The Riverbed Blog (testing)

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Archive for April, 2011

Can Cloud Storage Really Work?

Posted by riverbedtest on April 14, 2011

Today's guest blogger is Eric Thacker, Riverbed's Director of Storage Product Marketing for our Whitewater (Cloud Storage Accelerator) Appliance.

Earlier in the week, Iron Mountain announced it was “retiring” its public cloud storage service, following Thunder_cloud2 in the footsteps of Vaultscape and EMC Atmos Online.  This has created a lot of chatter about whether using the public cloud for storage will really get adopted.  If Iron Mountain, with its brand association with data protection and broad storage customer relationships from its tape vaulting business, can’t make a go of it, is there really hope for anyone else?  Is someone like Nirvanix next?

Well, the fat lady isn’t singing on public cloud storage yet.  In fact, she’s not RenderImage even in the opera house.  Each of these cases has its own unique conditions that led to the closure of the cloud storage business.  Nirvanix recently announced that it will throw a “lifeline” to IM customers with free data migration and cloud storage for 30 days.  In addition, as you saw in a earlier post here, Bright_sun_by_cloudRiverbed recently announced that we had integrated support for Nirvanix into our Whitewater cloud storage accelerator.  We chose Nirvanix based on customer demand and its unique product offering.   Differentiation and/or scale is key in this sector.  Storage professionals are attracted to the public cloud as long as it meets their needs.  The move to public cloud storage is only just beginning to take hold and looks to have a promising future.  We recently did a webcast with Nirvanix and Wikibon's David Vallante covering cloud storage.  Take a look at it and you’ll get an idea of why matching a solution’s benefits to customer needs is absolutely required to provide a successful cloud storage offering.


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Riverbed and the Job Growth Trend

Posted by bobegilbert on April 13, 2011


A recent story by US News & World Report spotlights Riverbed as an entrepreneurial company that has demonstrated great job growth.  As an employee that has been around since the early days, I can not only attest to the rapid job growth, but also the quality of employees that work at Riverbed.  Riverbed CEO Jerry Kennelly articulated very nicely what we are not looking for in a Riverbed employee:

"We're not looking for people who want to come into pre-defined, straight-jacketed positions; sit in a cube with their head down quietly; work 8 to 5; take no risks; and have no independent, original thoughts," Kennelly says. "That's the last person we want in this company." 

Riverbed is looking for smart, hard-working, and passionate folks that want to change the world by helping to deliver innovative technology to the market.  Our internal name for this is join the "Riverlution".

Interested in a job at Riverbed?  Please visit the careers section of our website at


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Distributed recentralization: Networks to eleven!

Posted by riverbedtest on April 8, 2011

Sun-needle It's a sunny Friday morning here in Seattle. (No, really.) On these rare times when prodigious quantities of warmth and light stream through the large south and east windows of my house, it's easy to let the daily fray subside for a bit and reflect on larger trends. Lately, I've noticed some interesting connections between cloud computing and user-centric IT.

A colleague recently spotted a couple articles that piqued my curiosity. In The virtual desktop: Everything old is new again, CRN's Edward Corriea describes how virtualization's initial appearance on mainframes faded away like an old pair of jeans, only to come back in fashion later: first on commodity x86 hardware and then as one of the core components of cloud computing. Next up is desktop virtualization, or VDI. Edward cites VDI's intense I/O requirements as one of the main shortfalls of large-scale VDI deployments. So many virtual clients, each performing profligate I/O itself, create a "VM I/O blender" on the physical hardware: constant random I/O kills disk performance.

Pc-toss In InformationWeek's 2011 End-user Device Survey, Jonathan Feldman chronicles the ongoing consumerization of corporate IT. Provocatively, he wonders whether it makes sense to hang on to the traditional corporate desktop. Android tablets and VDI are both making gains, he writes; yet fat desktops trapped in three-year replacement cycles and tied to expensive PC leases remain prevalent. Not everything is so gloomy, though. SaaS subscriptions are way up and for some organizations speed now trumps features: he's seeing tradeoff of screen size for portability. Jonathan's data show that organizations are now readying for true VDI, too. He goes on to describe how to free up IT funds to support comprehensive mobile device management, including the burgeoning BYOD ("bring your own device") movement. Jonathan concludes with sage advice: "The end user device paradigm shift offers significant opportunities for business technology innovation, but you'll miss out if you're purely focusing on span of control and defensive IT."

Reading these articles reminded me about a presentation on virtualization security I delivered at Microsoft TechEd a few years ago. I began that talk, as I frequently do, with a short retrospective. The "operating system" running on that hulking PC you bought in the late 1980s didn't have a whole lot to worry about: how much damage can one user running one application really cause? Eventually the operating system had to mature: first to enforce application boundaries so that multitasking would work, then to enforce user boundaries so that multiple people could share a computer. When hardware became powerful enough, software technology shifted: a hypervisor along with a finely-tuned host OS enforced guest OS boundaries so that multiple environments could share a server. A simple visual progression of these trust boundaries might look like this:


At this point, you might be wondering: "What's this got to do with user-centric IT and, wait, doesn't Riverbed sell network stuff?" Let me link these seemingly disparate elements together.

Unicorn Virtualization is, of course, one of the fundamental technologies that underlie cloud — providers can crank resource utilization to 11.  But a funny thing happened along the way to the user-centric IT concert: while the cloud offers seemingly infinite compute and storage, people learned the bandwidth to get there isn't all unicorns and rainbows. That phone or tablet of yours is a full-fledged computer, roomy and always connected. It's likely to be your primary means of accessing (and secondary means of storing) work-related stuff. The trends Edward and Jon highlight — more VDI, more BYOD, more SaaS, more mobility — all require network capacities that are expensive to build out and bump into inconvenient laws of physics.

We're entering an era I call distributed recentralization. As I ponder the simultaneous emergence of cloud computing and the move toward IT consumerization, it occurs to me that each one contributes to the sudden and continual growth of the other. We humans are creating and consuming massive amounts of data every day, a lot of it with consumer-type devices. Much of that information gets sent to and redistributed from the cloud. All this activity puts enormous pressures on network links — pressures that often can't be overcome just by buying a bigger pipe.

To-eleven We're passionate about WANs at Riverbed. WANs allow people to create, access, store, and compute information wherever it's convenient to do so — frequently at distance. Our expanding product line enables you to be as creative as you can be without worrying about network or storage constraints. Cloud and consumerization certainly don't imply that IT will become a commodity; indeed, the information an organization possess, and how it manipulates and shares that information, truly are competitive differentiators. Let us help you crank your differentiation to 11.

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Mobile, Storage Cloud, Virtualization | 3 Comments »

The Wonderful World of Wireshark

Posted by riverbedtest on April 7, 2011

Our guest blogger today is Yoav Eilat, the Director of Product Marketing for Riverbed's Cascade Products.

This week, Riverbed sponsored a series of seminars about Wireshark in 4 cities in the U.S. (Tampa, San Laura_chappell Antonio, Denver, and Falls Church, Virginia). Our speaker is Laura Chappell, a legend in the network analysis world, who regularly draws large audiences to her seminars.

Riverbed became the corporate sponsor of Wireshark as part of the acquisition of CACE Technologies back in October, when the CACE commercial products (Shark and Pilot) became part of the Riverbed Cascade product line. This gave us an opportunity to meet some of the biggest names in the network analysis world, including Gerald Photo Combs and Loris Degioanni who now work at Riverbed. It’s just striking to see the large community around Wireshark and all the different ways that people use it to solve performance and security problems.

The most entertaining part of Laura’s seminar is to see how networking products reflect the nature of the vendors that make them. Armed with a packet analyzer, Laura can see which vendors care about Internet standards and which don’t… which Web browser is the most efficient… or which smartphone relentlessly grabs resources on Wi-Fi networks. As she keeps saying, “the packets never lie.” (Just for the record, Riverbed’s products don’t lie, either!)

If you’re interested in network analysis and visibility, make sure to check out Sharkfest, the annual Wireshark user conference being held June 13-16, 2011 at Stanford University. The event is also sponsored by Riverbed and will feature many great speakers from the networking world.


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Making cloud storage a little less scary

Posted by riverbedtest on April 5, 2011

You see it everywhere tech surveys are posted – people love the idea of cloud, but the implementation is sometimes a little too scary for many enterprises.

One of the issues that is often raised is that of vendor lock-in. Given that cloud is so new, customers either want the ability to multi-source cloud or quickly change cloud vendors without upending their entire IT delivery process.

With Riverbed's latest announcement about the Whitewater product family, I guess you could say we're doing our part to make cloud storage services a little more friendly to enterprises everywhere. First and foremost, we have added the Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network to our list of supported cloud storage providers. That means we have a new, high performance, global platform of cloud storage data centers that customers can tap into as needed. Nirvanix – welcome to the Riverbed family of partners!

We also announced support for additional front-end backup software.  EMC NetWorker, CA ARCserve, and Quest vRanger Backup Tools are now supported in addition to Symantec NetBackup, BackupExec, and IBM Tivoli Storage Manager. That means customers can start to leverage cloud with the software they already have in place, and don't have to change or adjust software based on the cloud that they choose. Moreover, if they decide to change backup software, they don't have to worry about their cloud strategy changing.

It's the combination of flexible cloud storage accelerators with market-leading partners like Nirvanix that we believe will drive cloud to be a reality for organizations everywhere. This announcement is one step in the right direction to make the implementation of cloud as appealing as the idea of it.



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Using the Cloud to Solve Problems

Posted by riverbedtest on April 5, 2011

Today's guest blogger is Philip O'Toole, a member of our Cloud Steelhead Engineering Team, who called me a few weeks ago with this great story.  I encouraged him to blog about it.  It really demonstrates the ease-of-use and flexibility of cloud computing.

The recently-launched Riverbed Cloud Portal is a web service, allowing for simplified deployment, easy management, licensing, and instant upgrades of the new Cloud Steelhead. Hosting the Portal itself in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud allowed us to streamline deployment and management of the Portal, significantly shortening our time-to-market, while still allowing us to meet our needs for reliability and security.

Like most modern web services, the Portal is backed by a database. And like most databases, the schema sometimes needs modification. We use an open source tool to help with database migrations, and generally it works very well. However, early during development we had an interesting experience which really showed the Portal team the power of the Cloud when it comes to collaborative development. Forklift

One day the migration tool started acting up, reporting errors in a low-level part of the code, and in a manner that seemed quite specific to our environment. I was sufficiently familiar with the tool to know that something fundamental seemed to be wrong, so I e-mailed the tool's developer. He agreed it was very strange, that the root cause was not obvious, and had some questions for me.

Normally the process would go something like this:

  • He sends me an e-mail asking me to run a test.
  • I run it (perhaps I don't run it quite right, and he needs to ask me again).
  • I send him the results. 
  • Lather, rinse, and repeat.
  • We go back and forth for a week or more until we finally determine the root cause.

Most developers have been there at some point — it can be long, slow, process working with a developer in another country, across timezones, both of you trying to resolve an issue like this. Often it occurs late in the development cycle, close to a release, when time is most precious.

This is where the public Cloud came to the rescue. If occurred to me that if I could reproduce the issue in an EC2 Instance (i.e. a virtual machine) in the AWS Cloud, I could then simply turn the VM over to him and let him debug it himself. After all, it's a public Cloud.

It was easy since we've got lots of these virtual machines up and running for development and testing. I fired up a scrubbed VM (so it had nothing proprietary), added access to the VM from source IP addresses outside of Riverbed (access to the VMs is locked down by default — security is always a critical consideration), reproduced the error, and then sent him the DNS name and credentials for the VM. He logged in, quickly identified the root cause, and showed me how the VM could be patched to address the issue.

As a result, we had our fix in less than a day, and I could implement it on our real systems. It struck me how easy it was to collaborate on this issue, when I could recreate a machine with the problem, and then turn it over to the tool creator who lives in England. The developer has even committed the fix to the product's publicly available source, so it's a win for everyone.

It was a very interesting process — obvious perhaps, but I had to experience it to really understand the advantages of this use of a public cloud. After all, as any developer or system engineer knows, nothing is worse than having to ship physical hardware somewhere just so someone can work hands-on with the problematic system.

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SNW Spring Opens Today in Santa Clara

Posted by riverbedtest on April 4, 2011

SNW Spring 11
Computerworld's Storage Networking World show opens today at the Santa Clara, CA, Convention Center.  (If I were going, I wouldn't miss Steve Wozniak's keynote…!) Steve_wozniak_headshot

When you think of storage infrastructure companies, you might not think of Riverbed, but in fact, we'll be all over SNW.

In addition to our booth in the exhibition hall, our customer, Pump Solutions Group (PSG) will present a case study on the benefits the company since they began accelerating and deduplicating their cloud-based backups with Riverbed's Whitewater Appliance.

Psg There will also be a presentation from Riverbed Technical Leader Steve Riley and Technical Director Josh Tseng (both of whom are regular guest bloggers in this space) on the benefits of acceleration in cloud computing and cloud storage environments.

Traditionally, Riverbed's space has been networking, but with the increasingly wide adoption of cloud computing, the lines between networking and storage technologies have blurred (blurring than was started by SAN several years ago, and has continued to this day).  We've been able to take our expertise in WAN Optimization and apply it to storage. 

Our Steelhead appliances can make a huge difference in replication speeds and times, and our Whitewater appliance has made it safe and realistic to do daily full backups out to a cloud storage provider. 

If you're going to be at SNW in Santa Clara, please make sure you stop by our booth and talk to some of our folks about what we can do to better protect your critical data and get those backups done in less time, while making it easy and quick to restore the data.

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Jasmine the IT Kid Poll

Posted by bobegilbert on April 1, 2011


testing 1 2 3

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April Fish (Poisson d’Avril)

Posted by bobegilbert on April 1, 2011

There is always something special about this day when winter turns to spring and everyone is ready for a little lighthearted celebration. Believed to have started in the late 1500’s, April Fool's Day has gained international fame as people had fun sending someone on a "fool's errand," looking for things that don't exist, playing pranks, and trying to get people to believe ridiculous things.

The concept of April Fools’ Day in Western World is has many parallels on other calendars from around the world, including:

  • The Festival of Hilaria in Rome
  • In Scotland, April Fools' Day is traditionally called Hunt-the-Gowk Day ("gowk" is Scots for a cuckoo or a foolish person), although this name has fallen into disuse.
  • Iranians play jokes on each other on the 13th day of the Persian new year (Norouz), which falls on April 1 or April 2. This day, celebrated as far back as 536 BC, is called Sizdah Bedar
  • In Denmark, the 1st of May is known as "Maj-kat", meaning "May-cat", and is historically identical to April Fools' Day. However, Danes also celebrate April Fools' Day ("aprilsnar"), and pranks on May 1st are much less frequent.
  • In Poland, Prima aprilis ("April 1" in Latin) is a day full of jokes; various hoaxes are prepared by people, media (which sometimes cooperate to make the "information" more credible) and even public institutions.
  • And there's Poisson d’Avril (April Fish) in France and French-speaking Canada.  This is also widespread in other nations, such as Italy, where the term Pesce d'aprile (literally "April's fish") is also used to refer to any jokes done during the day.

(with thanks to Wikipedia)

My personal favorite is Poisson d’Avril where French children tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates and cry “Poisson d’Avril” when the prank is discovered.

So in the spirit of our Steelhead heritage I encourage everyone to have a little April Fish fun and see how many people you can tag with a fish.  We encourage you to post your pictures in the comments below.

April fish
And, by the way, if you're curious about Riverbed history and the story of the Steelhead name, you should know that we chose Steelhead for our first product name because it is the most prized trout that a fisherman can catch.  The name captures the spirit of the company which is centered on strength, pride, agility and tenacity.

Have a great day today and beware of the Fool’s errand!

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ɥsıɟ lıɹdɐ ɹo lıɹʌɐ,p uossıod

Posted by riverbedtest on April 1, 2011

¡puɐɹɹǝ s’looɟ ǝɥʇ ɟo ǝɹɐʍǝq puɐ ʎɐpoʇ ʎɐp ʇɐǝɹƃ ɐ ǝʌɐɥ

˙ʎʇıɔɐuǝʇ puɐ ʎʇılıƃɐ 'ǝpıɹd 'ɥʇƃuǝɹʇs uo pǝɹǝʇuǝɔ sı ɥɔıɥʍ ʎuɐdɯoɔ ǝɥʇ ɟo ʇıɹıds ǝɥʇ sǝɹnʇdɐɔ ǝɯɐu ǝɥʇ  ˙ɥɔʇɐɔ uɐɔ uɐɯɹǝɥsıɟ ɐ ʇɐɥʇ ʇnoɹʇ pǝzıɹd ʇsoɯ ǝɥʇ sı ʇı ǝsnɐɔǝq ǝɯɐu ʇɔnpoɹd ʇsɹıɟ ɹno ɹoɟ pɐǝɥlǝǝʇs ǝsoɥɔ ǝʍ ʇɐɥʇ ʍouʞ plnoɥs noʎ 'ǝɯɐu pɐǝɥlǝǝʇs ǝɥʇ ɟo ʎɹoʇs ǝɥʇ puɐ ʎɹoʇsıɥ pǝqɹǝʌıɹ ʇnoqɐ snoıɹnɔ ǝɹ,noʎ ɟı 'ʎɐʍ ǝɥʇ ʎq 'puɐ

April fish upside down

˙ʍolǝq sʇuǝɯɯoɔ ǝɥʇ uı sǝɹnʇɔıd ɹnoʎ ʇsod oʇ noʎ ǝƃɐɹnoɔuǝ ǝʍ  ˙ɥsıɟ ɐ ɥʇıʍ ƃɐʇ uɐɔ noʎ ǝldoǝd ʎuɐɯ ʍoɥ ǝǝs puɐ unɟ ɥsıɟ lıɹdɐ ǝlʇʇıl ɐ ǝʌɐɥ oʇ ǝuoʎɹǝʌǝ ǝƃɐɹnoɔuǝ ı ǝƃɐʇıɹǝɥ pɐǝɥlǝǝʇs ɹno ɟo ʇıɹıds ǝɥʇ uı os

˙pǝɹǝʌoɔsıp sı ʞuɐɹd ǝɥʇ uǝɥʍ ”lıɹʌɐ’p uossıod“ ʎɹɔ puɐ sǝʇɐɯlooɥɔs ɹıǝɥʇ ɟo ʞɔɐq ǝɥʇ uo ɥsıɟ ɐ ɟo ǝɹnʇɔıd ɐ ǝdɐʇ uǝɹplıɥɔ ɥɔuǝɹɟ ǝɹǝɥʍ lıɹʌɐ’p uossıod sı ǝʇıɹoʌɐɟ lɐuosɹǝd ʎɯ

(ɐıpǝdıʞıʍ oʇ sʞuɐɥʇ ɥʇıʍ)

˙ʎɐp ǝɥʇ ƃuıɹnp ǝuop sǝʞoɾ ʎuɐ oʇ ɹǝɟǝɹ oʇ pǝsn oslɐ sı (,,ɥsıɟ s,lıɹdɐ,, ʎllɐɹǝʇıl) ǝlıɹdɐ,p ǝɔsǝd ɯɹǝʇ ǝɥʇ ǝɹǝɥʍ 'ʎlɐʇı sɐ ɥɔns 'suoıʇɐu ɹǝɥʇo uı pɐǝɹdsǝpıʍ oslɐ sı sıɥʇ  ˙ɐpɐuɐɔ ƃuıʞɐǝds-ɥɔuǝɹɟ puɐ ǝɔuɐɹɟ uı (ɥsıɟ lıɹdɐ) lıɹʌɐ’p uossıod s,ǝɹǝɥʇ puɐ –
˙suoıʇnʇıʇsuı ɔılqnd uǝʌǝ puɐ (ǝlqıpǝɹɔ ǝɹoɯ ,,uoıʇɐɯɹoɟuı,, ǝɥʇ ǝʞɐɯ oʇ ǝʇɐɹǝdooɔ sǝɯıʇǝɯos ɥɔıɥʍ) ɐıpǝɯ 'ǝldoǝd ʎq pǝɹɐdǝɹd ǝɹɐ sǝxɐoɥ snoıɹɐʌ ؛sǝʞoɾ ɟo llnɟ ʎɐp ɐ sı (uıʇɐl uı ,,⇂ lıɹdɐ,,) sılıɹdɐ ɐɯıɹd 'puɐlod uı –
˙ʇuǝnbǝɹɟ ssǝl ɥɔnɯ ǝɹɐ ʇs⇂ ʎɐɯ uo sʞuɐɹd puɐ '(,,ɹɐuslıɹdɐ,,) ʎɐp ,slooɟ lıɹdɐ ǝʇɐɹqǝlǝɔ oslɐ sǝuɐp 'ɹǝʌǝʍoɥ ˙ʎɐp ,slooɟ lıɹdɐ oʇ lɐɔıʇuǝpı ʎllɐɔıɹoʇsıɥ sı puɐ ',,ʇɐɔ-ʎɐɯ,, ƃuıuɐǝɯ ',,ʇɐʞ-ɾɐɯ,, sɐ uʍouʞ sı ʎɐɯ ɟo ʇs⇂ ǝɥʇ 'ʞɹɐɯuǝp uı –
ɹɐpǝq ɥɐpzıs pǝllɐɔ sı 'ɔq 9ᄐގ sɐ ʞɔɐq ɹɐɟ sɐ pǝʇɐɹqǝlǝɔ 'ʎɐp sıɥʇ ˙ᄅ lıɹdɐ ɹo ⇂ lıɹdɐ uo sllɐɟ ɥɔıɥʍ '(znoɹou) ɹɐǝʎ ʍǝu uɐısɹǝd ǝɥʇ ɟo ʎɐp ɥʇᄐ⇂ ǝɥʇ uo ɹǝɥʇo ɥɔɐǝ uo sǝʞoɾ ʎɐld suɐıuɐɹı –
˙ǝsnsıp oʇuı uǝllɐɟ sɐɥ ǝɯɐu sıɥʇ ɥƃnoɥʇlɐ '(uosɹǝd ɥsılooɟ ɐ ɹo ooʞɔnɔ ɐ ɹoɟ sʇoɔs sı ,,ʞʍoƃ,,) ʎɐp ʞʍoƃ-ǝɥʇ-ʇunɥ pǝllɐɔ ʎllɐuoıʇıpɐɹʇ sı ʎɐp ,slooɟ lıɹdɐ 'puɐlʇoɔs uı –
ǝɯoɹ uı ɐıɹɐlıɥ ɟo lɐʌıʇsǝɟ ǝɥʇ –

:ƃuıpnlɔuı 'plɹoʍ ǝɥʇ punoɹɐ ɯoɹɟ sɹɐpuǝlɐɔ ɹǝɥʇo uo slǝllɐɹɐd ʎuɐɯ sɐɥ sı plɹoʍ uɹǝʇsǝʍ uı ʎɐp ’slooɟ lıɹdɐ ɟo ʇdǝɔuoɔ ǝɥʇ

˙sƃuıɥʇ snolnɔıpıɹ ǝʌǝılǝq oʇ ǝldoǝd ʇǝƃ oʇ ƃuıʎɹʇ puɐ 'sʞuɐɹd ƃuıʎɐld 'ʇsıxǝ ʇ,uop ʇɐɥʇ sƃuıɥʇ ɹoɟ ƃuıʞool ,,'puɐɹɹǝ s,looɟ,, ɐ uo ǝuoǝɯos ƃuıpuǝs unɟ pɐɥ ǝldoǝd sɐ ǝɯɐɟ lɐuoıʇɐuɹǝʇuı pǝuıɐƃ sɐɥ ʎɐp s,looɟ lıɹdɐ 's’00ގ⇂ ǝʇɐl ǝɥʇ uı pǝʇɹɐʇs ǝʌɐɥ oʇ pǝʌǝılǝq ˙uoıʇɐɹqǝlǝɔ pǝʇɹɐǝɥʇɥƃıl ǝlʇʇıl ɐ ɹoɟ ʎpɐǝɹ sı ǝuoʎɹǝʌǝ puɐ ƃuıɹds oʇ suɹnʇ ɹǝʇuıʍ uǝɥʍ ʎɐp sıɥʇ ʇnoqɐ lɐıɔǝds ƃuıɥʇǝɯos sʎɐʍlɐ sı ǝɹǝɥʇ

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