February 2012

Introducing Sparse Encrypted ZFS Pools

Sparse ZFS Pools

Ever since I've been using a Mac, I enjoy using Sparse Encrypted Disk Images for a variety of tasks, for instance securely storing data that can be backed up somewhere else, say on a hosting server.

In fact, most of my project/personal data on my Mac sits on sparse encrypted disk images that are regularly rsynced to an external storage service, Strato's in particular.

The beauty of this solution lies in it simplicity:

Sparse encrypted disk images show up just like any other hard drive. But on the back end, they translate into a bunch of flat files that store all the data in an encrypted manner. By rsyncing the backing store, sparse encrypted disk images can be easily backed up across the net, while ensuring privacy and convenience.

Here's how to do similar things with Solaris and ZFS, including some extra data integrity magic:

Three Enterprise Architecture Principles for Building Clouds

Bricks

After having gone through TOGAF training and certification, I've now caught the Enterprise Architecture bug, as you can probably tell by this article. It is a really neat way to add structure to the IT development process and to better understand what it really means to solve business problems with IT.

One of the first things TOGAF recommends architects do when establishing an Enterprise Architecture practice within a company is to formulate Architecture Principles that guide the development of solutions. During the last few workshops and during some discussions with other architects, three principles in particular struck me as being key to successfully developing a Cloud solution:

The Difference Between a Standard and a Preferred Vendor

Standardization

Recently, I attended a customer workshop where the customer declared that they standardized on x86, VMware and Linux.

That got me and my colleague thinking about what standardization really means and whether that actually makes sense.

The workshop was actually about defining a PaaS platform for the customer, and early in the process they just said: Fine, but it's gonna be x86, VMware and Linux, because that's our standard. WTF?

Iron Sky: The Trailer is Here!

Iron Sky Poster

In Summer 2010 I learned about a cool new geeky movie called Iron Sky that was crowd-funded. I decided to help finance it with a small sum.

Then the second Iron Sky teaser came out and I thought: Wow, this is looking really good! And I invested some more.

In December 2010, I was invited to attend the Iron Sky shootings in Frankfurt together with my brother. This is where we got to meet the crew, the actors, the people behind the movie and other investors. And I thought: Wow, this is not only cool, this is for real! Everybody was 100% determined to make this the coolest movie ever, and everybody put in so much attention to detail, love and true craftmanship that I thought: "Yep, this is going to be a true movie milestone!" And I also got to shoot an interview with the director and the inventor of Iron Sky. This time, my brother and I together invested a bit more to help this baby fly.