Hurricane Irene – Testing Our Infrastructure

The past 24 hours have been filled with a lot of media hype, some rain, some wind, and a few darwin awards. In my home at the Jersey Shore we still have a ‘situation’ — no electricity.

Luckily we are served well by Twitter and can find out storm details by fellow local internet users, thank you Twitter.

Internet access has remained available, thanks to the awesome local ISPs and UPS units on our modems.

Amazon Web Services seemed to have no outages during this storm, thank you AWS.

Thank you also to AT&T and Verizon for keeping our cellular services online. I’m posting this via a tethered iPhone.

However the electricity infrastructure has proved to be unable to handle single points of failure. We are on day 2 of no power, thanks to a broken transformer miles away.

1 – Why don’t we have high-availability redundant infrastructure?

2 – Why don’t we have safer, less vulnerable, underground power lines?

We need to develop a redundant system like the internet for our electric. I won’t hold my breath. For now I’ll take it into my own hands and outfit my place with solar and diesel backup solutions.

Thank you Irene for testing our infrastructure.

Update: I just ordered this generator so I can keep writing code during power outages.

Yamaha EF2000iS 2,000 Watt 79cc OHV 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator (CARB Compliant)

My Dream Apple Machine

An extra-wide touchpad and dual detachable iPad displays on a MacBook Pro. Wow! Add 32GB of RAM and quad SSD RAID too. I’m not sure why they left the optical drive in this mockup, that has got to go. Lets hope Apple is really brewing this, I will camp out on the street for this one!


My Workstation and Network Infrastructure

This is where I spend most of my time …


My primary workstation is a MacBook Pro 17” with i7 CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD and a 27” Apple Cinema Display. I use an Apple bluetooth keyboard and Magic Trackpad.

I also use a MacBook Pro 15” for testing security related stuff that I don’t want to pollute my main workstation with.


In the background of my view are 2 Samsung displays. On the bottom is a 52” and above is a 24” that I use for displaying network monitoring and analytics info. Below the monitors is a Mac Mini running Lion Server, a Drobo with 8TB of storage, an Apple Airport Extreme, APC UPS and my dusty Xbox.


Lets dissect my network infrastructure…

Dual internet connections with 1 DOCSIS v3.0 modem and 1 DOCSIS v2.0 modem.

Protecting my network are 2 security appliances, a Cisco ASA 5505 and a custom built pfsense box.

The core is a HP ProCurve 1810G-24 switch that sits on top of my retired Cisco 3500 WS-C3548-XL-EN Switch.

My primary wireless network is powered by an Apple Aiport Extreme, and I run a Buffalo WHR-HP-G300N router with OpenWRT for guests.

Most of my servers are EC2 instances running on Amazon Web Services. However I do use a Dell PowerEdge 1950 server with VMWare ESXi for local testing.

Also in the rack is a Samsung 17” CRT Monitor, 2 Belkin KVM switches, a Foscam FI8918W IP camera and a Belkin UPS.