About Anything

The personal blog of Al Stevens. Focus is overrated.

Archive for the ‘cloud computing’ tag

Rackspace Cloud

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I’ve been buried in a new project that requires moving our company servers onto a more flexible platform. After a little investigating, we decided to use the Rackspace Cloud.

So far, so good. In a couple of weeks we’ve created and configured 6 servers, running Java, Tomcat, Apache and Postgres all connected to Boston and our existing London site using OpenVPN. It’s been remarkably easy. We’re currently running a beta test, with selected customers on this configuration.

Now that things have settled down a bit, I’ll add some details over the coming days describing what we did, and how we did it.

Written by Al Stevens

January 21st, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Into the Cloud — taking inventory

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Step one of the project to move my laptop data and apps into the cloud is to take a rough inventory. To help organize things, I’ve created a few broad categories. In some cases, where I thought it might help, I’ve also listed apps I use that are already in the cloud.

As I put this list together, I began to see a few challenges.

On My Laptop

Photo Apps and Data

Several thousand digital photos in jpg and psd format. Adobe Photoshop CS, Picasa 3, Panoramio, Silkypix Developer Studio 3.0.

Office Apps and Data

Several hundred Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. A handful of Access db apps. A handful of Publisher files. Access 2003, Excel 2003, Word 2003, PowerPoint 2003, Publisher 2003. A google calendar.


Ten years of email in Eudora format. Eudora 7.0.

IDE’s and development Utilities

SVN checked out versions of about a dozen java and php sites. PDT-Eclipse, Easy Eclipse Server Java, GNU Emacs 22.3, Macromedia Homesite 4.5, Cygwin, WinMerge, Stylus Studio 2007, TopStyle Pro 3.0, VIM 7.1, cygwin svn client

Drawing Stuff

Macromedia FreeHand 8, Dia, ImageMagick

Development Support

Several postgres and mysql databases. PostgreSQL 8.2, MySQL 5.0, JBoss 4.2.1.GA, Apache 2.2, Tomcat 5.5.


Navicat PostgreSQL, Navicat MySQL.

Other stuff

Website-Watcher, Seesmic desktop, twhirl, Blackberry Device Manager, WS_FTP Pro, Google Earth, Putty, Adobe Acrobat Standard, Password Manager XP.


IE 7, Firefox 3.0.7, Google Chrome 2.0

On my home server

Ubuntu, apache, ftp, mysql, samba.

On my virtual private server

About a dozen websites. Apache, mysql, php, sftp, wordpress, mediawiki, phpbms, phpbb, Joomla.

In the cloud already

Google calendar, Google news reader, Google docs, Gmail plus a few hundred messages, A few hundred messages on a squirrel mail server, a few Zoho docs, a few quickbase apps.


MS Flight simulator, Second Life client.

Excluded for now

My company’s hosted applications running on a set of Rackspace servers.

Written by Al Stevens

April 8th, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Moving my laptop into the cloud

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I want to cut the cord to my laptop. I want a lighter and cheaper one, one that I don’t need to worry about losing, breaking or having it fail.

It has way too much data and way to many applications living on it that I depend on way too much. It’s mostly backed up, but it would take me days to recover the data and reinstall the apps. It’s speced for development, so it’s heavy. Half the weight of my backpack is my laptop.

With all the buzz about cloud computing, plus some recent experience with a few cloud apps, I’ve come to the conclusion that it just might be possible to replace my Dell Precision with a little Dell, HP or Acer, maybe even getting ambitious and going for a diskless machine. My goal is to do evertyhging I do today, but on a $500 or less machine, weighing under three pounds, that could be replaced with a fully functioning one in less than half a day.

So, I’m embarking on an project to move everything possible into “the cloud”.

I’ve laid out a high level plan: 1) Inventory my current data and apps 2) Categorize them by feasability of moving into the cloud 3) Start with the easiest group 4) Move down the list 5) Once pretty far down the list, evaluate whether a netbook is feasable. I’ll document progress here.

Written by Al Stevens

April 8th, 2009 at 12:41 pm