Max Clark Entrepreneur, Investor, Thrill Seeker

95th Percentile Billing

What is the 95th percentile?

The 95th percentile is a method for metering bandwidth that allows a customer to burst over their Committed Information Rate (CIR). Unlike a fixed network link, a customer is able subscribe to a CIR at a fraction (usually 10-20%) of the interface speed, but when necessary burst above and even consume the entire interface. The 95th percentile is an alternative to either fixed or GB transfered billing methods and is ideal for datacenter applications.

Every five minutes the network interface is sampled for the total amount of bytes transfered. This is averaged over 300 seconds to estimate the average transfer rate per second. These averages are collected every five minutes and stored in a database. When the month is over, the samples are arranged from highest to lowest and the top 5% of samples are removed. The next highest sample is the 95th percentile.

A 30 day month has 36 hours of free peak traffic.

30 days * 24 hours * 5% = 36 hours

The 95th percentile is not a mean or an average, its represents the value that your bandwidth is at or under 95% of the time. To avoid bursting charges you can think of this one of two ways:

  1. 95% of the time the usage should be at or below the CIR, or
  2. 5% of the time the usage can be over the CIR.

If you are looking for more information, I'd recommend you start with Wikipedia's article on Burstable Billing.

Affording Affordable Health Care

As I worked through changes to my health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act (known as Obamacare) I started wondering how this change will impact low income and part-time workers. There have been several stories quoting the reduction in benefits paid to employees due to the ACA. Even more discussing shifts from full time to sub 30 hour weeks to avoid the employer mandate requirement.

Assuming an average hourly wage of $15.00, a person working 50 hours per week in two jobs makes $37,500 per year. Single filers pay 25% ($9,375) in Federal Taxes (it's actually better to make $36k/year due to the lower tax bracket) plus 8.00% ($3,000) in California taxes. This breaks down to a take home pay of $25,125/year or $2,093.75/month. I checked - there is no premium assistance at this income level. The cheapest Bronze level plan I could find is $175/month with an estimated total annual costs for premium + out of pocket expenses of $2,494 ($207.83/month).

Think about that for a second... $2,093.75/month in take home pay with $207.83/month in mandatory health care expenses.

I clearly remember my paychecks when I was making $40k/year. I have no idea how I would ever have afforded to pay healthcare at these costs. I could barely pay my rent, car, gas, insurance and still eat.

There's a lot of good, and a lot of bad in our healthcare system. As with many things in this country, the more money you have the better off you will be. That doesn't justify a system where the poor are left out in the cold by any means. The verdict is still out on the implementation of the ACA, and until the employer mandate kicks in next year we won't really know if it's working.

One thing is certain, a lot of people are paying more for heath care than they were a year ago. Personally I went from $196/month to $276 for the same benefits.

Formula to Calculate Margin

Just because I see this so often in spreadsheets:

Costs * 1.Margin = Resale

The proper way to apply a margin to your cost is:

Cost / ( 1 - Margin) = Resale

It makes a big difference on the final number:

100 * 1.3 = 130
100 / ( 1 - .3) = 142.86

If you do it the first way at some point you are going to be wondering why you are short 7%.

Boy Scouts and the Future

There is no way to explain the impact that Scouting has had on my life. Probably the simplest is the Scout Law:

Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean & Reverent

There is not a day of my life that that hasn't rattled through my head.

This past June I resigned from the Los Angeles Council Board - Membership Standards was a significant part of this decision for me. Almost every Scouting function I attended included a discussion on Membership Standards, ranging from the official discussion of "National Policy" to sidebars on "the Gay issue". From my perspective the arguments against inclusion (changing policy) boiled down to fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear that Scouting's religious base would leave the organization, fear that gay Scouts would somehow infect others, etc... At some point I would interject with a:

  • "Do you think that the policy is effective and 'protecting' from [insert fear point]?", or
  • "Do you believe that this policy is keeping Gay Youth or Adults out?"

In my experience some of the most dedicated, passionate professional employees and volunteers that I have ever met are Gay/Lesbian. It infuriates me that in order to stay involved they have to pretend to be something else, and hope that they are never found out.

January 1st brought a significant change to Scouting. No longer will a Scout be disqualified on the basis of sexual orientation. This is a long overdue and needed change to the program, and what I hope is just the first step in the removal of membership standards based on sexual orientation. Wouldn't it be nice if newly minted Eagle Scouts could be involved past the age of 18?

2014 Resolutions

In the spirt of public accountability, here are my New Years resolutions:

  • Migrate this Blog to Jekyll
  • Loose 20 lbs before my Birthday (this is a pound a week - no problem). Accomplished via: sweat every day, make carbs the exception - not the rule, balance indoor life with the outdoors.
  • Get back to charity. Since resigning from the local BSA Board I've missed this in my life.
  • Travel. Six four night trips over the next 12 months, plus a few one to two night destinations.
  • Photograph more, take classes, learn.

Sounds simple right?