Hello Go

I would hope that every programmer remembers their first “Hello World” experience. My first was on Atari Basic where I entered the following two lines:

 10 print "Hello World"
 20 goto 10

Watching the resulting stream of Hello World lines cascade down the screen drew me into a whole new world and changed my life.

Fast forward three and a half decades and several programming languages, interpreters, and compilers. I was content with my little toolbox of bash and Perl utilities for sys admin duties, PHP and JavaScript for web development. Then along came Go language and yet another “Hello World” to be run.

A few brilliant minds at Google have come up with a new language named Go. Alright, it’s not really all that new; in fact it was released in November of 2009. But it’s new to me anyway. Along with an army of over 780 contributors, the Go developers have created a language that in my opinion could easily replace several of our beloved programming languages for backend-web services in the coming years.

To help newbies get a feel for the language in a matter of minutes, the Go developers have created one of the best tutorials that I have ever seen. It’s not really meant for beginning programmers, but any C, Java, or PHP programmers will find it quite simple to learn. The Go language tutorial allows you to run sample code directly on the site. Spend 20 minutes going through the tutorial, download and install the language, and you’ll be writing Go code in no time.

A Tour of Go
A quick-start guide complete with sample code that actually runs.
Go Programming for Beginners
A great resource to learn a bunch more about Go.
Go playground
Write and execute Go code directly on Google’s server.

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Arcserve Deduplication Sells Itself

HDDIn 2014, my company began the process of looking for a replacement backup system. Our existing tape technology had run its course and we knew that disk-to-disk with deduplication was the way to go. We looked at several solutions and had various sales people come to present their products and submit quotes. They were either too high-pressure or their solutions were too costly. Only one provider presented an online product demo, but none of them offered a free trial. I was astonished that not even the provider of the software we were using at that time could offer us a free trial of their latest product. A free trial is important to me, not only to get a feel for the product, but to be able to prove to myself as well as my boss that this product would actually perform as advertised.

Then one day our network consultant suggested we take a look at Arcserve. I remembered Arcserve from the old days and was pleasantly surprised to see that they offered a free trial. I downloaded the free trial, installed it and backed up a physical Windows Server. The next day, after the backup was complete, I performed a bare metal restore. The system came back to life without a hitch. I was sold.

The next day an Arcserve sales representative reached out to me to see how my free trial was going. I told him that it went extremely well and that I was quite impressed so far. I commented how pleased I was with their product, starting with the free trial itself. I stated how important it was to me to be able to try out their product before making a decision to buy it, especially when making a purchase of this importance.

The following week, I met with Jeremy Medley and Steven Nalick of Arcserve. I was immediately impressed with both men. They were professional and knowledgeable without being pretentious jargon slingers.   I revealed that their product had sold itself and how dazzled I was with the simplicity of operation. They answered all of my questions and left me feeling confident that I was making the right decision and that I did not need to look any further.

Jeremy and Steven computed the proper size for our environment and arrived at the Arcserve UDP 7300V which contains 8TB of disk space, assuring us that our estimated 12TB of actual storage would easily fit after deduplication and compression.

Before long, the appliance arrived and Steven flew in the next day to install it. He had the machine up and running within the hour and provided several hours of hands-on training. His knowledge of the product was exceptional as was his communication and patience with me.

Within a couple weeks I had all of our 70 machines, a mix of physical and virtual, configured for backup. I then began a regimen of restoring machines. Almost twice a week, as time permitted I would restore a complete machine, both virtual and physical, to gain a better understanding of the restoration process and to bolster my confidence that I would be ready in an emergency.

As the data accumulated, I was blown away. The backup session logs on some of our Windows machines were showing up to 92% total data reduction. Many of our servers are single purpose and running the same version of Windows so the similar data is only being recorded once, thus the magic of deduplication. Additionally, much of the data contained in our databases is easily compressible ASCII data.

Before long I could see that Jeremy and Steven had sized the product perfectly. Today the administration dashboard shows a total data size of 33.6TB taking up only 4.1TB of disk space. That comes to a whopping 87.8% reduction in size. With this appliance containing 8TB of disk space, it will be a long time before we will need to upgrade.

The Arcserve UDP 7300V has been one of the best decisions I have made.