System Administration Toolkit: Testing system validity

Have you ever wondered whether the system you are using is the same as the one that you originally configured? Making sure that the configuration and setting information that you configured is the same as when you configured it should be a basic p…

Have you ever wondered whether the system you are using is the same as the one that you originally configured? Making sure that the configuration and setting information that you configured is the same as when you configured it should be a basic part of any security procedure. After all, if an unscrupulous person has changed the configuration of your system, you want to know about it. Tracking that information though can be difficult. You can’t expect to check the contents of every single file. Even if you automated the process, the potential quantity of information to be checked could be enormous and often what you want first is a quick indication of where to start looking. In my new article, System Administration Toolkit: Testing system validity I show you a number of techniques for recording and verifying this information, and include sample scripts that will automate the process for you. Read: Systems Administration Toolkit: Testing system validity

System Administration Toolkit: Set up remote access in UNIX through OpenSSH

OpenSSH has become the defacto standard for connecting to remote machines in a secure way. Not only do you use it for simple interactivel terminal access, but for transferring files and as a backbone for services like Subversion for securely trans…

OpenSSH has become the defacto standard for connecting to remote machines in a secure way. Not only do you use it for simple interactivel terminal access, but for transferring files and as a backbone for services like Subversion for securely transferring files. In System Administration Toolkit: Set up remote access in UNIX through OpenSSH I show you how to set up OpenSSH, how to copy files using sftp and scp, and how to set up password-less login by copying across your OpenSSH keys. Read System Administration Toolkit: Set up remote access in UNIX through OpenSSH

Building a grid system using WS-Resource Transfer, Part 2: SOA grid design patterns for computer graphics animation

The next part in the series on using WS-RT in your grid applications is available to read. In this second part of the series we get into the meat of the implementation and look at how to integrate the information that you create within WS-RT with …

The next part in the series on using WS-RT in your grid applications is available to read. In this second part of the series we get into the meat of the implementation and look at how to integrate the information that you create within WS-RT with a backend database solution. From the intro:

In this five-part “Building a grid system using WS-Resource Transfer” series, we look at the use of WS-Resource Transfer (WS-RT) in different areas of the grid environment — from using it as a method for storing and recovering general information about grid-to-grid monitoring and management, and security. We will also examine how WS-RT can be used for the distribution and division of work. In any grid, there is a huge amount of metadata about the grid that needs to be stored and distributed. Using WS-RT makes sharing the information, especially the precise information required by different systems in the grid, significantly easier. Here in Part 2, examine how this information can be shared, how to integrate a WS-RT interface with a database solution, and how to employ WS-RT to support key operations of the grid, such as in node registration.In this tutorial
In any grid, there is a huge amount of metadata about the grid that needs to be stored and distributed. Using WS-RT makes sharing the information, especially the precise information required by different systems in the grid, significantly easier. In this tutorial, Part 2 of the series, we look at how to store the grid information and how that relates to the structures we’ll need for WS-RT. We also look at the mechanics of the Apache Muse solution and at the WSDL we need to write to support a WS-RT application. And finally, we use the basic methods of WS-RT for registration of nodes into the grid.

Read: Building a grid system using WS-Resource Transfer, Part 2: Share information and integrate with a database solutionRead: Building a grid system using WS-Resource Transfer Series

Building a grid system using WS-Resource Transfer, Part 1: Grid services and WS-RT

I have just started a new series on using the new WS-Resource Transfer (WS-RT) standard. WS-RT is a simpler replacement for the original WS-Resource Framework and WS-Resource Properties solutions. In fact, IBM’s own WS-RT implementation is built a…

I have just started a new series on using the new WS-Resource Transfer (WS-RT) standard. WS-RT is a simpler replacement for the original WS-Resource Framework and WS-Resource Properties solutions. In fact, IBM’s own WS-RT implementation is built around an existing WS-RP/WS-RF implementation in Apache Muse. This new looks at how you can apply the technology behind WS-RT within a grid system. Certain areas of the typical grid solution will benefit from the ease of use offered by WS-RT. The bulk of the functionality is a simple XML document that you can access through a structured interface. Over the series I’ll be looking at different ways of taking advantage of this simplified interface, but the first piece looks at the basics of WS-RT and how it integrates into the typical grid system. This piece was written by Tyler Anderson while I was busy moving house. The series intro:

In this five-part “Building a grid system using WS-Resource Transfer” series, we will look at the use of WS-Resource Transfer (WS-RT) in different areas of the grid environment – from using it as a method for storing and recovering general information about the grid to grid monitoring and management, and security. We will also examine how WS-RT can be used for the distribution and division of work. Part 1 examines the WS-RT standard and looks at how to develop a WS-RT solution using Java technology and Apache Muse.

And for this piece:

The WS-RT standard provides a new method for accessing and exchanging information on resources between components. It is designed to enhance the WS-Resource Framework (WSRF) and build on the WS-Transfer standards. The WS-RT system extends previous resource solutions for Web services and makes it easy not only to access resource information by name but also to access individual elements of a larger data set through the same mechanisms by exposing elements of an XML data set through the Web services interfaces.

Read Building a grid system using WS-Resource Transfer, Part 1: Grid services and WS-RT

Mysterious crashes? – check your temporary directory settings

Just recently I seem to have noticed an increased number of mysterious crashes and terminations of applications. This is generally on brand new systems that I’m setting up, or on existing systems where I’m setting up a new or duplicate account. In…

Just recently I seem to have noticed an increased number of mysterious crashes and terminations of applications. This is generally on brand new systems that I’m setting up, or on existing systems where I’m setting up a new or duplicate account. Initially everything is fine, but then all of a sudden as I start syncing over my files, shell profile and so on applications will stop working. I’ve experienced it in MySQL, and more recently when starting up Gnome on Solaris 10 9/07. Sometimes the problem is obvious, other times it takes me a while to realize what is happening and causing the problem. But in all cases it’s the same problem – my TMPDIR environment variable points to a directory that doesn't exist. That's because for historical reasons (mostly related to HP-UX, bad permissions and global tmp directories) I've always set TMPDIR to a directory within my home directory. It's just a one of those things I've had in my bash profile for as long as I can remember. Probably 12 years or more at least. This can be counterproductive on some systems - on Solaris for example the main /tmp directory is actually mounted on the swap space, which means that RAM will be used if it’s available, which can make a big difference during compilation. But any setting is counterproductive if you point to a directory that doesn’t exist and then have an application that tries to create a temporary file, fails, and then never prints out a useful trace of why it had a problem (yes, I mean you Gnome!). I’ve just reset my TMPDIR in .bash_vars to read:

case $OSTYPE in (solaris*) export set TMPDIR=/tmp/mc;mkdir -m 0700 -p $TMPDIR ;; (*) export set TMPDIR=~/tmp;mkdir -m 0700 -p $TMPDIR ;;esac

Now I explicitly create a directory in a suitable location during startup, so I shouldn’t experience those crashes anymore.

Voice enabling XML, Part 1: Develop a voice-enabled RSS reader

I have a new series of articles available, this time on using and consuming VoiceXML. VoiceXML is a hugely simplified method of using and working with voice-interactive services, just like those that you might use when calling your bank or other s…

I have a new series of articles available, this time on using and consuming VoiceXML. VoiceXML is a hugely simplified method of using and working with voice-interactive services, just like those that you might use when calling your bank or other service. They’ve always sounded difficult to develop for, until I found VoiceXML and services like those offered by Voxeo. The first article in the series looks at developing a very simple RSS interface. Want to pick up your news by calling a phone line and listening to the headlines picked up direct from an RSS Feed? This is exactly what I show you in this article. From the intro:

RSS is a hot topic these days, as it provides an easy way to stream data online. This article, the first of a four-part series on developing VoiceXML applications, shows you how to develop a voice-enabled RSS reader. The input to the application is RSS data, and the output is VoiceXML that can be read and spoken by your favorite compatible voice application.

Anyone interested in taking advantage of the many uses of a voice-enabled RSS reader will benefit from reading this article. You will also learn about VoiceXML basics and the RSS XML format, in addition to:

  • Translating RSS to VXML using XSLT
  • Writing a Perl script to generate the VXML
  • Adding interactivity to your VXML file
  • Generating VXML using Java servlets

Read Voice enabling XML, Part 1: Develop a voice-enabled RSS reader