Packages of varnish-6.2.0 with matching vmods, for el6 and el7

March 21st, 2019

The Varnish Cache project recently released a new upstream version 6.2 of Varnish Cache. I updated the fedora rawhide package yesterday. I have also built a copr repo with varnish packages for el6 and el7 based on the fedora package. A snapshot of matching varnish-modules (based on Nils Goroll’s branch) is also available.

Packages are available at https://copr.fedorainfracloud.org/coprs/ingvar/varnish62/.

vmods included in varnish-modules:
vmod-bodyaccess
vmod-cookie
vmod-header
vmod-saintmode
vmod-tcp
vmod-var
vmod-vsthrottle
vmod-xkey

Jessica Townsend: Wundersmith: The calling of Morrigan Crow

March 6th, 2019

Morrigan survived the initial tests, and was finally admitted into the the Wondrous Society, and secured her citizenship in Nevermoor and The Free State. Now starts her training, or at least, that’s what she is expecting. The first day of school however, she is barely admitted into the school of the Wondrous Society at all. While her fellow students are sent to all kinds of special courses, Morrigan spends her days studying the failed arts of wundersmiths before her. Beeing a wundersmith herself, this is a depressing subject. As her powers and frustrations grow, she needs some kind of venting. Who can teach her the art of controlling Wunder, when neither the school, nor her patron can or will?

Jessica Townsend follows in a classical track writing for young fantasy fans. The rising magical comet pupil enters school. Jill Murphy, Dianna Wynne Jones, Terry Pratchett, J.K. Rowling, you name them. Now, nothing wrong in giving the young reader well-known knobs to hang her hats on, but they have to be good. Does Townsend succeed? Perhaps. I would love more intrigues and contact between Morrigan, Hawthorn, and the rest of her unit friends, and her enemies. I want relationships to appear and grow. I want more character arcs. I want … just more, I guess. Which means, I would simply like a longer book. Perhaps was it more. Perhaps were there stuff that landed on the cutting board floor. Or perhaps this was all. On the other hand, there is a lot to like. There are humour and sadness. There are songs and poems. I love the teachers, especially the school mistresses. The two-in-one classical Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and/or Gollum schizofreniac style transformation is both disturbing and hilarious. The Ghastly Market is perfectly ghastly, the crooks are evil enough, and the finale is chaotic and overwhelming. The thrown-in whodunnit baffled me, and Morrigan’s frustration of not getting to learn more about who she is and what she can do, is crushingly felt by the reader.

This is a good follow-up of the first book in the series. I hope the next one will fulfill my needs for more character development. And I want a T-shirt with “Introverts Utterly Anonymous” on the front, and “no meetings or gatherings of any sort, ever” on the back.

Updated packages of varnish-4.1.11 with matching vmods, for el6 and el7

March 1st, 2019

Recently, the Varnish Cache project released an updated upstream version 4.1.11 of Varnish Cache. This is a maintenance and stability release of varnish 4.1, which you may consider as the former “LTS” branch of varnish. I have updated my varnish 4.1 copr repo with packages for el6 and el7. A selection of matching vmods is also included in the copr repo.

Packages are available at https://copr.fedorainfracloud.org/coprs/ingvar/varnish41/

The following vmods are available:

Included in varnish-modules:
vmod_bodyaccess
vmod_cookie
vmod_header
vmod_saintmode
vmod_softpurge
vmod_tcp
vmod_var
vmod_vsthrottle
vmod_xkey

Packaged separately:
vmod-curl
vmod-digest
vmod-geoip
vmod-memcached
vmod-rfc6052
vmod-rtstatus
vmod-uuid
vmod-vslp

And varnish-agent is also thrown in.

Please test and report bugs. If there is enough interest, I may consider pushing these to fedora as well.

Varnish Cache is a powerful and feature rich front side web cache. It is also very fast, and that is, fast as in powered by The Dark Side of the Force. On steroids. And it is Free Software.

Redpill Linpro is the market leader for professional Open Source and Free Software solutions in the Nordics, though we have customers from all over. For professional managed services, all the way from small web apps, to massive IPv4/IPv6 multi data center media hosting, and everything through container solutions, in-house, data center, and cloud, contact us at www.redpill-linpro.com.

Jessica Townsend: Nevermoor – The Trials of Morrigan Crow

January 15th, 2019

In a world powered by wundercraft, a strange nature force that may be harvested for electricity, Morrigan is a child of a priviledged family. Her father is the elected Chancellor of the state, they are rich, and live in a large manor house. The should have been happy. But they are not. Morrigan was born as a cursed child. That means that whatever she does, bad stuff happens around her. The cat dies. The farmers have a bad year with low crops. Somebody falls and break a leg. It is always Morrigan’s fault. In addition, she will only live until she is 12, when the new Age begins. Then, as all they who are listed in the Cursed Child Register, she will die. Not much of a childhood to write home about. At the eve of the age, the Eventide, and also Morrigan’s birthday (and dying day), a strange figure called Jupiter North visits the family, and instead of dying, Morrigan is whisked away on a journey across the borders of the state, and into the wunderful world of Nevemoor. Jupiter saves Morrigan’s life, but her trials have just begun.

Towsends writes funny and originally, sometimes even surprising. Episodically, the story goes from cliff hanger to cliff hanger, so it should be excellent as bedside or holiday read aloud story. The text is full of songs, rhymes, alliterations, puns, strange words, and new words, and goes from very good, to just brilliant! There is never a boring period. Also she writes about children’s feelings. Morrigan is afraid, happy, disappointed, scared, angry, and jealous. The author makes the readers share those feelings. Well done.

As you may perceive, I love this book! I think it was Neil Gaiman who once said that the primary function of a book is to open a portal to another world. And that is why I love books like The Hobbit, Wind in the Willows, The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe, The Earth-Sea series, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and that first book in the Harry Potter series (and more or less anything written by said Gaiman). This is a book for that list.

Towsends writes for an audience that has become used to this kind of more or less magical worlds. After the success of the Harry Potter series, and the Tolkien movie (and thus book) renaissance, youth fantasy like the Pullman, Paolini, Riordan, and hey, why not Pratchett, series have bloomed and blossomed, and the readers know what they want. I will not say that Towsends writes after a template, her work is too original for that, but of course she is inspired by J.K. Rowling and other fantasy writers. And Jupiter could be Willy Wonka’s second cousin once removed.

Critics ask if this could this be the next Harry Potter? I’d rather say it’s the next Chocolate Factory. I assume Morrigan will return in a series of books. I look forward to them.

Tolkien’s fan service (J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings)

December 24th, 2018

I read Tolkien’s “Canon”, that is, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, every year about Christmas. So also this year.

When I read through the first chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring again, I stumbled over all those small things that remind about The Hobbit. Going through them more systematically, it is clear that Tolkien started out wanting to create a sequal, and he uses a lot of small details to bind the first chapters of the new book closely to the previous one.

Starting with the title, A long expected party, of course closely mimicking the Hobbit’s first chapter An unexpected party. During Bilbo’s feast, Gandalf shows off his firework display, as he did on the Old Tooks parties a long time ago, according to The Hobbit. The firework elements themselves reminiscing parts of the story of the Hobbit. The trees of Greenwood the Great (or Mirkwood if you like), complete with butterflies. Then there are the eagles, a thunderstorm, an embattled army of elves with silver spears, and of course, the mountain and the dragon as the Grand Finale. Then Bilbo holds his speech, reminding the bored guests about his coming to Esgaroth on his 50th birthday, before he makes his special exit.

After Bilbo has disappeared in a flash and a bang, and left 144 flabbergasted guests back in the pavillion, we follow him and Gandalf back into Bag End. Here we see him pulling out his old treasures from The Hobbit; His sword Sting, the green cloak and hood that he borrowed from Dwalin (rather too large for him), and of course, his journey’s diary, the actual Hobbit book itself, nicely written into the story, and, as he tells Gandalf, he has written an end for it: “And he lived happily ever after, to the end of his days”, like the book actually ends. Gandalf reminds Bilbo about the will – the contract with Frodo if you like, that should be put on the same place as Bilbo found his own contract 77 years earlier, by the clock on the mantlepiece. He then sets out with dwarves, again.

At Crickhollow, the evening before the hobbits set out together, Merry and Pippin has made a song mimicking the song the Dwarves sang before Thorin and company set out. Out on the road, Frodo and his merry followers visit a tavern, like Thorin’s travelling party is said to have done too. They enter the wilder region, and Frodo and company sees the hills with old ruins on them, just like Bilbo did. After crossing the same stone bridge, they even discover the trolls that Gandalf tricked to stay out until the dawn made them to stone. Finally, the second book of the Fellowship starts with a rest in Elrond’s house, as did Bilbo.

Tolkien’s eye for details gives the fans of The Hobbit great value for their money, and a world full of small well-known nuggets to get comfortable before the quest takes off into the parts of Middle-Earth where they have not travelled before.

Are there more hints of the Hobbit in The Fellowship of the Ring than those listed here? I probably missed a lot of them.

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit

December 23rd, 2018

I read Tolkien’s “Canon”, that is, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, every year about Christmas. So also this year.

There is said so much about this book already, so instead of adding more non-interesting chatter to the World, I’d rather again this year show off my latest acquisition to my Hobbit collection: The first Czech edition of the Hobbit: Hobit aneb Cesta tam a zase zpátky. This version is a bit special; its first release came in a country that no longer exists, Czechoslovakia, in 1978. It has strange and gorgeous illustrations by Jiří Šalamoun, resembling a humorous naïve style, almost like children’s drawings, while still with a deep artistic impression.

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20190102_134820_small

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Another great addition to my ever growing list of Hobbits.

Kveldssang til Eva Marie

December 21st, 2018

Ute bråker verdens larm
fra byen stor og stygg
men du er trygg
og god og varm
på mammas arm
eller pappas rygg

Oppi senga sover nå
bamsen myk og brun
under dyna lun
og Eva og
skal hvile så
en bitte liten stund

Updated packages of varnish-6.0.2 matching vmods, for el6 and el7

November 28th, 2018

Recently, the Varnish Cache project released an updated upstream version 6.0.2 of Varnish Cache. This is a maintenance and stability release of varnish 6.0, which you may consider as the current “LTS” branch of varnish. I have updated the fedora rawhide package, and also updated the varnish 6.0 copr repo with packages for el6 and el7 based on the fedora package. A selection of matching vmods is also included in the copr repo.

Packages are available at https://copr.fedorainfracloud.org/coprs/ingvar/varnish60/

The following vmods are available:

Included in varnish-modules:
vmod-bodyaccess
vmod-cookie
vmod-header
vmod-saintmode
vmod-tcp
vmod-var
vmod-vsthrottle
vmod-xkey

Packaged separately:
vmod-curl
vmod-digest
vmod-geoip
vmod-memcached
vmod-querystring
vmod-uuid

Please test and report bugs. If there is enough interest, I may consider pushing these to fedora as well.

Varnish Cache is a powerful and feature rich front side web cache. It is also very fast, and that is, fast as in powered by The Dark Side of the Force. On steroids. And it is Free Software.

Redpill Linpro is the market leader for professional Open Source and Free Software solutions in the Nordics, though we have customers from all over. For professional managed services, all the way from small web apps, to massive IPv4/IPv6 multi data center media hosting, and everything through container solutions, in-house, data center, and cloud, contact us at www.redpill-linpro.com.

Updated packages of varnish-6.0.1 with matching vmods, for el6 and el7

October 11th, 2018

Recently, the Varnish Cache project released an updated upstream version 6.0.1 of Varnish Cache. This is a maintenance and stability release of varnish 6.0. I have updated the fedora rawhide package, and also updated the varnish 6.0 copr repo with packages for el6 and el7 based on the fedora package. A selection of matching vmods is also included in the copr repo.

Packages are available at https://copr.fedorainfracloud.org/coprs/ingvar/varnish60/

The following vmods are available:

Included in varnish-modules:
vmod-bodyaccess
vmod-cookie
vmod-header
vmod-saintmode
vmod-tcp
vmod-var
vmod-vsthrottle
vmod-xkey

Packaged separately:
vmod-curl
vmod-digest
vmod-geoip
vmod-memcached
vmod-querystring
vmod-uuid

Please test and report bugs. If there is enough interest, I may consider pushing these to fedora as well.

Varnish Cache is a powerful and feature rich front side web cache. It is also very fast, and that is, fast as in powered by The Dark Side of the Force. On steroids. And it is Free Software.

Redpill Linpro is the market leader for professional Open Source and Free Software solutions in the Nordics, though we have customers from all over. For professional managed services, all the way from small web apps, to massive IPv4/IPv6 multi data center media hosting, and everything through container solutions, in-house, data center, and cloud, contact us at www.redpill-linpro.com.

Five valuable considerations while moving services to the cloud

August 17th, 2018

Also posted at Redpill Linpro’s Operations and DevOps blog.

Going cloud is the new black, and has been for a few years already. Customers ask us: What is your Cloud Strategy? Can you help us moving to the cloud? Are your services Cloud Compliant? (Is that even a valid term?)

Burning the bridges and moving everything to the cloud may sound compelling, and public and private cloud services may be quite rewarding. No hardware responsibility. Pay for what you actually use, not what you may use. Scale up. Scale down. Scale out. Infinite storage. Multi data center. Multi location. High availability. Global location based load balancing. Functions as a service. Databases as a service. Anything as a service! Why wait?

All players in the IT field should consider cloud technologies, but while planning the setup of a new stack, there are issues to take into consideration. Not all services suits any cloud setup. Here are a few real-life scenarios:

1. Apps in the cloud, cache locally

A media house had reimplemented their production stack at a public cloud provider. The apps worked great, the developers were happy, the performance was satisfactory, and the users content. But the costs went up, as the cloud provider’s network traffic toll was quite high. Using a CDN could be a solution, but was considered too costly and unnecessary, as most users were local to a few central locations.

Keeping the stack in the cloud, and adding local web caches to our data centers ended up being a good solution, keeping high traffic volumes on low cost lines, while sending backend traffic to the cloud.

For high volume sites, consider caching in local data centers

2. Apps locally, cache in the cloud

Another media house had a classic in-house publication system, but had readers around the globe. The volume was quite low, but with high quality content to paying customers worldwide. Users in South-East Asia or the West Coast of USA got high latency and slow content loading. Actually building a scaled-down CDN service, we put cache servers in public cloud provider locations close to the users, and got happy readers. Using the Varnish Plus product, local users got cached content even though protected by a paywall.

For low volume sites, consider local caching in the cloud

3. Legal storage

A media content provider was moving their services and content library to the cloud. They considered using their existing platform for building a library product, delivering storage and search for images and video data, directed at public service usage, and asked for advice. Their platform used Amazon’s AWS S3 for storage and AWS Glacier for backup. Then it occurred that storing data for public services abroad might have legal consequences, and we had to search legal advice on document storage. A proposed solution was to use Ceph based S3 compatible storage services in our data centers within Norway. With this solution, network traffic expenses became a factor.

Storing data abroad may have consequences

4. Anything as a service, cost by call

Skipping the overhead of creating and maintaining virtual machines is tempting. Public cloud providers offer Database as a Service variants compatible with well-known databases, including most SQL and noSQL variants. Include Functions as a Service, and you may be able to build a complete serverless solution including data backend and APIs.

A customer built a system using cloud provided services for database and message queue. It worked flawlessly for development and test, but when adding production traffic to the solution, cost became a large issue, as the services were tolled by request. Biting the bullet, they admitted the work of maintaining virtual machines for some of the services, paying for cpu, memory, network, and man hours.

When using anything as a service, consider traffic driven costs against the overhead of server management.

Also, «serverless» computing is of course a lie. The servers are there, the interface just hides the database setup. In a test using one public cloud provider’s MySQL variant, a multi database slave instance setup was shown to be quite non-resilient against sudden death, with downtime for the service while the slaves were resynced.

There is no such thing as «serverless» computing, just another level of abstraction in front of another computer

5. Trust the cloud provider, the cloud provider is your friend

A well-known story tells how a complete site was taken down by a public cloud provider’s robots looking for suspicious activity. With customer chat down, and no on-call service available, the developers were forced to handle the incident by waking up the CFO, and send credit card information manually to the provider. Read the full story at https://bit.ly/2yWQBnD

Last year, a major part of Amazon’s S3 storage system went down, and was unavailable for hours, making trouble for thousands of sites. Read the details at https://amzn.to/2melOup

Nobody is perfect. Not even public cloud providers. Also small fish are … small, so who are you gonna call?

Redpill Linpro is the market leader for professional Open Source and Free Software solutions in the Nordics, though we have customers from all over. For professional managed services, all the way from small web apps, to massive IPv4/IPv6 multi data center media hosting, and everything through container solutions, in-house, cloud, and data center, contact us at www.redpill-linpro.com.