Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Amazon adds HTTPS to CloudFront, drops prices and adds a NYC edge location

Amazon AWS

In addition to lowering prices and opening a new NYC edge location, Amazon has added a key feature to their content delivery network offering, HTTPS support.

Since Amazon launched CloudFront, HTTPS support has been one of the most requested features by their customers. HTTPS lets you transfer content over an encrypted connection, helping ensure the authenticity of the content delivered to your users.

Amazon CloudFront HTTPS delivery can be used to transfer inherently sensitive objects to your users, to avoid security warnings that some browsers present when viewing a mix of HTTP and HTTPS content, or for anything else that needs to be encrypted when transferred.

Also announced this morning,  Amazon reduced their pricing for regular HTTP requests by 25%: prices for HTTP requests now start at $0.0075 per 10,000 requests, letting you save on content that doesn't require HTTPS.
We're always looking for ways to reduce our costs, and we're happy that we can pass these savings on to our customers. These lower prices will apply for all usage starting on June 1, 2010.
And finally, there is a new edge location in NYC where content will be served helping make performance even better for users requesting content from New York and the northeast United States.

You can read more about Amazon CloudFront, HTTPS delivery, and view pricing information on the Amazon CloudFront detail page.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Google offers more transparency into Apps & Apps Security

It should not be a surprise to anyone that Google is very eager to become the Enterprise productivity suite powerhouse that will one day taking topple Microsoft from the podium. However, one of the critical challenges to this venture has been convincing businesses that a move to the cloud promises security. Making things more difficult for Google is some of their early Apps users have questioned the security of the suite, which includes e-mail, calendaring, document sharing and chat applications.

To mitigate these concerns, Google has released a white paper to give enterprise customers greater transparency into Google's security practices, policies, and technology involving Google Apps. Moreover, the white paper further assures current and potential clients of its "strong and extensive security infrastructure."

The following outline some the fresh security reads from Google here:

How do I remove all directories, sub directories & files in Linux

To remove all directories and subdirectories use rm command. For example remove the directory, remove me, as well as all subdirectories and files, type the following command:

# rm -rf removeme/

** removeme is the name of the folder you are looking to nuke.

Run highly available and reliable MySQL databases in AWS

In the last little while, Amazon RDS has added some exciting new features that greatly reduce the management burden of running highly available and reliable MySQL databases. These include:

Management Console - A web-based AWS Management Console to launch Database Instances (including highly available and reliable Multi-AZ deployments), take real-time snapshots of a DB Instance, and view important database statistics.
Multi-AZ Deployments - Using a single API call, you can create a MySQL Database Instance that is synchronously replicated across Availability Zones to provide enhanced data protection and availability in the face of planned or unplanned outages.
Now in all AWS Regions - Amazon RDS is now available in all Amazon Web Services Regions: US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Northern California), EU (Ireland), and Asia Pacific (Singapore).

These recent announcements complement the core Amazon RDS functionality, which enables users to quickly and easily deploy MySQL Database Instances with parameters pre-configured for reliable high performance. Amazon RDS also offers both automated backups and DB Snapshots to allow you to define your own data retention policy and perform point-in-time database restore operations. Using a single, simple API call, scaling the compute or storage resources available to your database is remarkably easy.

Click here to get started: aws.amazon.com/rds

How to upgrade your CentOS Linux from 5.4 to 5.5

CentOS Linux v5.5 has been out for a while and many people running v5.4 will be looking to update which is available via mirrors for immediate update. To update your 5.4 system you can (very easily) use the yum command to complete the upgrade. Before you get going, do not forget to backup your system!

To get a list of the updated packages available, enter the following command:

# yum list updates

Once you're ready, upgrade the entire system by issuing this yum command:

# yum update

When it completes, reboot the server - when it comes back verify the version number.

# reboot

# lsb_release -a

The result should now read:
CentOS release 5.5 (Final)

How to install MySQL Server 5 on Ubuntu

Installing MySQL Server 5 on Ubuntu could not be easier, really!?

Connect to your Ubuntu server through an SSH session, and issue the following command:

# sudo apt-get install mysql-server

That's it!

And if you are running PHP you will also need to install the PHP module for MySQL 5:

# sudo apt-get install php5-mysql

Welcome to my world, Webmin!

In the ongoing search to make life simpler for everyone, I stumbled across Webmin while reviewing an article on installing Drupal on CentOS.

Webmin is a web-based interface for system administration for Unix. Using any modern web browser, you can setup user accounts, Apache, DNS, file sharing and much more. Webmin removes the need to manually edit Unix configuration files like /etc/passwd, and lets you manage a system from the console or remotely.
I am fairly certain I am just scratching the surface here in regards to the uses of this tool but I have to say I am very impressed. So, if you are looking for an easy-to-use web based interface for managing your *nix boxes, install Webmin.

Here is a short how-to for CentOS:

# wget http://prdownloads.sourceforge.net/webadmin/webmin-1.510-1.noarch.rpm

# yum install webmin-1.510-1.noarch.rpm

Follow the brief post-install guides to get in and I am sure you will love it as much as I did! :)

Saturday, 17 April 2010

How do I register ASP.NET with my IIS 6.0 Web Server?

To register ASP.NET on your IIS 6.0 web server, complete the following:
1. Open Command Prompt and change directory as follows:

For 32-bit machines change to:

For 64-bit machines change to:

2. Run the command ‘aspnet_regiis.exe -i’ and press enter.

Additional information can be found here:

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The identity of the Application Pool is invalid

You're getting an invalid application pool identity error, but you are 100% certain you have entered the username and password correctly. And, of course, in some cases, you made a typo and gone back to correct it, but in those very few instances the following error is found in the eventlog:

“The identity of application pool ‘DefaultAppPool’ is invalid, so the World Wide Web Publishing Service can not create a worker process to serve the application pool. Therefore, the application pool has been disabled.”

In this case the application pool identity is in fact correct, but the user ID in the app pool is not part of the IIS_WPG on the web server. Only users in this group may start worker processes.  Add the user and recycle the application pool. Voila!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Howto: Copy IIS 6 metabases to multiple servers

There will come a time when you need to either move your IIS 6 website to a new server or scale out by adding more servers. In either situation the following command line procedure will greatly reduce the time required to do so.

The following example copies the IIS configuration of the local computer to the Svr01 server. The command uses the /ts parameter to identify the target server, and the /tu and /tp parameters to provide the user's administrator account and password on the Svr01 server.

iiscnfg /copy /ts SVR01 /tu SVR01\Admin06 /tp [email protected]

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Salesforce.com, Soft Phones & Skype

This past summer, I was demoed a very impressive feature within Salesforce.com - a built in soft phone with an open API allowing for anyone to write a telephony connector. When someone calls, the soft phone takes over and allows you to log the call. If it's a contact, it shows you who is calling and adds the call details to the contact history.

While surfing through the Salesforce.com App Exchange, I came across Skype for Salesforce - Basic Edition 2.0. This free Skype application provides seamless Skype integration into Salesforce.

Skype for Salesforce offers you full Skype functionality in your Salesforce screen. You will see the online status of your Skype contacts, you will be able to call them with one click and also receive calls. For received calls with caller ID, Salesforce automatically retrieves the record of that person so you are prepared when you take the call.

Conference calls are also supported and allow you to easily, directly from Salesforce, start a conference call with a few clicks.
The installation was very straightforward and the vendor provides a detailed installation guide coupled with a searchable FAQ.

If you're looking for a quick and easy way to add a basic telephony layer to your Salesforce.com deployment, I highly recommend checking it out.

You will, of course, need a SkypeIn number but that is pretty cheap ;)

Friday, 15 January 2010

Google defaults HTTPS for all GMail users

Not that long ago, Google released an option to always use HTTPS allowing users to encrypt email as it moves between web browsers and Google servers. By using HTTPS, user data is protected from being snooped on by 3rd parties, like in public wifi hotspots. Initially, the choice of defaulting to HTTPS was up to the end user because there is a downside: HTTPS can make your mail slower because encrypted data does not travel across the web as quickly as unencrypted data. However it seems that Google has reviewed the security/latency tradeoff and decided that turning HTTPS on for everyone was the right thing to do. Woohoo!

Read more about this default setting on the official GMail blog.