The Hidden Cost of Microsoft Windows

The Windows team upgraded a server to W2K8 and now its schedules are failing. The jobs kick off but abend and have to be run manually. Your JoeDog has been sucked in because he manages enterprise scheduling. Exciting!

“You tested this before you went live, right?” Um, …

The team can run jobs manually but they fail in the scheduler. Your JoeDog thinks this is a classic case of ENV mismatch, a discrepancy between the logged-in environment and the sheduled runtime environment. He was implored to open a case with IBM. Their conclusion? An ENV mismatch.

Still, the Windows team can’t figure it out. The jobs kick off in the background and they can’t capture any error messages. Those who live by the GUI, die by the GUI. Thus far they’ve tied up more than 100 man hours trying to solve a problem that a subpar Linux admin could solve in a few minutes on his own.

Add this to the hidden cost of Microsoft Windows.

[Image lifted from Nerdy Perv]



Site Outage Or How To Move Your EC2 Into Another Region

Your JoeDog’s site was down for much of the afternoon. Why? Well, it appears some Amazon employees are having a bad day. This site is hosted with Amazon Web Services and throughout much of the day it was unavailable. When he could get in, Your JoeDog checked his logs for a root cause. As far as he could tell, there was nothing wrong at the server level. Something was wrong with the host.

Hoping the problem was regional, Your JoeDog decided to move his EC2 instance into another region. He did that by following these steps inside the EC2 console:

  1. Shut down the running instance
  2. Hilight the volume, then Actions => Create image
  3. Go to AMIs on the left nav; select your image, then Actions => Launch
  4. As you navigate the settings select a new region to place it in.

Your JoeDog’s server runs in the Western region and he didn’t have an option to move it east. He did, however, have subregions from which to choose. Whereas the old server was running in us-west-2a, he put the new one in us-west-2c.

When the server came up, it did so with new security settings. No problem. It’s easy to associate the new server with your old rules. Hilight it in the dashboard then select Actions => Networking => Change Security Group. You can select your old group and toss the new one that was created when you launched a new image.

NOTE: Your JoeDog now has two volumes and one running instance in his EC2 Dashboard. He’s 99% certain he can toss that old volume but that won’t happen until he grabs copies of all his 1s and 0s. (Just to be safe).

 



I’m Speed Racer And I Drive Real Fast

When it comes to supercomputing Linux is king. The top forty-three fastest supercomputers in the world run Linux. The forty-fourth fastest, which does weather forecasting in Europe, runs IBM’s AIX.  How does Windows fare in the world of supercomputing? Not well. Just three of the boxes classified as supercomputers run Microsoft Windows. The fastest of these is in Shanghai. It ranks 187th in the world….



Intel releases updated Linux drivers

Intel has released a new version of the open source Intel graphics package, that can be used on Linux systems. This is good news for users of the software, who will be able to access the updated version, known as 12.07. With the package, users will get new X Server drivers for Intel cards, along with other features that work with these specific drivers.

Version 2.20.0 is the most significant component of this new release, available with the xf86-video-intel driver for the X Server. Those who regularly use this type of technology, or any for that matter, spending time on their computers playing poker.de or communicating to their friends via e-mail, will be glad to hear this news. The feature comes with SNA, which is a 2D acceleration method that can be selected at runtime. It’s purpose is to use less CPU than the previous method, UXA, and to be faster. To take advantage of this, the user must specify Option “AccelMethod” “sna” in the Xorg.conf file. It also features modern Intel graphics cards, which the new SNA architecture is designed to make the most of.

This new release from Intel is pre-tested, and therefore geared towards developers who look for this feature rather than Linux end users. It comes with other features that have also been tested, along with the main ones that will be the biggest draw. The other features include the stable 3.4.x version of the Linux kernel. This was made available to users in May and its default setting is to use the RC6 power saving mode. Those who want to get their hands on this new package can download it from Intel’s Linux driver web site and begin enjoying the benefits. Its source code is licensed under MIT and GPLv2 licences.



Linux Marketshare

I’m responsible for around 150 GNU/Linux servers. Not one of them actually shipped with Linux. They were all bare metal installs at the point of delivery. That’s generally how Linux works. You buy hardware from one vendor and OS entitlements from another. If my experience isn’t unusal, then the latest server track numbers from IDC are quite extraordinary.

IDC tracks servers shipped by OEMs to customers and reports on hardware and OS marketshare. It doesn’t track bare metal installations, hardware re-provisions and VM guest installs. Last quarter, according to IDC, factory revenue for Linux grew while it shrank for Windows and UNIX. On top of the provisioning methods I mentioned above, customers are increasingly asking IBM, HP and Dell to ship servers with Linux installed.

According to IDC, demand was driven by the need for high performance and cloud computing. Linux has also earned a reputation as more reliable and more secure than that other Intel OS. And if you want to ruin hardware performance, just add virus protection which is a necessity in the Windows operating environment. Given the risk vs. the reward of increased performance, many Linux administrators simply eschew virus protection. That gives Linux a real world performance boost over its rival from Microsoft.

Once Linux conquers the datacenter, it’s only a matter of time until millions of open source developers really start to focus on the desktop. Proprietary software’s best days are behind it.