Saturday, 27 September 2014

XenServer: A Demonstration of XenMotion

It's been a little over a year since XenServer 6.2 was open sourced by Citrix and I've been using it on and off since then and I have to say I'm extremely impressed.  Now obviously I'm only running it on a test rig with all of the hosts running as VMs within VMware Workstation 10, but it does appear to work really well.  

I'm so impressed, I thought I'd do a little demo of how it performs when migrating a VM from one XenServer host to another.  Something that they call XenMotion (analogous to VMware vMotion.)

The test rig specs are as follows;
  • 1 x Home Built Workstation with AMD Phenom Hex Core CPU and 32GB RAM
  • 2 x QNAP TS-112 NAS Devices craved up into multiple LUNs
  • 1 x  TP-Link TL-SG1016 Gigabit Layer 2 Switch

An Alternative Unboxing

So today, I decided to start using a headset for doing Skype/Hangouts calls.  I usually use my studio headphones and Sure PG48 mic but sometimes it just gets unwieldy. I remembered that three years ago, somebody gave me a professional Contact Centre USB headset, so I thought I'd dig it out and use that.  That's when I found this issue...

Shellshock - Bash Vulnerability

Everyone using Linux, Unix and OSX should have hopefully heard about this by now.  For those who don't know, the Bash shell which is included in pretty much all Linux distros along with Unix variants such as Solaris, Mac OSX, NetBSD and FreeBSD will all be vulnerable to this issue, along with all sorts of embedded devices such as Routers, VPN and SSL Concentrators, Load Balancer Appliances to name but a few...

The issue is a flaw in the way Bash evaluates certain specially crafted environmental variables. An attacker could exploit this by bypassing environment restrictions to execute shell commands. 

There are now 4 separate issues relating to this;


To check to see if your system is vulnerable run the following command as a non-root user; 

env X='() { (a)=>\' sh -c "echo date"; cat echo

If a file called 'echo' is created in the current directory and it contains the date, you need to 
patch your system.

Red Hat have produced a good FAQ on the whole issue.

Also, Virtualisation platforms that have a Linux element such as VMware ESX and ESXi 
and XenServer will also be vulnerable.

Monday, 22 September 2014

ZTE Open C and Firefox OS Review

I've just purchased my very first Firefox OS phone and after a couple of days of using it, I'm pretty happy, so I thought I'd do a little review so that if anyone wants to take the plunge, they can virtually try before they buy so to speak...  The phone was purchased from ebay UK as the only official British distributor. 

I hope you get something out of it and if you have any questions, just add a question below.

Friday, 19 September 2014

The Scottish Referendum - No Change

So, no change in Scotland... Which is a shame because I wanted to see the years of legal wrangles when they realise that Scotland was created from an International treaty and not from Acts of Parliament and therefore couldn't of easily been repealed.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Scottish Referendum

I think that living in the most Northerly city in England, the day before the Scottish Referendum, it would probably be remiss of me not to mention what's happening over the border.

I do admit that for the vast majority of the time leading up to the election, myself and I suspect other people in England haven't paid much attention to the whole situation, other than possibly feeling a little jealous that the Scots had this opportunity.  However, as the day finally arrives and the bluster from both sides increases exponentially, I've seen a lot of lies, half truths and false extrapolation from everyone.   I have no incredible insight on this topic, other than recalling the moves in New Zealand to join with Australia to increase their monetary clout and the poor performance of the Euro, I can't help in thinking this isn't the best time to make such a momentous decision and I do hope that everyone remembers it isn't a film called Braveheart... It's real life and it's forever.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

The Cloud Experiment: Friday

So, the experiment is over and what did we learn? Well, the cloud is indeed pervasive in people's lives... I counted that I had direct interaction with 12 unique cloud based services and no doubt loads more behind the scenes.  But I also found out what I suspected all along and that is most of the cloud interaction will be at home or directed at the consumer and not at work.  In my case, we are very risk adverse at work and some of the main people who influence security hate the idea that data should move out to anywhere other than within our four walls, so farming it off to Datacentres in other places around the world fills them with fear and dread.  I suspect that many other Medium sized enterprises within the UK feel the same and that the main take up in Enterprise cloud computing will come from startups.  I think they are wrong as it happens and if fear of of data leeks is indeed a real concern, simply build financial penalties into the contract between you and the cloud provider.   If you have any comments on this little experiment or if you have done your own and the results differ greatly from these, why don't you share them within the comments section?

Friday, 12 September 2014

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Cloud Experiment: Wednesday

Well, there is definitely a pattern emerging here... no cloud usage at all throughout the working day, but loads of cloud usage with Social Media apps at home in the evening, plus a new service... Evernote

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Cloud Experiment: Tuesday

So, we're half way through the experiment and I've had another quiet day on the cloud front whilst at work but once home, I've checked my Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, listened to Podcasts and watched some old shows via my Tivo.

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Cloud Experiment: Monday

So, it's a little late in the day to be adding something to the experiment, but the truth is I've had no Cloud interaction all day until I got home.     I can tell that you are incredulous about this information and hear you asking, "So you're telling me that you work in IT and you haven't used a Cloud based service all day??? Well, yes that is exactly what I'm saying... until I was exercising a bit when I got home and started listening to my Podcasts through the Pure Connect app, I have had no cloud interaction all day. Blimey.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Cloud Experiment: Sunday

So, Sunday morning arrives, I start the day reviewing all of the Twitter feeds I've missed over the last week and amazingly for me, look at Google+ which I hardly ever use... I'm actual quite amazed about how many people post to Google+, we're always told the nobody uses it, but I've seen loads of colleagues and friends posting stuff on there recently.

After breakfast, I go into the kitchen and wash up, but while doing that I fire up the Roku box and catch up on some news streams. I've got a few questions that have arisen from the news I've just seen, so it's onto the tablet and see what Wikipedia says about the topics and my questions are now fully answered.

In to the afternoon and it's my Podcast listening time.  Usually on a Sunday afternoon when I'm doing some exercise or having a bath, I go through and listen to my Podcasts through Pure Connect and sent to my Jongo S3 and this an entirely cloud service which I have to say is very, very good.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

The Cloud Experiment: Saturday

Day 1 starts with my Internet Radio waking me up at 6:15.  Is this the first cloud device?  Well, it is true that it can connect to the cloud (it's one of these if you're interested) but in this case it was receiving a DAB broadcast so, I can't really count that.

After a quick wash and brush up, it's down stairs and a quick check of my Gmail (that's the first cloud service) and a quick read of my Kindle (that's the second) over breakfast... all this and it's still before 9am.

Now it's after 1pm and we've had no more cloud usage, just a bout of physical shopping, which is very much a non-cloud operation!

So, we're into the evening on the first day and I've used my phone and the Kindle app to read some ebooks and check Facebook, which means I've used another unique cloud service but we're after 6pm and on Saturday evening I normally don't do much other watch some old fashioned television or something from the PVR.

To end the day, I used the Flipboard and News360 apps which although are aggregator services, will have loads of cloud content behind the scenes, so I'll add these as unique services four and five, and then read a bit more on my Kindle before bed.

P.S.Writing this on Sunday morning, I suddenly remembered that there was another Cloud based service I used while watching TV yesterday evening.  A advert for a Peugeot came on and my wife asked what was Shazam, so we downloaded it and used that for awhile... actually that is a prime example of how we use cloud products and don't even realise!

It's Getting Very Cloudy

Currently there is a huge furore in the British press around some celebrities who have had dubious images of themselves published online.  Nothing out of the ordinary there you may think, except that these photos were originally stored on a Cloud service that appears to have been hacked.  Although this issue is specifically regarding the iCloud service, it hasn't stopped the Red Tops pronouncing the Cloud as the new global evil.  It did also start me thinking about how quickly Cloud based services have crept into the daily lives of people that don't necessarily have an IT background.

Then at breakfast one morning, my wife mentioned in a conversation about how silly these people were in storing their 'adult' images on such services and I explained that they might not necessarily realise that this synchronisation is happening at all, Even when I take a snap on my phone or tablet it gets whizzed off to Dropbox or Google+, all without any interaction from me.  That is when I decided to perform a little experiment... How many different Cloud services do I use over the course of a week and will I surprise myself at the end of it?   Now as I work in IT I have a little idea of how I think it will turn out, but lets not pre-empt the results eh?