26 Oct 2013

Scaling for one - Single instance resilience with AWS EC2

For startups or small businesses migrating to AWS there may be no immediate requirement for extensive multi-instance scaling or any of the other bells and whistles, indeed perhaps all they are looking for is the flexibility and future potential a cloud starting point provides.
That said, even if it's just a single server instance being deployed it still makes total sense to implement high availability cover for zone outages and/or EBS failures.
Let's take a look at easy resilience for single instance launch configurations.

6 Oct 2013

IIS8 FTP Publishing Service for Server 2012 on AWS EC2

In a previous post I detailed certain nuances of config for the FTP publishing service under IIS 7 for Server 2008 AWS hosted EC2 instances, due to the way AWS EC2 IP addressing & NAT works there were a couple of minor tricks required to get everything hooking up smoothly for passive connections.
In Server 2012, although the principals are the same it's a bit easier to configure and in this updated post I've put together a quick overview covering the stages involved up from from installing IIS itself, hope it's useful.

2 Oct 2013

MS Server 2012 AD via VPN in AWS VPC for Windows 8

Selective adoption of cloud infrastructure offers many advantages for Enterprise IT and in this post we are going to look at running a Microsoft Server 2012 Active Directory Domain Controller in an Amazon Web Services Virtual Private Cloud. Authentication for localised Windows 8 clients is provided via a secure IPSec enabled VPN tunnel.
This model provides a seamless extension of the business LAN whilst removing a need to source and accommodate expensive physical server hardware.

27 Aug 2013

Severalnines Cluster Control for Percona XtraDB in AWS

The last two posts covered a basic x3 node/zone build for the Percona XtraDB cluster in AWS, with specifics for traffic distribution and redundancy using AWS Elastic Load Balancing linked to AWS Route 53 health checks for primary and secondary ELB failover.
OK, all good, but once you have your AWS Percona XtraDB Cluster up and running what about management? And what if there was an easier way to deploy? Cluster Control from Severalnines covers both, let's take a look.

17 Aug 2013

ELB Failover for AWS hosted Percona XtraDB Cluster

The previous post - AWS Load Balancing for the Percona XtraDB Cluster - gave an overview of Percona Cluster (PXC) config in AWS for a VPC hosted (balanced) application. This supplemental post provides an added level of granularity by adding redundancy (failover) for the Elastic Load Balancers (ELBs).
We will implement primary and secondary ELBs with configured health checks under AWS Route 53 DNS along with advisories for phpmyadmin access via the ELB DNS alias.

6 Jul 2013

AWS Load Balancing for the Percona XtraDB Cluster

Database uptime and resilience is crucial for cloud infrastructure and in this post I'm going to detail a simple but powerful load balanced Percona XtraDB Cluster utilising components from Amazon Web Services.
Percona XtraDB Cluster integrates Percona Server with the Galera library of MySQL high availability solutions while AWS delivers a set of services that together form a reliable, scalable, and inexpensive cloud computing platform. Combining both technologies delivers an incredibily robust cloud DB solution.

Let's take a look at the basic schematic. For those familiar with AWS infrastructure design the components will be familiar. For those new to AWS a breakdown of services used with explanations of function and reasons for selection along with expanded design options follows.

22 Jun 2013

Tiles for Smiles - The Windows 8 Phone

Here's a surprising post for anyone who knows my focus and views on Microsoft products, however I'm not one to blindly follow (Apple) fashion for no reason, and although I don't doubt OSX as the finest (mainstream) desktop OS of today, nor Ubuntu (desktop) as the only serious choice for symbiotic backend server admin, I've just never fancied the iPhone thing. I did need a decent smartphone though so on a whim looked into Windows 8 devices, liked what I found, and bought one. Yes, the Linux guy is running Windows, and enjoying it.

8 May 2013

Up Front - Zone Apex delivery from AWS Cloudfront

AWS Cloudfront is a superb CDN (Content Delivery Network), and not just for the obvious reasons (delivery of dynamic, static and streaming content to a global network of edge locations). As an infrastructure component it can chop a substantial chunk from your virtual resource and hosting budget along with substantial increases in security and uptime if used for full site delivery.
As yet zone apex/root domain mapping isn't natively supported however with some lateral thinking TLD resolution for static sites to a CF distribution can be achieved.

3 May 2013

AWS SES as a secure and stable SMTP relay

Running an email server requires a certain level of awareness above just installing the default server technology to do so, with problems for clean relaying further amplified on AWS where batches of Elastic IPs can be annoyingly blacklisted before they've even been allocated. De-listing EIPs, tweaking Postfix HELO and matching hostnames against MX & A records can be time consuming, however for an easier ride, along with quality benefits for content and feedback, you could just piggy back the AWS SES service as your client-side SMTP relay.

8 Apr 2013

AWS Cloud - Platform example

The cloud is great but the array of technology and how it all hangs together can be somewhat confusing for anyone used to legacy VPS boxes and limited VM infrastructures (i.e just a server and a firewall). So, to help clarify things, and to expand on the array of services available for scaling and content distribution we have an updated example build featured on the Cirronix website, and as we're so good to you you don't even have to visit, here it is, along with the explanation....

14 Mar 2013

Read Write and Delete - Easy Apache web root permissions for Ubuntu SFTP and FTP users

Setting up (and running) your own web server (or doing so for clients) is an interesting and sometimes frustrating area, and for various reasons I don't think there's a more confusing component than setting correct permissions on the chosen web root (invariably /var/www for Ubuntu).
Everyone seems to have their own way method and I too have my own procedure. For anyone interested here's my simple breakdown along with explanations of each stage, hope it helps.

Foxy file transfer with FireFTP

I'm a big fan of the FTP clients Transmit (on the Mac) and Cyberduck (for Mac & PC), not that I use I PC, but it's useful having something I can recommend to beleaguered  Windows clients who seem to prefer making life hard for themselves instead of using a real operating system.
Ubuntu, 'real' as it is, doesn't have a decent (i.e nice) FTP client, yes, there's Filezilla, but for me it's just not pleasant, however thanks to the range of addons available for Firefox we have a really nice alternative in FireFTP.

12 Mar 2013

Thinking at the Edge

The MacBook Pro used to be my main work unit, however, symbiotic as OSX is with Linux it's much nicer and inherently more productive having complete compatibility with my EC2 server instances, and for that reason I've used an Ubuntu based laptop for some time now. 
My latest (and greatest) is a fantastic IBM ThinkPad Edge x121e (the 11" model) running Ubuntu 12.10. The Unity desktop was something I didn't really get before but having now experienced it on decent kit I love it (perhaps even over OSX).

1 Mar 2013

AWS and Ubuntu - Open Obama

This is a great three minute short giving an overview of how AWS technology helped Obama win his 2012 campaign for presidential re-election.

Harper Reed was the CTO responsible and he highlights the decisions involved with choosing AWS, the selection of technologies they used and how the platform delivered for them when things took off at various trigger points.

If you'd like to find out more there's an expanded interview with Harper on the Ubuntu site detailing the extent of the challenges they faced along with a more detailed breakdown of server and application stacks plus related methods of deployment :


Their 'mid-campaign' tweet about sums it up:

“4Gb/s, 10k requests per second, 2,000 nodes, 3 datacenters, 180TB and 8.5 billion requests. Design, deploy, dismantle in 583 days to elect the President. #madops”

Imagine trying to achieve such craziness using dedicated hardware which you first had to source, accommodate and deploy, it just wouldn't happen. The cost of the actual kit tied to the man hours involved to provision it would be insane, let alone the capacity planning required to cover all bases.

Pretty cool huh.

13 Feb 2013

AWS Cloud for Enterprise IT

The Amazon Web Services platform isn't just 'web facing' and offers huge advantages across multiple levels when integrated with Enterprise I.T.

To explain what's on offer, and how AWS can blend into the business infrastructure they've created a neat little video expanding on the product lineup with a selection of examples showing where and how the various solutions can be slotted in.

Cirronix are a registered Amazon Web Services Consulting Partner based in the North of England (Leeds, West Yorkshire, to be precise). We would be more than happy to help you discover how AWS can benefit your business, examine your existing infrastructure and formulate a linked plan for AWS integration. 
To find out more, and to view our range of services on offer, visit our main website at http://cirronix.com.

2 Feb 2013

A great start to 2013

2013 dropped and we managed to find time to give the website a freshen up, which we're very, very pleased with. Many thanks (as ever) to the superb eye and skills of our man and uber webhead Isi Ashraf, if you need a new site, or a 2013 spruce up he's definitely the guy to hook up with - http://iashraf.com.

So, what else is new? Well we've progressed the Cirronix skill set somewhat and now offer an expanded range of continuous integration services.