use in production. We’d kill for the integrated snapshotting (great for backups) and data integrity checking (store CRCs with your data) features. Meanwhile, XFS reports steady progress and positions itself as the filesystem of…

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LCA update, Day 1

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Anchor’s talk went pretty well by all reports, huzzah! Actually, it wouldn’t be fair to say it was that easy, so I’ll let the cat out of the bag on this one: Panel 1 T-Rex: Our talk to linux.conf.au got accepted! Panel 2 {Close-up of T-Rex’s face, he is visibly excited} T-Rex: It will be AWESOME Panel 3 {Zoom out to show T-Rex and Dromiceiomimus. T-Rex is about to confidently stomp a tiny house} Dromiceiomimus: You’ve prepared the talk months in advance, right? T-Rex: 1337 speakers such as myself need no such preparation! Panel 4 {Utahraptor replaces Dromiceiomimus in shot, verbally catching T-Rex just as he is about to stomp a tiny woman} Utahraptor: But what about the slides? Panel 5 {Now some distance apart, T-Rex and Utahraptor look directly…

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Exciting news from LCA miniconfs

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Florian Haas gave a talk yesterday at the HA miniconf to present Flashcache, a project that was spawned from Facebook and their desire to squeeze more performance out of their databases. The basic concept is to use any SSD device as a cache in front of slower rotational media. This is similar to commercial products such as LSI’s Cachecade, but implemented as a linux device-mapper module (so you wouldn’t be able to boot from such a setup, but that’s unlikely to be a real concern). One of the nice things about Flashcache is that it’s presented as a plain block device. As well as making for a robust and understandable system, a practical upshot of this is that you can also replicate your cache with DRBD. In large HA database…

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Anchor speaking at LCA2012, come listen!

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I think the title sums it up nicely. If you needed further incentive to come along, I would proudly inform you that my esteemed colleagues Messrs David Basden and Chris Collins will be discussing the finer points of the automated production of heterogeneous server systems. Activities will commence tomorrow (Tuesday) at half-past-ten in room C001, following the completion of elevenses. In all seriousness, we do hope you’ll come along if you’re attending Linuxconf and this tickles your fancy: Any monkey can build the same server over and over again reliably. But what if you need reliable server builds, and every single one is a little different? If you’d like a little more in-depth detail, the LCA website has a copy of the abstract for the talk. In addition to presenting,…

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Linux Conf Au 2009 Hobart – Day 5

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It was with regret that day 5 of LCA2009 came and went. But it was a blast! Simon Phipps of Sun Microsystems delivered the keynote, which mostly amounted to a scathing attack on the current state of the open source business model. People are going to be increasingly demanding for services they are interested in buying, not what the current flock of companies are selling. You don’t want to provide support for anything but RHEL or SLES? Too bad, to make money you’ll have to provide support for Fedora and SUSE. OK, maybe it’s not as straightforward as he made out, but it’s a realistic-enough sounding proposition. At the very least I expect the rapidly changing web development environment will be increasingly demanding of the latest and greatest tools on…

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Linux Conf Au 2009 Hobart – Day 4

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Day 4 of Linux Conf Au began with a hangover for many after the “Penguin Dinner” for professional delegates, and an equal number of empty wallets. The open source community generously gives a lot of their time to free software, and they are equally generous when it comes to other good causes such as the plight of the Tasmanian Devils. An auction was held for an impressive nature photograph print and other valuable items, at which we were able to raise an impressive $40,000+ figure. Awesome! The presentation on CELT: A Low-Latency, High-quality Audio Codec by Timothy Terriberry was an eye (and ear) opener. It lives up to the claims made in the title, and then some, with amazing quality. A live demo was given and I think it surprised…

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Linux Conf Au 2009 Hobart – Day 3

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Just a quick writeup for day 3, as I know you are still reeling from reading all about the first two action-packed days! We were lucky enough to have Tom Limoncelli give the keynote speech on Wednesday morning. He is the revered Systems Administrator who penned Time Management for System Administrators and The Practice of System and Network Administration, both of which are compulsory reading for every sysadmin at Anchor (we each have a copy of both books!), and he works for Google (no surprises there). Tom gave a fairly moving and unconventional speech about how we think we are living in an environment of scarcity, but we are actually living in an environment of plenty. We can give so much more to other people that costs us nothing, and…

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