Air Travel and some common sense precautions

Recently, my spouse and I found ourselves boarding a United Airlines international flight.

  1. The flight was PACKED. Not a single vacant seat.
  2. The airport was packed. There was no indication of any travel ‘slowdown’.

Should you wear a face shield?

The decision is of course, yours. We forsake the shield for a solution inspired by Dr. Fauci. Wear a Double Mask.

It bears repeating. Wear two masks instead of one.

The inner mask should preferably be of simple breathable cotton. The outer mask can be a K95 or whatever higher grade mask you feel comfortable wearing.

Wearing TWO MASKS, drastically reduces the chances of air particulates crossing the barrier to your nose / mouth. …


Warning: This post may cause excess salivation. Do not be scared. Do not seek medical attention; it is perfectly normal. Also read ‘The Mutton Curries of India

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Chuy’s Enchiladas (Try Boom Boom Chicken shown above — or Hatch Chile or Deluxe Chicken)

It’s no secret. Everyone (and their uncle) is moving to Austin. There’s tons of reasons, including job growth, but certainly live music, great food and a great outdoors are not lost on the new residents.

‘Keep Austin Weird’ is about supporting local eateries, local businesses — which were an integral part of Austin, before Austin was discovered by the rest of America….

Not for the faint of heart, ‘keeping Austin weird’ entails several physical and mental feats…


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Cloud Architect Essential Interview Questions

Topic Ideas to gauge a cloud candidate’s depth

Over the last few years, I have been more involved with interviewing candidates (as well as interviewing for positions myself).

To that end, this post captures some of the topics that a true cloud architect should be able to spell out in detail.

Note — You are free to use these in your interviewing sessions, but remember, this post only contains only topic ideas i.e. questions, without the answers :)

Cloud Infrastructure Topics, Interview Questions

  • Infrastructure Intermediate — A VPN Tunnel is to be shared across multiple accounts (AWS), or multiple Projects (GCP) or Multiple Subscriptions (Azure). …


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Selling Technology

Confusing ‘Pitching’ with ‘Selling’

Every sales person understands that selling is a process. This post is about what can wrong during this process — and the ONE thing you can do to ensure that you not only close your current sale, but have the customer begging for more. That’s right, the customer will want you to do other projects that you weren’t even being considered for!

Disclaimer — I am not officially in ‘sales’, nor have I ever been in sales. However, running your own technical consulting practice, automatically involves wearing the sales cap. …


The All Important Project Construct in Google Cloud

As a Google Cloud Architect, your understanding of GCP Projects and Service Accounts to access resources within that project, is key to gaining operational competency.

This post discusses how GCP projects can serve as an IAM boundary, a billing boundary as well as an application boundary (app tier boundary). There is nothing analogous on either AWS or Azure.

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Projects in GCP

The Project Boundary is PRIMARILY an IAM Boundary

Say your infastructure consists of a large number of cloud resources, that need to be shared in specific ways across your organization.

  • Development teams only need development network resources (VPN tunnels for example) whereas
  • Production teams don’t care about your VPN. …


This is how I was taught to deal with viral infections (growing up in India, you encounter more than your fair share of such infections).

Day Zero — The instant you feel a sore throat ( or body ache or a slight fever), and suspect an infection, blanket yourself up. Take a paracetmol (tylenol in the U.S.) and bundle yourself up. This will raise your body temperature. Granted it is uncomfortable for a couple of hours — but this simple act, in itself, will take care of a LOT of viruses. …


When I started working on this post, BTC was trying to hold on to the $4000 level — and often failing to maintain that level. As I finished up this post, it is now steadily hovering around $8000. 3 weeks — that’s what it took to go from a shaky, reluctant $4000 to it’s current $8000 value.

This post will address the ‘true’ valuation of bitcoin, if there is such a thing. In the process, it will answer related questions, including:

  1. What is the distinction between ‘Money’ and ‘Currency’?
  2. Aren’t ALL electronic payments also ‘Digital’ ? …


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DMZ Reference Architecture on Azure

(Also see — Security in the Public Cloud, An Overview)

It’s no secret. Everyone’s moving everything to the cloud.

As they lay the networking infrastructure for their upcoming cloud migration, two areas where companies are most likely to slip up include:

The solution to these two pain points is fairly straightforward, if done up-front.

  1. Answer a set of questions for each app that you intend to move to the cloud. The output of those set of answers may require remediation of certain apps prior to attempting migration. Failure to fix existing apps prior to migrating them is the number one reason cloud migrations fail. …


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Google, AWS, Azure Cloud Services

At first, I was a bit underwhelmed by the cloud. After all, wasn’t it just a fancy new hosting alternative to the likes of GoDaddy and Hostgator?

Sure — you were promised highly scalable (elastic) and resilient (redundant) infrastructure for your hosting. However, all of that was also available with your on-premises data hosting provider. So what again, was the big deal about this fancy hosting platform called the public cloud?

I was looking at it all wrong. If you approach the cloud as simply a place to host your applications (or data), you may miss the true reason the cloud is taking over the world of compute. …


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backups for D.R.

Backing up your database is just good practice. AWS’s built in EBS snapshots allow you to perform such backups that you can use for future restoration of the database.

There are two major shortcomings of using EBS snapshots. The first is something everyone is well aware of : snapshotting causes downtime (even if only for a couple of seconds). Hence, snapshots on production workloads may be a problem.

Database Snapshots (EBS snapshots)

To summarize the two shortcomings of EBS snapshots:

  1. Potential Downtime — The database needs to be locked for a short period of time while taking the snapshot.
  2. Lack of Portability — The EBS snapshot isn’t portable — i.e. you cannot take the snapshot off AWS and use it to import / recreate an on-premises instance of a…

About

Anuj Varma, Physicist, Technology Architect

Ask me about Cloud Security, Google Cloud, AWS, Cloud Infrastructure, Migrations, Docker and Containerization, Quantum Physics, Relativity Theory and Blockchain

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