Archive for August, 2018

Five valuable considerations while moving services to the cloud

Friday, 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

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

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

Packages of varnish-6.0 with matching vmods, for el6 and el7

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

Some time ago, the Varnish Cache project released a new upstream version 6.0 of Varnish Cache. I updated the fedora rawhide package a few weeks ago. I have also built a copr repo with varnish packages for el6 and el7 based on the fedora package. A selection of matching vmods is also included.

Packages are available at

The following vmods are available:

Included in varnish-modules:

Packaged separately:

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