Penguins? In the Iditarod? Microsoft Gets Served, by Linux.
This year's Iditarod race is a bit different from past seasons. Oh sure, there are many of the same things going on, like dogs, sleds, snow, and mushing -- but this year there's also GPS enabled tracking.
If you go to the Iditarod website, you'll see a link on the right hand side to live GPS musher tracking. After a mildly annoying email login box (fake emails work, don't tell them I told you), you get to see a map of the race with live stats of the racers. Or at least 18 of the 90 odd racers. (Not all racers are participating in the trial run of the satellite tracking this year)
Once you arrive at the site, you'll immediately notice it's using Microsoft's Virtual Earth technology, and you'll likely think I'm a sellout. Rest assured, I'm not writing this to point your attention to the mapping technology, but rather a bit about what's running behind the scenes.
The company in charge of tracking all the mushers is IonEarth. Their lead programmer, Russ Ryba, (also a personal friend of mine) was concerned that a race as large as the Iditarod would generate more traffic than their normal servers could handle. He managed to take the raw text data from the GPS units, and using Python, create web pages automatically with simple cron jobs. Those html pages are then pushed to a large group of Linux servers running Apache. Keeping things as simple as possible, load balancing (well, more precisely, load distributing) is done with round robin DNS, and as the server load increases, more servers are brought online.
Could IonEarth have done the same thing with a group of Windows servers? Sure, I suppose so. The beauty is that they didn't need to use Windows to serve all the Iditarod traffic. When stability and simple scalability were the needs, Linux was the solution that made the most sense. For me, it's great to see a company that historically depended on Microsoft utilize Linux when the demand for inexpensive, reliable service was required.
Go Linux! Go Ion Earth! And most importantly, Go Mushers!!!
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.View Now!
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- Stunnel Security for Oracle
- The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide