Assimilation Release 1.1.3 (“Leap Day”) is now out!

New Assimilation Release 1.1.3

We just put out a new Assimilation release with a few bug fixes, and a few new features. The new features center around visualization, security, with even more emphasis on helping you “eat the elephant” of getting you into a better security posture. In this post, we’ll explain more in detail what these features are and how they will help you improve and maintain your security posture.

System Management Survey

Survey form - for taking surveys ;-)

If you manage, secure, or plan for IT environments or DevOps, we’d love for you to take our System Management survey. Right now, we’re busy planning on how to make the Assimilation Suite better in 2016. Your responses will be a huge help in giving us a sharp focus on how best to improve IT management for you and others in the IT community. If you can help us out, we’ll send you a small token of our appreciation

Assimilation Release 1.1.2 “Happy 2016” is out!

Download Assimilation Release 1.1.2 - the Happy 2016 release

On January 2nd we put out version 1.1.2 of the Assimilation System Management Suite – the Happy 2016 release. This release adds enhancements related to best practice analyses and adds support for openSUSE, Scientific, and ScientificFermi Linux – along with a few bug fixes. We also have some surveys that we’d love for people to take – to help direct us in our future work.
As we have in the past, we offer supported free trials of the Linux version of our system management suite – just follow the download link and the instructions you’ll find there.

Bufferbloat: A Network Best Practice You’re Probably Doing Wrong

bufferbloat illustration via a fat overflowing beer mug

You may have heard of bufferbloat, but even many good network admins have not. If you haven’t changed settings to avoid it, then you aren’t doing it right. But what is it, why should you care, and what should you do about it? If you see your network access stutter occasionally for no apparent reason, then read on – it may be that bufferbloat is at fault. The good news is that if you’re running on a recent Linux system, it’s easy to set up correctly.

Ohio LinuxFest Assimilation Presentations

Ohio LinuxFest logo

Last weekend, I had the honor of giving the opening keynote on Friday at the 2015 Ohio LinuxFest and a session presentation on the Assimilation project the next day. Both talks were very well-received, but the reception the Assimilation project talk received from the standing-room audience was extraordinary. So it seems good to give a summary of the talk and why I think they resonated so strongly to it.

The IT Zombie Apocalypse is Here!

Zombie outbreak sign (for an article about Zombie servers)

Although this article and title are a bit tongue-in-cheek, the reality behind the title is serious. In the average data center, 30% of their servers are mainly space heaters [they had their brains eaten ;-)]. Given that many data centers are strictly limited on power, cooling and floor space, and that power and maintenance are significant costs, this is a big deal. This happens primarily because the staff managing those servers have don’t have a clear idea of what all their servers are doing.

Simplicity Is King

We fill our lives with things designed to make them easier… In many cases, these things we get to make our lives easier wind up making it more complex. Nowhere is this more apparent than in IT. We have so many choices of ways to create services, to deploy them, and to manage them. I’ve been extensively involved with high-availability work since 1998. One of my mantras in high-availability is “Complexity is the Enemy of Reliability” – and so it is. If you add parts to a thing, more things will fail – period. In high-availability, we add high-availability software – which makes it more complex, and hence less reliable. But we get something back instead – improved availability.

How IT Administrators get better by contributing to Open Source Projects

I’ve been asked to give the keynote address at the 2015 Cascadia IT conference. For my keynote, I’d like to tell stories of their contributions – large and small – and how they helped and how they were uniquely valuable. Although I have a number of stories of how various IT admins (system, network, security, etc.) have contributed to my projects (Linux-HA/Pacemaker and the Assimilation Project), I’m looking for more. This post is a request to send me your stories of how IT admins have contributed to open source projects in large or small ways.

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Living Dangerously With Crypto In the Assimilation Project – Part 3

In this article, we talk in more detail about the Assimilation Project’s reliable UDP protocol, our decision to avoid session keys, factors influencing our initial choice of crypto libraries, and touch on key revocation. So, like before we’re looking forward to your comments on our design choices. Like before, grab your thinking cap, sit down with your crypto buddies and think hard about what we’ve done.