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Low cost per core

Filed under: Question,sysadmin,Work — Thomas @ 12:16 pm

12:16 pm

For work, I’m re-reviewing servers and systems with the simple-but-not-easy goal of lowering the basic monthly cost per core. The world of racks, servers, CPU’s and cores is a more complicated place than it was a few years ago, since in a few U’s you can put anything from a bunch of small cheap servers up to monster boards with four CPU sockets and 12 core CPU’s for a total of 48 CPU’s in a 2U space. And a look at a Blade system still makes me drool, although I’m still not sure in what case a Blade really makes sense.

In any case, I tried to do a little comparison (which is hard, because you end up comparing apples and oranges) using Dell’s online configurator.

On the one hand, filling racks with Poweredge R810, 4 x 8 core 1.86 GHz, Intel XeonL7555 machines, gets the price down 26 euro per core per month. Doing the same with Opterons, which surely aren’t as powerful as the Intel ones, I can get a Poweredge R815, 48 cores quad Opteron 2.2 GHz, 6174, for 48 cores total, at 9.53 euro per core per month.

And then I thought a Blade would be an even better deal, but it turns out that it isn’t really. The cost per core, with similar CPU’s, really did come out pretty much the same as the R810 based solution. Probably not that surprising in the end since if you fill a machine with cores, the CPU cost will start dominating. But somehow I thought that Blades would end up being cheaper for maximum core power.

Maybe I’m approaching this the wrong way ? If the main concern is cost per core in a datacenter, how would you go about selecting systems ?

Developer Productivity Presentation

Filed under: Work — Thomas @ 3:50 pm

3:50 pm

Dear interweb,

recently I’ve been doing a bunch of thinking on how to have productive developers. We’ve been having some discussions on the topic on the business side, and there are things that I take for granted that aren’t always as obvious to the more commercial side. Things like, ‘flow is the most important part’, ‘context switches should be avoided’, or ‘a 3 month deadline for development with 1.5 months of testing/deployment/… can be given double the development work with only 50% more time’.

So I started thinking it would be nice to be able to give a quick presentation to those people, explaining some of the basic concepts they should consider, and references to back it up (studies, papers, …) that give some weight to the argument beyond ‘trust me, I know because I’m a developer’.

I went out googling for something like this but I didn’t find anything, possibly because I don’t know what to look for. It seems like something useful for any kind of technical/dev manager.

If you have an idea, please let me know!

Streaming Media Europe award and panel

Filed under: Conference,Flumotion,Work — Thomas @ 10:50 am

10:50 am

So, it’s now official: Flumotion has won the ‘Best Streaming Innovation’ award at last week’s Streaming Media Europe conference in London. Thank you for all who voted! I’m surprised to see so many people in total vote, that means that there are quite a few real users out there.

I wasn’t there myself to accept the award (our commercial team accepted what basically is a technology award, but we get along well enough :)), but I did go on Friday to replace Julien on a panel about the promise and disruoption about Open Source Video (scroll to the bottom).

This was actually my first panel, but I think we did well, especially considering it was the last panel of the day. There certainly were many more questions from the audience then in the transcoding panel I attended earlier that day. The panel was led by Dr. Tsur from Kaltura, an open source video platform.

After the conference I took the underground with Damien from New Bamboo who was also on the panel. They developed Panda, a cloud transcoding solution with the very catchy tagline of ‘video solved’. It uses ffmpeg at its core, which might get them in trouble now that they want people to run it as a cloud service, so I suggested he take a look at GStreamer instead. My first suggestion was that it should be doable to provide a drop-in binary replacement with the same interface, but having looked at the output of ffmpeg -h this weekend, I’m not sure anymore – that binary was already complicated to use way back when and it has only exploded further.

In any case, since it’s an open tool, maybe someone at work should take a look and see how easy it would be to teach it GStreamer. Or, maybe instead, we should open our own transcoder solution.

Anyway, back to London and the conference. Since the conference was over after the panel and people didn’t hing around, I called Lotte, a friend living there, to go have a drink before taking the Eurostar back. And thus it happened. I felt like a real global cosmopolite, having a drink in London after a conference for my Spanish job coming in from Belgium wearing a Spanish jacket, American shoes bought in London, a Florentine shirt, and New York pants.

View from this week’s office

Filed under: Belgium,Work — Thomas @ 12:19 pm

12:19 pm

The phone doesn’t take great pictures, but I’m sure you get the idea:


A nice, inspiring view.

Vacation Autoreply

Filed under: Work — Thomas @ 11:55 am

11:55 am

Last year one of our sysadmins set up the possibility for our people to have a vacation autoreply for their mail.

Is it just me, or are vacation autoreplies worse than the problem they solve ? I’ve never agreed with the need for them – to me, email is a more convenient letter in the post, but with the same obligation of speed of response, so it’s fine to be away for a week and not reply yet.

But it’s just really annoying for the people that aren’t on holiday to continuously receive double the email. And it’s doubly worse when those people on holiday still send out mails, causing you to reply. It’s like a honey trap!

Maybe I’m just getting old and grumpy beause of the holiday heat.

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