Trevor Pott

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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.
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Canadians taking to spying on their spies

Comment As Canadians settle in for the longest general election campaign since 1867, some uncomfortable incidents that had been ignored by commercial media outlets are gaining new exposure. Allegations that Canadian spooks are spying on protesters have become a hot topic online. The result is that Canada's online civil liberties …
Trevor Pott, 22 Aug 2015

Want security? Next-gen startups show how old practices don't cut it

Sysadmin Blog In case you hadn't noticed, IT security sucks. There is a chronic lack of people trained in IT security, people who will listen to IT security, and even a lack of agreement on how best to go about IT security. Fortunately, a new generation of startups are helping to tackle the issues. No matter how good a sysadmin you think …
Trevor Pott, 22 Aug 2015
Christopher Lee as Dracula

Citrix really needs to get its act together, and soon

Sysadmin Blog In the frenetic run-up to VMworld, it's easy to forget anything else exists in the tech world at all except VMware and its orbiting ecosystem. Cutting through the acquisition rumours and flurry of meaningless minor-version bumps by startups, big things are happening and need consideration. With that in mind, let's talk about …
Trevor Pott, 21 Aug 2015
Redfish Logo

Redfish aims to reel in data centre tin shifters hook, line and sinker

The Redfish API has hit version 1.0, signalling a new era of co-operation among vendors regarding the increasingly hot topic of data centre management. Redfish is the result of efforts by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) to bring all physical equipment within a data centre together with one API to manage them. Data …
Trevor Pott, 20 Aug 2015
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Ravello tames public cloud from Inception to Infinity

Ravello is launching two new products today: InfinityDC and Inception SX. Both technologies allow VMware environments to be run on top of Amazon's AWS or Google's Compute cloud. Though the technologies have been undergoing fairly public testing for some time, this marks the official launch of commercially supported products. …
Trevor Pott, 19 Aug 2015

Rise up against Oracle class stupidity and join the infosec strike

Sysadmin blog Information security and privacy are important. Stop being Oracle-class short-termist assholes. Stop waffling, dodging and procrastinating. Get your heads out of your asses and start doing something to improve things for everyone. You. Yes, you there reading this article. I don't care who you are, you have the power to be part …
Trevor Pott, 12 Aug 2015

Sane people, I BEG you: Stop the software defined moronocalypse

Sysadmin blog A raft of potential vulnerabilities was found in whitebox Software Defined Networking (SDN) equipment. This is the beginning of the saga, not the end. The issues with the Internet of Things promise to be far, far worse. SDN solves a lot of problems and is broadly applicable (once it gets cheap enough). This brings with it a …
Trevor Pott, 07 Aug 2015
OpenStack

HP snuggles up to OpenStack in cloud embrace

It's hard to understand OpenStack's role in the data centres of the future without understanding HP's approach. HP's cloud strategy is named "Helion" and it includes public, private and hybrid elements. HP bought and has incorporated Eucalyptus into Helion, but the core of its cloud bets are on OpenStack. Helion is vital for …
Trevor Pott, 07 Aug 2015
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I, for one, welcome the rise of the Infrastructure Endgame Machines

The end of IT as we know it is upon us. Decades of hype, incremental evolution and bitter disappointment are about to come to an end as the provisioning of IT infrastructure is finally commoditised. By the end of the decade, the majority of new IT purchases will be converged infrastructure solutions that I only semi-jokingly …
Trevor Pott, 05 Aug 2015

Vision? Execution? Sadly, omission and confusion rule Gartner's virty quadrant

Comment Gartner has released its Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualisation Infrastructure. It annoys me. Normally, I can write of it as simply being Gartner, and move on ... normally. But storage and virtualisation specifically – and anyone who thinks these two markets are separate doesn't understand them – are on my list, of late …
Trevor Pott, 05 Aug 2015
Windsurfer mid-flight (3CX logo in sail)

SDN: It's living the dream – and just using what you've got

Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) are growing in importance. Genuine interest around them is growing fast, faster even than the hype would indicate. This is having some curious knock-on effects. Networking vendors are cautious about SDN and NFV, as both trends threaten to commoditise …
Trevor Pott, 04 Aug 2015
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Do you speak NFV? Time to go back to school and learn

Administrators have some growing up to do before they're ready to properly implement Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV), as it not only has to be automated and integrated into extant management systems, it needs to be a lot more lightweight than most administrator believe is possible. NFV is the ability to stand up, tear …
Trevor Pott, 04 Aug 2015

Hacking Trump: Can we not label web vandalism as 'terrorism', please?

Sysadmin Blog American politics are something of a national sport in Canada. No matter who runs for either side, Canadians throw popcorn at the screen and try to pretend our choices are any better. We debate the relative merits of the boob tube's highest stakes biennial reality TV soap opera. Things can get heated, sometimes, but we enjoy …
Trevor Pott, 03 Aug 2015
Donald Trump

Hacktivists congratulate Daily Show's Jon Stewart via Donald Trump's website

Canadian hacktivists Telecomix Canada have defaced Donald Trump's website. The message, entitled "Your Moment of Zen, Mr Stewart" is a shoutout to Jon Stewart of the Daily Show for his steady criticism of Donald Trump. The announcement was made by Telecomix Canada on pastebin and says that the reveal of the server penetration …
Trevor Pott, 03 Aug 2015
2028GR_TRT HDD Caddies

Crazy Canucks heat their lab with muahaha-capable server

Review Playing with cool technology is not why either of us chose systems administration as a career. Nor was it something we expected as part of our employment. That said, it is impossible to deny the attraction cool technology has. It is fitting, then, that on systems administrator day we get the chance to publish a review on the …
Misty woods picture via Shutterstock

Missing in action: The OpenStackers lost from Gartner's quadrant

The more I look at Gartner's recent Magic Quadrant for x86 server virtualization infrastructure, the more confused I get. The analyst's take on Huawei's relevance to virtualization is particularly puzzling. Not so much because I disagree with Huawei's inclusion, but because many of the organizations left out are even more …
Trevor Pott, 31 Jul 2015

Sysadmin Day 2015: Fun things to do – and prizes to win from El Reg

Sysadmin Blog Friday, July 31 is 2015's Systems Administrator Appreciation Day, better known as Sysadmin Day. It is a day during which sysadmins feel sad that nobody remembers there is a day dedicated to them, and they go on being as unappreciated as every other day of the year. The exception being vendors and other sysadmins; they remember …
Trevor Pott, 29 Jul 2015
Angry-looking cat. Pic by  Guyon Morée from Beverwijk, Netherlands. licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Now listen, Gartner – virtualisation and containers ARE different

Comment Gartner recently released its Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualisation Infrastructure. In it, the mega analyst lumps together hypervisor-based virtualisation and containers. This is wrong, and as I've discussed before virtualisation and containerisation are different. Even if you consider all the differentiators in the …
Trevor Pott, 29 Jul 2015
IT Crowd's Roy: "Have you turned it off and on again?"

Windows 10: A SYSADMIN speaks his brains – and says MEH

Sysadmin blog It's Windows 10 day. That means it's time for a completely biased and in-no-way-even-remotely-objective assessment of Windows 10. The internet is filled with people trying to act all objective about Microsoft and Windows 10, and explain what it all "means." I'm forgoing all of that this round. This review is not from the …
Trevor Pott, 29 Jul 2015
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Find someone else to untangle your comms

Unified communications (UC) is both complicated and boring. The goal is to help companies, from SMBs to global conglomerates, to increase productivity. At its most basic, UC is the bringing together of as many forms of business communication as possible to create a single, easily accessible user experience. Most organisations …
Trevor Pott, 21 Jul 2015
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Why the USS NetApp is a doomed ship

Comment NetApp last month changed chief executives, and in May laid off just over 500 people. Some believe this is the start of great new things and a turnaround for NetApp. I disagree. To put this as bluntly as I can, NetApp is most likely doomed. Getting rid of the CEO won't save it. NetApp's problem is that the culture of: "The …
Trevor Pott, 09 Jul 2015
Scotty - Star Trek

I cannae dae it, cap'n! Why I had to quit the madness of frontline IT

Sysadmin blog It took a massive hack attack against the United States government resulting in the theft of up to 14 million 21.5 million records to make me realise why I want to quit working in IT. Over the past year I've significantly drawn down my involvement in day-to-day IT operations, and I'm much happier for it. The US Office of …
Trevor Pott, 09 Jul 2015
OpenStack

Everything you know about OpenStack is wrong

When someone talks about "the future of IT infrastructure delivery" the scope of topic is so broad that there's a really good chance they're working with an Etch-a-Sketch that lacks some of the knobs. IT isn't homogeneous. What works for enterprises doesn't work for the SMB. What works for the SMB doesn't work for service …
Trevor Pott, 09 Jul 2015

Blurred lines: How cloud computing is reshaping the IT workforce

Sysadmin blog From every angle, developers are the key to the public cloud. Unfortunately, today's developers often aren't up to the challenge and frequently end up being as much of a roadblock as operations administrators. New breeds of technologists are required, bringing new ways of thinking to using the emerging infrastructure superpowers …
Trevor Pott, 07 Jul 2015
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Migrating from WS2003 to *nix in a month? It ain't happening, folks

Sysadmin blog Some people take exception to my recommendation that those running Win32 applications try to move to a newer version of Windows. They believe that if I were a "credible" IT professional I would counsel a move to *nix technologies such as Linux, Unix or BSD. The context for this debate is that Windows Server 2003's end is upon …
Trevor Pott, 06 Jul 2015
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The blessing and the curse of Big Data

Sysadmin blog Companies more familiar with technology are more likely to use the reporting and analytics features of their software. This isn't something new, and it didn't start with computers. Computers make reporting and analytics easier, but every business needs hard data if they are to grow. Back in the day, "reporting and analytics" …
Trevor Pott, 01 Jul 2015
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The Great Windows Server 2003 migration: Where do we go from here?

We all have to move away from Server 2003 before it turns into a pumpkin in July, but there are so many options out there that choosing the destination for our data and workloads can be a little overwhelming. What your workloads are will play a big part in determining which operating system you can upgrade to. The details of …
Trevor Pott, 30 Jun 2015
Satya Nadella and Stephen Elop

Ditching political Elop makes for a more Nadella Microsoft

Comment With bad things possibly in the post for Microsoft’s Windows phone business, its commander Stephen Elop has been shown the door by Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella. As a hardened Elop detractor I literally cheered at the news. The reason I cheer Elop's departure is actually a little complicated, and not entirely for the reasons …
Trevor Pott, 29 Jun 2015
NBC suit worker image via Shutterstock

Copy Data Management: What it is and why you might need it

Most infrastructure verticals within the datacenter are undergoing rapid evolution today, but you could be entirely forgiven if you thought data protection stopped evolving some time ago. That's a shame because Copy Data Management (CDM) is the next evolution of this space, and it's worth taking some time to learn about this …
Trevor Pott, 24 Jun 2015
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SPICEWORKS FAIL: Are we ready for ‘social’ network administration?

Analysis Yesterday, a security screw up with the Spiceworks application was noticed, and reported a little earlier by our good selves. Anyone with a Facebook or LinkedIn account could log in to Spiceworks installs running the latest version and it would create an administrative account for them. This is not OK, not at all. Many …
Trevor Pott, 23 Jun 2015
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Spiceworks in WTF-class social log-in SECURITY BLUNDER

A serious security flaw has been discovered in the Spiceworks network administration application. The issue, uncovered by Spicehead Darren K Smith, allows anyone with a Facebook or LinkedIn account to log in as an administrator. Spiceworks has responded by temporarily disabling social sign-in until the flaw can be addressed. …
Trevor Pott, 23 Jun 2015
Sir Maurice Wilkes photo Computer Laboratory University of Cambridge

So what are you doing about your legacy MS 16-bit applications?

This is the last gasp migration for Microsoft ecosystem 16-bit applications. Windows Server 2008 x86 is the last Microsoft server operating system to support them. You can upgrade from Server 2003 to Server 2008 and buy yourself a few more years, but extended support for Server 2008 runs out in 2020. The migration won't be …
Trevor Pott, 22 Jun 2015

Pwned so many times - but saved by the incident response plan

Sysadmin blog Companies that are more proficient with technology are more likely to believe that their security is "very effective". Is this a form of contempt born of familiarity, or a true understanding of the risks? The bigger the company, the harder they fall, and no organisation – not even the US state department – has proven …
Trevor Pott, 17 Jun 2015
US Navy man crawling under barbed wire in tough mudder competition

Why are there so many Windows Server 2003 stragglers?

Windows Server 2003 is almost out of support, and many of us simply don't have the option to upgrade to a newer operating system. In some cases this problem is self-imposed. In others it is the result of events beyond our control. Either way, there are millions of businesses – mostly small businesses – who simply don't have the …
Trevor Pott, 16 Jun 2015
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Scientists love MacBooks (true) – but what about you?

Sysadmin Blog I've done a few Apple in the enterprise articles recently, and it has set me thinking. Despite Apple's obvious success in a number of areas, a fair amount of nerdly vitriol is spewed at Macs. I have had a few unkind words to say about them*, but the arguments can get quite heated. Some of the particular debate points used by …
Trevor Pott, 10 Jun 2015
Protestor barricade image via Shutterstock

Software-defined freedom: A liberating experience for YOU

Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) are the future – and if you aren't already learning about them you're probably already doomed. If that strikes you as a little pessimistic then there is a bright side: most of us are already doing some of it and we all understand more about it than we …
Trevor Pott, 08 Jun 2015
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SDN's dream: Use what you've got, not what you're promised

Is hardware turning soft? Yes, if you listen to IT vendors. Companies such as Oracle are investing in Software Defined Networking (SDN) — turning features that were once hardware into apps or part of the networking layer or running as apps on servers. I've recently written about the problems and promises of SDN and find the …
Trevor Pott, 08 Jun 2015

Why voice and apps sometimes don't beat an old-fashioned knob

Internet of Lawnmowers I recently gave the Internet of Things (IoT) a good look. I talked about geofencing and the communications technologies of the IoT, but now I think it's time to talk about nightmares. Specifically, I want to talk about my wife's "you need Lastpass for your smart house" IoT nightmare. It's the reason I'm not allowed to buy a …
Trevor Pott, 28 May 2015
Battlestar Galactica's Commander Adama

Make Adama proud: Connect your Things wisely, cadet

Internet of Lawnmowers Last time I explored the concept of geofencing, and how low-power technologies are used both to create "virtual walls" and to create beacons. This time, I’m going to take a look at the individual technologies that Internet of Things (IoT) devices will use to communicate for the next several years. Infrared Infrared beacons are …
Trevor Pott, 27 May 2015
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Geofencing: The ultra-low power frontier for the Internet of Things

Internet of Lawnmowers How are the next 10 billion devices going to connect to the internet of today, tomorrow? Having all of these gizmos talk to one another over your standard 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi is not going to happen, so how will all those gizmos connect to the wider internet, and how will we keep them all safe, happy and updated? The internet of things …
Trevor Pott, 26 May 2015
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It's the end of life as we know it for Windows Server 2003

Windows Server 2003 will pass out of Microsoft support on July 14, 2015. Different organisations report different numbers, but all agree that there are millions of Server 2003 servers still running in the wild. Microsoft says there are 11 million Server 2003 servers still running. Gartner says eight million. Several internet …
Trevor Pott, 18 May 2015

Adjustments will be needed to manage the Macs piling up in your business

As discussed in the first part of this series, Macs are everywhere. Despite their presence in businesses large and small, managing Macs in the enterprise still is not easy. A few years ago I gave Apple in the enterprise a look, and sadly, things haven't changed too much since then. Managing Macs in an organisation is really not …
Trevor Pott, 15 May 2015
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Scale Computing: Not for enterprise, but that's all part of the plan

Review: Scale Computing makes hyper-converged appliances targeted at small and medium-sized businesses (SMB). When you think of headline names for hyper-convergence – EVO:Rail, Nutanix, SimpliVity – you don't tend to think of "SMB". VMware-based name-brand hyper-convergence tends to be in the $150,000+ range, while Scale starts …
Trevor Pott, 12 May 2015
Windows Server

Don't panic as Server 2003 rushes towards end of life

It is time to upgrade. In about a month Server 2003 will receive its farewell set of patches and reach the end of its officially supported life. You have been putting off the upgrades. I have been putting off the upgrades. With the weekends left to do this quickly evaporating, what's the checklist? Making a single checklist for …
Trevor Pott, 08 May 2015

Flash banishes the spectre of the unrecoverable data error

Those who follow storage developments know that there are concerns about the viability of RAID systems. Rebuild times are so long that the chances of an unrecoverable read error (URE) occurring are dangerously high. What is true for traditional disk, however, is not necessarily true for flash. Now that traditional magnetic …
Trevor Pott, 07 May 2015
High-altitude snap from Dave Akerman's Cloud 7 payload

Microsoft Azure – or how to make the public cloud work for you

Review Public cloud computing offers the tantalising promise of elastic computing, but few IT practitioners know what it means, let alone how to make it work for them. My job is to know this stuff, the new and cutting edge of IT. I need to know it to educate my clients, but also because I get paid to write about it. I have worked with …
Trevor Pott, 07 May 2015

Facebook's Open Compute could make DIY data centres feasible

DIY vs COTS: Part 2 Last time I looked at the PC versus console battle as a metaphor for DIY versus Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) data centres, and touched on the horrors of trying to run a DIY data centre. Since 2011, however, we've had the Open Compute Project, initiated by Facebook. The ideal is some kind of industry-standard data centre, with …
Trevor Pott, 07 May 2015

Hyper-convergence? I believe – just not like this

There's a horrible, horrible thing I get asked at least three times a week: "What is hyper-convergence?" This is like an icepick into my soul, because I consult with almost all of the current hyper-convergence vendors in one form or another and the truth is, “hyper-convergence” is a meaningless marketing term as wishy-washy and …
Trevor Pott, 04 May 2015
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One bit to rule them all? Forget it – old storage types never die

Block storage, file storage and object storage are all frequently bandied about terms in the storage world. They are fundamentally different, and yet inextricably intertwined. Choosing the right storage today means understanding the differences between these different storage classes, and how they can be made redundant and/or …
Trevor Pott, 01 May 2015
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Take time to get to know the flash you think you love

We have looked at what workloads drive enterprise flash adoption and why picking the right storage medium for the job matters. Unfortunately, the market doesn't always meet everyone's needs, so an understanding of what is available is important. Flash comes in a variety of solutions, from the roll-your-own to the pre-packaged. …
Trevor Pott, 30 Apr 2015