What do system administrators do all day?

Posted by Indra Pramana on July 25th, 2014 — Posted in happening, technical, greetings, information, thoughts, simplercloud

This article is originally posted on SimplerCloud's blog here.


Today (25 July 2014) is System Administrator Appreciation Day, which is an event to show appreciation for the work of system administrators (or sysadmins) and other IT workers. It is celebrated on the last Friday of July every year, since the year 2000.

As a hardened, 15-year veteran system and network administrator, I know first hand about the many tasks a system administrator needs to do, the skill sets and knowledge he needs to learn, and with the daunting tasks and long hours he has to keep. Yet sometimes, normal users would not know their system administrators as well as the system administrators know their users. And that is why System Administrator Day is an awesome day that everyone should celebrate.

Treat your system administrator today, because 25 July is World System Administrator Appreciation Day

Treat your system administrator today, because 25 July is World System Administrator Appreciation Day

What do system administrators do, and why do we need to appreciate their work? According to Wikipedia‘s definition, a system administrator is a person who is responsible for the upkeep, configuration, and reliable operation of computer systems; especially multi-user computers, such as servers.

In layman’s terms, system administrators manage all the servers, network equipment and any other IT infrastructure for an organisation. In many companies, those system administrators are part of the organisation’s IT team or department. They are the one who setup the network within the organisation, installing mail servers, file servers and many other servers required by the organisation, installing all the required applications to support the organisation’s business, applying operating system updates, patches and configuration changes, among others. They are responsible to ensure that all the services are running.

For example, system administrators are responsible to ensure that Internet connection in the office is working, the mail server is running and processing emails tht are sent and received by all staff within the organisation. Without these basic operations, you will not be able to do anything which requires Internet connection, such as surfing the web or checking your emails. And even if your Internet connection is working, you won’t be able to send/receive emails if your organisation’s mail server is down.

System administrators are indispensable to managers (Source: http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2004-01-11/)
Sysadmins make managers look good, but managers often misunderstand them (Source: Dilbert.com)

There are different types of system administrators based on their roles and responsibilities. A bigger company might have different system administrators having different roles, but for smaller company, most of the different roles might be shared by just a few system administrators, or even one single person. Some of the different types of system administrators are:
  • Server administrator – maintains the operating system of the servers, and to some extent, the applications as well, such as the mail services, the web services, etc. He is also in-charge of troubleshooting any hardware, operating system or application related problems.
  • Network administrator – maintains the network infrastructure, such as the routers and switches, and troubleshoot network-related problems.
  • Database administrator (DBA) – maintains the database system used by organisation. In bigger organisation which uses bigger and more complex databases, there is a DBA which specifically responsible for this role. In smaller organisation, this role would normally be shared by the server administrator.

Unlike many other professions like pilots, medical doctors, etc, there is no single path of training to become a system administrator. While most system administrators have a degree in computer science, information technology or any other similar fields, anyone can actually become a system administrator by self learning and, in most cases, on-the-job training. There are some training and certifications intended to specific IT fields such as Microsoft training and certification for Microsoft-based systems and applications such as Microsoft Windows and SQL, Cisco training and certification for Cisco network, etc.

Most system administrators are always on-call, since they have system and network infrastructure which needs to run 24×7. That said, a system administrator can get paged or called at 3am in the morning when a mail server goes down, or when the Internet connection suddenly stops working. But the most important thing is that they are the one who ensure that all servers are functioning, the network is running and healthy, all the time.

That’s why good system administrators are often overworked and very much in demand, and, nowadays, crucial to the success of Internet app, web application and cloud-based companies.

“It’s not magic, it’s talent and sweat.”




That’s why, way back in the year 2000, a system administrator named Ted Kekatos suggested a yearly day event when everyone can appreciate the work of system administrators by – for example – giving them cake and ice cream and throwing a small party or celebration. This has become an annual event, celebrated every year on the last Friday of July. Today marks the 14th year we are celebrating System Administrator Appreciation Day.

Good system administrators never stop learning, and combine multiple skillsets to perform many different and unending tasks.   I wish all system administrators everywhere a very happy System Administrator’s Day.

New Templates: CloudLinux, SUSE Linux and Dokku PaaS

Posted by Indra Pramana on January 16th, 2014 — Posted in technical, cloud computing, simplercloud

This article is originally posted on SimplerCloud's blog here.

In the past couple of weeks, we have added some new operating systems and applications into the OS templates line-up: CloudLinux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Dokku PaaS template for Ubuntu.

CloudLinux

cloudlinux-logo

CloudLinux is a CentOS/RHEL-based operating system which is built and suitable for shared hosting environment. It provides isolation between users to avoid the “bad neighbour effect” where one user might be consuming a lot of the server’s resources such as CPU, memory or I/O, affecting the performance of other sites hosted on the same server. This, in turn, will improve the stability of the overall server.

CloudLinux also has some other features, such as CageFS, which provides virtualised per-user file system that uniquely encapsulates each user, preventing users from seeing each other and viewing sensitive information, thus improving security. Some other features of CloudLinux include MySQL Governor, SecureLinks and PHP Selector.

To select CloudLinux OS template, choose “CloudLinux 6.4 (64-bit) (excluding license)” from the list of OS templates when you make your servelet order. CloudLinux is not an open source operating system, you will need to purchase the license separately. More information about CloudLinux operating system can be found on their website.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server


suselinux-logo

SUSE Linux Enterprise server is a Linux-based operating system built by SUSE, specialised to deliver mission-critical IT services efficiently and cost effectively. Similar to CloudLinux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is not free, and you would need to purchase the license separately.

Take note that the vm_initialize script to initialize the data disk doesn’t work on SUSE Linux, so you would need to initialize the data-disk manually by following the instruction in our knowledge-base article here.

To select the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server template, please choose “SUSE Linux ES 11 SP3 (64-bit”) from the list of OS templates when making your servelet order. More information about SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system can be found on their website.

Dokku PaaS

Dokku is a mini-Heroku powered by Docker and written in less than 100 lines of bash. Once it’s set up on your servelet, you can push Heroku-compatible applications to it via Git. This is suitable for developers who like to use Heroku as their PaaS (Platform as a Service), and this will provide your own, single-host version of Heroku running on your servelet. We are using Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS operating system for the Dokku PaaS template.

To have the Dokku pre-installed on your Ubuntu servelet, please select “Ubuntu 12.04.3 (64-bit) + Dokku” from the list of OS templates when ordering your servelet. You would need to configure Dokku after the servelet is provisioned by following the instructions on our knowledge-base article here.

More information about Dokku can be found on their website here and on the author’s blog here.

SimplerCloud New Feature: Announcing Snapshot Backups to Secure Your Data

Posted by Indra Pramana on October 23rd, 2013 — Posted in technical, information, cloud computing, cloudstack, simplercloud

This article is originally posted on SimplerCloud's blog here.

Snaphot Backup feature is available on SimplerCloud servelets

Wow, it has been quite some time since we updated this blog. Amongst the things that kept us busy are upgrading our CEPH storage capacity and unrolling a major upgrade to CloudStack 4.2.

But the biggest thing of all is an important new feature that we’ve worked very hard to bring out  – snapshot backups.

A snapshot backup is a way for high-availability systems to avoid downtime and still enable backup by performing the backup on a snapshot—a read-only copy of the data set frozen at a point in time—while allowing applications to continue writing to their data (definition partly taken from Wikipedia).

This is a major feature crucial to any system administrator’s server management strategy. And we are pleased to announce that snapshot backups of our customers’ servelets is now available after this major upgrade.  With this new feature, customers can perform snapshot backups of both the root-disk and data-disk of their servelets, directly from our customer’s portal. This feature is chargeable based on the size of the snapshot backup and how long the snapshot is being stored in our storage system.

How do you make a snapshot backup?

To make a backup snapshot of either your root-disk or data-disk (or both), you can log in to our customer portal, choose Services > Simple Menu / Power Menu (depends on your servelet’s category). Click on the hostname of your servelet, then choose Storage > Disks. You will see the list of your disks (both your data-disk and root-disk).

Screenshot - List of Disks

To make a snapshot of either the data-disk or the root-disk, click on “Create a new snapshot” next to the disk. There will be a prompt: “Are you sure you wish to create new backup?”, click “OK”.

Create new backup

The window will then show the snapshot area of the storage section, showing the list of your existing snapshots, including the one you are creating. If this is the first time you have created a snapshot, then you will only see the snapshot which you are creating, with the status “Pending.”

Snapshot creation in progress

Snapshots will take some time, depending on the size of your disk. Once snapshot is completed, the status of the snapshot will change to “Built” instead of Pending.

Snapshot built 

How can you restore data from the snapshot backup?

If you want to recover any data from any of your snapshots, you will need to open a support ticket with us, and let us know which snapshot you would like to restore data from. Please kindly provide us with two information:
- The date when the snapshot was created (e.g. 2013-10-12 22:51:17+0800)
- The disk name (e.g. #DATA-2080)

You can find the above two information from your servelet control panel > Storage > Snapshots.

Info needed for restore

We will then convert the snapshot into a disk volume, and temporarily attach the disk volume into your existing servelet, so that you can copy the data over to your servelet. Once you have done with the copying, we will detach back the temporary volume.

At the moment, the process has to be done manually. However, we are looking into possibility of making this process automated for the convenience of all our customers.

More information about our snapshot backup feature can be found on our knowledge base articles at this URL:

http://my.simplercloud.com/index.php?/knowledgebase/category/29/snapshot-backup/

Fitur Baru SimplerCloud: CloudFlare CDN Gratis Untuk Semua Servelet

Posted by indra on October 9th, 2013 — Posted in Teknis, Informasi, Komputasi Awan, simplercloud, Servelet, CloudFlare

Ini adalah terjemahan dari artikel di blog SimplerCloud disini. Mohon maaf, baru sempat menerjemahkan sekarang, karena kesibukan. :)

Ya, betul sekali. Layanan CDN (Content Delivery Network) CloudFlare sekarang tersedia di panel kontrol SimplerCloud untuk semua pelanggan. Tidak ada biaya instalasi, dan dengan fitur baru ini, Anda dapat mengaktifkan dan mengelola CDN CloudFlare langsung melalui panel servelet Anda, sehingga semuanya lebih mudah dan ter-sentralisasi.

Apakah CloudFlare itu?

CloudFlare adalah sebuah penyedia layanan CDN (Content Delivery Network) yang telah memenangkan banyak penghargaan, dengan layanan caching dan proxy yang membantu untuk mempercepat (akselerasi) dan mengamankan situs host di servelet Anda. CloudFlare dapat membantu Anda untuk melindungi situs Anda dari trafik yang berbahaya (malicious), menghemat bandwidth servelet dan mengurangi waktu loading situs web Anda.

CloudFlare juga memiliki beberapa node CDN di seluruh dunia, dan setiap node akan menyimpan salinan cache situs web Anda. Semua pengunjung situs web Anda akan diarahkan dan dilayani oleh node CDN terdekat, sehingga meningkatkan kecepatan dan mengurangi website loading time bagi pengunjung situs Anda.

Silahkan cek informasi lebih lanjut mengenai CloudFlare di situs web mereka.

Bagaimana sistem CDN CloudFlare bekerja?

Setelah Anda mengaktifkan layanan CDN CloudFlare untuk domain Anda yang di-host di name server SimplerCloud, name server tersebut akan membuat perubahan yang diperlukan untuk mengarahkan domain situs Web Anda (biasanya http://www.NAMA-DOMAIN-ANDA ) ke jaringan CDN CloudFlare. Pada saat yang sama, panel kontrol SimplerCloud akan terhubung ke API di jaringan CDN CloudFlare untuk mendaftarkan akun dan domain Anda ke jaringan CDN tersebut.

Hal ini memungkinkan CloudFlare untuk mengakselerasi kecepatan kunjungan ke situs Anda, karena semua permintaan ke situs web Anda akan dialihkan melalui jaringan CDN CloudFlare. Teknologi CDN CloudFlare yang canggih akan membantu “menyaring” kunjungan ke situs Anda dari trafik yang malicious, meng-cache content statis dari situs Anda dan mengoptimalkan content web Anda.

Apa keuntungan menggunakan CDN CloudFlare?

Keuntungan menggunakan CDN CloudFlare:

1. Meningkatkan kinerja situs web Anda secara keseluruhan;
2. Melindungi situs web Anda dari ancaman berbahaya (malicious);
3. Memberikan alert infeksi komputer untuk pengunjung situs web Anda;
4. Memberikan mode browsing offline untuk situs web Anda ketika servelet Anda sedang down; dan
5. Penggunaan CPU lebih rendah untuk servelet Anda secara keseluruhan.

Apa batasan dari CDN CloudFlare yang perlu diperhatikan?

Beberapa caveat dan batasan dari layanan CDN CloudFlare untuk situs web Anda:

1. Statistik web Anda mungkin tidak akan mencerminkan jumlah sebenarnya dari pengunjung ke situs web Anda, karena beberapa request akan ditangani oleh node CDN CloudFlare dan tidak ditangani oleh server web Anda secara langsung.
2. Karena node CDN CloudFlare akan meng-cache content statis dari situs web Anda, setiap perubahan pada isi konten situs web Anda tidak akan langsung bisa dilihat oleh pengunjung.
3. Layanan CDN CloudFlare hanya akan menangani request terhadap http://www.NAMA-DOMAIN-ANDA , sementara request terhadap [ http://NAMA-DOMAIN-ANDA ] biasanya masih akan ditangani oleh server web Anda secara langsung.
4. Layanan CDN CloudFlare (yang free plan) tidak mendukung SSL.

OK, saya sangat tertarik untuk mencoba layanan ini. Bagaimana cara saya mendaftar?

Di panel kontrol SimplerCloud, layanan CDN CloudFlare terhubung dengan layanan DNS Hosting, sehingga Anda harus menggunakan layanan DNS Hosting kami (yang juga gratis) untuk bisa menggunakan layanan CDN CloudFlare.

Pilih “CloudFlare CDN” dan kemudian klik “Order Now!”

Bagaimana cara mengkonfigurasi layanan CDN CloudFlare?

CDN Services > CloudFlare CDN.”>. Anda akan melihat panel console CDN CloudFlare.

Klik “Managed Websites“, dan Anda akan melihat daftar domain yang di-host di name server SimplerCloud pada “DNS Hosting service” . Jika Anda tidak berlangganan layanan DNS Hosting atau Anda belum menambahkan domain dalam layanan DNS hosting, Anda tidak akan melihat domain terdaftar di sini.

Untuk mengaktifkan layanan CDN CloudFlare untuk domain tertentu, tinggal klik awan berwarna abu-abu di samping nama domain. Setelah layanan ini diaktifkan, warna awan akan berubah menjadi oranye/jingga.

Apa yang akan terjadi pada domain saya setelah layanan CDN CloudFlare diaktifkan?

Setelah layanan CDN CloudFlare diaktifkan untuk domain Anda, record DNS untuk domain Anda secara otomatis akan berubah dan mengarah ke alamat IP CDN CloudFlare, dan tidak lagi mengarah ke alamat IP servelet Anda .

Website Anda ( misalnya http://www.YOUR-DOMAIN ) akan dilayani oleh CDN CloudFlare, tidak lagi oleh servelet Anda secara langsung.

Kesimpulan

Panel kontrol SimplerCloud sekarang mengintegrasikan name server (melalui layanan DNS Hosting) dan layanan CDN CloudFlare (melalui API CloudFlare), yang memungkinkan Anda untuk mengaktifkan layanan CDN CloudFlare untuk situs web Anda hanya dengan meng-klik sebuah tombol (gambar awan, tepatnya). Semua proses yang diperlukan: pembuatan akun CloudFlare, pendaftaran nama domain Anda ke akun CloudFlare Anda, dan aktivasi nama domain Anda untuk menggunakan layanan CDN CloudFlare (dengan mengubah record DNS dari domain yang di-host di name server SimplerCloud) ke alamat IP node CloudFlare) dilakukan secara otomatis di back-end. Dan layanan ini disediakan secara gratis untuk semua pelanggan SimplerCloud.

Jadi, apa lagi yang Anda tunggu? :) Silahkan host domain Anda di name server SimplerCloud dan coba layanan CDN CloudFlare untuk situs web Anda, secara gratis .

Buying back footlongs for dinner. Similar to Kenny Rogers,…

Posted by The I Family on October 6th, 2013 — Posted in Uncategorized



Buying back footlongs for dinner. Similar to Kenny Rogers, Subway is halal in Malaysia. (at Alamanda Shopping Centre)

Kenny Rogers Roasters for late lunch / early dinner. (at…

Posted by The I Family on October 6th, 2013 — Posted in Uncategorized



Kenny Rogers Roasters for late lunch / early dinner. (at Alamanda Shopping Centre)

Ayam penyet merambah Putrajaya. (at Alamanda Shopping Centre)

Posted by The I Family on October 6th, 2013 — Posted in Uncategorized



Ayam penyet merambah Putrajaya. (at Alamanda Shopping Centre)

Ngadem di mall setelah ber-panas2 di dataran. (at Alamanda…

Posted by The I Family on October 6th, 2013 — Posted in Uncategorized



Ngadem di mall setelah ber-panas2 di dataran. (at Alamanda Shopping Centre)

In front of Putra mosque. (at Masjid Putra)

Posted by The I Family on October 6th, 2013 — Posted in Uncategorized



In front of Putra mosque. (at Masjid Putra)

In front of Malaysia PM’s office. (at Dataran Putrajaya)

Posted by The I Family on October 6th, 2013 — Posted in Uncategorized



In front of Malaysia PM’s office. (at Dataran Putrajaya)