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IoT edge development and deployment with containers through OpenShift: Part 2

IoT edge development and deployment with containers through OpenShift: Part 2

In the first part of this series, we saw how effective a platform as a service (PaaS) such as Red Hat OpenShift is for developing IoT edge applications and distributing them to remote sites, thanks to containers and Red Hat Ansible Automation technologies.

Usually, we think about IoT applications as something specially designed for low power devices with limited capabilities.  IoT devices might use a different CPU architectures or platform. For this reason, we tend to use completely different technologies for IoT application development than for services that run in a data center.

In part two, we explore some techniques that allow you to build and test contains for alternate architectures such as ARM64 on an x86_64 host.  The goal we are working towards is to enable you to use the same language, framework, and development tools for code that runs in your datacenter or all the way out to IoT edge devices. In this article, I’ll show building and running an AArch64 container image on an x86_64 host and then building an RPI3 image to run it on physical hardware using Fedora and Podman.

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Annocheck: Examining the contents of binary files

Annocheck: Examining the contents of binary files

The Annobin plugin for GCC stores extra information inside binary files as they are compiled.  Examining this information used to be performed by a set of shell scripts, but that has now changed and a new program—annocheck—has been written to do the job.  The advantage of the program is that it is faster and more flexible than the scripts, and it does not rely upon other utilities to actually peer inside the binaries.

This article is about the annocheck program: how to use it, how it works, and how to extend it. The program’s main purpose is to examine how a binary was built and to check that it has all of the appropriate security hardening features enabled. But that is not its only use.  It also has several other modes that perform different kinds of examination of binary files.

Another feature of annocheck is that it was designed to be easily extensible. It provides a framework for dissecting binary files and a set of utilities to help with this examination. It also knows how to handle archives, RPMs, and directories, presenting the contents of these to each tool as a series of ordinary files. Thus, tools need only worry about the specific tasks they want to carry out.

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Managing containerized system services with Podman

Managing containerized system services with Podman

In this article, I discuss containers, but look at them from another angle. We usually refer to containers as the best technology for developing new cloud-native applications and orchestrating them with something like Kubernetes. Looking back at the origins of containers, we’ve mostly forgotten that containers were born for simplifying application distribution on standalone systems.

In this article, we’ll talk about the use of containers as the perfect medium for installing applications and services on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) system. Using containers doesn’t have to be complicated, I’ll show how to run MariaDB, Apache HTTPD, and WordPress in containers, while managing those containers like any other service, through systemd and systemctl.

Additionally, we’ll explore Podman, which Red Hat has developed jointly with the Fedora community. If you don’t know what Podman is yet, see my previous article, Intro to Podman (Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6) and Tom Sweeney’s Containers without daemons: Podman and Buildah available in RHEL 7.6 and RHEL 8 Beta.

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The Non-complexity of /etc/nsswitch.conf

The Non-complexity of /etc/nsswitch.conf

In most glibc-based operating systems, there’s a file /etc/nsswitch.conf that most people ignore, few people understand, but all people generally rely on. This file determines where the system finds things like host names, passwords, and protocol numbers. Does your company use LDAP? NIS? Plain files? The nsswitch file (it stands for “name services switch”) tells the system what service to use for each type of name lookup.

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Why you should care about RISC-V

Why you should care about RISC-V

If you haven’t heard about the RISC-V (pronounced “risk five”) processor, it’s an open-source (open-hardware, open-design) processor core created by the University of Berkeley. It exists in 32-bit, 64-bit, and 128-bit variants, although only 32- and 64-bit designs exist in practice. The news is full of stories about major hardware manufacturers (Western Digital, NVidia) looking at or choosing RISC-V cores for their product.

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Reducing the startup overhead of SystemTap monitoring scripts with syscall_any tapset

Reducing the startup overhead of SystemTap monitoring scripts with syscall_any tapset

A number of the SystemTap script examples in the newly released SystemTap 4.0 available in Fedora 28 and 29 have reduced the amount of time required to convert the scripts into running instrumentation by using the syscall_any tapset.

This article discusses the particular changes made in the scripts and how you might also use this new tapset to make the instrumentation that monitors system calls smaller and more efficient. (This article is a follow-on to my previous article: Analyzing and reducing SystemTap’s startup cost for scripts.)

The key observation that triggered the creation of the syscall_any tapset was a number of scripts that did not use the syscall arguments. The scripts often used syscall.* and syscall.*.return, but they were only concerned with the particular syscall name and the return value. This type of information for all the system calls is available from the sys_entry and sys_exit kernel tracepoints. Thus, rather than creating hundreds of kprobes for each of the individual functions implementing the various system calls, there are just a couple of tracepoints being used in their place.

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Firewalld: The Future is nftables

Firewalld: The Future is nftables

Firewalld, the default firewall management tool in Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora, has gained long sought support for nftables. This was announced in detail on firewalld’s project blog. The feature landed in the firewalld 0.6.0 release as the new default firewall backend.

The benefits of nftables have been outlined on the Red Hat Developer Blog:

There are many longstanding issues with firewalld that we can address with nftables that were not possible with the old iptables backend. The nftables backend allows the following improvements:

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How to install Red Hat CDK 3.4 on Fedora 28

How to install Red Hat CDK 3.4 on Fedora 28

Red Hat Container Development Kit (CDK) provides a single-node Red Hat OpenShift cluster designed to assist with containerized application development. This environment is like a production OpenShift environment, but it is designed to work on a single user’s computer. For this purpose, CDK runs Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform in a virtual machine.

Follow these steps to install CDK 3.4 on Fedora 28:

  1. Set up the virtualization environment.
  2. Install and configure CDK.
  3. Start CDK.

Below are details for performing these steps.

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Open vSwitch-DPDK: How Much Hugepage Memory?

Open vSwitch-DPDK: How Much Hugepage Memory?

Introduction

In order to maximize performance of the Open vSwitch DPDK datapath, it pre-allocates hugepage memory. As a user you are responsible for telling Open vSwitch how much hugepage memory to pre-allocate. The question of exactly what value to use often arises. The answer is, it depends.

There is no simple answer as it depends on things like the MTU size of the ports, the MTU differences between ports, and whether those ports are on the same NUMA node. Just to complicate things a bit more, there are multiple overheads, and alignment and rounding need to be accounted for at various places in OVS-DPDK. Everything clear? OK, you can stop reading then!
However, if not, read on.

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