Thoughts on technology, movies, and everything else
System administration is a special are of IT. It also has a special place in my heart. It is an interesting mixture of all the other disciplines, both common across the whole industry, and at the same time unique for each person, company, and geographical location. When I have something to say or share about system administration, I use this category.
I came across the GDPR Expert service via this HackerNews thread. It is a service that helps website owners with the GDPR compliance. Behind the scenes, there is this open source tool, which scans for cookies and provides the details about the vendor and purpose of each identified cookie. The database includes more than 10,000 known cookies.
The servers of Telegram, a popular instant messenger, were under a DDoS attack recently. While they were working on the problem, they’ve tweeted a couple of explanations of what’s going on. CNET brings those tweets to our attention, as they explain rather complex things in a very short and simple way.
SCAR is a deployment stack for static websites. It’s not exactly a single-click process, but it is as simple as possible. The name is the abbreviation from the Amazon AWS services which are utilized for the deployment: S3, CloudFront, Amazon Certificate Manager, and Route 53.
The whole thing is built via the Amazon CloudFormation, and shouldn’t require much of tinkering with the services or reading lengthy documentation pages. This bit should also motivate you to try it out:
How much will this cost?
For most sites, it will likely cost less than $1 per month. The cost for a Route 53 hosted zone is fixed at $0.50/month; the remaining CloudFront and S3 costs depend on the levels of traffic, but typically amount to a few cents for small levels of traffic.
Swarm is Docker, Inc.’s orchestrator. It started development five years ago. It’s built into the Docker Engine, which makes it the same to run it on development machines as in production servers. In my opinion, it is much less powerful than Kubernetes, and I would vote against using it in a business environment. That said, I’m a happy admin of a single-node Swarm running all of my personal services at home. But that’s it. I wouldn’t use it for anything with more than 1-2 nodes, but for those applications, I feel is the right tool for the job.
Faast.js started as a side project to solve the problem of large scale software testing. Serverless functions seemed like a good fit because they could scale up to perform work in parallel, then scale down to eliminate costs when not being used. Even better, all infrastructure would be managed by the cloud provider. It seemed like a dream come true: a giant computer that could be as big as needed for the job at hand, yet could be rented in 100ms increments. But trying to build this on AWS Lambda was challenging: * Complex setup. Lambda throws you into the deep end with IAM roles, permissions, command line tools, web consoles, and special calling conventions. Lambda and other FaaS are oriented towards an event-based processing model, and not optimized for batch processing. * Primitive package dependency support. Everything has to be packaged up manually in a zip file. Every change to the code or tests requires a manual re-deploy. * Native packages. Common testing tools like puppeteer are supported only if they are compiled specially for Lambda. * Persistent infrastructure. Logs, queues, and functions are left behind in the cloud after a job is complete. These incur costs and count towards service limits, so they need to be managed or removed, creating an unnecessary ops burden. * Developer productivity. Debugging, high quality editor support, and other basic productivity tools are awkward or missing from serverless function development tooling. Faast.js was born to solve these and many other practical problems, to make serverless batch processing as simple as possible.
And here’s the quick visualization of the architecture for you.