AWS Workspaces Cost

I tried AWS Workspaces for a few days and the cost so far is the following.

$5.67 in just 3 days… The cost per month would be about $56.7. When I provisioned a Windows host, it said “Free Eligible”. I’m probably not understanding what’s costing me but that’s misleading to me.

So if that’s the cost I am going to have to bear, I am removing the workspace. Sorry Amazon, this is no go for me.

Amazon Workspaces

AWS has a feature called Workspaces. You can have Windows desktop on AWS cloud for relatively cheap price. I just provisioned one that says “Free Eligible” so I don’t know exactly how much it costs (AWS always has something to charge…) so I will see how it goes in the next few weeks and I’ll report the cost here.

It’s really nice to have a desktop on Cloud in a sense that I don’t have to manage hardware. That said, I am not sure if it can be used as my development machine because the free tier spec is quite weak.

Here is the spec of the virtual desktop.

  • 1 CPU (at 2.5 GHz)
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Diskspace: 80GB+40GB

Where Cloud Makes Sense

There are some Cloud providers out there. AWS by Amazon being one of the most famous one. There is Azure by Microsoft and there is OCI (Oracle Cloud Infrastructure) by Oracle. Cloud is nothing but computers on the other side of the Internet is what I used to think, but it’s a lot more.

I mean imagine a situation where you want to run a high demanded service? You would have to hire bunch of experienced engineers, invest in infrastructure, compute resources and then you have to design networking, how applications can be deployed, and how they can be monitored… It is not hard to imagine the amount of money that you would have to spend up front is big.

And the service your company have may experience big spike by holiday season demand but other times, not so much. If you host your application on-premise, the money you need to invest is big throughout the year.

However, if you do it on Cloud, you spend pretty much nothing up front. You can scale up your infrastructure depending on the load but you can terminate the resources that you don’t use other times. I think Cloud can save you so much.

Plus, Cloud providers does hardware maintenance for you. If an SSD fails, they replace it for you at no cost. They are specialized in it. And they keep adding services so that you can use them.

When you think about the infrastructure that they have, it could cost you hundreds of millions of dollars if not a billion. I heard that the initial investment that Larry Ellison did for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure was around 2 billion dollars.

Imagine your company has to pay that much money up front to create your own Cloud? I mean, paying 2 billion dollars doesn’t mean you are gonna get good scalable Cloud. You have to have the right engineers at the right place.

The more I learn about Cloud, the more I believe in it and it amazes me how it can change the IT world.

How to Install VLC on Oracle Linux 8

VLC is an essential software to play any video files. I use it on all the computers that I use. Oracle Linux 8 does not have VLC by default, so here is the way to install VLC.

sudo dnf install https://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/epel-release-latest-8.noarch.rpm
sudo dnf install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/el/rpmfusion-free-release-8.noarch.rpm
sudo dnf install vlc

Enjoy!

Surface Pro 7 Replacement

My 1 and a half year old Surface Pro 7 had gotten broken. It would turn on but I wouldn’t see anything on the screen. So I looked for a way to get it repaired and Microsoft wanted me to send it to a repair center and get it replaced with a refurbished one for like $500. If I had gone for a new laptop with the spec I wanted, it would have cost more than $1000, so I went for the option.

I sent it back to Microsoft’s repair center and I received the replacement yesterday. I was happy to receive it and I immediately turned it on and went through the initial setup process.

After hearing the annoying Cortana’s narration, I got it connected to my WiFi and then tried to move on to associate my Surface Pro 7 with my Microsoft account but it continuously failed on “Checking the connection to Microsoft. This might take a while.” and it would take me back to connecting to WiFi. It turned out to be endless loop of connecting it to my WiFi and the message. Reinstalling Windows 10 did not make any difference.

I even tried to install Linux Mint to see if it boots OK but it did not. I was able to boot Surface Pro 7 with the bootable Linux Mint installation USB but after I installed it, it did not. I am guessing there is something wrong with a part of hardware. When I tried to look for a solution on the network device issue, Microsoft wanted me to run a diagnostic tool on it. It was impossible

From what I read, Microsoft said that I would receive a refurbished replacement. I don’t mind refurbished product but I would recommend that they do more extensive testing before they ship the replacement.

This resulted in me having to create another support case and send it back to Microsoft. But this time, they are not charging me at all because it’s still under warranty.

My old Macbook Pro lasted for about 10 years. During that time, I had to pay some to get it repaired. As for Surface Pro 7, it broke in one and a half year. I might have gotten a lemon but as much as I like Surface Pro 7, I am not a happy customer.

But with the most economical option, I will try to use Surface Pro 7 as long as the next replacement works for me.

New Dell Laptop

I have received a new Dell laptop from the company I work for. This is for a project that has to do with Oracle Linux. I feel like Christmas already. I really appreciate the opportunity to work on it.

I will write about some of the things I can expose here in my blog. My goal is to create an Oracle Linux environment where I can do my dev work with Cinnamon DE on it!

The Right Ports

nmap is a very useful tool to check the open ports. Yeah, bad guys could use it too but you want to make sure the host you have exposed to the Internet has the minimal number of ports open. When I scan my own host that hosts this blog site like nmap hayato-iriumi.net, I get the following output.

Starting Nmap 7.80 ( https://nmap.org ) at 2021-09-23 18:27 PDT
Nmap scan report for hayato-iriumi.net (150.136.86.255)
Host is up (0.097s latency).
Not shown: 996 filtered ports
PORT     STATE SERVICE
22/tcp   open  ssh
80/tcp   open  http
443/tcp  open  https
8080/tcp open  http-proxy

I have the 4 ports open intentionally for my own management of my site. This makes me think what I should actually do down the road. I should close 22 and use a bastion to SSH into the host for management.

8080 is open for another management reason. Obviously, 80 is open for HTTP connection which redirects traffic to 443 (SSL, HTTPS). If you do nmap google.com, you can see port 80 and 443 are open to public as well.

Starting Nmap 7.80 ( https://nmap.org ) at 2021-09-23 18:28 PDT
Nmap scan report for google.com (142.250.69.206)
Host is up (0.026s latency).
Other addresses for google.com (not scanned): 2607:f8b0:400a:805::200e
rDNS record for 142.250.69.206: sea30s08-in-f14.1e100.net
Not shown: 998 filtered ports
PORT    STATE SERVICE
80/tcp  open  http
443/tcp open  https

Here is the first paragraph of nmap man page. It tells you what it’s supposed to do.

Nmap (“Network Mapper”) is an open source tool for network exploration and security auditing. It was designed to rapidly scan large networks, although it works fine against single hosts. Nmap uses raw IP packets in novel ways to determine what hosts are available on the network, what services (application name and version) those hosts are offering, what operating systems (and OS versions) they are running, what type of packet filters/firewalls are in use, and dozens of other characteristics. While Nmap is commonly used for security audits, many systems and network administrators find it useful for routine tasks such as network inventory, managing service upgrade schedules, and monitoring host or service uptime.

man page for nmap is pretty big so there must be a lot we can do with this tool.

Tech Support Scam

I’m guessing whoever come to read my blog is quite technical. I’m unpleasantly surprised that tech support scam has been going on on a large scale against innocent old people. I can’t stand such injustice. I have been so into this YouTube channel by Jim Browning. He has amazing skills to track them down.

I never thought such scams could make millions but they do. When you see “Virus Detected!” kind of message with a phone number by merely accessing a website, please do not call that number. They are there to fraud and rip off money from you. Please do not get fooled by the scary sounds or the alert messages. They are all fake written in JavaScript and HTML.

I hope this spreads at least some awareness of the scam industry mainly going on in India.