LJ Archive

New Products

James Gray

Issue #256, August 2015

StackIQ's Stacki

StackIQ, a provider of IT automation solutions for the data center and cloud, recently launched Stacki, a fast and easy-to-use open-source provisioning tool for Linux servers. Short for “Stack Installer”, Stacki is designed to take any bare physical or virtual machine—with zero prerequisites—and turn it into a working Linux server in an organization's network. Stacki provides “step zero” automation, allowing organizations to spin up Linux servers without the time, complexity and risk that can impede installations. The solution also addresses a critical “missing link” in today's toolchain for IT operators—that is, automated RAID configuration and disk partitioning functionality. Stacki is a parallel, package-based installer for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and its derivatives, such as CentOS, Oracle Linux and Scientific Linux. In tandem with this new open-source initiative, StackIQ made available a one-day, on-site Stacki training and an implementation service for users who want to use the tools immediately for production servers.


Varnish Software's Varnish Plus

Until this newest release of Varnish Plus, Varnish Software's complete, enterprise-level HTTP accelerator solution, the company's customers had to rely on third-party products for SSL/TLS. Henceforth, however, Varnish Plus now offers full, integrated SSL/TLS support on both the HTTP back end and client side, allowing users to improve their Web site security and simplify their Web architectures, ultimately saving time and money. By enabling SSL/TLS in Varnish Plus, customers will enable encrypted and secure communication on both the front and back end and both HTTP server and client. On the client side, the HTTP server intercepts Web requests before they reach a Web server. The SSL/TLS support on this side enables traffic encryption between the client and Varnish. On the back end, the HTTP client fetches content missing in the cache from the Web server, enabling content to be fetched over the encrypted SSL/TLS, which particularly benefits customers who run a fully encrypted data center or have Web servers that reside in a different location from their Varnish Plus servers.


Rockstor, Inc.'s Rockstor NAS

The latest dispatch from Rockstor, Inc., involves a major upgrade to the company's RockStor NAS (Network Attached Storage) solution. The company describes the new 3.8-0 release of the free and open-source Rockstor as an “exciting update with a lot of improvements and new features”, the most salient of which is a tightening up the Rock-on app framework. New Rock-ons include Syncthing, Transmission and BTSync. Other improvements include added functional tests to improve coverage by about 10% and the correction of a Samba password reset issue.


Red Hat Software Collections

Red Hat says that the more frequent release schedule of its Red Hat Software Collections gives developers a deeper selection of the latest tools without sacrificing Red Hat's enterprise-grade support for building enterprise applications, including those built for Linux container deployments. The Collections, recently upgraded to v2.0, is a package of essential Web development tools, dynamic languages, open-source databases, C and C++ compilers, the Eclipse IDE, and a variety of development and performance management tools. These updated components can be installed alongside versions included in base Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Version 2.0 includes more than ten new collections, such as Python 3.4 (while supporting Python 2.7 and 3.3), PHP 5.6 and Passenger 4.0, not to mention several other new updates to the already included collections per Red Hat's curation. In addition, Dockerfiles for many of the most popular collections, such as Perl, PHP and Python, also are available to help developers dive head first into the world of Linux containers.


ClusterHQ's Flocker

For good reason, forward-thinking developers and organizations are latching onto containers, which are emerging as one of IT's most important innovations since virtualization. Riding this wave is the ClusterHQ and its Flocker 1.0 open-source container data management software application. ClusterHQ explains that Flocker, by enabling stateful Docker containers to be moved between servers easily, facilitates widespread production deployment of containers for databases, queues and key value stores. As modern applications are being built from both stateless and stateful microservices, Flocker enables and simplifies the process of containerizing entire applications, including their state, to take full advantage of the portability and massive per-server density benefits inherent in containers. This operational freedom allows DevOps organizations to increase the value of their Docker investment and opens the door for containers to be used in a greater variety of mainstream enterprise use cases in production. The Apache-licensed Flocker 1.0 is available for download at ClusterHQ's Web site.


Jonathan Lazar, Daniel Goldstein and Anne Taylor's Ensuring Digital Accessibility through Process and Policy (Morgan Kaufmann)

Our Linux Community, which has slayed many a dragon-like challenge, is home to some of the most impressive IT talent on Earth. One frontier to which this talent could be applied wisely is the expansion of digital accessibility to those with disabilities. A guide to navigating this frontier is the new Morgan Kaufmann book Ensuring Digital Accessibility through Process and Policy by Jonathan Lazar, Daniel Goldstein and Anne Taylor. As the title implies, this book provides readers with must-know information on digital accessibility from both technical and policy perspectives. Many organizations may not realize that inaccessible digital interfaces and content may indeed present forms of societal discrimination that can be illegal under various laws. In the book, the authors—with legal, technical and research expertise—explore the history of accessible computing, why digital accessibility is socially and legally important, the technical details (interface standards and evaluation methods) and legal details (laws, lawsuits and regulations). Myriad case studies illustrate best practices for guaranteeing access to the world of digital information for all users.


Matt Sainsbury's Game Art (No Starch Press)

In the world of video games, a lone independent developer on a tiny budget can create an experience every bit as compelling as a blockbuster built by a team of hundreds. But like all works of art, every game begins with a spark of inspiration and a passion to create. Those interested in the creative process behind video games will find great delight in art critic Matt Sainsbury's new book Game Art. Subtitled Art from 40 Video Games and Interviews with Their Creators, Game Art is a collection of breathtaking concept art and behind-the-scenes interviews from influential video game studios, both major and independent. Readers can immerse themselves in fantastic artwork and explore the creative thinking behind more than 40 console, mobile and PC games.



The long and the short of the new ORION HF320D server from CIARA is this: it is reputedly “the first and world's fastest overclocked 2U 2-Node High Frequency Trading (HFT) server”. Boasting two independent Intel processors with performance up to 4.5GHz on eight cores in a 2U rackmount chassis, CIARA says that the ORION HF320D server “officially raises the bar on speed and density for high frequency trading”. The ORION HF320D is designed to handle today's high frequency trading algorithms and data market analysis, both of which require the fastest speed and lowest latency on the largest number of cores. CIARA's formula lies in the power combination of the latest generation of Intel processors (Haswell E) with the CIARA proprietary half-width motherboard design, which together unlock a vast array of new opportunities for performance and low latency. Elements that round out the ORION HF320D's package include NVMe SSD, LSI 3108 hardware RAID, Processor Cache acceleration and the latest technology in liquid cooling from Asetek.


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