Tag Archives: Azure

Migrating Azure VM to AWS using AWS SMS Connector for Azure

Post Syndicated from Emma White original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/compute/migrating-azure-vm-to-aws-using-aws-sms-connector-for-azure/

AWS SMS is an agentless service that facilitates and expedites the migration of your existing workloads to AWS. The service enables you to automate, schedule, and monitor incremental replications of active server volumes, which facilitates large-scale server migration coordination. Recently, you could only migrate virtual machines (VMs) running in VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V environments. Currently, you can use the simplicity and ease of AWS Server Migration Service (SMS) to migrate virtual machines running on Microsoft Azure. You can discover Azure VMs, group them into applications, and migrate a group of applications as a single unit without having to go through the hassle of coordinating the replication of the individual servers or decoupling application dependencies. SMS significantly reduces application migration time, as well as decreases the risk of errors in the migration process.

 

This post takes you step-by-step through how to provision the SMS virtual machine on Microsoft Azure, discover the virtual machines in a Microsoft Azure subscription, create a replication job, and finally launch the instance on AWS.

 

1- Provisioning the SMS virtual machine

To provision your SMS virtual machine on Microsoft Azure, complete the following steps.

  1. Download three PowerShell scripts listed under Step 1 of Installing the Server Migration Connection on Azure.
FileURL
Installation scripthttps://s3.amazonaws.com/sms-connector/aws-sms-azure-setup.ps1
MD5 hashhttps://s3.amazonaws.com/sms-connector/aws-sms-azure-setup.ps1.md5
SHA256 hashhttps://s3.amazonaws.com/sms-connector/aws-sms-azure-setup.ps1.sha256

 

  1. To validate the integrity of the files you can compare the checksums of the files. You can use PowerShell 5.1 or newer.

 

2.1 To validate the MD5 hash of the aws-sms-azure-setup.ps1 script, run the following command and wait for an output similar to the following result:

Command to validate the MD5 has of the aws-sems-azure-setup.ps1 script

2.2 To validate the SHA256 hash of the aws-sms-azure-setup.ps1 file, run the following command and wait for an output similar to the following result:

Command to validate the SHA256 hash of the aws-sms-azure-setup.ps1 file

2.3 Compare the returned values ​​by opening the aws-sms-azure-setup.ps1.md5 and aws-sms-azure-setup.ps1.sha256 files in your preferred text editor.

2.4 To validate if the PowerShell script has a valid Amazon Web Services signature, run the following command and wait for an output similar to the following result:

Command to validate validate if the PowerShell script has a valid Amazon Web Services signature

 

  1. Before running the script for provisioning the SMS virtual machine, you must have an Azure Virtual Network and an Azure Storage Account in which you will temporarily store metadata for the tasks that SSM performs against the Microsoft Azure Subscription. A good recommendation is to use the same Azure Virtual Network as the Azure Virtual Machines being migrated, since the SSM virtual machine performs REST API communications to communicate with AWS endpoints as well as the Azure Cloud Service. It is not necessary for the SMS virtual machine to have a Public IP or Internet Inbounds Rules.

 

4.  Run the installation script .\aws-sms-azure-setup.ps1

Screenshot of running the installation script

  1. Enter with the name of the existing Storage Account Name and Azure Virtual Network in the subscription:

Screenshot of where to enter Storage Account Name and Azure Virtual Network

  1. The Microsoft Azure modules imports into the local PowerShell, and you receive a prompt for credentials to access the subscription.

Azure login credentials

  1. A summary of the created features appears, similar to the following:

Screenshot of created features

  1. Wait for the process to complete. It may take a few minutes:

screenshot of processing jobs

  1. After the provisioning an output containing the Object Id of System Assigned Identity and Private IP. Save this information as it is going to be used to register the connector to the SMS service in the step 23.

Screenshot of the information to save

  1. To check the provisioned resources, log into the Microsoft Azure Portal and select the Resource Group option. The provided AWS script performed a role created in the Microsoft Azure IAM that allows the virtual machine to make use of the necessary services through REST APIs over HTTPS calls and to be authenticated via Azure Inbuilt Instance Metadata Service (IMDS).

Screenshot of provisioned resources log in Microsoft Azure Portal

  1. As a requirement, you need to create an IAM User that contains the necessary permissions for the SMS service to perform the migration. To do this, log into your AWS account at https://aws.amazon.com/console, under services select IAM. Then select User, and click Add user.

Screenshot of AWS console. add user

 

  1. In the Add user page, insert a username and check the option Programmatic access. Click: Next Permissions

Screenshot of adding a username

  1. Attach an existing policy with the name ServerMigrationConnector. This policy allows the AWS Connector to connects and executes API-requests against AWS. Click Next:Tags.

Adding policy ServerMigrationConnector

  1. Optionally add tags to the user. Click Next: Review.

Screenshot of option to add tags to the user

15. Click Create User and save the Access Key and Secret Access Key. This information is going to be used during the AWS SMS Connector setup.

Create User and save the access key and secret access key

 

  1. From a computer that has access to the Azure Virtual Network, access the SMS Virtual Machine configuration using a browser and the previously recorded private IP from the output of the script. In this example, the URL is https://10.0.0.4.

Screenshot of accessing the SMS Virtual Machine configuration

  1. On the main page of the SMS virtual machine, click Get Started Now

Screenshot of the SMS virtual machine start page

  1. Read and accept the terms of the contract, then click Next.

Screenshot of accepting terms of contract

  1. Create a password that will be used to login later in the management connector console and click Next.

Screenshot of creating a password

  1. Review the Network Info and click Next.

Screenshot of reviewing the network info

  1. Choose if you would like to opt-in to having anonymous log data set to AWS then click Next.

Screenshot of option to add log data to AWS

  1. Insert an Access Key and Secret Access Key for an IAM User whose only policy is attached: “ServerMigrationConnector” Also, select the region in which the SMS endpoint will be used and click Next. The access key mentioned it was created through step 11 to 15.

Selet AWS Region, and Insert Access Key and Secret Key

  1. Enter the Object Id of System Assigned Identify copied in step 9 and click Next.

Enter Object Id of System Assigned Identify

  1. Congratulations, you have successfully configured the Azure connector, click Go to connector dashboard.

Screenshot of the successful configuration of the Azure connector

  1. Verify that the connector status is HEALTHY by clicking Connectors on the menu.

Screenshot of verifying that the connector status is healthy

 

2 – Replicating Azure Virtual Machines to Amazon Web Services

  1. Access the SMS console and go to the Servers option. Click Import Server Catalog or Re-Import Server Catalog if it has been previously executed.

Screenshot of SMS console and servers option

  1. Select the Azure Virtual Machines to be migrated and click Create Replication Job.

Screenshot of Azure virtual machines migration

  1. Select which type of licensing best suits your environment, such as:

– Auto (Current licensing autodetection)

– AWS (License Included)

– BYOL (Bring Your Own License).
See options: https://aws.amazon.com/windows/resources/licensing/

Screenshot of best type of licensing for your environment

  1. Select the appropriate replication frequency, when the replication should start, and the IAM service role. You can leave it blank and the SMS service is going to use the built-in service role “sms”

Screenshot of replication jobs and IAM service role

  1. A summary of the settings are displayed and click Create. 
    Screenshot of the summary of settings displayed
  2. In the SMS Console, go to the Replication Jobs option and follow the replication job status:

Overview of replication jobs

  1. After completion, access the EC2 console, go to AMIs, and a list of the AMIs generated by SMS will now be in this list. In the example below, several AMIs were generated because the replication frequency is 1 hour.

List of AMIs generated by SMS

  1. Now navigate to the SMS console, click Launch Instance and follow the screen processes for creating a new Amazon EC2 instance.

SMS console and Launch Instance screenshot

 

3 – Conclusion

This solution provides a simple, agentless, non-intrusive way to the migration process with the AWS Server Migration Service.

 

For more about Windows Workloads on AWS go to:  http://aws.amazon.com/windows

 

About the Author

Photo of the Author

 

 

Marcio Morales is a Senior Solution Architect at Amazon Web Services. He works with AWS customers to provide guidance and technical assistance on running their Microsoft workloads on AWS.

Monitoring with Azure and Grafana

Post Syndicated from Blogs on Grafana Labs Blog original https://grafana.com/blog/2018/05/31/monitoring-with-azure-and-grafana/

Monitoring with Azure and Grafana What is whitebox monitoring?
Why do we monitor our systems?
What is the Azure Monitor plugin and how can I use it to monitor my Azure resources?
Recently, I spoke at Swetugg 2018, a .NET conference held in Stockholm, Sweden to answer these questions. In this video you’ll learn some basic monitoring principles, some of the tools we use to monitor our systems, and get an inside look at the new Azure Monitor plugin for Grafana.

Security updates for Tuesday

Post Syndicated from ris original https://lwn.net/Articles/755205/rss

Security updates have been issued by Debian (gitlab and packagekit), Fedora (glibc, postgresql, and webkitgtk4), Oracle (java-1.7.0-openjdk, java-1.8.0-openjdk, kernel, libvirt, and qemu-kvm), Red Hat (java-1.7.0-openjdk, kernel-rt, qemu-kvm, and qemu-kvm-rhev), SUSE (openjpeg2, qemu, and squid3), and Ubuntu (kernel, linux, linux-aws, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-kvm, linux-oem, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm,, linux-hwe, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-oem, linux-lts-trusty, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, qemu, and xdg-utils).

Connect Veeam to the B2 Cloud: Episode 3 — Using OpenDedup

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/opendedup-for-cloud-storage/

Veeam backup to Backblaze B2 logo

In this, the third post in our series on connecting Veeam with Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage, we discuss how to back up your VMs to B2 using Veeam and OpenDedup. In our previous posts, we covered how to connect Veeam to the B2 cloud using Synology, and how to connect Veeam with B2 using StarWind VTL.

Deduplication and OpenDedup

Deduplication is simply the process of eliminating redundant data on disk. Deduplication reduces storage space requirements, improves backup speed, and lowers backup storage costs. The dedup field used to be dominated by a few big-name vendors who sold dedup systems that were too expensive for most of the SMB market. Then an open-source challenger came along in OpenDedup, a project that produced the Space Deduplication File System (SDFS). SDFS provides many of the features of commercial dedup products without their cost.

OpenDedup provides inline deduplication that can be used with applications such as Veeam, Veritas Backup Exec, and Veritas NetBackup.

Features Supported by OpenDedup:

  • Variable Block Deduplication to cloud storage
  • Local Data Caching
  • Encryption
  • Bandwidth Throttling
  • Fast Cloud Recovery
  • Windows and Linux Support

Why use Veeam with OpenDedup to Backblaze B2?

With your VMs backed up to B2, you have a number of options to recover from a disaster. If the unexpected occurs, you can quickly restore your VMs from B2 to the location of your choosing. You also have the option to bring up cloud compute through B2’s compute partners, thereby minimizing any loss of service and ensuring business continuity.

Veeam logo + OpenDedup logo + Backblaze B2 logo

Backblaze’s B2 is an ideal solution for backing up Veeam’s backup repository due to B2’s combination of low-cost and high availability. Users of B2 save up to 75% compared to other cloud solutions such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, or Google Cloud Storage. When combined with OpenDedup’s no-cost deduplication, you’re got an efficient and economical solution for backing up VMs to the cloud.

How to Use OpenDedup with B2

For step-by-step instructions for how to set up OpenDedup for use with B2 on Windows or Linux, see Backblaze B2 Enabled on the OpenDedup website.

Are you backing up Veeam to B2 using one of the solutions we’ve written about in this series? If you have, we’d love to hear from you in the comments.

View all posts in the Veeam series.

The post Connect Veeam to the B2 Cloud: Episode 3 — Using OpenDedup appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Grafana v5.1 Released

Post Syndicated from Blogs on Grafana Labs Blog original https://grafana.com/blog/2018/04/26/grafana-v5.1-released/

v5.1 Stable Release

The recent 5.0 major release contained a lot of new features so the Grafana 5.1 release is focused on smoothing out the rough edges and iterating over some of the new features.

Download Grafana 5.1 Now

Release Highlights

There are two new features included, Heatmap Support for Prometheus and a new core data source for Microsoft SQL Server.

Another highlight is the revamp of the Grafana docker container that makes it easier to run and control but be aware there is a breaking change to file permissions that will affect existing containers with data volumes.

We got tons of useful improvement suggestions, bug reports and Pull Requests from our amazing community. Thank you all! See the full changelog for more details.

Improved Scrolling Experience

In Grafana v5.0 we introduced a new scrollbar component. Unfortunately this introduced a lot of issues and in some scenarios removed
the native scrolling functionality. Grafana v5.1 ships with a native scrollbar for all pages together with a scrollbar component for
the dashboard grid and panels that does not override the native scrolling functionality. We hope that these changes and improvements should
make the Grafana user experience much better!

Improved Docker Image

Grafana v5.1 brings an improved official docker image which should make it easier to run and use the Grafana docker image and at the same time give more control to the user how to use/run it.

We have switched the id of the grafana user running Grafana inside a docker container. Unfortunately this means that files created prior to 5.1 will not have the correct permissions for later versions and thereby introduces a breaking change. We made this change so that it would be easier for you to control what user Grafana is executed as.

Please read the updated documentation which includes migration instructions and more information.

Heatmap Support for Prometheus

The Prometheus datasource now supports transforming Prometheus histograms to the heatmap panel. The Prometheus histogram is a powerful feature, and we’re
really happy to finally allow our users to render those as heatmaps. The Heatmap panel documentation
contains more information on how to use it.

Another improvement is that the Prometheus query editor now supports autocomplete for template variables. More information in the Prometheus data source documentation.

Microsoft SQL Server

Grafana v5.1 now ships with a built-in Microsoft SQL Server (MSSQL) data source plugin that allows you to query and visualize data from any
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or newer, including Microsoft Azure SQL Database. Do you have metric or log data in MSSQL? You can now visualize
that data and define alert rules on it as with any of Grafana’s other core datasources.

The using Microsoft SQL Server in Grafana documentation has more detailed information on how to get started.

Adding New Panels to Dashboards

The control for adding new panels to dashboards now includes panel search and it is also now possible to copy and paste panels between dashboards.

By copying a panel in a dashboard it will be displayed in the Paste tab. When you switch to a new dashboard you can paste the
copied panel.

Align Zero-Line for Right and Left Y-axes

The feature request to align the zero-line for right and left Y-axes on the Graph panel is more than 3 years old. It has finally been implemented – more information in the Graph panel documentation.

Other Highlights

  • Table Panel: New enhancements includes support for mapping a numeric value/range to text and additional units. More information in the Table panel documentation.
  • New variable interpolation syntax: We now support a new option for rendering variables that gives the user full control of how the value(s) should be rendered. More details in the in the Variables documentation.
  • Improved workflow for provisioned dashboards. More details here.

Changelog

Checkout the CHANGELOG.md file for a complete list
of new features, changes, and bug fixes.

Security updates for Tuesday

Post Syndicated from ris original https://lwn.net/Articles/752675/rss

Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (roundcubemail, xfig, and zsh), Debian (linux-tools), Fedora (java-1.8.0-openjdk and mingw-libid3tag), Gentoo (chromium), openSUSE (hdf5, ocaml, PackageKit, phpMyAdmin, salt, and virtualbox), Oracle (patch), Red Hat (java-1.6.0-sun, java-1.7.0-oracle, java-1.8.0-oracle, patch, and python-paramiko), Scientific Linux (patch), SUSE (kernel and PackageKit), and Ubuntu (linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux, linux-raspi2, linux-azure, linux-euclid, linux-hwe, linux-gcp, linux-oem, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, and mysql-5.5, mysql-5.7).

Introducing Microsoft Azure Sphere

Post Syndicated from corbet original https://lwn.net/Articles/751994/rss

Microsoft has issued a
press release
describing the security dangers involved with the
Internet of things (“a weaponized stove, baby monitors that spy, the
contents of your refrigerator being held for ransom
“) and introducing
“Microsoft Azure Sphere” as a combination of hardware and software to
address the problem. “Unlike the RTOSes common to MCUs today, our
defense-in-depth IoT OS offers multiple layers of security. It combines
security innovations pioneered in Windows, a security monitor, and a custom
Linux kernel to create a highly-secured software environment and a
trustworthy platform for new IoT experiences.

American Public Television Embraces the Cloud — And the Future

Post Syndicated from Andy Klein original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/american-public-television-embraces-the-cloud-and-the-future/

American Public Television website

American Public Television was like many organizations that have been around for a while. They were entrenched using an older technology — in their case, tape storage and distribution — that once met their needs but was limiting their productivity and preventing them from effectively collaborating with their many media partners. APT’s VP of Technology knew that he needed to move into the future and embrace cloud storage to keep APT ahead of the game.
Since 1961, American Public Television (APT) has been a leading distributor of groundbreaking, high-quality, top-rated programming to the nation’s public television stations. Gerry Field is the Vice President of Technology at APT and is responsible for delivering their extensive program catalog to 350+ public television stations nationwide.

In the time since Gerry  joined APT in 2007, the industry has been in digital overdrive. During that time APT has continued to acquire and distribute the best in public television programming to their technically diverse subscribers.

This created two challenges for Gerry. First, new technology and format proliferation were driving dramatic increases in digital storage. Second, many of APT’s subscribers struggled to keep up with the rapidly changing industry. While some subscribers had state-of-the-art satellite systems to receive programming, others had to wait for the post office to drop off programs recorded on tape weeks earlier. With no slowdown on the horizon of innovation in the industry, Gerry knew that his storage and distribution systems would reach a crossroads in no time at all.

American Public Television logo

Living the tape paradigm

The digital media industry is only a few years removed from its film, and later videotape, roots. Tape was the input and the output of the industry for many years. As a consequence, the tools and workflows used by the industry were built and designed to work with tape. Over time, the “file” slowly replaced the tape as the object to be captured, edited, stored and distributed. Trouble was, many of the systems and more importantly workflows were based on processing tape, and these have proven to be hard to change.

At APT, Gerry realized the limits of the tape paradigm and began looking for technologies and solutions that enabled workflows based on file and object based storage and distribution.

Thinking file based storage and distribution

For data (digital media) storage, APT, like everyone else, started by installing onsite storage servers. As the amount of digital data grew, more storage was added. In addition, APT was expanding its distribution footprint by creating or partnering with distribution channels such as CreateTV and APT Worldwide. This dramatically increased the number of programming formats and the amount of data that had to be stored. As a consequence, updating, maintaining, and managing the APT storage systems was becoming a major challenge and a major resource hog.

APT Online

Knowing that his in-house storage system was only going to cost more time and money, Gerry decided it was time to look at cloud storage. But that wasn’t the only reason he looked at the cloud. While most people consider cloud storage as just a place to back up and archive files, Gerry was envisioning how the ubiquity of the cloud could help solve his distribution challenges. The trouble was the price of cloud storage from vendors like Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure was a non-starter, especially for a non-profit. Then Gerry came across Backblaze. B2 Cloud Storage service met all of his performance requirements, and at $0.005/GB/month for storage and $0.01/GB for downloads it was nearly 75% less than S3 or Azure.

Gerry did the math and found that he could economically incorporate B2 Cloud Storage into his IT portfolio, using it for both program submission and for active storage and archiving of the APT programs. In addition, B2 now gives him the foundation necessary to receive and distribute programming content over the Internet. This is especially useful for organizations that can’t conveniently access satellite distribution systems. Not to mention downloading from the cloud is much faster than sending a tape through the mail.

Adding B2 Cloud Storage to their infrastructure has helped American Public Television address two key challenges. First, they now have “unlimited” storage in the cloud without having to add any hardware. In addition, with B2, they only pay for the storage they use. That means they don’t have to buy storage upfront trying to match the maximum amount of storage they’ll ever need. Second, by using B2 as a distribution source for their programming APT subscribers, especially the smaller and remote ones, can get content faster and more reliably without having to perform costly upgrades to their infrastructure.

The road ahead

As APT gets used to their file based infrastructure and workflow, there are a number of cost saving and income generating ideas they are pondering which are now worth considering. Here are a few:

Program Submissions — New content can be uploaded from anywhere using a web browser, an Internet connection, and a login. For example, a producer in Cambodia can upload their film to B2. From there the film is downloaded to an in-house system where it is processed and transcoded using compute. The finished film is added to the APT catalog and added to B2. Once there, the program is instantly available for subscribers to order and download.

“The affordability and performance of Backblaze B2 is what allowed us to make the B2 cloud part of the APT data storage and distribution strategy into the future.” — Gerry Field

Easier Previews — At any time, work in process or finished programs can be made available for download from the B2 cloud. One place this could be useful is where a subscriber needs to review a program to comply with local policies and practices before airing. In the old system, each “one-off” was a time consuming manual process.

Instant Subscriptions — There are many organizations such as schools and businesses that want to use just one episode of a desired show. With an e-commerce based website, current or even archived programming kept in B2 could be available to download or stream for a minimal charge.

At APT there were multiple technologies needed to make their file-based infrastructure work, but as Gerry notes, having an affordable, trustworthy, cloud storage service like B2 is one of the critical building blocks needed to make everything work together.

The post American Public Television Embraces the Cloud — And the Future appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Backblaze Announces B2 Compute Partnerships

Post Syndicated from Gleb Budman original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/introducing-cloud-compute-services/

Backblaze Announces B2 Compute Partnerships

In 2015, we announced Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage — the most affordable, high performance storage cloud on the planet. The decision to release B2 as a service was in direct response to customers asking us if they could use the same cloud storage infrastructure we use for our Computer Backup service. With B2, we entered a market in direct competition with Amazon S3, Google Cloud Services, and Microsoft Azure Storage. Today, we have over 500 petabytes of data from customers in over 150 countries. At $0.005 / GB / month for storage (1/4th of S3) and $0.01 / GB for downloads (1/5th of S3), it turns out there’s a healthy market for cloud storage that’s easy and affordable.

As B2 has grown, customers wanted to use our cloud storage for a variety of use cases that required not only storage but compute. We’re happy to say that through partnerships with Packet & ServerCentral, today we’re announcing that compute is now available for B2 customers.

Cloud Compute and Storage

Backblaze has directly connected B2 with the compute servers of Packet and ServerCentral, thereby allowing near-instant (< 10 ms) data transfers between services. Also, transferring data between B2 and both our compute partners is free.

  • Storing data in B2 and want to run an AI analysis on it? — There are no fees to move the data to our compute partners.
  • Generating data in an application? — Run the application with one of our partners and store it in B2.
  • Transfers are free and you’ll save more than 50% off of the equivalent set of services from AWS.

These partnerships enable B2 customers to use compute, give our compute partners’ customers access to cloud storage, and introduce new customers to industry-leading storage and compute — all with high-performance, low-latency, and low-cost.

Is This a Big Deal? We Think So

Compute is one of the most requested services from our customers Why? Because it unlocks a number of use cases for them. Let’s look at three popular examples:

Transcoding Media Files

B2 has earned wide adoption in the Media & Entertainment (“M&E”) industry. Our affordable storage and download pricing make B2 great for a wide variety of M&E use cases. But many M&E workflows require compute. Content syndicators, like American Public Television, need the ability to transcode files to meet localization and distribution management requirements.

There are a multitude of reasons that transcode is needed — thumbnail and proxy generation enable M&E professionals to work efficiently. Without compute, the act of transcoding files remains cumbersome. Either the files need to be brought down from the cloud, transcoded, and then pushed back up or they must be kept locally until the project is complete. Both scenarios are inefficient.

Starting today, any content producer can spin up compute with one of our partners, pay by the hour for their transcode processing, and return the new media files to B2 for storage and distribution. The company saves money, moves faster, and ensures their files are safe and secure.

Disaster Recovery

Backblaze’s heritage is based on providing outstanding backup services. When you have incredibly affordable cloud storage, it ends up being a great destination for your backup data.

Most enterprises have virtual machines (“VMs”) running in their infrastructure and those VMs need to be backed up. In a disaster scenario, a business wants to know they can get back up and running quickly.

With all data stored in B2, a business can get up and running quickly. Simply restore your backed up VM to one of our compute providers, and your business will be able to get back online.

Since B2 does not place restrictions, delays, or penalties on getting data out, customers can get back up and running quickly and affordably.

Saving $74 Million (aka “The Dropbox Effect”)

Ten years ago, Backblaze decided that S3 was too costly a platform to build its cloud storage business. Instead, we created the Backblaze Storage Pod and our own cloud storage infrastructure. That decision enabled us to offer our customers storage at a previously unavailable price point and maintain those prices for over a decade. It also laid the foundation for Netflix Open Connect and Facebook Open Compute.

Dropbox recently migrated the majority of their cloud services off of AWS and onto Dropbox’s own infrastructure. By leaving AWS, Dropbox was able to build out their own data centers and still save over $74 Million. They achieved those savings by avoiding the fees AWS charges for storing and downloading data, which, incidentally, are five times higher than Backblaze B2.

For Dropbox, being able to realize savings was possible because they have access to enough capital and expertise that they can build out their own infrastructure. For companies that have such resources and scale, that’s a great answer.

“Before this offering, the economics of the cloud would have made our business simply unviable.” — Gabriel Menegatti, SlicingDice

The questions Backblaze and our compute partners pondered was “how can we democratize the Dropbox effect for our storage and compute customers? How can we help customers do more and pay less?” The answer we came up with was to connect Backblaze’s B2 storage with strategic compute partners and remove any transfer fees between them. You may not save $74 million as Dropbox did, but you can choose the optimal providers for your use case and realize significant savings in the process.

This Sounds Good — Tell Me More About Your Partners

We’re very fortunate to be launching our compute program with two fantastic partners in Packet and ServerCentral. These partners allow us to offer a range of computing services.

Packet

We recommend Packet for customers that need on-demand, high performance, bare metal servers available by the hour. They also have robust offerings for private / customized deployments. Their offerings end up costing 50-75% of the equivalent offerings from EC2.

To get started with Packet and B2, visit our partner page on Packet.net.

ServerCentral

ServerCentral is the right partner for customers that have business and IT challenges that require more than “just” hardware. They specialize in fully managed, custom cloud solutions that solve complex business and IT challenges. ServerCentral also has expertise in managed network solutions to address global connectivity and content delivery.

To get started with ServerCentral and B2, visit our partner page on ServerCentral.com.

What’s Next?

We’re excited to find out. The combination of B2 and compute unlocks use cases that were previously impossible or at least unaffordable.

“The combination of performance and price offered by this partnership enables me to create an entirely new business line. Before this offering, the economics of the cloud would have made our business simply unviable,” noted Gabriel Menegatti, co-founder at SlicingDice, a serverless data warehousing service. “Knowing that transfers between compute and B2 are free means I don’t have to worry about my business being successful. And, with download pricing from B2 at just $0.01 GB, I know I’m avoiding a 400% tax from AWS on data I retrieve.”

What can you do with B2 & compute? Please share your ideas with us in the comments. And, for those attending NAB 2018 in Las Vegas next week, please come by and say hello!

The post Backblaze Announces B2 Compute Partnerships appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Backblaze’s New Cloud Storage Offering

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backblazes-new-cloud-storage-offering/

Why pay less for the same service?

We’ve spent the last month making changes to Backblaze B2. We’ve reduced the B2 Download Prices in Half, expanded on our Snapshot USB Restore program by offering refunds if the hard drives are shipped back to us, and have built out our Backblaze Fireball program into a self-service model where you can seed 70TBs of data into your Backblaze B2 account. For any other cloud storage company, all of these value-adds would be enough, but we noticed that something was missing.

We kept hearing from our customers that we were simply doing too much and not charging enough. People were worried about our ability to stay in the market, despite our track record over the last 10 years of providing low cost storage, all while operating a cash-flow positive business. Our customers simply couldn’t believe that we could keep this charade going for much longer, and demanded that we do something to bolster our financial stability and to “stop giving everything away — practically for free,” even if it meant that we would make more money.

We listened, and today we are proud to announce a new service that compliments our wildly popular B2 Cloud Storage: Backblaze Bling2 Cloud Storage. It’s very similar to Backblaze B2, identical in fact, except for one minor change. It’s 4x more expensive for both storage and downloads, just like our competitors! We’re confident that the same level of service for 4x the price will appeal to our users who think that we’re simply not charging enough.

If you’re interested in this Bling2, we’ve made a tool to help you calculate your storage costs with Bling2 Cloud Storage, and compare it to leading cloud storage providers such as Backblaze B2, Amazon S3, Google Cloud Service, and Microsoft Azure!

We hope you enjoy this new service from Backblaze. If you think that Backblaze B2 is too affordable, you’ll be happy to know that Bling2 storage prices are available to you at the “industry standard” 4x markup. Why pay less when you can Bling2?!

The post Backblaze’s New Cloud Storage Offering appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Backblaze Cuts B2 Download Price In Half

Post Syndicated from Ahin Thomas original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backblaze-b2-drops-download-price-in-half/

Backblaze B2 downloads now cost 50% less
Backblaze is pleased to announce that, effective immediately, we are reducing the price of Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage downloads by 50%. This means that B2 download pricing drops from $0.02 to $0.01 per GB. As always, the first gigabyte of data downloaded each day remains free.

If some of this sounds familiar, that’s because a little under a year ago, we dropped our download price from $0.05 to $0.02. While that move solidified our position as the affordability leader in the high performance cloud storage space, we continue to innovate on our platform and are excited to provide this additional value to our customers.

This price reduction applies immediately to all existing and new customers. In keeping with Backblaze’s overall approach to providing services, there are no tiers or minimums. It’s automatic and it starts today.

Why Is Backblaze Lowering What Is Already The Industry’s Lowest Price?

Because it makes cloud storage more useful for more people.

When we decided to use Backblaze B2 as our cloud storage service, their download pricing at the time enabled us to offer our broadcasters unlimited audio uploads so they can upload past decades of preaching to our extensive library for streaming and downloading. With Backblaze cutting the bandwidth prices 50% to just one penny a gigabyte, we are excited about offering much higher quality video. — Ian Wagner, Senior Developer, Sermon Audio

Since our founding in 2007, Backblaze’s mission has been to make storing data astonishingly easy and affordable. We have a well documented, relentless pursuit of lowering storage costs — it starts with our storage pods and runs through everything we do. Today, we have over 500 petabytes of customer data stored. B2’s storage pricing already being 14 that of Amazon’s S3 has certainly helped us get there. Today’s pricing reduction puts our download pricing 15 that of S3. The “affordable” part of our story is well established.

I’d like to take a moment to discuss the “easy” part. Our industry has historically done a poor job of putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes. When customers are faced with the decision of where to put their data, price is certainly a factor. But it’s not just the price of storage that customers must consider. There’s a cost to download your data. The business need for providers to charge for this is reasonable — downloading data requires bandwidth, and bandwidth costs money. We discussed that in a prior post on the Cost of Cloud Storage.

But there’s a difference between the costs of bandwidth and what the industry is charging today. There’s a joke that some of the storage clouds are competing to become “Hotel California” — you can check out anytime you want, but your data can never leave.1 Services that make it expensive to restore data or place time lag impediments to data access are reducing the usefulness of your data. Customers should not have to wonder if they can afford to access their own data.

When replacing LTO with StarWind VTL and cloud storage, our customers had only one concern left: the possible cost of data retrieval. Backblaze just wiped this concern out of the way by lowering that cost to just one penny per gig. — Max Kolomyeytsev, Director of Product Management, StarWind

Many businesses have not yet been able to back up their data to the cloud because of the costs. Many of those companies are forced to continue backing up to tape. That tape is an inefficient means for data storage is clear. Solution providers like StarWind VTL specialize in helping businesses move off of antiquated tape libraries. However, as Max Kolomyeytsev, Director of Product Management at StarWind points out, “When replacing LTO with StarWind VTL and cloud storage our customers had only one concern left: the possible cost of data retrieval. Backblaze just wiped this concern out of the way by lowering that cost to just one penny per gig.”

Customers that have already adopted the cloud often are forced to make difficult tradeoffs between data they want to access and the cost associated with that access. Surrendering the use of your own data defeats many of the benefits that “the cloud” brings in the first place. Because of B2’s download price, Ian Wagner, a Senior Developer at Sermon Audio, is able to lower his costs and expand his product offering. “When we decided to use Backblaze B2 as our cloud storage service, their download pricing at the time enabled us to offer our broadcasters unlimited audio uploads so they can upload past decades of preaching to our extensive library for streaming and downloading. With Backblaze cutting the bandwidth prices 50% to just one penny a gigabyte, we are excited about offering much higher quality video.”

Better Download Pricing Also Helps Third Party Applications Deliver Customer Solutions

Many organizations use third party applications or devices to help manage their workflows. Those applications are the hub for customers getting their data to where it needs to go. Leaders in verticals like Media Asset Management, Server & NAS Backup, and Enterprise Storage have already chosen to integrate with B2.

With Backblaze lowering their download price to an amazing one penny a gigabyte, our CloudNAS is even a better fit for photographers, videographers and business owners who need to have their files at their fingertips, with an easy, reliable, low cost way to use Backblaze for unlimited primary storage and active archive. — Paul Tian, CEO, Morro Data

For Paul Tian, founder of Ready NAS and CEO of Morro Data, reasonable download pricing also helps his company better serve its customers. “With Backblaze lowering their download price to an amazing one penny a gigabyte, our CloudNAS is even a better fit for photographers, videographers and business owners who need to have their files at their fingertips, with an easy, reliable, low cost way to use Backblaze for unlimited primary storage and active archive.”

If you use an application that hasn’t yet integrated with B2, please ask your provider to add B2 Cloud Storage and mention the application in the comments below.

 

How Do the Major Cloud Storage Providers Compare on Pricing?

Not only is Backblaze B2 storage 14 the price of Amazon S3, Google Cloud, or Azure, but our download pricing is now 15 their price as well.

Pricing TierBackblaze B2Amazon S3Microsoft AzureGoogle Cloud
First 1 TB$0.01$0.09$0.09$0.12
Next 9 TB$0.01$0.09$0.09$0.11
Next 40 TB$0.01$0.085$0.09$0.08
Next 100 TB$0.01$0.07$0.07$0.08
Next 350 TB+$0.01$0.05$0.05$0.08

Using the chart above, let’s compute a few examples of download costs…

DataBackblaze B2Amazon S3Microsoft AzureGoogle Cloud
1 terabyte$10$90$90$120
10 terabytes$100$900$900$1,200
50 terabytes$500$4,300$4,500$4,310
500 terabytes$5,000$28,800$29,000$40,310
Not only is Backblaze B2 pricing dramatically lower cost, it’s also simple — one price for any amount of data downloaded to anywhere. In comparison, to compute the cost of downloading 500 TB of data with S3 you start with the following formula:
(($0.09 * 10) + ($0.085 * 40) + ($0.07 * 100) + ($0.05 * 350)) * 1,000
Want to see this comparison for the amount of data you manage?
Use our cloud storage calculator.

Customers Want to Avoid Vendor Lock In

Halving the price of downloads is a crazy move — the kind of crazy our customers will be excited about. When using our Transmit 5 app on the Mac to upload their data to B2 Cloud Storage, our users can sleep soundly knowing they’ll be getting a truly affordable price when they need to restore that data. Cool beans, Backblaze. — Cabel Sasser, Co-Founder, Panic

As the cloud storage industry grows, customers are increasingly concerned with getting locked in to one vendor. No business wants to be fully dependent on one vendor for anything. In addition, customers want multiple copies of their data to mitigate against a vendor outage or other issues.

Many vendors offer the ability for customers to replicate data across “regions.” This enables customers to store data in two physical locations of the customer’s choosing. Of course, customers pay for storing both copies of the data and for the data transfer between regions.

At 1¢ per GB, transferring data out of Backblaze is more affordable than transferring data between most other vendor regions. For example, if a customer is storing data in Amazon S3’s Northern California region (US West) and wants to replicate data to S3 in Northern Virginia (US East), she will pay 2¢ per GB to simply move the data.

However, if that same customer wanted to replicate data from Backblaze B2 to S3 in Northern Virginia, she would pay 1¢ per GB to move the data. She can achieve her replication strategy while also mitigating against vendor risk — all while cutting the bandwidth bill by 50%. Of course, this is also before factoring the savings on her storage bill as B2 storage is 14 of the price of S3.

How Is Backblaze Doing This?

Simple. We just changed our pricing table and updated our website.

The longer answer is that the cost of bandwidth is a function of a few factors, including how it’s being used and the volume of usage. With another year of data for B2, over a decade of experience in the cloud storage industry, and data growth exceeding 100 PB per quarter, we know we can sustainably offer this pricing to our customers; we also know how better download pricing can make our customers and partners more effective in their work. So it is an easy call to make.

Our pricing is simple. Storage is $0.005/GB/Month, Download costs are $0.01/GB. There are no tiers or minimums and you can get started any time you wish.

Our desire is to provide a great service at a fair price. We’re proud to be the affordability leader in the Cloud Storage space and hope you’ll give us the opportunity to show you what B2 Cloud Storage can enable for you.

Enjoy the service and I’d love to hear what this price reduction does for you in the comments below…or, if you are attending NAB this year, come by to visit and tell us in person!


1 For those readers who don’t get the Eagles reference there, please click here…I promise you won’t regret the next 7 minutes of your life.

The post Backblaze Cuts B2 Download Price In Half appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Security updates for Thursday

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/747805/rss

Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (strongswan), Fedora (torbrowser-launcher), openSUSE (libdb-4_5, libdb-4_8, postgresql96, python3-openpyxl, and xv), Red Hat (rh-maven35-jackson-databind), and Ubuntu (kernel, libreoffice, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux-hwe, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-oem, and linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws).

Connect Veeam to the B2 Cloud: Episode 2 — Using StarWind VTL

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/hybrid-cloud-example-veem-vtl-cloud/

Connect Veeam to the B2 Cloud

View all posts in the Veeam series.

In the first post in this series, we discussed how to connect Veeam to the B2 cloud using Synology. In this post, we continue our Veeam/B2 series with a discussion of how to back up Veeam to the Backblaze B2 Cloud using StarWind VTL.

StarWind provides “VTL” (Virtual Tape Library) technology that enables users to back up their “VMs” (virtual machines) from Veeam to on-premise or cloud storage. StarWind does this using standard “LTO” (Linear Tape-Open) protocols. This appeals to organizations that have LTO in place since it allows adoption of more scalable, cost efficient cloud storage without having to update the internal backup infrastructure.

Why An Additional Backup in the Cloud?

Common backup strategy, known as 3-2-1, dictates having three copies at a minimum of active data. Two copies are stored locally and one copy is in another location.

Relying solely on on-site redundancy does not guarantee data protection after a catastrophic or temporary loss of service affecting the primary data center. To reach maximum data security, an on-premises private cloud backup combined with an off-site public cloud backup, known as hybrid cloud, provides the best combination of security and rapid recovery when required.

Why Consider a Hybrid Cloud Solution?

The Hybrid Cloud Provides Superior Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Having a backup strategy that combines on-premise storage with public cloud storage in a single or multi-cloud configuration is becoming the solution of choice for organizations that wish to eliminate dependence on vulnerable on-premises storage. It also provides reliable and rapidly deployed recovery when needed.

If an organization requires restoration of service as quickly as possible after an outage or disaster, it needs to have a backup that isn’t dependent on the same network. That means a backup stored in the cloud that can be restored to another location or cloud-based compute service and put into service immediately after an outage.

Hybrid Cloud Example: VTL and the Cloud

Some organizations will already have made a significant investment in software and hardware that supports LTO protocols. Specifically, they are using Veeam to back up their VMs onto physical tape. Using StarWind to act as a VTL with Veeam enables users to save time and money by connecting their on-premises Veeam Backup & Replication archives to Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage.

Why Veeam, StarWind VTL, and Backblaze B2?

What are the primary reasons that an organization would want to adopt Veeam + StarWind VTL + B2 as a hybrid cloud backup solution?

  1. You are already invested in Veeam along with LTO software and hardware.

Using Veeam plus StarWind VTL with already-existing LTO infrastructure enables organizations to quickly and cost-effectively benefit from cloud storage.

  1. You require rapid and reliable recovery of service should anything disrupt your primary data center.

Having a backup in the cloud with B2 provides an economical primary or secondary cloud storage solution and enables fast restoration to a current or alternate location, as well as providing the option to quickly bring online a cloud-based compute service, thereby minimizing any loss of service and ensuring business continuity. Backblaze’s B2 is an ideal solution for backing up Veeam’s backup repository due to B2’s combination of low-cost and high availability compared to other cloud solutions such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon AWS.

Using Veeam, StarWind VTL, and Backblaze B2 cloud storage is a superior alternative to tape as B2 offers better economics, instant access, and faster recovery.

 

Workflow for how to connect Veeam to the Backblaze B2 Cloud using StarWind VTL

Connect Veeam to the Backblaze B2 Cloud using StarWind VTL (graphic courtesy of StarWind)

View all posts in the Veeam series.

The post Connect Veeam to the B2 Cloud: Episode 2 — Using StarWind VTL appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Security updates for Friday

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/745493/rss

Security updates have been issued by CentOS (389-ds-base, dhcp, kernel, and nautilus), Debian (curl, openssh, and wireshark), Fedora (clamav, firefox, java-9-openjdk, and poco), Gentoo (clamav), openSUSE (curl, libevent, mupdf, mysql-community-server, newsbeuter, php5, redis, and tre), Oracle (389-ds-base, dhcp, kernel, and nautilus), Slackware (mozilla), and Ubuntu (kernel and linux-hwe, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-oem).

Security updates for Tuesday

Post Syndicated from ris original https://lwn.net/Articles/745165/rss

Security updates have been issued by Debian (smarty3), Fedora (bind, bind-dyndb-ldap, dnsperf, glibc, kernel, libtasn1, libvpx, mariadb, python-bottle, ruby, and sox), Red Hat (rh-eclipse46-jackson-databind), SUSE (kernel), and Ubuntu (kernel, linux, linux-aws, linux-euclid, linux-hwe, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-oem, linux-lts-trusty, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, and rsync).

Connect Veeam to the B2 Cloud: Episode 1 — Using Synology

Post Syndicated from Roderick Bauer original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backing-up-veeam-cloud-connect-synology-b2/

Veeam Cloud Connect to Backblaze B2

Veeam is well-known for its easy-to-use software for backing up virtual machines from VMware and Microsoft.

Users of Veeam and Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage have asked for a way to back up a Veeam repository to B2. Backblaze’s B2 is an ideal solution for backing up Veeam’s backup repository due to B2’s combination of low-cost and high availability compared to other cloud solutions such as Microsoft Azure.

This is the first in a series of posts on the topic of backing up Veeam to B2. Future posts will cover other methods.

In this post we provide a step-by-step tutorial on how to configure a Synology NAS as a Veeam backup repository, and in turn use Synology’s CloudSync software to back up that repository to the B2 Cloud.

Our guest contributor, Rhys Hammond, is well qualified to author this tutorial. Rhys is a Senior System Engineer for Data#3 in Australia specializing in Veeam and VMware solutions. He is a VMware vExpert and a member of the Veeam Vanguard program.

Rhy’s tutorial is outlined as follows:

Veeam and Backblaze B2 — Introduction

Introduction

Background on B2 and Veeam, and a discussion of various ways to back up a Veeam backup repository to the cloud.

Phase 1 — Create the Backblaze B2 Bucket

How to create the B2 Bucket that will be the destination for mirroring our Veeam backup repository.

Phase 2 — Install and Configure Synology CloudSync

Get CloudSync ready to perform the backup to B2.

Phase 3 — Configure Veeam Backup Repository

Create a new Veeam backup repository in preparation for upload to B2.

Phase 4 — Create the Veeam Backup Job

Configure the Veeam backup job, with two possible scenarios, primary target and secondary backup target.

Phase 5 — Testing and Tuning

Making sure it all works.

Summary

Some thoughts on the process, other options, and tips.

You can read the full tutorial on Rhy’s website by following the link below. To be sure to receive notice of future posts in this series on Veeam, use the Join button at the top of the page.

Beta Testers Needed: Veeam/Starwind/B2

If you back up Veeam using Starwind VTL, we have a BETA program for you. Help us with the Starwind VTL to Backblaze B2 integration Beta and test whether you can automatically back up Veeam to Backblaze B2 via Starwind VTL. Motivated beta testers can email starwind@backblaze.com for details and how to get started.

The post Connect Veeam to the B2 Cloud: Episode 1 — Using Synology appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Security updates for Wednesday

Post Syndicated from ris original https://lwn.net/Articles/743903/rss

Security updates have been issued by Debian (awstats, gdk-pixbuf, plexus-utils, and plexus-utils2), Fedora (asterisk, gimp, heimdal, libexif, linux-firmware, mupdf, poppler, thunderbird, webkitgtk4, wireshark, and xrdp), openSUSE (diffoscope, irssi, and qemu), SUSE (java-1_7_0-ibm, kernel-firmware, and qemu), and Ubuntu (irssi, kernel, linux, linux-aws, linux-euclid, linux-kvm, linux-hwe, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-oem, linux-lts-trusty, linux-lts-xenial, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, linux-raspi2, ruby1.9.1, ruby2.3, and sssd).

Security updates for Friday

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/740997/rss

Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium and vlc), Debian (erlang), Mageia (ffmpeg, tor, and wireshark), openSUSE (chromium, opensaml, openssh, openvswitch, and php7), Oracle (postgresql), Red Hat (chromium-browser, postgresql, rh-postgresql94-postgresql, rh-postgresql95-postgresql, and rh-postgresql96-postgresql), SUSE (firefox, java-1_6_0-ibm, opensaml, and xen), and Ubuntu (kernel, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, linux, linux-raspi2, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-hwe, linux-lts-trusty, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, and rsync).

Eevee mugshot set for Doom

Post Syndicated from Eevee original https://eev.ee/release/2017/11/23/eevee-mugshot-set-for-doom/

Screenshot of Industrial Zone from Doom II, with an Eevee face replacing the usual Doom marine in the status bar

A full replacement of Doomguy’s vast array of 42 expressions.

You can get it yourself if you want to play Doom as me, for some reason? It does nothing but replace a few sprites, so it works with any Doom flavor (including vanilla) on 1, 2, or Final. Just run Doom with -file eeveemug.wad. With GZDoom, you can load it automatically.


I don’t entirely know why I did this. I drew the first one on a whim, then realized there was nothing really stopping me from making a full set, so I spent a day doing that.

The funny thing is that I usually play Doom with ZDoom’s “alternate” HUD. It’s a full-screen overlay rather than a huge bar, and — crucially — it does not show the mugshot. It can’t even be configured to show the mugshot. As far as I’m aware, it can’t even be modded to show the mugshot. So I have to play with the OG status bar if I want to actually use the thing I made.

Preview of the Eevee mugshot sprites arranged in a grid, where the Eevee becomes more beaten up in each subsequent column

I’m pretty happy with the results overall! I think I did a decent job emulating the Doom “surreal grit” style. I did the shading with Aseprite‘s shading mode — instead of laying down a solid color, it shifts pixels along a ramp of colors you select every time you draw over them. Doom’s palette has a lot of browns, so I made a ramp out of all of them and kept going over furry areas, nudging pixels into being lighter or darker, until I liked the texture. It was a lot like making a texture in a sketch with a lot of scratchy pencil strokes.

I also gleaned some interesting things about smoothness and how the eye interprets contours? I tried to explain this on Twitter and had a hell of a time putting it into words, but the short version is that it’s amazing to see the difference a single misplaced pixel can make, especially as you slide that pixel between dark and light.


Doom's palette of 256 colors, many of which are very long gradients of reds and browns

Speaking of which, Doom’s palette is incredibly weird to work with. Thank goodness Eevees are brown! The game does have to draw arbitrary levels of darkness all with the same palette, which partly explains the number of dark colors and gradients — but I believe a number of the colors are exact duplicates, so close they might as well be duplicates, or completely unused in stock Doom assets. I guess they had no reason to optimize for people trying to add arbitrary art to the game 25 years later, though. (And nowadays, GZDoom includes a truecolor software renderer, so the palette is becoming less and less important.)

I originally wanted the god mode sprite to be a Sylveon, but Sylveon is made of pink and azure and blurple, and I don’t think I could’ve pulled it off with this set of colors. I even struggled with the color of the mane a bit — I usually color it with pretty pale colors, but Doom only has a couple of those, and they’re very saturated. I ended up using a lot more dark yellows than I would normally, and thankfully it worked out pretty well.

The most significant change I made between the original sprite and the final set was the eye color:

A comparison between an original Doom mugshot sprite, the first sprite I drew, and how it ended up

(This is STFST20, a frame from the default three-frame “glacing around” animation that plays when the player has between 40 and 59 health. Doom Wiki has a whole article on the mugshot if you’re interested.)

The blue eyes in my original just do not work at all. The Doom palette doesn’t have a lot of subtle colors, and its blues in particular are incredibly bad. In the end, I made the eyes basically black, though with a couple pixels of very dark blue in them.

After I decided to make the full set, I started by making a neutral and completely healthy front pose, then derived the others from that (with a very complicated system of layers). You can see some of the side effects of that here: the face doesn’t actually turn when glancing around, because hoo boy that would’ve been a lot of work, and so the cheek fluff is visible on both sides.

I also notice that there are two columns of identical pixels in each eye! I fixed that in the glance to the right, but must’ve forgotten about it here. Oh, well; I didn’t even notice until I zoomed in just now.

A general comparison between the Doom mugshots and my Eevee ones, showing each pose in its healthy state plus the neutral pose in every state of deterioration

The original sprites might not be quite aligned correctly in the above image. The available space in the status bar is 35×31, of which a couple pixels go to an inset border, leaving 33×30. I drew all of my sprites at that size, but the originals are all cropped and have varying offsets (part of the Doom sprite format). I extremely can’t be assed to check all of those offsets for over a dozen sprites, so I just told ImageMagick to center them. (I only notice right now that some of the original sprites are even a full 31 pixels tall and draw over the top border that I was so careful to stay out of!)

Anyway, this is a representative sample of the Doom mugshot poses.

The top row shows all eight frames at full health. The first three are the “idle” state, drawn when nothing else is going on; the sprite usually faces forwards, but glances around every so often at random. The forward-facing sprite is the one I finalized first.

I tried to take a lot of cues from the original sprite, seeing as I wanted to match the style. I’d never tried drawing a sprite with a large palette and a small resolution before, and the first thing that struck me was Doomguy’s lips — the upper lip, lips themselves, and shadow under the lower lip are all created with only one row of pixels each. I thought that was amazing. Now I even kinda wish I’d exaggerated that effect a bit more, but I was wary of going too dark when there’s a shadow only a couple pixels away. I suppose Doomguy has the advantage of having, ah, a chin.

I did much the same for the eyebrows, which was especially necessary because Doomguy has more of a forehead than my Eevee does. I probably could’ve exaggerated those a bit more, as well! Still, I love how they came out — especially in the simple looking-around frames, where even a two-pixel eyebrow raise is almost comically smug.

The fourth frame is a wild-ass grin (even named STFEVL0), which shows for a short time after picking up a new weapon. Come to think of it, that’s a pretty rare occurrence when playing straight through one of the Doom games; you keep your weapons between levels.

The fifth through seventh are also a set. If the player takes damage, the status bar will briefly show one of these frames to indicate where the damage is coming from. You may notice that where Doomguy bravely faces the source of the pain, I drew myself wincing and recoiling away from it.

The middle frame of that set also appears while the player is firing continuously (regardless of damage), so I couldn’t really make it match the left and right ones. I like the result anyway. It was also great fun figuring out the expressions with the mouth — that’s another place where individual pixels make a huge difference.

Finally, the eighth column is the legendary “ouch” face, which appears when the player takes more than 20 damage at once. It may look completely alien to you, because vanilla Doom has a bug that only shows this face when the player gains 20 or more health while taking damage. This is vanishingly rare (though possible!), so the frame virtually never appears in vanilla Doom. Lots of source ports have fixed this bug, making the ouch face it a bit better known, but I usually play without the mugshot visible so it still looks super weird to me. I think my own spin on it is a bit less, ah, body horror?

The second row shows deterioration. It is pretty weird drawing yourself getting beaten up.

A lot of Doomguy’s deterioration is in the form of blood dripping from under his hair, which I didn’t think would translate terribly well to a character without hair. Instead, I went a little cartoony with it, adding bandages here and there. I had a little bit of a hard time with the bloodshot eyes at this resolution, which I realize as I type it is a very poor excuse when I had eyes three times bigger than Doomguy’s. I do love the drooping ears, with the possible exception of the fifth state, which I’m not sure is how that would actually look…? Oh well. I also like the bow becoming gradually unravelled, eventually falling off entirely when you die.

Oh, yes, the sixth frame there (before the gap) is actually for a dead player. Doomguy’s bleeding becomes markedly more extreme here, but again that didn’t really work for me, so I went a little sillier with it. A little. It’s still pretty weird drawing yourself dead.

That leaves only god mode, which is incredible. I love that glow. I love the faux whisker shapes it makes. I love how it fades into the background. I love that 100% pure “oh this is pretty good” smile. It all makes me want to just play Doom in god mode forever.

Now that I’ve looked closely at these sprites again, I spy a good half dozen little inconsistencies and nitpicks, which I’m going to refrain from spelling out. I did do this in only a day, and I think it came out pretty dang well considering.

Maybe I’ll try something else like this in the future. Not quite sure what, though; there aren’t many small and self-contained sets of sprites like this in Doom. Monsters are several times bigger and have a zillion different angles. Maybe some pickups, which only have one frame?


Hmm. Parting thought: I’m not quite sure where I should host this sort of one-off thing. It arguably belongs on Itch, but seems really out of place alongside entire released games. It also arguably belongs on the idgames archive, but I’m hesitant to put it there because it’s such an obscure thing of little interest to a general audience. At the moment it’s just a file I’ve uploaded to wherever on my own space, but I now have three little Doom experiments with no real permanent home.

Security updates for Wednesday

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/739858/rss

Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (roundcubemail), Debian (optipng, samba, and vlc), Fedora (compat-openssl10, fedpkg, git, jbig2dec, ldns, memcached, openssl, perl-Net-Ping-External, python-copr, python-XStatic-jquery-ui, rpkg, thunderbird, and xen), SUSE (tomcat), and Ubuntu (db, db4.8, db5.3, linux, linux-raspi2, linux-aws, linux-azure, linux-gcp, and samba).