Trevor Pott

Contact Mail Follow Twitter RSS feed
Trevor Pott is a full-time nerd from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He splits his time between systems administration, technology writing, and consulting. As a consultant he helps Silicon Valley start-ups better understand systems administrators and how to sell to them.

Cool technology: Submerged blade servers escape the heat

Keeping servers cool is a challenge, even in a purpose-built data centre. Imagine for a moment the difficulty of doing so as part of an oil pipeline in the Australian outback, or as part of a military command post in the deserts of Afghanistan. I can tell you from experience that cooling is a serious issue even during a Canadian …
Trevor Pott, 12 Dec 2014
T Platforms GP Blade Chassis

Why blades need enterprise management software: Learn from Trev's hardcore lab tests

The value of enterprise management associated with modern blades has been made apparent to me. At the same time, I understand the value that "unblade" systems, such as the Supermicro Twin series or Open Compute systems, can bring. Cost, and what you plan to do with the things, are, as always, the determinant, but there are no …
Trevor Pott, 08 Dec 2014
T Platforms GP Blade Chassis

Hairy situation? Blade servers can reach where others can't

Any follower of today's technology magazines will have heard a lot about Open Compute Project (OCP) servers. These are servers stripped down the bare minimum, crammed into a single chassis and managed centrally through software that provides high automation and data centre-scale orchestration. In an OCP world, cost reduction is …
Trevor Pott, 05 Dec 2014
Game of Thrones Season One Blu-ray disc set

Docker part 4: Microsoft CAN'T ignore it. Aux armes, citoyens!

It's clear that Docker is here to stay, but we must temper our enthusiasm with pragmatism and a careful analysis of history. There are many pieces on the chessboard to consider, and each of them has a mind of its own. Docker is simultaneously a big fish (thanks to the hype around it) and a relative minnow compared to the tech …
Trevor Pott, 04 Dec 2014
HP ProLiant BL485c and BL685c Blades

A brief history of BLADE SERVERS: From the Big Bang to the, er, 'unblade'

Nowadays we take blade servers for granted, but a lot of moving parts had to come together for us to get where we are today. Tracing their history can help us make better judgments about how the technologies of tomorrow will evolve. The development of VMEbus architecture in about 1981 was perhaps the beginning of technological …
Trevor Pott, 04 Dec 2014
Star Wars: Force Unleashed II

Yes, you heard me – the storage infrastructure WARS are over

Sysadmin blog Though there are still a great many players on the field fighting savagely for the right to dominate the industry for the next decade, I believe the storage infrastructure wars are already largely over. With so many startups still entering the storage space, and so much money flowing around it seems like I'd be mad to do so, but …
Trevor Pott, 03 Dec 2014
X300 SSDs

What benchmarks CAN tell you about your solid-state drives

When it comes to storage, what benchmarks to use, how to configure them and how to interpret the results has been the subject of many a heated debate. Benchmarks are supposed to provide empirical data that can be used as evidence for drawing rational conclusions. Of course, if you torture data long enough it will confess to …
Trevor Pott, 02 Dec 2014
Docker Logo

Part 3: Docker vs hypervisor in tech tussle SMACKDOWN

Comment If you're willing to start from scratch, give up high availability, the ability to run multiple operating systems on a single server and all the other tradeoffs then Docker really can't be beaten. You are going to cram more workloads into a given piece of hardware with Docker than with a hypervisor, full stop. From the …
Trevor Pott, 02 Dec 2014
Docker Logo

Docker, Part 2: Whoa! Spontaneous industry standard! How did they do THAT?

Sysadmin Blog Docker is slowly taking over the world. From its humble origins, which we explored on Friday, as an internal project at dotCloud, through to Microsoft's recent announcement that it will support Docker natively in Windows, Docker looks set to become a major component of modern IT infrastructure. Today, Docker is powered by …
Trevor Pott, 01 Dec 2014
Netgear ReadyNAS 314 (RN31400) 4-bay NAS box

Trevor contemplates Consumer Netgear gear. BUT does it pass the cat hair test?

Sysadmin blog Is consumer networking gear really crap? As technologists, we tend to have a chip on our shoulder about it because it can't do all the things the latest, greatest enterprise stuff can do, but does that really matter? The capabilities of consumer gear have been steadily increasing, and perhaps some of our ire is unwarranted. …
Trevor Pott, 30 Nov 2014

Docker: Sorry, you're just going to have to learn about it. Today we begin

Sysadmin Blog Docker, meet hype. Hype, meet Docker. Now: Let's have a sit down here and see if we can work through your neuroses. For those of you who don't yet know about Docker, it is a much-hyped Silicon Valley startup productising (what a horrible unword) Linux containers into something that's sort of easy to use. Containers aren't a new …
Trevor Pott, 28 Nov 2014
Azure Index

Azure has put new life into Active Directory

Active Directory is dead: long live Active Directory. While Microsoft's Windows Server Active Directory (WSAD) is unable to meet the needs of today, its younger sibling Azure Active Directory (AAD) looks set to take the world by storm. I have given it the once over and am impressed with the technology – but also ambivalent about …
Trevor Pott, 28 Nov 2014

DRaaS-tic action: Trust the cloud to save your data from disaster

In modern computing, disaster recovery can be thought of in the same way as insurance: nobody really wants to pay for it, the options are complicated and seemingly designed to swindle you, but it is irrational (and often illegal) to operate without it. All the big IT players are getting into disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS …
Trevor Pott, 19 Nov 2014
SanDisk Sansa TakeTV

Welcome to the fast-moving world of flash connectors

Flash is the new storage medium of choice and this has led to an explosion of interconnect options. Magnetic disks are slow and not particularly latency sensitive; interconnects designed for them just don't cut it in a world where flash drives can be 10 times faster and are highly latency sensitive. Let's take a quick look at …
Trevor Pott, 13 Nov 2014
X300 SSDs

Why solid-state disks are winning the argument

Perhaps the most perplexing question I have been posed this year is: "Why should I use SSDs?" On the face of it, it is a reasonable question. When it was put to me, however, I just sat there staring at the wall, trying to form a coherent thought. Where to begin? As it was late at night, I decided that starting with a brief …
Trevor Pott, 07 Nov 2014
ULLtraDIMMs

Diablo boss on chipsets, ULLtraDIMM and the Netlist fracas

Opinion/Interview The Register does not endorse any particular viewpoint contained in this interview. We will update readers on the court's decisions as the case unfolds. The Netlist/Diablo lawsuit is intriguing if for no other reason than the technical depth of the topic. Diablo's Memory Channel Storage is certainly an interesting product. The …
Trevor Pott, 27 Oct 2014
Blood image

SDI Wars: EMC must FORGET ARRAYS, adapt or disappear

Sysadmin blog Register storage supremo Chris Mellor has recently been reporting on EMC's slow descent into corporate depression due to a combination of activist investors and recalcitrant internecine political strife. There's nothing surprising here, I've been hearing the same things all across the EMC federation, though I've no inclination …
Trevor Pott, 20 Oct 2014
Lego Gears of War gun

SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?

Sysadmin blog The Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI) war is coming, and it will reshape the information technology landscape like nothing has since the invention of the PC itself. It consists of sub-wars, each important in their own right, but the game is bigger than any of them. We have just been through the worst of the storage wars. …
Trevor Pott, 17 Oct 2014
One Windows: Windows 10 will be delivered on multiple device types

Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First

Sysadmin Blog Controversy has erupted around Microsoft's Windows 10 preview. More specifically, questions are being raised about the amount of tracking – and the depth of tracking – that was built into the preview. The Windows 10 technical preview goes so far as to monitor your typing, potentially crossing the line from instrumentation of …
Trevor Pott, 14 Oct 2014
SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD

The magic storage formula for successful VDI? Just add SSDs

Every pure solid-state disk (SSD) and hybrid storage vendor on earth would like you to know how brilliant it is at handling virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) workloads. VDI may be a niche, but it is a miserably difficult niche, in which storage plays a huge role. There is a lot more to making VDI work well than just throwing …
Trevor Pott, 02 Oct 2014
Inatek BP2001 Bluetooth Speaker

Inateck BP2001 Bluetooth speaker: The metalhead sysadmin's choice? Not exactly

Review The Inateck BP2001 is a 2 x 5W Bluetooth enabled portable stereo speaker. It's reasonably stylish in design, easy to use, has a slot on top where your mobile device sits and charges via standard micro-USB. It's a reasonably good catch at £50, although the Inateck website will direct you to Amazon where you can buy it for under £ …

Supercapacitors have the power to save you from data loss

As solid state drives (SSDs) become a critical part of today's storage, it is becomes increasingly important to learn about the supercapacitors that help prevent data loss. The presence – and type – of supercapacitors in SSDs should be as important a consideration as choosing between MLC, eMLC and SLC-based drives. …
Trevor Pott, 24 Sep 2014
Sad cloud

What's this 'pay as you go' cloud crap? Dunno about you, but my apps don't work that way

Sysadmin blog Anyone who says public cloud computing is "pay for what you use" is trying to rip you off. The public cloud is pay for what you provision, and that is a completely different thing. In order to move away from the model that pretty much every existing application uses – one where you provision the peak amount of resources required …
Trevor Pott, 17 Sep 2014
graphic entitled public cloud platform owned and operated by VMware

Concerning VMware’s vCloud Air: It's all about choice

Sysadmin blog Cloud computing comes in many flavours, but the victor of the next few years will be the company that successfully sells its vision of the "hybrid cloud". If public cloud computing is putting your workloads in someone else's datacenter and private cloud computing is running them in your own, hybrid cloud computing is supposed to …
Trevor Pott, 11 Sep 2014

It's a pain in the ASCII, so what can be done to make patching easier?

Like most of you reading this article, I neglect good patching hygiene. There are very good reasons why we should all of us obsessively test every patch and patch our systems immediately, but patching is a pain in the ASCII. The tools suck, rebooting sucks, and most damning of all, something usually breaks. Each PC, and most …
Trevor Pott, 10 Sep 2014
Picture by Afonso Lima

The internet just BROKE under its own weight – we explain how

512KDay On Tuesday, 12 August, 2014, the internet hit an arbitrary limit of more than 512,000 routes. This 512K route limit is something we have known about for some time. The fix for Cisco devices – and possibly others – is fairly straightforward. Internet service providers and businesses around the world chose not to address this …
Trevor Pott, 13 Aug 2014

Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness

Updated Canadian ISP Shaw is experiencing a "nationwide outage affecting internet browsing", according to the polite phone robot put in place to discourage affected punters from overwhelming support systems. The issue appears to be multi-faceted. Your Canadian vultures have personally encountered numerous "rolling" outages over the …
Trevor Pott, 12 Aug 2014
cloud

Dumping gear in the public cloud: It's about ease of use, stupid

Sysadmin blog Public cloud computing has finally started to make sense to me now. A recent conversation with a fellow sysadmin had me rocking back and forth in a corner muttering "that's illogical". When I emerged from my nervous breakdown I realised that capitalising on the irrationality of the decision-making process within most companies …
Trevor Pott, 06 Aug 2014

What's the point of the Internet of Things?

Sysadmin blog Smart-homes are not designed for the young, fit 20-something. Instead, smart-homes have been absorbed into the Internet of Things (IoT), a broader form of connectivity worship that seemingly aims to unify fridge and washing machine, automobile and heart monitor. The purpose of all of this technology isn't readily apparent those …
Trevor Pott, 05 Aug 2014
flames_fire_destruction

Synology and the NAS-ty malware-flingers: What can be learned

Sysadmin blog The recent Synology Synolocker issue should serve as a splash of cold water to any vendors in the tech industry that design and sell systems that are largely unattended or unmanaged. As described in The Reg yesterday, Synology NAS boxes are being hit by a Cryptolocker-like piece of malware dubbed Synolocker. Like Cryptolocker, …
Trevor Pott, 05 Aug 2014
Synology DS410

Ransomware attack hits Synology's NAS boxen

Synology Diskstations and Rackstations are being hit by malware dubbed Synolocker. The malware is a similar to the infamous Cryptolocker ransomware in that it encrypts all your files and then demands a ransom to unlock them. The vulnerabilities that enable the malware appear to rely on hard-coded passwords to recommended …
Trevor Pott, 05 Aug 2014
Sennheiser SKM 900 wireless microphone

Vulturization: Who'd be a sysadmin today?

Podcast The Register presents the second installment of the Vulturization podcast series – listen here or from the player below. This time, your inordinately caffeinated host sits down with Dwayne Lessner of Nutanix and veteran sysadmin Phoummala Schmitt to talk about converged infrastructure, marketing hype, and the ever-increasing …
Trevor Pott, 01 Aug 2014
No Sale

Hey, big spender. Are you as secure as a whitebox vendor?

Sysadmin blog Security flaws are a great source of inter-company marketing FUD, but it is how a company responds to them that determines how trustworthy they are. Can you bet your business – or your personal data – on a company that simply brushes flaws under a rug? Where does the vendor's responsibility end and that of the customer begin? As …
Trevor Pott, 01 Aug 2014

How long is too long to wait for a security fix?

Sysadmin blog Synology quietly released version 4.2-3250 of its DiskStation Manager (DSM) operating system this month. This squashes critical security bugs in version 4.2 of DSM – bugs that were fixed in version 5.0 in June, so consider this a back port. Version 4.2 is old but still in use in various models, such as the DS109. The update got …
Trevor Pott, 25 Jul 2014
bofh_sidey

Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in

It is 25 July, and that means it's Systems Administrators Appreciation Day once more. Sysadmin Day is that one special day a year where syadmins the world over say to each other "Wow, I can't believe we all made it another year", and everyone else forgets that this has been a thing for 14 years. Despite the inevitable apathy of …
VDI Bandwidth Visio Image

Ding, ding! Round two with our VDI experts – put your Qs to the panel

Webinar Join us for the second live webinar in our VDI in the real world series as we explore the complexities of user virtualization with our expert panel. Building a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is much more than lashing together systems to handle the workload: user virtualization is of increasing importance, especially as VDI …
Trevor Pott, 07 Jul 2014

VMware's super-secret MARVIN: It's software-defined war on future IT

Sysadmin blog The virtualisation community is all atwitter with speculation about VMware's MARVIN. MARVIN, for those who don't know, is supposedly VMware's hardware'n'software answer to hyper-converged competitors like Nutanix. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone has a theory – but VMware itself is carefully keeping schtum. I have some …
Trevor Pott, 03 Jul 2014

Microsoft Intune hears the call for device management

Review As Microsoft continues its corporate redefinition as a subscription-driven cloud slinger we should bear in mind that this path includes more than simply Office 365 or Azure. Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) is slated to become an important new buzzword as it wraps up Windows Intune, Azure Active Directory Premium ( …
Trevor Pott, 26 Jun 2014
A man who has fallen asleep at an IDF booth

What is it with cloud computing? Engage VM, disengage brain?

Sysadmin blog The implosion of source-code hosting biz Code Spaces should have rung plenty of alarm bells. A company with a loyal following and a bright-looking future suddenly disappeared, never to be seen again. What's worse, for the past several years a significant chunk of the IT community has been warning about exactly the sorts of …
Trevor Pott, 25 Jun 2014
Windsurfer mid-flight (3CX logo in sail)

3CX WebMeeting reviewed: Youthful, but full of promise

3CX has released its newest WebMeeting videoconferencing solution. As I still had the virtual machines from my testing of its software PBX rattling around my lab, trying this latest offering seemed like a good plan. After some fits and starts it tested out well, better than I had expect from a 1.0 product. Unified …
Trevor Pott, 25 Jun 2014
Puppet Labs Logo

If you like slipping your hand into Puppets, look for these certified types

Sysadmin blog Puppet Labs is rolling out what it calls the Puppet Supported Program, which pushes gear that's been tested and certified to work with its automation software Puppet. Swift uptake by many big-name vendors in the program comes on the heels of a $40m funding announcement. If you had any remaining doubts that DevOps is a thing, and …
Trevor Pott, 24 Jun 2014
nuclear war launcher usb hub

VMware versus Nutanix: With Dell charging in, it's time to end the war

Sysadmin blog With the Dell-Nutanix tie-up now public knowledge, expect a stream of digital vitriol to follow. There's a lot of bad blood between the VMware faithful and Nutanix, not the least of which is due to Nutanix's completely rational decision to support multiple hypervisors – from Microsoft's Hyper-V to VMware's ESX tech. The …
Trevor Pott, 24 Jun 2014
Design Mobel Pause bed

Enterprise giant Dell climbs in bed with upstart Nutanix: But what does it MEAN?

Sysadmin blog So mega-corp Dell and converged storage software startup Nutanix are now buddies. If you spend any time reading the internet's virtualisation bloggers, you can expect everything from a hearty "attaboy, Nutanix" to the casting of vehement aspersions and prognostications of various flavours of doom. It's an important moment for …
Trevor Pott, 24 Jun 2014
cloud

Should you entrust your systems management to the cloud?

Cloud-based security and systems management (CSSM) applications have been going through my lab for testing lately and I find myself seriously weighing their use in production. Anyone who regularly reads my column knows that I am not exactly the biggest fan of the cloud, but the quality of the CSSM applications I have …
Trevor Pott, 24 Jun 2014
USA, Canada - which one is which?

Vulturization: 'Privacy' is fightin' words to cloud touters – they get angry

Podcast The Register today starts a new podcast series Vulturization, hosted by yours truly. We're honoured to have as our first guests on the show Cloud A, a Canadian OpenStack cloud provider. We explore what it's like to be a cloud provider in Canada, whether the NSA's rather liberal attitude to individual privacy has been a boost to …
Trevor Pott, 23 Jun 2014
Cloud Storage arrays

Expert view: What is the forecast for cloud backup?

Even as the number of backup software and appliance vendors grows, cloud backups continue to be a source of confusion and contention. Like so many things in IT, the answer to "should you use a public cloud backup?” is the ever-annoying "it depends”. For some cloudy backup is an absolute no go. For others, there is clearly a …
Trevor Pott, 20 Jun 2014
School of Rock

Good god, where will the new storage experts come from?

As we enter the middle of the 2010 decade, new IT projects are increasingly being designed for the public cloud instead of local IT systems. Gartner figures that by the end of 2016 we'll be through the looking glass, with more money spent on "cloud" applications and services than traditional delivery mechanisms. Soon thereafter …
Trevor Pott, 19 Jun 2014
Windsurfer mid-flight (3CX logo in sail)

3CX WebMeeting: Not bad for a 1.0 product – just keep my phones out of the cloud

Sysadmin blog 3CX has released its newest thing: WebMeeting. As I still had the virtual machines from my testing of its software PBX rattling around my lab, trying this latest offering seemed like a good plan. After some fits and starts it tested out well, better than I'd expect from a 1.0 product. Unified communications is a space where I …
Trevor Pott, 16 Jun 2014
Cloud security

Let cloud apps manage your systems – if you have nothing to hide

There are a growing number of cloud-based security and systems management (CSSM) applications available to consumers and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), and I am ambivalent about their use. On the one hand, I am not fan of things cloudy, especially where they involves trusting US-based companies*. On the other hand, …
Trevor Pott, 12 Jun 2014

DOCX disaster recovery: How I rescued my wife from XM-HELL

Sysadmin blog What do you do when a critical Word document won’t open? Even in today’s world of versioned documents, it is entirely possible for corruption to squeak in and go unnoticed, wrecking your entire version history. But all is not lost. My wife had this happen to her; here’s how we solved it. Real world example In my case, Word …
Trevor Pott, 09 Jun 2014