The Internet Revealed: A film about IXPs
I was passed a link to this video the other day. It’s over simplified of course, but it breaks down a bit of the basics as far as how the backbone of the internet works, and what I do all day :).
Ready for another chestnut in the “how big of a geek am I” fire?
So this week was momentus for the NOC.. we finally got brand new workstations for the whole thing, after waiting on them for quite some time. Quite an upgrade from the Frankenstein’d boxes we were working on prior. So in this new set up, I moved to a external hard drive with my own operating system, which allows me to move my workspace around between systems. However, I had to pick a unique name for my workstation.
Naming your computers is always a big thing for a geek. It has to fit the system. Many times, you have a naming convention to stick to, while others, it’s just picking something that fits.
The result of my search?
Alexander fits this system. You wanna know in how many ways? Check this out:
So you see, a lot of thought goes into a good name. And yes, I really am a big frickin geek.
The below was cross-posted to the Peer1 Internal Staff site, as part of my participation in the Peer1 Employee Exchange Program.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Christoph Blecker, and I’m a Network Analyst working in the Vancouver NOC. I was chosen to be the first participant in the new Peer1 Employee Exchange program, and am spending this whole week in the ServerBeach San Antonio office. I’ll be spending the majority of the time with the SB Support Team, headed up by Mark Melin.
It’s been a fun week so far. By sheer coincidence, I’m not the only person starting in SAT support this week. Jim Park, formerly of Los Angeles DCO roots, picked up and moved down to Texas last weekend. This is his first week working as a Support Specialist on the San Antonio support team. We are both learning the ropes of this office together.
So far I’ve spent time shadowing a few different members of the support team:
- Brenda C. in doing Support Level 1
- Jayson A. doing Support Level 2
- Stephanie D. doing Billing
- Allison H. doing Winback/Cancellations
I’ve also put tons of names and faces together, as well as collected a much deeper insight into the scope of issues that crop up at The Beach. Holy Plesk issues, Batman!
I’ve also been able to sample local cuisine. Breakfast Tacos? Beef and Cheese Enchiladas? Yummm! Much better than Taco Bell (the extent of my previous Mexican experience)! So far so good! I’m getting comfortable down here now, which isn’t that where the fun begins?
The other big thing I’ve noticed is the heat. I’m a Canadian. I’m most comfortable in that 17-20C (62-68F) range. It’s been up to 101F (38C) at the peak this week. I’m not down with that. At all. Thankfully the beach is kept at a nice, cool temperature. Safe to say, I’ve been huddling inside.
More to come!
I ended up having a lunch meeting with my boss, Jason, last week. It appears that I was selected to participate in a pilot of the Peer1 Employee Exchange program. This program is designed to bring staff that normally wouldn’t get a chance to see each other in person together, and from those experiences gain and bring back perspective about how the other departments, lines of business, and offices operate. It is the hope of Peer1 management that if this program is successful in strengthening relations between the offices, that they will launch it into a full program.
In the pilot program, they have selected two staff members to travel to another office, learn everything they can about what makes that office tick, and then bring it back with them to their home office. I have been selected to go to ServerBeach's head office in San Antonio, TX. It should be a blast. I already have a working relationship with a couple people down there, and I've never been to Texas. Well, actually I've never been anywhere in the states other than to Seattle, and the few hours I was in LAX on lay-overs during my trip to Australia.
So! I’ll be in San Antonio from April 19th to the 25th. Go raise a little hell there for a week (to a point — had to promise the boss I’d be on my best behaviour :P), and come home. I’ll probably be tweeting/blogging like crazy, partially because it’s part of my agreement with the company to be able to go!
In other work news, I’m finished up another night rotation. I’m looking forward to going back onto day shift. I’m looking forward to being able to work on all my little side projects now, while not losing tons of sleep or flipping back and forth nights to days and back, on my days off.
Lots of exciting things coming down the pipe!
On Wednesday, I had my 1 year anniversary with Peer1.
Peer1 is a really wonderful company to work for. Last weekend, we had an epic Christmas party at Steamworks in Gastown. Where lots of companies have been skimping on staff events to cut costs, Peer1 pulled out all the stops to show it’s appriciation for it’s staff. It’s not only made us all feel a greater sense of loyalty to our company, but it’s closened the camaraderie of our Vancouver office as a whole. Moral in the office is really high, and it’s been a very good week since.
Today, we ended up having our annual Secret Santa. We set a nice limit of $20, and most of the people in Vancouver participated. I made.. well rather a unique request, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to be taken:
Beer/Liquor, GC for something geeky (FutureShop, BestBuy, ThinkGeek, etcc), pulling a really good prank on any NOC member (other than me)
I did not expect anything like what I received:
That.. was just epic. The desk belongs to my boss, Jason. The attention to detail was magnificent. Every pen, CD, and magazine was wrapped. Literally, everything in, around or on his desk was wrapped. It brought such a smile to my face, as someone obviously spent hours wrapping it all. It was just.. wow.
I also got a present today from Charnell and the San Antonio team. It’s a pretty awesome t-shirt with “I’d rather be at the Beach” and the ServerBeach logo on the back.
Thank you to my Secret Santa, Charnell, and thanks to all my colleagues at Peer1 for making my first year with the company memorable. I’m very much looking forward to 2009 at Peer1!
To better learn about the different PEER1 products that I support, I’ve recently been playing around with the PEER1 Content Delivery Network. The most common CDN set up is to point it at the same webserver you run your main site off of, and then you link back any images or static content back to the caching name instead of the primary name. For example, if your site was www.example.com and your CDN was set up at cache1.example.com, you would point both domains at the same server and then link all your images through the cache1.example.com, while all your text pages and such would pull straight from your webserver. Now, while you would also be able to pull everything including the webpages through the cachers, the issue arises with freshness of the page. This holds especially true when you’re working with dynamic PHP content.
I ended up running into a bit of an issue. I wanted to maximize the amount of content I’m serving through the CDN, however my website is based off of WordPress. I had two options.. I could rewrite the entire style I’m using to staticly grab the files from the caching server, as opposed to the regular webserver, or I could find a way to dynamically redirect all images to come from the caching server as opposed to the regular webserver. I ended up finding a way to do through the Apache mod_rewrite module.
First, I went into the config file for my main toph.ca server and stuck in this line of code:
RewriteRule ^(.*)(jpeg|jpg|gif|bmp|png|mp3)$ http://cache.toph.ca$0 [NC,L]
Then I hopped over and into the config for the caching server (they are running on the same IP using Name-based VirtualHosts) and stuck this in:
<files ~ “^(.*)(htm|html|php|js|HTM|HTML|PHP|JS)$”>
Deny from all
Now this does two things. First off, this causes all requests to www.toph.ca for media files to be automatically be redirected to cache.toph.ca. It’s a simple catch all, and it works! This doesn’t entirely reduce the load on the server as the requests still have to hit my Apache server to get the redirect, but my server doesn’t actually have to serve the files unless the cacher doesn’t have them. The second snippet of code on the cacher prevents the server from serving the actual data html or php files off the server. I don’t want that caching server serving web pages to users, or getting them indexed in Google.
So there you have it. A quick and dirty way to force all your media content over to a CDN caching service (or any alternative webserver for that matter), and to prevent that server from serving your actual page files.