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17 06, 2024

Optimizing Linux Swappiness: Lessons from Upgrading to RHEL 8

By |Categories: Best Practices, How to|

As part of our continual improvement process we have been migrating our RedHat Enterprise Linux 7 and alternatives over the last few years. With version 7 being end of life by 30th of June 2024, the last machine running this version are being swapped for the more recent and actively maintained version 8. We will describe the roll-over of the various systems in some detail and focus on one particular topic that had us scratching our heads for a while.

Migrating always starts with a good plan

First step is to notify the customers that an upgrade to their server is needed.

12 01, 2021

Performance and where it all can go wrong

By |Categories: Best Practices, How to, Security|Tags: , |

Modern web applications come with a complex set of underlying services. When the applications are not performing and the response time to deliver a page is high, the search to track the problem down starts.

In this article, we’ll go through performance on different levels of delivering a web page to the browser and we’ll provide an example of troubleshooting performance issues.

Performance on different levels

Understanding why a web page under-performs is seldom easy. Let’s have a look at what actually happens when things get slow. Understanding the full process of delivering a web

21 12, 2020

Security and obscurity

By |Categories: Best Practices, Security|Tags: , |

It is unfortunate that talking about security is still deemed dangerous. The idea is that if you do not share the information it will be harder to find the security hole. The opposite is true as well. By not talking about how things work, people start assuming. This inevitably leads to many problems and is often the start of many security problems that go undetected.

Let’s have a look at a very concrete example.

Two-factor authentication

Not so long ago, the one and only barrier grant someone access to an application was the typical “user

03 12, 2020

How to deal with cloud databases and network latency

By |Categories: Best Practices, Cloud Migration, How to|Tags: , |

“We moved our database into the cloud and it was terrible”. Or wasn’t it?

When we started moving a large database into the cloud we drafted a migration scenario to minimize the downtime. Migrating from one type of database to another one is seldom an easy game. Combine this with the fact the there was a lot of data to be shipped and you can understand the raw complexity.

We managed to set up an incremental process that on the first run would take several days, the second run about a day and then

10 11, 2020

Databases and History Maintenance

By |Categories: Best Practices, How to|Tags: , |

Most companies have a large set of structured data. That is why it is important to keep a close eye on the constancy of that data, to make sure you have good backups and the data is always accurate, available and actionable.

One of the most frustrating questions a support engineer faces is “but can you tell us what was there before?” Many people seem to think that structured data also implies that you can tell what the data was at any point in time. As admin wizards, we pull our backups, restore them quickly on a new machine and indicate

06 11, 2020

Monitoring your cloud infrastructure

By |Categories: Best Practices, How to|Tags: , |

While most cloud providers have a monitoring system in place, we prefer to run our own. The main reason is that if you drill down you want to be able to monitor the services that are relevant to your business. This often means you monitor very specific services or build your own plugins to scan whatever you find important.

What to use

There are many monitoring solutions out there that offer a multitude of plugins and add-ons. There are two aspects to consider. You need a collector and a system to get the information to the collector. Some systems have a server

27 10, 2020

A new perspective on cloud and data backups

By |Categories: Best Practices, How to|Tags: |

Backing up critical business data is essential to ensuring business continuity in case of data breaches, system outages, cybercrime, or natural calamities.

While many service providers offer backup-as-a-service, we will not be talking about moving your personal data into the cloud.

In this paper, we will be focusing on your cloud infrastructure and how you can and must be taking care of backing up relevant data, as much as you would do when you run your own in-house infrastructure.

Noteworthy, the backup strategy differs based on the type of data. But how do we differentiate the data categories? A possible way to determine

22 10, 2020

Building a Proof of Concept in the IBM Cloud in virtually no time

By |Categories: Best Practices, How to|Tags: , , |

This blog series demonstrates how easy it is to quickly build a small app based on a new or existing service and to run it as a service in the cloud.

We will build the proof-of-concept for a web app that enables people to better understand how written communication is perceived by their end-users and how to improve the tone of communication.

We’ve explored the options and we’ve selected the IBM Tone Analyzer service. Why this service? It leverages cognitive linguistic analysis to identify the tone of input content enabling users to refine and improve communications.

The diagram below describes the flow

19 10, 2020

How to build a secure proof-of-concept cloud web application

By |Categories: Best Practices, Cloud Migration, How to|Tags: , , |

In previous posts, we developed an application which uses IBM Tone Analyzer to analyze a given text and return tone scoring per sentence, then we improved it into an app which evaluates the content of a web page.

In this post, we will focus on security and logging. They are often considered irrelevant when it comes to proof-of-concept building to return like a boomerang when building a production-ready application. The framework we used for developing the web app provides some general security options that can easily be implemented. Addressing them from the beginning will help us prevent later security issues.


02 10, 2020

How to Improve the Look and Feel of a Cloud Foundry Application

By |Categories: Best Practices, Cloud Migration, How to|Tags: , |

In previous posts, we developed a small web application that runs in the cloud then we transformed it into an application that analyses given text and returns tone scoring per sentence. As we’ve been focusing on the functionality, the extended application was returning a rude output.

With most people judging a web app based on its look and feel, we’ll turn our bare application into something more presentable.

For this, we will use bootstrap as a CSS base and Perl HTML::Template to improve the overall readability of the code.

1. Build the Page Library

We’ll start by building a small library that

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