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Book: Troubleshooting Riverbed Steelhead WAN Optimizers

Posted on 2014-05-20 08:00:00
Tags: Riverbed, Books

My first book, named Troubleshooting Riverbed Steelhead WAN Optimizers, has been published officially. Well, made available to Riverbed customers with access to the Riverbed Support website. It has been a multi-year effort and as usual the most difficult part was to get approval for external publishing.

The things that went smooth were the editing and the publishing: That approach was taken more or less from how the FreeBSD Project makes their documentation: The source is based on DocBook XML (Was DocBook SGML when I started) which compiles it into various formats like HTML, PDF and ePub. This makes sure you have the style and the content separated, so that even if you make certain style changes afterwards you just do it in the style sheets and it automatically propagates through the whole output without the fear of missing a part somewhere in the text.

But after two chapters of that SGML/XML, I had enough of the excess of markup tags like <para> and <sectx> which presence made my automatic reformatting habbit spending more time on the smoothness of the tags than on the content. Time for a different approach!

In the past I have worked with HTML, various *roff formatters and Perl's perldoc and ended up with a mixture of things: Use the *roff .-prefix to initiate a command, use the HTML h1-h5 and i/tt/b kind of tags for the commands and use the automatic approach of perldoc to know where the paragraphs end. And then you end up with something like:

.h2 Steelhead xx20 series models
 
The xx20 series models consist of a set of desktop models, 1RU
rack models and 3RU rack models. To upgrade between models, except
[...]
 
.h3 No route to host
 
A
.i No route to host
error is shown when the remote host does not exist and the router
on that subnet sends back an ICMP Host Unreachable message or when

After that a convertor changes it into a real DocBook XML document:

<sect2 ><title>Steelhead xx20 series models</title>
<para>The xx20 series models consist of a set of desktop models, 1RU
rack models and 3RU rack models. To upgrade between models, except
[...]
<sect2 ><title>Telnet failure scenarios</title>
<sect3 ><title>No route to host</title>
<para>A
<emphasis role="italics">No route to host</emphasis>
error is shown when the remote host does not exist and the router
on that subnet sends back an ICMP Host Unreachable message or when
which then gets converted into HTML or PDF.

Easy editing, easy markup, easy publishing. That worked fine. The book was used internally at Riverbed for training the new TAC engineers and everybody was very excited about it.

What didn't go smooth was to get the approval to publish it to customers. Everybody saw the value in the book, realized that education at this part could help releasing pressure on the TAC engineers and improve the customers Steelhead experience.

But nobody knew how to take up the book and help to get approval to make it available for the outside world. People who promised to help me moved outside Support or outside Riverbed, I was pushed around by various departments to the same various departments which already told me earlier that I should talk to the people who just send them back to me. It shouldn't be so difficult, the TAC does have access to the full contents of their own website and the TAC does publish KB articles of various quality levels without going through proper review before they get published.

So after three years of editing and publishing internally and trying to get it to the outside world, it has finally been done: My first book named Troubleshooting Riverbed(r) Steelhead(r) WAN Optimizers is available for the Riverbed customers. You can download it at http://rvbd.ly/1p5MMgu or http://supportkb.riverbed.com/support/index?page=content&id=S24051.


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How I killed 13 500 000 pages in the Google search engine

Posted on 2014-04-04 08:00:00
Tags: FreeBSD

Talk about a loaded title, en par with the quality (or lack there of) of the various click bait titles on the postings I see on Facebook and friends...

I was told by my hosting provider that my index to the FreeBSD mailinglists at http://www.mavetju.org/mail/ was using more bandwidth alone than all of their public websites together. Now this is not much of a record, since they have only low-bandwidth websites, but still...

Looking through the logs, I saw that the Googlebot and the Bingbot and some bot from China were happily fighting over CPU and bandwidth to index all of the files. Going at it on a speed of about 50 requests per seconds for 24 hours per day.

So what could I do? Checking in Google for site:mavetju.org/mail/, I saw that there were about 13 500 000 pages indexed. For what goal? Not much anymore, I have stopped following all except the FreeBSD Announcement mailinglists a couple of years ago. I still use it on my laptops, but that is all.

So... That mailinglist archive has been shut down. You can still find the cached version of it in Google by using the above search terms, but that will disappear too.

And that is the story on how I killed 13 500 000 pages in Google. I wonder how much many computers in their data center that frees up for other things. Probably none...


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