Don't be a Slave to Your Vendors

One of the reasons I like and support the use of open source software is that you can avoid most of the drama that comes from relying on 3rd party vendors.  By this I mean.. you must pay exorbitant sums for ongoing maintenance, you are locked into their product upgrade treadmill, you have little say in the direction of their products, you have a single source for support, and if your vendor gets acquired there is a very good chance the product you depend on will go away or change in ways that force you to abandon it with even more pain.  I’ve seen this play out from both sides of the table having spent time in both enterprise environments and working for software companies.

What I do: Practical Data Visualization

I’m often ask what it is I do for a living… and being lazy I usually just say ‘computer stuff’.   In an effort to provide a little more context to anyone who may be interested this is one in a series of postings where I’ll cover some aspect of what it is I do.

In my current role I spend part of the time doing development projects. (aka programming) I’m not a hard core developer though.. it’s not my full time occupation nor do I want it to be.  I work mostly with perl and php when necessary, mysql and occasionally PostgreSQL or Oracle all under various flavors of linux. (debian is my favorite). Usually these development tasks are related to some sort of management automation for a global VoIP network but sometimes they involve making complex things easier to understand.  Part of that involves automating the collection of large amounts of data and then presenting in a meaningful way so that problems and long term trends can be identified.  What follows are some examples of the sorts of things I mean.

What I do: Power DNS Real World Results

We have had a Power DNS recursing cacher deployed at one of our busiest sites for a few months now and I thought others might benefit from some real world performance info.  This is running on some older hardware.. dual Xenon 2.8Ghz system with 4G of ram and the only job it’s doing is running this recursor. These three graphs tell the tale.  The first shows that the system is handling peaks of about 3800 queries per second and that about 99% of those are being answered in a fraction of a millisecond.  The second shows that cache hits are averaging about 70-75% and the third shows that it’s doing this work while using at most one quarter of the CPU.  Add to those impressive performance levels that I’ve had zero issues since putting it in production six months ago.