#Computing on the cloud

With clouds growing number of services how can resellers help their customers to not get lost? Arrow ECS to the rescue! ArrowSphere web site.

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Getting started with the IBM Smart Cloud


Since yesterday a number of people have asked how to build web servers as described in the below post. Load Balancing with the IBM Smart Cloud tutorial

This is super simple and is achieved in 7 steps once again this will be based on using SUSE Linux but the method is transferable to all mainstream Linux distro’s if you are using Windows look here. Using Apache HTTP Server on Microsoft Windows. 

To start with download the latest version of the Apache Server at time of writing this was version 2.2 as 2.4 was still in beta

$wget http://apache.mirrors.timporter.net//httpd/httpd-2.2.22.tar.gz


Next we need to pen the correct ports on the firewall this is OS dependent. SUSE uses yast and to get the advanced function we require to run this as root via sudo

$sudo /sbin/yast

Open port 80 if you are going to use the standard web port for your website

Once you have open the ports extract the apache download the file comes tared and gun zipped use

$tar –zxvf httpd-2.2.22.tar.gz

If you need a simple way of referencing Linux commands then try this The One Page Linux Manual

Once this has extracted change directory to http-2.2.22/

Once in run

$sudo ./configure

This builds the Apache HTTPd source tree for your particular platform and personal requirements.

Now you can build the various parts which form the Apache HTTPd package by simply running the command:

$ make

Now install the server using

$sudo make install

Using sudo for this allows the installer to make directories and install files where idcuser doesn’t have permissions.

once this has completed its then just a case of starting the webserver for this we need to be in /usr/local/apache2/bin/ in here you can find the script required to start the web server run

$sudo apachectl start

This is also the script required to restart once the server has changed such as updates to htdocs.

Now test the server open any web browser and point it at the IP address or DNS name of the server you have just installed apache on and you should see the below message.


If this doesn’t work or times out 9 times out of 10 its an issue with the firewall so double check that port 80 is open.

I have recently been asked how to achieve load balancing on the IBM Smart Cloud as our customers endeavour to deploy more scale out web infrastructure.  To this end I have written this tutorial to demonstrate the relative ease with which this can be accomplished at its basic level. Load balancing on the IBM Smart Cloud is achieved by using IBM’s approved load balancing ISV image Riverbeds Stingray Product. I’m going to demonstrate by using the Stingray image on the Smart Cloud global catalogue how http load balancing can be achieved in under an hour ( the majority of which is waiting for the image to provision on the Smart Cloud).

In this tutorial I assume that you are confident in using the Smart Cloud portal to provision Linux instances and that you are also confident in managing them through a product like Putty using key based authentication if not please see a previous post Deploying an Instance on the IBM public cloud

Installing the Load Balancer on SUSE Linux.

So lets get started. Login to the smart cloud and deploy the Stingray Traffic Manager image of your choice. I am going to chose SUSE 64bit as this is the version I prefer using.


Once deployed wait for the image to become active.


Once the image is active, SSH into the image and perform the list of actions below:

  • Open ports required for the management of the load balancer $sudo /sbin/yast will open the systems management tool where you can open ports to enable web management. Port 9090 is required by the Stingray web management console. Port 80 is also required should you intend on load balancing HTTP web pages
  • Once this is complete, perform the following commands as root. To gain root use $sudo su root
  • Ensure you are the superuser.
  • Run the installation script: /home/idcuser/stingray-install
  • Run the configuration script: /usr/local/zeus/zxtm/configure
    1. Accept the license agreement
    2. When prompted for the license key enter: /tmp/stingray_devkey.txt
    3. Accept the default values for UNIX user and UNIX group
    4. When prompted with Would you like to restrict Stingray Traffic Manager management to one IP?, enter N
    5. When prompted for the cluster option enter C
    6. Enter a password for the Admin server when prompted. This password will be required to access the browser Administration interface.
    7. When prompted with Would you like Stingray Traffic Manager to start at boot time?, enter Y
    8. Verify the Traffic Manager starts (look for the message Starting Stingray Traffic Manager Software… OK)
  • Connect to the Admin server at the URL provided at the completion of the configuration script. Username is admin and the password is the one specified in step 6. Please see below web admin address in box.


Once you have the address of the web admin console use this to connect to the login screen, enter the password you created during the setup. Once logged in you will see the screen below.


Configuring Simple HTTP Load Balancing.

For this part of the tutorial I assume that you have something to load balance. For this I am simply using two apache web servers running on SUSE Linux. These have one web page each in htdocs with WebServer 1 and WebServer 2, to demonstrate that load balancing is occurring. I have found this a great method of testing load balancing is working as expected, if you want to use these files please feel free to download them from here: Webserver load balancing test index.htlm

To configure load balancing start by gathering together the DNS names or IP address of the webservers intended to load balance. From here click on Services and select Pool. This defines the load balanced resources (web servers) that the load balancer uses.


I have configured the pool to monitor the webservers using Simple HTTP. However, there are a number of other options available to you.  Once pool has been created add the second webserver and then click update.


Now Select Virtual Servers. We need to build a virtual web server which will be used as the point of entry to our load balanced web servers.

Start by giving the virtual server a name. Select the protocol which in this case is going to be HTTP, a port, which is 80, and then a pool which in this example is SmartCloud_LoadBalanced_Pool. Click create. Once this is created you can edit the load balancing settings. I have simply set this to round robin but you can setup load balancing based on link response time, weighted, predictive etc.


Go back to the home screen and click start in the services area that has appeared after setup. After a few seconds you will see the button you clicked go green and the Load balancer is up.


Now try accessing the web page you setup earlier, but use the load balancer DNS with HTTP. You should see the test webpage come up, refresh a couple more times and you will soon see the other web page demonstrating that requests are being sent to alternate web servers.


Hope this helps. We have really only scraped the surface of the product, so for more information check out the Riverbed website. Please feel free to leave comments.

Ever wanted your cloud environment to resemble your physical datacentre check out this little app built on Adobe AIR with plugins to Amazon’s AWS Console

This is a sub-set of virtualfront showing a couple of servers and my S3 bucket in one rack and my Elastic Map Reduce S3 buckets in another to give logical visual separation of the applications.

gregs toolkit

Take a look for yourself at http://www.gregstoolkit.com/

Also available for iPad

I’ve been looking for a while for a way of trying to provide analytical information on my various web sites and web portals. I looked at many in the space of a month and bumped into this in the last week been having a play with it. Integrated it into virtualfront.


From what i’ve seen so far I have been very impressed. Piwik has the capability to integrate into the web page. This then sends back information to a Piwik server either running as a separate server or on the same instance as your web server. The whole application is only 5.5Mb which is nice and light weight. It provides great multi tenancy for someone looking to use it with multiple websites and is very easily customisable to your company or brands. Check out Piwik’s live demo pointed at their forums at:



Web based login also customisable and you can setup user accounts based on the website being monitored. Also deployable as a bitnami custom image

Just been working with some Linux instances for a customer. Not new to Linux but found this simple little guide a great help to save the grey matter for other things.

One Page Linux Manual

Will the world survive a day without Wikipedia?


Ill tell you tomorrow…

I have now been working with cohesive FT VPN cubed for a number of months in both production and test / dev. The product brings a level of security to a cloud computing environment that allows for truly secure instance data transit.


The product is used to provide encrypted layer 2 network between different end points. This type of networking is now more commonly in cloud architecture as an overlay network. Cohesive’s overlay network product VPN cubed uses a VPN switch to connect secure tunnels based on certificates generated by the VPN cubed manger.


This product, and the support team behind it, I cannot speak highly enough of. This really does provide my customers with the four walls and locked door feeling of a datacentre. The product, when implemented correctly, can provide a high, and dare I say higher level of data transit protection than provided from a colocation rack in a datacentre.

The Cohesive FT VPN cubed image is available fully supported on the IBM cloud and also Amazon EC2, Elastic Hosts, Go Grid… you get the idea!

Just finished working on my first AQL Statements (Analytics Query Language). This is IBMs information extraction language for the IBM Big Insights Platform. This platform is an IBM wrapper to the open source hadoop map reduce solution. Just about to drop it onto my 20 node biginsights cluster! So what does this have to do with cloud. Workloads like this benefit from large quantities of processing power for short periods of time. To this end cloud computing can provide the perfect platform to provide cost effective hosting for cluster computing.

Some great resources

The first in a great series of tutorials


Big data University

The end game