UNIX/Linux and Me

This post is brought to you by Command Line Heroes, an original podcast from Red Hat.

Pure Gould

UNIX is C and C is for UNIX.

“I want to be an architect” was the mantra for some teenager in a British period TV series I watched in Ireland as a kid. For my final four years of secondary school (like high school) in Ireland it had become my mantra. I loved technical drawing and specifically drawing houses in perspective with shadow—it looked so realistic. I didn’t much care for computers as I couldn’t really afford one. I got to play on my girlfriend’s Commodore 64 and my dad bought me a scientific calculator that had about 2K of memory to write BASIC programs (for the millenials and younger, that was one of the first popular computer languages).

Studying computer science was not even on my radar—I wanted to continue learning the finer art of

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Power, Control Structures, and Open Source

This post is brought to you by Command Line Heroes, an original podcast from Red Hat.

My first encounter with computers

As a child, I perceived the world to be a pretty cold place filled with control structures—similar to the movie Tron. These control structures also seemed to be pretty imbalanced. When I was about 7 years old, I remember being at a local department store that had personal computers on display. They were powered up and each of them presented passing shoppers with an intimidating black screen, broken only by these white characters:


I didn’t understand what it meant, or in retrospect, how this would sell computers. There were keyboards connected to each computer. I knew what they did from watching TV, so I hit a few keys. Characters began displaying across the screen and I soon discovered that you could also hit the “enter” key and the screen would change. It appeared that the computer was trying to interpret the words I was typing, but it refused to do anything except display the words

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Red Hat Virtualization, Meltdown, and Spectre

In the last several weeks, many of you have likely heard about the new security threat that involves the ability to exploit common features of modern CPUs. These attacks, known as “Meltdown” and “Spectre” can impact both bare metal and virtual servers. Red Hat Virtualization has added the “IBRS Family” of CPUs to the supported Cluster CPU type as a means to help protect against the IPRS and IBPM attacks that would result in guest attacks.

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Red Hat Virtualization 4.2 Beta 2 Available

We are pleased to announce the Beta 2 release of Red Hat Virtualization 4.2, the latest version of our Red Hat Virtualization platform. This follows the release of the Beta 1 on January 4 of this year, as we push closer to the public release of Red Hat Virtualization 4.2 in a few months.

While we covered many of the new features in the previous announcement, we would like to call attention to one of them as well as highlight another, specifically to involve the community in the feature testing:

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My Journey from BASIC to Linux

This post is brought to you by Command Line Heroes, an original podcast from Red Hat.

I think of computing today as being the convergence of at least three major threads that were once largely apart from each other. There were the proprietary hardware and software stacks: mainframes and their minicomputer counterparts. There was the proto-Internet and Unix, proprietary in their own way but leading to Linux and open source. And there was the personal computer.

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From Manual to Automated DevOps: One Man’s Journey

This post is brought to you by Command Line Heroes, an original podcast from Red Hat.

My journey, as one might say, in search of the Holy Grail or the great unicorn called DevOps, began well over 20 years ago; yet I never knew it at the time… Actually, it began in 1984 when I was 13 and got my own first computer, a Commodore VIC-20. It wasn’t the first computer that I had ever used but it was mine. I pushed that system with 3 ½ KB of RAM to its limits. Technology has grown by leaps and bounds in such a short timespan. Since those days, I’ve worn many hats. I’ve owned my own company, I’ve helped tech-edit books, and I’ve been pretty active in the open source community. Workshops, social media, MeetUps, Red Hat user groups (RHUGs), virtualization technology user groups (VTUGs), etc. have all allowed me to share and learn at the same time.

Fast forward 10 years, I’m a sergeant in the Army. Sometimes, when in garrison (which was rare), I got tasked out to a bit of side work on UNIX systems simply because nobody knew how to use them. These puppies were coupled together with many pre-internet technologies.

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Determining the Space Savings of Virtual Data Optimizer (VDO) in RHEL 7.5 Beta

In the previous blog, we talked about the concepts behind virtual data optimizer (VDO) and how to configure it with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.5 Beta.  In the last step, we created a VDO volume.

In this blog we are going to experiment and observe real world savings on storage. For the experiment, I am not going to use any artificially generated workload but, rather, we’ll follow the simplest way by introducing some data on the disk and then multiplying the same data on the disk with a different name. This simple exercise can ensure that we are adding redundant data to disk to trigger deduplication.

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Understanding the Concepts Behind Virtual Data Optimizer (VDO) in RHEL 7.5 Beta

In the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5 Beta, we introduced virtual data optimizer (VDO). VDO is a kernel module that can save disk space and reduce replication bandwidth. VDO sits on top of any block storage device and provides zero-block elimination, deduplication of redundant blocks, and data compression. These are the key phases of the data reduction process that allows VDO to reduce data footprint on storage. VDO applies these phases inline and on-the-fly.  Now, lets see what happens in each process (download the beta yourself and try):

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