Posts Tagged 'Christmas'

December 25, 2011

SoftLayer's 12 Days of Christmas

If you're just joining us, you may have missed our remixes of "SoftLayer is Coming to Town" and "Go Tell it on the Mountain" ... Both of which would be flying off the shelves these days (if our blog had shelves). In an effort to fill up some more space on a SoftLayer-only Christmas CD (and of course help rocket ourselves to a Bieber-level of fame), we've re-written the lyrics to The Twelve Days of Christmas and added a touch of SL style.

Given the festiveness of the season, we couldn't just post the lyrics for this song, so I walked around our Dallas office to capture a few SLayers delivering each one of the lines. When you click the play button, keep an eye/ear out to pinpoint which of our very own SLayers is a trained opera singer.

As our present to you, please enjoy SoftLayer's 12 Days of Christmas:

If you want to sing along, we have the lyrics below for each day ... If you know the format of the song, it can be pretty repetitive, so I'll just give you the list from the twelfth day and you can read from the bottom as the video is playing:

SoftLayer's 12 Days of Christmas (Twelfth Day)

On the twelfth day of Christmas, SoftLayer gave to me:
Twelve sticks of RAM,
Eleven CCIs,
Ten Gig connections,
Nine feet of cable,
Eight IP addresses,
Seven extra hard drives,
Six disk partitions,
Five-minute cloud provisioning,
Four hypervisor options,
Three network layers,
Two SSDs,
And a server chassis customized for me!

Thank you to all of the SLayers who participated in this video and we hope you had as many laughs watching this as we did filming. :-)

Merry Christmas!

-Summer

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December 24, 2009

The Power of Christmas

The Power of Christmas

Putting up Christmas lights this year was a serious beating. I kept blowing breakers due to the amount of lights I put up in response to my wife’s request for ‘more lights!’ It seems like every year things get bigger and bigger (like most things in America – trucks, combo meals, taxes, and the deficit). The problem is there is only so much power in convenient areas of my house and those locations don’t have enough power to run my lights because they are shared with things inside the house. My front porch outlet ties in with my garage outlets so every time we open up the garage door, the breaker blows and the Christmas lights on the front of the house go out. I got tired of resetting breakers and I ended up running 2x 20amp 110v dedicated feeds to my roof and to the front yard.

As I was putting the lights up, I found myself doing power calculations in my head. I multiplied the amount of lights I put up by the watts each bulb consumes to get the total watts. Then I took the total watts and put it into this conversion tool (http://www.mhi-inc.com/Converter/watt_calculator.htm) to calculate what they use in a Kilowatt hour. I have timers setup to turn on the lights from 6pm to 11pm (CST) so that is 5 hours a day. I plan to run them from December 8th through January 3rd which is 27 days totaling 135 hours of run time. Take the Kilowatt hour the lights generate times the hours of operation and you get the total Kilowatt hours used for the holiday season. I was then curious how much this was going to cost me (I am a cheap bastard) so I took out my electric bill (TXU, yes I am paying too much) and took what they charge me for a Kilowatt hour and got the dollar figure it costs to run the lights. I was surprised it is not as much as I thought considering how much light my house now generates. It lights up the neighborhood like the Griswold’s house in Christmas Vacation <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097958/> . I would not be surprised if you can now see my house from the space shuttle.

I don’t envy Softlayer’s operation guys because they do these types of power calculations (albeit on a much grander scale) on a daily basis. They have to figure out what types of servers with different components (CPU, drives, memory, raid cards) can go into a single rack to insure that power strips are not blown. Some people don’t understand that you can’t just fill a rack up with 44 1U (or 22 2U) servers and turn them on. You have to carefully plan down to the watt how many of each type of server can go into a rack without overloading circuits. You also have to take into account customer upgrades and make sure there is enough headroom for power spikes upon booting. The math involved in my yearly Christmas light escapade made my head hurt; I can’t imagine what Robert and Brad go though. Hats go off to them. My head would have exploded by now….

Here is the math (rounded):

15 ½ stands of C9 Christmas lights each with 25 bulbs = 385 bulbs
385 7 watt bulbs = 2695 watts
2695 watts = 2.695 Kilowatt hours (from http://www.mhi-inc.com/Converter/watt_calculator.htm)
2.695 Kilowatt hours multiplied by (5 hours a day for 27 days = 135) = 364 total Kilowatt hours
364 total Kilowatt hours times $0.12 = $44

So lighting my house for one month actually uses significantly more electricity than running a server in a SoftLayer data center for the same period of time.

December 16, 2007

The Night Before Seattle

‘Twas the night before Seattle and all through the office
people were stirring, even the bosses.
The Dev guys were grinding on code one last time
in hopes all the errors for sure they would find.
 
The servers were powered and cabled and racked
and it took us a while to get them unpacked.
And Mike with his checkbook and Gary his stash
both paid our vendors a whole lot of cash.
 
When out in the parking lot the bass was a thumpin’
I sprang from my chair cuz I knew he was coming.
Over to the window I flew like a flash
pulled down the blinds and made a loud crash.
 
The lights on his truck gave off a strange orange glow
and I could see some weirdness just down below.
When what to my tired overworked eyes did appear
it was a great big guy and a whole lot of beer.
 
With his size and his stature, so calm with a grin
I knew in a moment it really must be him.
Faster and faster he came up the walk
he was hootin and hollerin and popin a top.
 
“Now, Miller! Now, Bud! Now, Coors! and Coors light!
On Corona! on Busch! On Lonestar! and Red Stripe!
To the top of the stairs! To the top of the world!
Drink away! Splash away! Slosh away all!”
 
Like molasses before a new fallen snow
he made his move to the door, be it very slow
Up in the elevator to the top he flew
with all of the beer and some pretzels too.
 
And then in a flash I heard in the hall
a pop and a fizz, did he drop them all?
As I ran down the way in hopes for a beer
I stopped in the hall for I knew he was near.
 
He was dressed in a pimp hat and humming tune
and his clothes were all black with 3 bars on his plume.
A few cases of beer he was trying to hold
and he kept grumbling something about it being cold.
 
His eyes how they stared; his eye brows so slanted
the beer must be heavy; cuz as he walked he panted.
I knew right at that moment; and just had to pause
I knew at that moment I had seen Lancey Clause.
 
He handed out beer with a groan and a scowl
he dropped one on his toe and screamed OOUU!
He spoke not a word but kept to his work
he filled fridges and coolers; with nary a burp.
 
After leaving a trail of beer all around
he went back to the elevator and headed down.
A clank and a thud as he dropped his keys
He went through the door and banged one of his knees.
 
I heard the door slam on his truck down below
and the tunes of the 80’s started to flow.
But I heard him yell as he drove out of sight
"sell a Seattle Server, Sell them all tonight!"

-Skinman

December 14, 2007

'Tis the Season to do Tech Support

I just got off the phone with my father. Actually, I got off the phone almost 24 hours ago, and I'm just now becoming calm enough to write clearly about it. My father had a problem: he was attempting to use a computer without supervision. Now, my father is a smart man. He has a master’s degree from Harvard, he has “A Brief History of Time” on his bookshelf, and he consistently left clicks when I ask him to right click. The exact nature of the phone conversation is boring an unimportant, except for one thing. My father needed at one point to save a document in MS Word format. Since he has a Mac, he created the document in Pages. He insisted that his efforts had been wasted since (he claimed) Pages was unable to save in MS Word format. I tried to convince him that it could save not only in MS Word format, but roughly 15 others, but he was unrelenting. Finally I got him to check in the Export menu “to humor me,” and lo and behold, that’s where all his Microsoft formats were hiding. Why do people ask geeks for help, then insist that the help provided is incorrect?

I am expecting to spend at least half of my Christmas visit fixing their multiple computers, synchronizing their files, uninstalling the spyware they were tricked into installing, and generally explaining to them that no, the computer cannot just “know what you want.” And at every turn, I expect to hear dissenting opinions and accusations that I am somehow “hurting” or “confusing” the computer by what I’m doing.

My fellow computer geeks all across the country will also be making that periodic tech support pilgrimage. Just talking to the other programmers in the office I’ve discovered quite an arsenal of tools that they will be bringing with them. From special screwdrivers and thumb drives to entire operating systems and (in one case) a whole new computer, we go into the holiday season armed and ready to set ourselves up for future tech support calls.

Some of my more memorable tech support calls have been from relatives, usually helpless in the basic skills necessary to diagnose the problem over the phone. My aunt made one historic call a few years ago. They had just gotten cable internet in their small country town, and after a week or so she was having problems connecting to the internet. So after hearing about the problem I told her I was going to need her to look at the modem. We spent the next few minutes arguing about whether or not she had a modem, and whether or not the problem could have been caused by never having a modem in the first place. After concluding that she did have a modem, and it was still where the technician left it (under the sink, good one technician! bravo sir!), I asked her “what do the lights on the modem look like?” A valid question I thought, and a relatively simple one. I was expecting to hear a short list of the lights’ labels and whether or not the light was lit. What did I get? “Well, they’re about a quarter inch wide and about a sixteenth of an inch…no…make that about three thirty-seconds of an inch tall, they’re spaced about a half an inch apart…why are you laughing!?”

Another fond holiday memory is the argument I got into with my grandmother. She wanted to “get a house page on the wide world web.” I managed to correct her to “world wide web” without offending her, but then the real fun started. She claimed that “the world wide web is better than the internet!” I tried to explain to her that web pages were only a very small subset of the internet, and that the two terms really didn’t describe the same sort of thing. She decided to put it to a vote. Proudly marching into the living room she announced to the 40-so gathered people “raise your hand if you think the internet is better than the world wide web!” They all stared blankly at her for a short time. Sensing victory, she turned to me and screeched “SEE!?” and stormed out.

So this year I will gather my toolkit, my extra networking cables, my CDs with avg antivirus, firefox, spybot, hijackthis, and zone alarm, my copies of windows XP and Mac OSX, two different linux live CDs, my thumb drives, and my overworked laptop, and make the trek down to my parents house. Please, if you are reading this and you didn’t recognize the items in that list, do yourself and the geek in your life a favor: Find out what operating system you run* and go out and buy yourself the “For Dummies” book that corresponds to that operating system. That can be your gift to your geek this year. Show them that you own the book that holds most of your answers, make a promise to them to at least open the book before you pick up the phone, and you will see what it’s like when someone experiences holiday joy.

Plus, you might learn something.

*Look at the top left corner of your screen, if there’s an apple there, proceed to “Apple”. If not, look at the bottom left. If there’s a start menu, proceed to “Windows.” If there’s neither, pick up the phone and call the person who works on your computer and ask them.

Apple: Click the apple, and go down to “About this mac.” There should be an entry on the first screen called “Operating system.” That’s the operating system you have, you’re done.

Windows: Click the start menu button and look at the left side of the start menu. Your operating system may be listed along the left side. If there isn’t, hold down the windows key on your keyboard and press the “Pause” key (you never use it, it’s in the top right). A window should come up that says “system” at the top. Your operating system will be the first item under “system”

-Daniel

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