Tag: ISP

The Systems Architect

What is a Systems Architect?

Systems Architects have years of experience in the various parts of the systems they work with. Most probably, they specialize in a specific area area of expertise where they began their careers, but have since expanded their knowledge by learning from their colleagues and from life’s lessons. To get to their position, they have proven their ability to analyze and understand the needs and constraints of the business they work in. They are responsible for deciding what technologies will provide the best solutions for a business, how to integrate them with existing systems, and how to retire them when they are obsolete.

There are several flavors of Systems Architects.

  1. The Bang-For-Your-Buck Architect– They can cut your OP-EX by 90% and consolidate all your servers on to two desktops running VMWare if you give them enough time and rewrite your application in assembler. They live and get fired by the Project Management Triangle, always aiming for High Quality, Cheap, but Slower than molasses.
  2. The Unbreakable Architect– Their systems do not know the meaning of the word Downtime but come at the price of top of the line co-location, ISP level network equipment, 2n+1 hardware, months of code freezes, release testing cycles, staging and performance test runs, security scans and rejects.
  3. The Performance Architect– Optimization is the name of the game. Your site will be in the customer’s browser before they can blink (remember no flash, no heavy images, no javascript and no calls to google analytics). Your database will not have time to read from the disk before it answers your queries (you didn’t really invest in multiple Oracle RAC nodes to access the same data at the same time? everyone knows that just slows the database down!)
  4. The All-Of-The-Above Architect– Everything is important in the right balance. Consolidation and cutting costs is a factor but so is ease of implementation. The system should be flexible enough to handle new requirements quickly but getting something done quickly is not an excuse for poor implementation. The system must be robust but not every risk is worth mitigating. Cost/Performance is quantitative. It should be measured and improved if necessary in the most cost effective manner. The work of finding balance in a system never ends but the most important thing is to always move towards the end goal.

If you know a Systems Architect like those described above, please have pity on him. He is really trying to do what he thinks is best and he really does (probably) have a lot of experience.

Next time- “The Software Architect”

Internet Rimon – First Impressions

Last night I came home to a house without Internet. It is my fault really- I hadn’t found time to switch to a new provider and my old job finally canceled the account they had given me.
Most of the reason I hadn’t decided on a new provider was because I was debating switching to the new Israeli ISP – Internet Rimon.

On one hand they provide “kosher internet” and it seems the religious thing to do.
On the other hand, I have been responsible for providing filtered internet solutions before and I was worried that the filtering would make it impossible for me to work from home.

Now before I say more, I’m signed up to the most basic package which is only supposed to filter out pornography and violence. It is taking the “blacklist” approach which will always have some cracks. I would assume that the more protected packages work differently and possibly “better”.

As the package is, it looks to me like it will filter out casual contact with unwanted content. It may even stop an undetermined teenager. It has no chance of defeating someone mildly determined. I don’t see much in the way of special technology that was all hyped up in the media.

In short, I bypassed the filtering at least two ways in 20 minutes using nothing but freeware and a browser. If you think Internet Rimon is going to protect you kids from the Internet, don’t rely on the basic package. I’m not sure the stricter packages are better but I can tell you that the basic package will only stop casual browsing from landing on something immodest.

Setup PPTP on Ubuntu

Here is a quick howto on installing and setting up PPTP on Ubuntu.
Specifically I’ll be attempting to configure this machine to use the Israeli ISP 012 over a cable modem. 012 provides some sort of installation package for Linux but it doesn’t support Ubuntu.

Anyway- here are my steps:
xhost +
sudo su-
export DISPLAY=’:0′
echo ‘deb http://quozl.netrek.org/pptp/pptpconfig ./’ >> /etc/apt/sources.list
apt-get update
apt-get install pptp-linux
apt-get install pptpconfig
Use the server cablepns.012.net.il and the user/password provided by the ISP

Set the Cable connection to by your default route (All to Tunnel)

Select ‘usepeerdns’ enabled (Automatic)

Set the tunnel to reconnect if disconnected.
Use the following pppd options:

noipdefault noauth default-asyncmap noipx defaultroute hide-password nodetach maxfail 1 lcp-max-configure 6 linkname cable ipparam cable-pptp userpeerdns persist mtu 1460 mru 1460 noproxyarp noaccomp nobsdcomp nodeflate nopcomp user cable lcp-echo-interval 20 lcp-echo-failure 3

Click Add and Start
Now if you don’t have a network connection which is very likely you will need your ubuntu cd and these files from the apt source we added:

Instead of the ‘apt-get install pptpconfig’ step above do:
dpkg -i php-gtk-pcntl_1.0.0-2_i386.deb
dpkg -i php-pcntl_4.3.8-2_i386.deb
dpkg -i pptpconfig_20060821-0_all.deb

ISPs Complaining about P2P

Recently this issue came up on the linux-il mailing list. Apparently one of the bigger Israeli ISPs started enforcing a bandwidth cap clause in their Terms of Service after they realized that their lines were overloaded. A couple people pulled out the following statistic:

P2P still represented 60% of Internet traffic at the end of 2004- http://www.cachelogic.com/research/2005_slide07.php

I’ve seen this and similar statistics before but why people are surprised by it, I never understand. The fact is meaningless but, for some reason, everyone thinks it proves that the ISPs are right.

The truth is that even if 95% of the Internet users only used the Internet for email, P2P could still theoretically take up 60% of the bandwidth because it is inheirintly a very high bandwidth application.

Let’s assume for the sake of arguement that there are 100 users on the Internet.

  • 25 of the users are using only P2P and 75 of the users are using only Email.
  • All users have a 1M connection.
  • The P2P users download 24/7 giving them 24M bandwidth usage per day.

Even if each email user downloads 5.33M of email each day, the P2P users still used 60% of the bandwidth.

Total: 1000

In reality P2P users will probably have higher speed connections than Email users which will give them an even more disproportionate share of the bandwidth.

Once we’ve decided that P2P will always have a huge share of the bandwidth regardless of what percentage of people are actually using it, the real questions become:

  1. Maybe P2P is accounts for 60% of what’s being used, but how much isn’t being used?
  2. Isn’t this fact, that some people are using more bandwidth than others, the same reason that ISPs can overbook their lines and make a profit?
  3. If an ISP does a crummy job of planning their “overbooking” should the customers pay the price?

Imagine if an ISP would secretly give every new customer 5M lines for a month and a half- then all of a sudden the speed drops to 1.5M.

Joe schmoe doesn’t know what’s hit him and when he calls customer service, the rep tells him “Oh I’m sorry – we accidentally gave you a 5M line and only just corrected the mistake but don’t worry we won’t charge
you for it- BTW are you interested in our new special on 5M lines?”

It’s the same here- for months/years they didn’t say anything. Now when people are used to it- they come and ask for money. It is their own fault that they overbook the lines- they should deal with it and if they want to limit new customers- gei gezunt.

I have to say that I’m pretty sure I fall into the category of the Email users and I don’t use the ISP in question but if I were in the place of their newly “capped” customers, I would switch to another ISP the same day.