Discovering RedHat Enterprise Linux

I am a Windows guy so when it comes to Linux, I am a complete newbie although I’ve been exposed to a few RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) version 5 x86_64 tasks related to Oracle database administration. I’ve played around with Ubuntu and Fedora but I find it hard to adapt since I’m so used to Windows environment. Earlier this month, I was invited to attend a free half a day RedHat Workshop conducted by ECS Pericomp. I’ve dealt a few software purchase with them and so far I’ve been satisfied with their level of service.

ECS Pericomp is located in Kota Damansara. I had to hustle the peak traffic jam, I am puzzled of why is it that during the fasting month of Ramadan, the road traffic are more congested than usual. Maybe I was driving on the wrong route. Anyway, I arrived there slightly late and the presentation started:

I must say that ECS ICT Berhad is quite big. They have a list of smaller companies within their own premises. My company is way smaller than them.

Mike Lai is the Technology Specialist at ECS Pericomp. I really admire his presentation style because I think he loves to share stuff instead of selling.

Some brief explanation about what Open Source is all about.

Some of the software development milestone related to RedHat.

Some of the tools and features of RHEL. Mike continued to share that a lot other organization clone the RedHat to become their own, one is example is the Oracle Linux where the OS are fine tune with Oracle products.

Now this is what the entire workshop is all about, “Virtualization”. I’ve been exposed to virtualization ever since the creation of Virtual PC. From there, I moved on to VirtualBox and read a little bit about VMWare. It is really an interesting topic to learn and implement. I have a couple of ideas I wanted to experiment since my company has its own small data center and the aging servers are really hard to manage. Now comes the best part, demo:

In the demo, Mike showed how he actually makes a live migration. The Virtual Machine (VM) used is Windows XP. He opened a text file and without saving it, created an exact copy of the VM and launches it. The exact opened text file appears sort of like a clone. Of course this is no surprise for people who have been familiar with Virtual PC such as myself. However, the web-based virtualization tool used reminded me of Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute EC2 I’ve been playing around 2 months ago.

As much as I marvel all this new cool technology, conveying the virtualization idea and practical issues is something to work on. Overall, this workshop benefited me well enough thanks to ECS.

Upgraded from TMNet Streamyx to TM UniFi

Last February 2011, 2 TM UniFi agent came to my house claiming that my area is within UniFi coverage. I checked on UniFi’s website earlier but my house address was no where to be found. Since the guy said that registration and the even the installation is free, I then agreed to sign up. 5 months later, after I signed up again online and confirmed that my house address was listed, I received an e-mail that my order was approved and the installation will be done in July 2011. Apparently, TM UniFi’s personnel called me up and inform me of an earlier installation date and I happily agreed to it.

Unfortunately, they broke their promise and didn’t show up on the date. I e-mailed them back and complain about it and received a reply from their customer support. The installation date was pushed to the following week. Here’s how the installation work was done:

There were 2 vans arrived at my house, one contractor is for the outdoor installation and the other is responsible for the indoor installation. Altogether there were 5 people.

I admired this guy who engaged me as the customer and did most of the work compared the other guys. Not only did he brought the barrel of fiber optics cable to the telekom pole, he drilled a hole in my living room.

He then drilled my kitchen wall to insert the fibre optic cables from the outside.

He pulled the fiber optic cables were pulled into my house living room.

The fiber optics cable barrel.

My cracked kitchen wall caused by the drilling. One of the contractor then masked the cracked wall with white plaster.

The guy then sets up the UniFi equipments in my living room.

He and another guys working on the UniFi’s connectivity.

My neighbourhood UniFi box connector. In some places, the UniFi connectivity is located underground.

My house TM UniFi equipment up and running.

The next step after installing UniFi is to terminate the TM Net Streamyx and telephone line. There were several issues I’ve encountered after the installation:

  1. I tried requesting for my house number to remain the same. Unfortunately the TM Point staff told me that I can’t have my old phone number to be replaced with the new UniFi telephone number. So there goes my old house number after using it for 14 years.
  2. The TM powered wireless router administration page is very opened. Even though I’ve disabled the remote access to the router, until now I can’t seem to change the password (current password is just blank).
  3. I spent 2 days configuring the TM powered wireless router to work on my laptop. Only my laptop couldn’t connect to the WiFi, the rest of laptop, PC and mobile devices in my house could connect to the internet without any problem. I tried configured everything I know on my laptop, installed and uninstalled several drivers and software but nothing seems to work. In the end, I hooked up my old wireless router back and my laptop automatically connects to the internet.
  4. After consuming gigabytes of data (I am a heavy downloader once in a while), I think one the UniFi devices crashed and both the HyppTV and the internet is not available anymore. This had occur twice already. The solution is to reset the whole boxes (Consist of the UniFi modem, Wireless router and HypTV box; Switch off for a few seconds and switch back on after that) and the UniFi services will be back to normal. Don’t bother tinkering into the admin page or call the customer service unless if you really need to.

If you want to read a full detail story of what happened before the installation, you can read it on my Malay blog here, that is if you can understand Malay language.

Overall, I am satisfied with TM UniFi services. There are moments when the internet line was really slow, I guess not all of the servers can cater for the high speed connection. The only significant improvement I’ve noticed is when watching YouTube where you don’t have to wait for the buffering video anymore. The HyppTV/IPTV is crystal clear and at the moment I’m enjoying all of the HyppTV channel free for a month (1-31 August 2011). That’s all for now. Do leave a comment if you would like to ask me anything.