Chris Evans

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Top Stories by Chris Evans

Probability says that with an infinite number of monkeys and typewriters given an infinite amount of time, at some stage the monkeys will produce the entire works of Shakespeare. According to this BBC News article, a programmer in the US has tried to do just that, using AWS (Amazon Web Services).  He’s created virtual monkeys that run on AWS instances, typing out fragments of the great Bard’s collected works. It sounds like a great thing to do, however maths is against him. With 26 letters, doubled for upper and lower case, plus maybe a dozen punctuation symbols and the space, each letter multiplies the possible combinations at least 60-fold. I have no idea how many letters are in Shakespeare’s entire works, but it’s too many to make this task practical. Whilst this is a good storyline, it demonstrates the power of splitting and distributing computing tasks, somethi... (more)

HP Cloud Now Available In Beta – A First Look

HP have joined the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) market and released their HP Cloud service in public beta.  Here’s the announcement press release.  The services on offer are: Available Now as Public Beta Compute – on-demand server instances. Cloud Object Storage – object-based storage using RESTful APIs. Content Delivery Network – local distribution of web content. Still in Private Beta Cloud Block Storage – persistent data for compute images Relational Database for MySQL – managed cloud databases There’s also the HP Identity Service for managing key & token access managem... (more)

Amazon Delivers Cloud Archive Storage with Glacier

At the end of August 2012, Amazon Web Services released their latest service offering – a long-term archive service called Glacier.  As a complement to their existing active data access service S3, Glacier provides long term storage for “cold” data – information that has to be retained for a long time but doesn’t require frequent access. What Exactly is Glacier? Many organisations need to retain data in archive format for extended periods of time.  This is for regulatory or compliance purposes or may simply be part of their normal business process.  Good examples are medical, h... (more)

How Often Should You Check Your Backups?

We are regularly told that checking our own bodies for signs of change is a good thing.  Early diagnosis of disease gives more of a fighting chance of curing the problem.  So, in the IT world, where we assume all of our backups have been taken successfully, how often should we be checking the results and ensuring the backup will work on the fateful day we need to do a restore?  This question was posed by Federica Monsone on Twitter this week.  Here’s an attempt to provide an answer. First of all, let’s consider the whole point of taking backups.  Excluding the inappropriate use ... (more)

Hardware Review: Promise SmartStor NS4600 – Part III

This is a series of posts on the Promise SmartStor NS4600 home storage server.  Previous posts: Hardware Review: Promise SmartStor NS4600 – Part I Hardware Review: Promise SmartStor NS4600 – Part II In this post, we will discuss file layout, formats and protocols available on the NS4600.  The previous post (above) discussed how RAID is constructed across physical disks.  Multiple volumes can be constructed from the disks available in the system (subject to a disk being dedicated to only one volume).  Above this layer sits the file system and logical iSCSI devices. Filesystem Stat... (more)