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Ask Slashdot: Remote Server Support and Monitoring Solution?

bdwebb PRTG is the most cost effective and feature rich (137 comments)

So about 7 years ago I tested out Nagios, What's Up Gold, Cacti, Zabbix, SolarWinds Orion, and a variety of other software monitoring solutions and the problem that we had for almost all of them is that they required heavy customization or that they were incredibly expensive when they included more initial customization regarding device discovery, included templates, etc. (a la SolarWinds). We finally settled on PRTG (www.paessler.com) because it had some of the industry standard devices templated already in a basic fashion, has an easy to use interface, and has the ability to be heavily customized.

Another feature that we were really needing was remote monitoring for our customers as we are an MSP. All Remote Probe agents with PRTG will create an encrypted SSL tunnel between Remote Probe and your core server installation at your office or colocation. This requires no customization at all excepting if you are denying certain ports outbound from the probe server in which case you simply need to allow port 23560 (or whatever you've customized it to) outbound to your core server's public NAT IP). This does not give you remote control of servers necessarily but it does provide a channel for all locally monitored data to be sent upstream to your location without requiring an OpenVPN or anything like that (except if you wanted remote access you could have PRTG's remote probe piggyback across there as well and you would then also have the ability to remote control). You can deploy as many remote probes as you would like and can therefore centralize all your monitoring data as well as create reports, custom maps, and even provide customer access via nested Access Rights dependencies.

One thing I will mention - SNMP trap monitoring is a wasted effort. I know there are many proponents of it out there but if you are not actively polling your data and gathering graphable results then you have no troubleshooting abilities, no trending reports, no data utilization analysis for service management, etc. You should configure templates for your devices to standardize them and monitor all of your critical data actively so can then use the historical information to say "Ok...this server just went down - why? Check CPU utilization - OH it looks like all cores on this CPU jumped to 100% CPU utilization just before this device went unresponsive. Let me check my individual process utilization - OH there's the process causing the problem." Troubleshooting done. Imagine receiving a trap for this device - if the device is already unresponsive by the time the trap is sent, the trap never reaches your monitoring server and everything is still hunky-dory. You may also have ICMP monitoring in place so you know the device is offline but is the ISP down? Is some LAN resource like a Router/Firewall/Switch down? Is the server down? Why? Most of these questions can be answered by historical monitoring data and I cannot say enough that SNMP traps are useless 95% of the time.

For validation of my claims & experience with SNMP, I am a Principal Network Engineer for an MSP in LA for over 9 years and we currently operate a PRTG install for our MSP customer monitoring with over 18,000 sensors monitored actively, polled every 30 seconds.

about two weeks ago
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Feinstein and Rogers: No Clemency For Snowden

bdwebb Re:clemency? (504 comments)

I am part of Feinstein's constituency and she doesn't bring shit home for us. No one that I ever talk to supports her or any of her whack-job policies. As soon as I see a petition for recall, I'm signing.

She used to just be a bunch of blubber spouting out harmless nothings to which the Senate responded 'oh that's just crazy Feinstein' but now she is getting involved in actual policies that have a chance to be pushed through and large sweeping statements like this one that don't reflect how the people of her constituency think and she really has to be stopped.

If my job didn't involve travel and I could beat the pavement hard to get a petition signed by thousands, I would do it myself.

about a year ago
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Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

bdwebb Re:what's the burning issue here? (791 comments)

I absolutely do understand your point...no governmental body should be involved in this because it is not like consumers don't have a choice in the matter.

about a year ago
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Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

bdwebb Re: what's the burning issue here? (791 comments)

In that case, I completely agree. The EU has no business interfering with cable compatibility.

I guess the EU is also being a bunch of dicks. You were being a dick and modifying my argument and my statements to fit your argument and then you attacked my statement and said that I lacked credibility and was lame...all because I argued, very reasonably I thought, that Apple fucked up by choosing another proprietary connector over consumers' convenience yet again.

about a year ago
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Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

bdwebb Re: what's the burning issue here? (791 comments)

Also, FYI - I agree with you about the lack of standardization between laptop chargers but you can't disagree that if we did have a vendor agnostic standard, it would be much more convenient. With phones currently, almost all of them do have a single standard connector and this is easy as hell for anyone with any flavor of Android phone whereas you are required to tote a charger with you everywhere you go for an Apple phone.

Also of importance is that we cannot put our laptops in our pockets for use wherever we go...a laptop requires some sort of bag and that bag can also be used to carry the charger. Our phones are much more convenient in that they fit in our pockets and do not require any additional burden to carry 24/7. If you have an iPhone you either only hang out with other 'Apple' people or you will inevitably come across a scenario where you do not have a charger but wish you did as you stare at a bunch of micro USB Android chargers.

about a year ago
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Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

bdwebb Re: what's the burning issue here? (791 comments)

If Apple licensed their superior technology to other vendors, sure...I totally agree. To take it a step further, if Apple had engineered their lightning connector to contain the standard micro USB pin-out for charging ONLY and another segment to augment the capabilities and provide the features you're talking about when using a 'lightning' connector, they would still have the new featureset but would have also provided the ability to utilize any cable, anywhere to charge your device. The only thing missing would be the 'positional' connector type but in my opinion that is a useless feature...if it doesn't plug in, turn it over.

about a year ago
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Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

bdwebb Re: what's the burning issue here? (791 comments)

Apparently he uses the cable as a belt or some sort of nifty bracelet?

about a year ago
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Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

bdwebb Re: what's the burning issue here? (791 comments)

Listen...I'm discussing something here and you're a prick. If that's the way you discuss things, you obviously have no ability to adapt to new ideas or change your opinions so what are you doing here other than trying to get people to recognize how cool you are?

I did not mention legislation so why the fuck do you keep bringing that up? I am talking about the the cable itself and Apple's inability to conform to any sort of standard. I am talking about how this effects convenience for consumers and I'm talking about how pointless it was to take this approach given the availability of bluetooth. The reason was that almost no one has an iPhone charging cable just laying around anymore and with the new iPhone 5 series, almost everyone got rid of their legacy iPhone-only accessories so either iPhone or Android devices can pair and play music the same way.

As I said, the cable incompatibility was ONE OF THE PRIMARY REASONS....I did not say this was THE primary reason so instead of trying to modify my statements to fit your argument, respond directly to my points. This was not a phantom inconvenience for me...if I didn't bring my charger with me everywhere I went, or if I forgot it, or if something happened and the cable was damaged I was shit out of luck with 3 Android chargers inevitably sitting right in front of me. My point is that there is a FAR greater chance that there will be a micro USB cable available than an iPhone cable (and especially an iPhone 5 cable) and this keeps me from having to carry a cable and charger in my pocket with me everywhere I go like you apparently do. Unless you're using your iPhone charger as a belt so it has a dual purpose, that is an extreme inconvenience in my book and moreover one that is completely unnecessary at this point.

about a year ago
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Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

bdwebb Re:what's the burning issue here? (791 comments)

I'm American..not european. Also, I did not reference the EU at all...I'm simply responding to your statements about micro USB. What I'm saying is that I keep one charger cable with me so I do in fact BRING MY CHARGER but if something accidental happens and my charger is lost, damaged, or for some other reason does not work, I have the ability to use almost every other person's charger around me which cannot be argued against for convenience. Also, if I am going somewhere that I won't have a backpack or a vehicle around, I don't bring my charger in my pocket. The likelihood is that if I need to recharge my phone but did not happen to bring my charger that day, someone else will have one I can use. OR, I'm just being lazy and don't want to go out to my truck so I use my friend's which is already plugged in.

The point is that it is significantly less convenient. It is like a smaller scale of the VHS and Betamax wars...yes, Betamax was better but it was also poorly marketed and was not licensed to anyone outside of Sony for use. The result is that VHS got the market share and crushed Betamax. No one wanted to lug their Betamax player everywhere they went so their friends could watch the 'highest quality' movies when everyone has a VHS and it was much more convenient to simply record it in VHS and share it that way. Obviously there is a difference in this circumstance since we are talking about something that fits in a pocket now, but you have to understand what I mean, right? I am totally with you on the point that this is a complete waste of EU resources, though.

about a year ago
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Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

bdwebb Re: what's the burning issue here? (791 comments)

I agree with you wholeheartedly. The EU does not need to be involved. I was just responding to the fact that Apple screwed up badly in my opinion and to the detriment of their customers.

about a year ago
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Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

bdwebb Re:Sure. (791 comments)

My last 2 Android phones have lasted 1-4 days and I have much more flexibility with my applications and usage than I did with my iPhones. Try any of the new Samsung phones and you're in the 2 day with heavy usage timeframe for charge.

With regard to charge time...I personally would rather have my device charge in 60 minutes instead of 40 minutes and be able to use anyone's charger anywhere I go. Instead, Apple has locked themselves into a proprietary connector again right during the shift to bluetooth as an accessory connectivity standard to allow multi-vendor compatibility. That is why Apple should have switched.

Compatibility and convenience trumps 33% charge time any day in my book. Hell, they could have even made an 'extended' charging port that was capable of using their proprietary 'faster' cable but still allowed a micro USB to be connected for charging only. If their technology is that much faster, they could have even licensed it out to other phone vendors and tried to make their cable the new standard instead of fighting tooth and nail. I think THAT approach would have been the best possible solution...

about a year ago
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Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

bdwebb Re: what's the burning issue here? (791 comments)

The relevant part is that the proprietary connector type is the real issue. I can pick up a micro USB cable anywhere and charge my phone and there 90% of all other cell phone manufacturers utilize micro USB as a standard for charging and data connectivity so almost everyone I know and you know has a micro USB cable to charge my phone with. Unless you buy 10 extra iPhone charging cables and leave them at all your friends' houses and everywhere you frequent, or you carry a primary and a backup charging cable with you in your pocket wherever you go, you simply don't have the same convenience as anyone else and that's extremely shortsighted on Apple's part in my opinion.

The only reason they are still sticking with the proprietary connector market is because of all of the accessories developed for the iPhone platform over the years. I think their timing is bad on the switch for connectors with the iPhone 5, however, because more and more often accessories are coming with Bluetooth and are platform agnostic. In other words, the huge advantage they had with all of their previous phones just working on any old or new accessory just went away and they are now in a market that is making accessories that use a single standard (bluetooth) and are compatible with all devices supporting that standard...if Apple had recognized this growing trend, they may have made a more prudent decision to use micro USB and ditch their new connector in favor of investing that time elsewhere.

about a year ago
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Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

bdwebb Re: what's the burning issue here? (791 comments)

The point is that Apple provides a cable that is different than the other cable that all other vendors use. It's not like Apple has a cable, Samsung has a cable, HTC has a cable, etc...Apple has a cable and EVERYONE ELSE has a cable that Apple could have used for your convenience, but they don't. Because.

Is that not inconvenient for you? I know that wherever I take my phone there is likely a micro usb cable I can use to charge it without needing to carry a specific cable with me everywhere I go. What if your cable gets damaged? There are a variety of reasons that make a proprietary cable extremely inconvenient...this was one of the primary reasons I switched away from the iPhone.

about a year ago
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Nokia Design Guru Urges Apple To End Cable Chaos

bdwebb Re:what's the burning issue here? (791 comments)

If you don't have your charger, you can't use a standard micro USB cable to replace it. Developers shouldn't be pushed to the same standard...they should adopt standards to allow their product to be more competitive and for customer convenience. I'm not sure why you're defending Apple's use of a proprietary connector, especially as an iPhone user...they are limiting your adaptability heavily.

about a year ago
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Red Cross Wants Consequences For Video-Game Mayhem

bdwebb Re:Man i hate this game (288 comments)

In Ultima Online years ago, if you committed a murder or criminal action in town, you could be killed by guards. If you committed a criminal action out of town, you could be freely attacked by anyone with zero consequences for ~5 minutes...if you died, anyone could loot your body and take everything you had on you. If you committed a murder and were reported by the victim, you gain a short term and a long term murder count and become a criminal (and therefore can be attacked by anyone) for 5 minutes but you could loot everything they had on them. Once you got 5 long term murder counts, you became a murderer and were freely attackable by anyone at any time for any reason without consequences to them, you could not return to any town, and the only access to your bank was in a lawless town frequented by other murderers or groups of innocents coming to raid.

The only way to get rid of short and long term murder counts was play time. Short term murder counts take 8 hours of play time to drop one and, if you had more than 5 short term murders and died, resurrecting would cause you to incur 'stat loss' whereby you lose 33% of your accumulated skills (which sucks a vast array of ballsacks...like..so many ballsacks). Long term murder counts take 40 HOURS of PLAY TIME to remove ONE. Essentially you had two options; (1) become a murderer and hide out for a day or two while you worked off some short terms and one long term to get below the threshold of 5 and become an 'innocent' again (or at least get below 5 short terms so you're rid of stat loss and you can play, even though everyone can attack you wherever you go) or (2) go balls to the wall and become a straight up pk.

That was probably the best game I have ever played (before it was fucked by Origin and EA) and I haven't seen anything like it since. I think the specific reason for this was the balance of the approach but the fact that you still had the freedom to do what you wanted, as you should in any sandbox style game (especially MMOs). All modern games try to find that balance but fail so miserably because the only drawback to death in subsequent games is a temporary resurrection sickness or having to run all that way again or looking like an idiot. No one really cares about dying because nothing really happens when you die and nothing really happens when you successfully evade pursuit or beat your attacker. Even more importantly was the fact that even people playing as innocents could still have a bad day and rampage a bit without screwing things up forever. That and the fact that if you talked shit, you better plant your ass in town or be able to back yourself up because people with only a couple murder accounts will kill your ass for being a dick.

Living the life of the roving pk required that you were extremely clever, very skilled, and played way more UO than any human should ever have. Ultimately most people had multiple characters and at least one of them was red (murderers were indicated by the normally 'blue' name over your head becoming 'red'). I played initially as an innocent while building my character and getting used to the game but the first time I was chased down by a group of pks I felt that adrenaline rush and, even though I lost everything, it was unlike any experience in any game before or even after. By the time I was done with UO, I had played on several different servers but my favorite was Napa Valley...I had 3200 murders and a 7.5mil gold bounty on my head. 1280 of those were a single 15 day killing spree after GMs had placed rocks in front of my house to let it decay because they didn't like me. I didn't hack, I didn't cheat - I just killed the shit out of everyone I could and the GMs hated the complaints...so I gave them some work to do. By the end of the spree I had resurrected with stat loss 3 times but that completely fucked my character so I had a friend turn my head in for a bounty, gave him 2.5 mil, and sold the other 5 mil on eBay for $140 bucks (when gold was worth something in the game).

about a year ago
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Two-Laser Boron Fusion Lights the Way To Radiation-Free Energy

bdwebb Re:Hooray for fusion! (140 comments)

Good point. Although there are a ton of other uses such as borosilicate glass and ceramics where we may not be able to recover it as easily (or at all) for use in reactors so that does have to be considered as loss. Until we're desperate enough and we start stealing beakers from labs to recycle the boron heh.

about a year ago
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Two-Laser Boron Fusion Lights the Way To Radiation-Free Energy

bdwebb Re:Hooray for fusion! (140 comments)

Another poster above you mentioned that 80% of extracted Boron is B-11 so ~1,000 years worth is more accurate if all the Boron in the Turkey mines were used for energy generation only...nevertheless, your post shows exactly why this technology is pretty enticing. B-11 is much, much easier to obtain than U-235 and, if the technology doesn't go the way of vapor, has the potential to change everything. Looking at this article, it appears that your estimate may be a bit off, though, regarding Turkey's Boron reserves:

Although having 72 percent of the world's known boron reserves and being the biggest producer of boron in the world, Turkey has no monopoly on the global boron market. Total boron reserves in the world amount to as much as 4 billion tons. But the amount of boron minerals used as chemicals in industry is no more than 4 million tons a year. This means boron reserves, even when excluding Turkey's supply, are adequate to provide the world with enough boron minerals for almost 300 years.

Going a step further, it looks like Turkey's deposits account for at least 2.88 billion tons of the total 4 billion tons in reserves around the world...definitely enough to keep us running for a while. Considering that we're already using 4 million tons a year for other industry and accounting for future growth (let's throw a random number at it and say 150% for a total of 10 million tons a year), then adding the current power requirements of the world, we get 10.0008 million tons a year of usage. Even using those numbers (and the 80% extraction rate), we're at 319.97 years of boron resources left.

And shitballs...looking at Eti Maden's site, I just found the following that makes me wonder about my previous source:

In the world, Turkey, USA and Russia have the important boron mines. In terms of total reserve basis, Turkey has a share of %72.20, the other important country USA is %6.8.
Total world boron reserves on the basis of B2O3 content are 369 million tons proven. 807 million tones probable and possible, as a total of 1,176 million tons. With a share of %72.20, Turkey has a total boron reserves of 851 million tons on the basis of B2O3 content .

I don't know if the first article is believable or not so I'll just say that we have between 94.07 and 319.97 years of power and industry in Boron...which isn't amazing but it isn't bad either.

about a year ago
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Two-Laser Boron Fusion Lights the Way To Radiation-Free Energy

bdwebb Re:Hooray for fusion! (140 comments)

I think that if they are armies of scientists the weapons would be anything but makeshift. We're talking mechs powered by mini two-laser fusion reactors blasting each other with plasma rifles and missile volleys to weaken the energy shield around the Borax mine's defenses.

Fuck. Yes.

about a year ago
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US Now Produces More Oil and Gas Than Russia and Saudi Arabia

bdwebb Re:Importation (416 comments)

I appreciate your considered response and I rescind my previous comment about your logic being retarded given your reply. My sarcasm was intended to identify that this was not just the US...this was the leaders of almost all of the major world powers standing behind idiotic policies of easing regulations. Sure, there may have been louder voices (and the US was certainly one of them) but ultimately all those involved in this debacle need to be held accountable and I'm tired of the US shouldering the blame for ALL of it.

There are greedy assholes in positions of power everywhere willing to do almost anything for more power or more money and, if anything, those in the US and other 1st world countries have to be at least a LITTLE more wary about the way they go about severely bending the rules because they have to at least pretend to be accountable. Many of those who should be sharing in the responsibility can simply do what they want with little to no resistance and did so willingly and without prompting when this opportunity to commoditize these bad/risky debts through easing of regulations came about.

about a year ago

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