Windows for serious business

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Shiunbird
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Windows for serious business

Unread postby Shiunbird » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:00 am

I'm not a software developer. But I've grown to not trust anything serious to Windows.
Eg: congratulations, your 48 hour render has been interrupted, but your updates are installed and you are SECURE!

So this gentleman owns a 24 core beast. He clearly uses his machines for professional reasons:
https://randomascii.wordpress.com/2017/07/09/24-core-cpu-and-i-cant-move-my-mouse/

I'm not a developer, but many of you are. How do you think such problem fails to pass quality control? Or that's totally not MS's target audiece, so it's not heavily tested?

We are used to not have to reboot our boxes for months or years, and on Windows if your uptime is more than 24 hours, support blames your problems on uptime.
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dexter1
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Re: Windows for serious business

Unread postby dexter1 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:41 am

Hear hear,

This reminds me of an article in Heise Computer'Technik magazine in which they tried to use all 72 HT cores in a Windows server 2012 environment. Apparently Windows divides the cores into groups if there are more than 64 cores in a system, and depending on the BIOS you can choose two groups with 50%-50% or 64+rest(8 in this case) cores.

The assignment which group gets used as primary group is totally random. So if you have a skewed group split, you sometimes get 64 and sometimes get 8. There is no way to influence that back then apart from a reboot and pray.

A derivative of this problem is documented here. In there they have the nerves to refer to a Processing group document here which quotes:
"By default, an application is constrained to a single group, which should provide ample processing capability for the typical application."

That's like Rolls Royce replying to how many horsepower the engine optputs: "The power is sufficient, Sir" :lol:
So it's not so hard to wonder why people are sceptical when developing applications for Windows ecosystem...

I since then advised people to develop only on Windows workstations if they reallyreallyreally need Visual Studio or Matlab (brr) and go to the big Unix Irons for everything else, especially MPI/openMP stuff
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Re: Windows for serious business

Unread postby Shiunbird » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:08 am

Thanks for the references.

One of our vendors developed the following application for us:
- does API calls to the video conferencing system to see the active conferences.
- does API calls to check participants of the active conferences.

if
- no participant number 555-0000 exists, dial 555-0000,,,,conferenceID# (API call to place a call)
else
- ignore

Loop forever.

The API calls are done via HTTP.

We don't have ever more than 30-40 concurrent conferences. The application requirements are:
- Dual core
- a very specific Java release, that requires an Oracle contract to download
- Windows 2008 R2 or 2012 (it crashes on 2012 R2)
- 8GB of RAM

Seriously, you can implement the same functionality with expect, curl, grep and awk, and it would run on a 386.
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dexter1
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Re: Windows for serious business

Unread postby dexter1 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:24 am

Shiunbird wrote:We don't have ever more than 30-40 concurrent conferences. The application requirements are:
- Dual core
- a very specific Java release, that requires an Oracle contract to download
- Windows 2008 R2 or 2012 (it crashes on 2012 R2)
- 8GB of RAM

Seriously, you can implement the same functionality with expect, curl, grep and awk, and it would run on a 386.

You should put this on the DailyWTF, i'm sure someone over there can spat out a oneliner in linux. Hell, even windows powershell or ubuntu under windows can probably do this at a fraction of the resources, when for some unfathomable reason they can't install a VM or a dedicated Linux box.
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Re: Windows for serious business

Unread postby Shiunbird » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:24 am

dexter1 wrote:You should put this on the DailyWTF, i'm sure someone over there can spat out a oneliner in linux. Hell, even windows powershell or ubuntu under windows can probably do this at a fraction of the resources, when for some unfathomable reason they can't install a VM or a dedicated Linux box.


I DID spat a 4-liner for that (I need to output results to a log, it's an internal requirement), but "WE PAY FOR VENDOR SUPPORT, SO WE SHOULD DO THE SUPPORTED THING."

Last week, I had to schedule a weekend activity and get approval to move this damned application from one Windows VM in one datacenter to another.

First of all, the vendor didn't properly document it, so I struggled with it crashing until I found out I needed a very specific Java version for it. After finding a colleague who had the Oracle account, I managed to download it.

Then, ok, I had the application running on both old and new machines. It runs as a Windows service, so I told my boss... "ok, I've already tested it on the weekend, can I just stop the service on the old VM and run it on the new?"
"No, no, no, you don't know what can happen." So I had to arrange four resources from different teams to be there with me "just in case" - one taking care of Windows servers, one from network team, and one in charge of VMWare, all in a WebEx session on Saturday 8am, watching me stop a service on one machine, start it on another. They were upset they had to be there.

Corporate IT can drive one insane. And all the safety nets are there because they hire incompetent people for cheap, so they are used to big screw-ups.
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Re: Windows for serious business

Unread postby guardian452 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:25 am

Once I ponied up the $100 extortion fee to get windows pro I was able to update on my own schedule. Highly recommended!

All your other complaints are valid :)

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Re: Windows for serious business

Unread postby josehill » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:24 am

guardian452 wrote:Once I ponied up the $100 extortion fee to get windows pro I was able to update on my own schedule. Highly recommended!

All your other complaints are valid :)


...and you get RDC and Bitlocker. In general, I recommend the Pro edition to anyone with some technical competence and who needs/wants to run Windows. For new systems, it's a no-brainer, since you usually can find even entry level systems with Windows Pro for essentially the same price as comparable systems running the Home version, especially if you are patient and look for sales and discounts. For existing Windows Home systems, maybe it's not worth spending the money to upgrade, especially if you have several systems, but I do like the convenience of RDC and the ease of Bitlocker.

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Re: Windows for serious business

Unread postby Shiunbird » Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:31 am

We are running Windows Enterprise LTSB on our laptops. The funny thing about it is that Microsoft does not recommend it for end users:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deployment/update/waas-overview
Long-term Servicing Branch

Specialized systems—such as PCs that control medical equipment, point-of-sale systems, and ATMs—often require a longer servicing option because of their purpose. These devices typically perform a single important task and don’t need feature updates as frequently as other devices in the organization. It’s more important that these devices be kept as stable and secure as possible than up to date with user interface changes. The LTSB servicing model prevents Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB devices from receiving the usual feature updates and provides only quality updates to ensure that device security stays up to date. With this in mind, quality updates are still immediately available to Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB clients, but customers can choose to defer them by using one of the servicing tools mentioned in the section Servicing tools.

Note
LTSB is not intended for deployment on most or all the PCs in an organization; it should be used only for special-purpose devices. As a general guideline, a PC with Microsoft Office installed is a general-purpose device, typically used by an information worker, and therefore it is better suited for the CB or CBB servicing branch.


However, I also own a company-provided Windows 10 Pro machine and you can only schedule the reboot time window. You can't disable it completely. If I need anything to run for longer than a few days, I need to disable the Windows Update service. Unless this has changed in a newer release.

There was a workaround where you could mark your connection as metered, so it would not download updates, but Microsoft realized people were using it as a loophole. If you are in a real metered connection, you can thank them now.
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