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Offline The Author Guy  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, May 17, 2016 11:26:19 PM(UTC)
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For some odd reason, since the move to a new cloud, the Avatar images are all broken---except for Tizzy's which is suspicious, but then he is immortal.

When I look at my own link in edit profile; the link works to bring up the image, but it's not getting displayed.

I am looking into this, but if you have your avatar handy it might be faster to just reupload it.

This is very odd because I did not move the site so much as picked up the VM and moved it over to my own cloud from Azure.

Apparently, that made Bill Gates mad and he struck down the Avatars.

Offline Gelcube  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, May 18, 2016 12:46:29 PM(UTC)
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Hmm. I don't seem to be able to edit my profile. I can see my profile, but there doesn't seem to be a way to edit it.

Gelatinous Cube

"Because there's always a 10x10-foot room for Jell-O"
Offline The Author Guy  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, May 18, 2016 2:03:01 PM(UTC)
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The issue seems to be the link between the site and the forum module.

The avatars are set by the site profile, not the forum profile. When I look at my settings for the site, my avatar shows up fine, but not in the forum which is called YAF. (YAF has some duplicate functionality as it can run on it's own outside the CMS I use which is DNN; when inside DNN it reads DNN info)

On the top menu bar, next to "Logout" you will see your username. Click on that and you will see your site settings. Under your avatar there will be an "Edit Profile" button, that's where you edit the avatar and other information. the forum is reading that data.

Offline Gelcube  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, May 18, 2016 4:32:45 PM(UTC)
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Ok, I renamed my avatar image, and re-uploaed it via the site settings. Still doesn't seem to show up. Maybe if I put it on the web and set it to a URL?

Gelatinous Cube

"Because there's always a 10x10-foot room for Jell-O"
Offline The Author Guy  
#5 Posted : Thursday, May 19, 2016 1:16:16 AM(UTC)
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Yes, something is quite fishy. I will look into it, probably this weekend. On a writing roll at moment and don't want to break my stride.
Offline The Author Guy  
#6 Posted : Thursday, May 19, 2016 1:25:50 AM(UTC)
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OK, working on it. It's very weird some people's avatars survived, others did not.
Offline Lenamare The Great  
#7 Posted : Thursday, May 19, 2016 1:27:12 AM(UTC)
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If you lost mine, I will be very displeased. That image was especially created for me, and is my property.
Offline Lenamare The Great  
#8 Posted : Thursday, May 19, 2016 1:28:38 AM(UTC)
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I am displeased. My image is missing, you are depriving people of my stern countenance!

Repair this immediately!
Offline The Author Guy  
#9 Posted : Thursday, May 19, 2016 2:01:42 AM(UTC)
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It is still in the system Lenamare, just not in YAF. I have not lost your picture.

I find it odd that you have ignored this place for a long time and only when you get the idea that something of yours is missing do you show up.

Anyway, I have cleared your avatar and my avatar from the forum; hopefully when the random job/task that syncs the main site with the forum runs, it will replace the now blank links with the main sites images which are still there.

The odd thing is is that the forum had the avatars as being http://www.astlan.net/Li...ileticket=UFbi3M0_jqQ%3d

which if I do from outside the server works just fine. But if I do it from a web browser on the server it says that it things a DNS Rebinding is occuring.

Now OK, the new site/cloud has a fairly traditional firewall/NAT thing going on, so that would make sense. The original site did not have a firewall, other than windows firewall, so that made sense. What is odd is that while at Azure, there was a firewall, a rather wacky cloud one, and that did not give problems...unless it had and I just hadn't noticed, but I don't think it had.

What I still can't figure out is how some still work and others don't.

Other than for those that are system default avatars

Offline Mikey  
#10 Posted : Thursday, May 19, 2016 3:19:33 PM(UTC)
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Mine is served from Gravatar, as is appropriate.

Azure IaaS networking is dogshit compared to AWS and Google Cloud.

It sounds like it might also be possible that a saved IP address is used as a part of an avatar image URL hash, which has changed for the hash check code, but not the hash generation code which pulls the IP from cache, DB or conf.

Edited by user Thursday, May 19, 2016 3:23:34 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Offline The Author Guy  
#11 Posted : Friday, May 20, 2016 5:08:17 PM(UTC)
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That seems likely.

Certainly the Gravatar option is probably the best/easiest since it's effectively universal.

Azure was "interesting" I used the new interface/system for this site, which is much better than the old one although still lacking some critical features...you know like backup...

While still byzantine, it has a lower learning curve and is (not coincidentally) less customizable than aws.

My problem with AWS is that it is so flexible it quickly gets complex and unexpectedly expensive; they charge for every little piece. I had one hell of a time shutting down a client and making sure everything was deleted so they were not still being charged.

Azure has a much more inclusive pricing model that is easier to understand/control.

However, that being said, the only real reason I went there is that I get a $100/month credit as a MS Business Partner; that brought the cost of the VM to on par with what I had been paying for a dedicated box (that actually had more resources)

Where I am now is in my own cloud; which I've sort of "bought into" as a partner/reseller so I can offer my clients more cost efficient VM solutions on a fully monitored/managed platform that I provide a first line of interaction. So far, the support I get as a partner is well beyond what I ever got from AWS, Google and Azure, and is frankly better than Rackspace in terms of responsiveness.

My cost per VM, all in, is 25% what I was paying at Azure for the same procs/ram, and the disk performance is far better than Azure Standard or AWS Standard.

Point being is that I can offer my clients half the cost of the big guys and still make a profit. Of course while the DataCenter is SOC2 compliant etc. I am not going to push to move high intensity production here (for one thing as Tier 1 HD, I can't stay awake 24x7); as a cheap DR site or for Dev VM's it's a great lower cost option.

Offline Mikey  
#12 Posted : Friday, May 20, 2016 7:02:59 PM(UTC)
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Yeah, if you're an independent consultant, it's different. Our clients tend to have high enough volume that they want to own their vendor relationship directly, and what we do for them is either provide them with a cloud ops team, or help them bootstrap one. When you're paying 1k€ per day per consultant for 50-100 guys, suddenly the flexibility AWS provides to projects, and the business value throughput that follows, is significantly more important than pinching cloud pennies.

That being said, I have my private stuff on https://www.hetzner.de/e...tserver-produktmatrix-ex since their performance / ping / price for a 32 GB server is really very good. On the Linux side, applications are packaged in Docker images, which are very simple and hassle-free to deploy. I'll probably do a full reinstall on vacation.

Last weekend I looked at the maturity of high-level serverless solutions built on AWS Lambda / Azure Functions / Google Cloud Functions. You basically pay for 100ms increments of CPU, and HTTP requests, but nothing while your site / API isn't busy serving. Which is the optimal payment model for, say, your web site or forums. I'm test driving AWS Lambda in a production pilot project that'll be deployed in a few weeks, we'll see how it performs. Boy, will I be glad to be rid of the vagaries of customer hardware which have plagued this project... life is just so much simpler when you deploy into a data center instead of a retail location.
Offline The Author Guy  
#13 Posted : Friday, May 20, 2016 10:43:35 PM(UTC)
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The same is true for my clients; this is a first foray for them to go through me for anything.

My clients have all either hosted themselves internally, or used third party colocation or dedicated hosting packages and now dedicate virtualizations.

ATT, QWEST, various other old school hosters, now days SungardAS Enterprise Cloud, AWS, Rackspace....lots of people like Rackspace, I'm ambivalent, but they have a lot of different options and models so very different companies can find a fit with them.

SungardAS, for financial services is sort of the gold standard. It costs a fortune and is procedure-ally bound as hell, everything is at least a 5 person job; it's change management hell, but that's what people are paying for.

I had a client who I transitioned from 24K/month at ATT to about 7K/month at AWS; we tested and tested/vetted, moved in and the first freaking week we were their the SAN in their NE-US data center went down, taking all the "indpendent zones" down for 2+ days.

Needless to say, we then started moving to SungardAS which was about 10-12K/month. Worked great until they were acquired and then we moved everything to Rackspace because that's where the new parent company was.

I am going to push this for my smaller clients, or larger clients who want cheaper dev or dr Protection.

I can CloudProtect any windows server (physical or VM) with very low resource replication agent on a 3 hour sync to my cloud for peanuts.

I am working overtime to bring up linux based solutions as well. Looked at Docker, but not so sure how it works in an non docker environment, so currently testing TurnkeyLinuxLXC and messing with Bitnami Images and Webuzo.

Just glanced at your link. Holy bananas; their dedicated server pricing is unbelievable! Going to be checking these guys out.

My plan is to rent out cloud blocks of resources

1) vLan with FW appliance, private class-C, unlimited IPsec branch office tunnels, unlimited openVPN users $50/month (including basic support and 50 Gb outbound/month) Inbound data free, additional outbound data $0.04/Gb
2) RAM, vCPU, DiskSpace all by chunks
a) $10/vCPU/month
b) $10/GB RAM/month, including Windows Server licensing (discount for linux)
c) $10/100 GB RAIN storage/month (which will include so many IOPS, but you can add more IOPS for more money)
You can reserve extra data for snapshots
d) Option to CloudProtect on a different hypervisor
e) option for an HTML5 client RDP server

You order what you want and that is reserved and dedicated to you, and you slice it and dice it into however many vms of whatever type you want.
I plan to provide some standard linux container options as well as allowing custom OVA/OVF files.

Really looking to target smaller dev teams and individuals on top of my actual clients.

Offline Mikey  
#14 Posted : Saturday, May 21, 2016 8:45:46 AM(UTC)
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We tried to move our clients first from their own geographically distributed data centers to a kind of a standard conceptual application model on those data centers, as well as standard OS versions, which made moving groups of applications out of their data center and into the cloud that much easier. I don't know how good a ROI we could have discussed with the clients without that step.

I'm lucky in that I started using AWS early for my private stuff. Got all the great anecdotes about how they randomly dropped blocks across _all_ of their SAN-backed filesystems because of the missing checksum bug when it hit, which I've always been careful to relate to my customers before THEIR architects make THEIR decision which THEY own, not myself or my employer, to use a particular cloud resource. That way, _when_ the shit hits the fan, I can councel patience with a large vendor like AWS, since their scale provides them with the interesting advantage of being better at learning from their own fuck-ups, than normal hosts.

I'm not getting your business model - are you charging for support services, and passing through the resource billing to a cloud provider with a small cut? Because the investment and risk offset required to set up this kind of a product, even with a pre-existing customer base, in an environment where hardware is changing, software is changing, and you're competing against giants who might accidentally crunch your product with a poorly worded press release, would be hard to pay off through ever cheaper resource billing.

Pages
https://www.hetzner.de/e...atrix/rootserver-haswell and
https://www.hetzner.de/e...tserver-produktmatrix-ex
contain cheap servers WITHOUT ECC, good for your private stuff like a CMS-based website, forum and their databases, but

https://www.hetzner.de/e...tserver-produktmatrix-px
is required for any serious stuff, where ECC RAM is a basic necessity.

They also have a server hosting auction model for their older hardware: https://robot.your-server.de/order/market
Offline The Author Guy  
#15 Posted : Saturday, May 21, 2016 3:26:28 PM(UTC)
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Actually, that cloud consultant model is very important. There is so much changing in the space and these platforms move/change so fast that it can become bewildering for people in the corporate environment, who have a lot of other stuff on their plate to follow it. Much like using network security consultants to ensure ones network/systems are safe. I have a lot of friends that do that, and they are pouring over the latest security bulletins and working on patches, it takes a lot of dedication and attention.

I see the same thing coming quickly in the cloud space; particularly for customers that are somewhat agnostic. In the old days, most companies focused on a particular set of brands Dell, HP, IBM and similar Software vendors, and just tunnel visioned and trusted them and did what they did. Now, the cloud has decentralized everything a great deal as well, and even within a single provider like AWS there are so many options, so many gotchas that having a navigator is critical to success, and that is a service level that AWS is not in the business of providing.

Rackspace, for larger clients, will do that sort of service level, but then again you are tunneled into their view(s) of the universe. It's a lot to disentangle.

My model is actually pretty simple and I am not building from scratch I have gone with a whitebox cloud provider that has a platform and scaling already in place and I am repackaging and selling their product as a channel partner, basically.

I bought a specially modified hyper visor that is in their enterprise cluster (like a condo) I therefore "own" X CPU's, Y GB RAM, and the internal drives/ssd's that act as caching devices for the RAIN. This includes 24x7 technical support for the cloud platform and full hardware support for a bit too long of a period of time.

I then resell outbound bandwidth, hard disk space on the RAIN on a usage basis, and if I want Windows licensing (for which they have a per GB RAM pricing model worked out) MS SPLA licenses or I can use my own. I also resell from them common infrastructure public IP's and a few other software licenses (FW appliance, CloudProtect Agent+lower tier storage for the backup server replication)

Since my node is in a cluster, if my node goes down, they can roll me onto another node; further if growth comes faster than I can add nodes, they can rent me resources on other nodes for a bit higher cost until I can add the next node (and that's me coming up with the capital) Similarly, I can cloudprotect vm's on my node on other nodes (that is included in the cloud protect price I pay)

Their platform is highly customized based on ESXi 5.5 now, going to 6.0 which they have built their web based management system around the ESXi API.

From a hardware perspective, they roll new machines into the infrastructure with new generations each year or so. Each year it's a very specific standard server unit that they've optimized to work with their proprietary RAIN (which is why disk performance is better than I've seen at most other providers for the same money)

How I upgrade is by adding additional hypervisors of the new platform each year and people OK with older platforms stay on the older hypervisors. Which is really what they do/did in the dedicated server space.

The target audience is really the SMB market and channel partners like myself; except that most of my money making clients are a bit bigger than their target audience, which is why I mainly push for using it as a cheaper backup/test/dev environment, not production.

It's also not designed/targeted for the really dynamic stuff you can do at AWS, spinning up VM's on the fly. The target is really that segment that used to rent dedicated whitebox servers but now wants to be on the cloud.

My goal is to come up with a very simple pricing model that is cheaper/more cost upfront/easy to use than what they can get from most cloud providers. I.e. create something that I or someone like myself could use and get a good value out of.

I am still working on balancing out my support cost vs cheapness. For example that FW/vlan includes some of my time per month assisting people (not much but some) plus my markup. I don't know yet how much of my time will be taken up, I'd like to get the entry price cheaper, but am concerned about getting bogged down.

In theory, I get enough documentation down, I want the platform to be very self driven/automated. It actually is, but there is the learning curve and good documentation is critical to keep support calls/requests down.

My biggest goal is to cover my costs and get another revenue stream that is stable. Books are one such stream, this is another. As an independent consultant, I am getting tired of the feast or famine model and am trying to build more stable baseline income streams.

And for that, the CloudProtect business will probably be best. I'll give people a preconfigured vlan with all VPN connections ready to go, replicate all their servers into it in cold standby mode, and then let it run until disaster strikes; that's very low overhead--just monthly testing of the VM's which I can shift to the client's support team. You have an upfront setup, which I bill as a consultant and then just a stable revenue stream.




Offline Mikey  
#16 Posted : Saturday, May 21, 2016 4:04:39 PM(UTC)
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OK, if you're going to be a specialist reseller for relatively undemanding clients, I can relax. I was selfishly afraid we'd never see another book out of Astlan, if you started competing in the PaaS market on your own.

As long as the ESX management software isn't https://www.redhat.com/e...oud-computing/cloudforms or its open source version http://manageiq.org/. I helped a customer build a ESX/AWS cloud mgmt POC with it, and it was a piece of shit, to say the least. To get it to set ESX VM VLAN values post-creation, I had to monkey-patch the application (Ruby) code through its event customization feature, making me feel like a necromancer of some sort. Unclean. At the time, I recommended going with http://dasein.org/ (https://github.com/dasein-cloud/dasein-cloud/) were they to persist with the idea.

You don't _have_ to stay independent... you could join the dark side! For example, my incentives aren't even tied to billable hours anymore.
Offline The Author Guy  
#17 Posted : Saturday, May 21, 2016 4:22:28 PM(UTC)
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Exactly. I actually am trying to get more time to write.

The big problem I have with getting money in a feast/famine mode is that I essentially have to go full time with a single client; and when I do, I tend to be all in one way or the other. If I have to go onsite, then I generally add 1.5 hours per day travel, at least and am probably really focused on them for 50 hours per week; so we close in on 60 hours/week which sort of wears me out. I end up sitting in front of the TV watching netflix, or reading a book; not writing a book--because it requires too much thinking and I am thunk out.

And then when the client is done; yes I've saved up money, but now its famine time.

My goal is to have multiple smaller clients, only occasionally go onsite, and have otherwise stable recurring income to level things out, giving me the flexibility to write as the muse occurs. This is a revenue stream to ensure minimum income.

Eventually, I should be able to turn the tables and make IT/Consulting the side business and writing the main business, but I'm not there yet; at least not to my current living standards. And being a tech-nut, my expenses for tech things are pretty ridiculous: Redundant 100+ Mbps ISPs at my house, professional firewall w/maintenance, Multiple developer subscriptions (e.g. RadStudio maintenance, MSDN, DevExpress, various ETL tools) and all sorts of things like that plus my 3D graphics hobby (Vue Infinite maintenance, PoserPro, Adobe CC) And of course, my entertainment, Cable, all premium movie channels, Netflix etc.

And that doesn't even consider the random one-off binges like when I went IOT crazy and bought all this stuff for arduino, pi, etc

I am actually very lucky in that as an S-Corp in IT, all my favorite hobbies are business expenses because I also use them for clients.
Offline Mikey  
#18 Posted : Saturday, May 21, 2016 4:35:33 PM(UTC)
Mikey

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Originally Posted by: The Author Guy Go to Quoted Post
I am actually very lucky in that as an S-Corp in IT, all my favorite hobbies are business expenses because I also use them for clients.


Just a corp, not the settler, agent or the individual?
Offline The Author Guy  
#19 Posted : Saturday, May 21, 2016 5:55:59 PM(UTC)
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OMG

I can't believe the amazing patience of that judge.

One hears so many stories about horrible judges, this guy is testament that there are good ones.

I seriously could not deal with that. But clearly, this judge is used to dealing with people like this.



Offline The Author Guy  
#20 Posted : Saturday, May 21, 2016 5:56:27 PM(UTC)
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Actually, thinking about it, he might even give Tizzy a fair trial.

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