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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I was a robot and this is what I learned

Sysadmin blog For one brief instant, Microsoft was the good guy. Deep within the often customer-hostile behemoth, left after the arrogance and straight on past the victim blaming is the office of Brian First, with the Microsoft Experience Design Group. Alongside a company called Event Presence, Brian made me feel like a real person, actual …
Trevor Pott, 07 Dec 2016

Stay out of my server room!

Sysadmin blog We always design our data centres and server rooms with the best of intentions. A nice, enclosed space with excellent ventilation and air conditioning, sufficient power points to ensure circuits are never overloaded, and enough space to get at both the front and back sides of the rack – ideally all cordoned off into its own room …
Trevor Pott, 23 Nov 2016

Forget razors and blades, APIs are the new gotcha

Sysadmin Blog I've always hated the "razor and blades" business model. It pops up everywhere in our society, and is becoming ever more popular in IT. There is enough crossover with subscription models that it's hard to tell where one business model stops and the other begins. Regardless of the nuances, "razor and blades" is nothing but a tax …
Trevor Pott, 16 Nov 2016
Angry man yelling on phone while reading vintage printer paper report. Photo by SHutterstock

We're going to have to start making changes or the adults will do it for us

Sysadmin Blog Gentlemen of IT, I think it's time we talked. I hate people who use spaces to indent their code instead of tabs. I don't mildly dislike them. I am not uncomfortable or annoyed by them. I hate them. A goodly number of you have some technical pet peeve that is similar, and that's a huge part of what's wrong with IT. This is not …
Trevor Pott, 07 Nov 2016
Switch

If any idiot can do it, we're heading in the right direction

Sysadmin Blog The enemy of success is complexity. Although I am in general a fan of the concept of intricately intertwined Rube Goldbergian nonsense, my life thus far could be summed up as learning the value of simplicity face first. IT is all about complexity, and unpicking which combination of barely functional crap is least likely to go …
Trevor Pott, 02 Nov 2016
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In its current state, Ubiquiti's EdgeSwitch won't have much of an edge on anyone

REVIEW Members of the IT community rave about networking kit vendor Ubiquiti. You'll find praises sung both on Spiceworks and amongst vExperts for their UniFi devices. Unfortunately, my recent purchase of Ubiquiti's latest offering, their EdgeMax EdgeSwitches, has proven that Ubiquiti are also capable of putting out gear that is …
Trevor Pott, 27 Oct 2016
Cloudy shopping trolley in the sky (representing cloud sales/procurement). Photo by Shutterstock

The cloud is not new. What we are doing with it is

Sysadmin blog In the 10 years since the modern form of public cloud computing went mainstream, it has changed the entire industry's approach to IT. In response, IT's top vendors have had to change as well. Like any technology, however, the public cloud has adapted, evolved, and become something much different than was ever originally …
Trevor Pott, 25 Oct 2016
Binary data/big data conceptual illustration. Illustration via Shutterstock

Open-source storage that doesn't suck? Our man tries to break TrueNAS

Review Data storage is difficult, and ZFS-based storage doubly so. There's a lot of money to be made if you can do storage right, so it's uncommon to see a storage company with an open-source model deliver storage that doesn't suck. I looked at TrueNAS from iXsystems, which, importantly, targets the SMB and midmarket with something …
Trevor Pott, 18 Oct 2016

DIY storage startup: Tech, check. Techies, check... Er, credibility?

Part Four You need customers, but credibility too. One begets the other. But which comes first? We are now in the final, challenging chapter of early start up mode: of getting paying customers and leveraging them to your advantage in the world to gain more. As Tech 3.0 launches the dance for the B round starts. Everything here depends …
Trevor Pott, 17 Oct 2016

Rage-making, anxiety-inducing tech distributors: An ode

Sysadmin Blog As vendors don't seem all that interested in selling equipment directly, value-added resellers (VARs), managed service providers (MSPs) and the like must buy our gear from distributors before selling it on to our clients. Oh, not all disties are totally awful. There's always one we can point to and say "I love those guys". …
Trevor Pott, 12 Oct 2016
Micron 9100 NVMe HHHL SSD

Little top tech tip: Take care choosing your storage drives

Sysadmin Blog RAID is dead. Or maybe it's not. I think it might be off having a conversation with a cat in a box. Regardless of whether or not you use hardware RAID cards or HBAs and some kind of software, the idea of big boxes full of drives that store lots of things isn't going away any time soon. The drives you put in them, however, are …
Trevor Pott, 10 Oct 2016
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Make yourself presentable, upstart: We're going out

Part Three You’ve got the talent, you’ve the idea for something that resembles a product. But, as Steve Jobs said "real artists ship", and art isn’t something that comes just like that. In this case we’re talking architecture, we’re talking tools, we’re talking interface and UI – not necessarily things you were thinking about were they? …
Trevor Pott, 10 Oct 2016

Breaking compression, one year at a time

Sysadmin Blog Computers physically last a lot longer than vendors would like. The idea of the three-year refresh cycle is considered sacred amongst a certain crowd, but when pressed most will admit that refreshes of that nature are exceptionally rare. While we can keep equipment running for a decade or beyond, there are hidden issues in doing …
Trevor Pott, 07 Oct 2016
A rusty petrol pump at an abandoned gas station. Pic by Silvia B. Jakiello via shutterstock

It's time for Microsoft to revisit dated defaults

Sysadmin blog What works for 100 users frequently doesn't work for 10,000. The same is true in reverse, however, there are far fewer vendors worrying about tailoring software designed for the enterprise to the needs of the SMB. True mass market software needs to walk the tightrope between both worlds, and very little of it succeeds. Let's …
Trevor Pott, 05 Oct 2016
SAN DIEGO COMIC CON: July 20, 2016. A lifelike replica of Bryan Cranston's Breaking Bad character Walter White on display at the annual pop culture and comic book convention in San Diego, California. photo by Lauren Elizabeth/Shutteretsock - EDITORIAL USE ONLY AND MUST ATTRIBUTE AND LINK

Building your own storage startup: Whatever you do, don't let lead dev be CEO

Part Two You like the idea of “doing” a startup, but what about actually starting a startup? You can see the end point - success, hopefully - but what of the hoops and hurdles? In part one, I looked at funding, executives and staff. But now you’ve got the money and the people, what happens next? What about team composition and product …
Trevor Pott, 03 Oct 2016
Cloud server room. Photo by Shutterstock

Big data and the cloud: It's not even that scary

Sysadmin blog Once all the marketing is cleared away, just what is big data, and how does it help real businesses of all sizes? Marketing would have us believe that big data is new, huge, terrifying, complicated, impossible without their help and yet will deliver unmatched benefits. Like many things in tech, however, big data is really just …
Trevor Pott, 30 Sep 2016

Ever seen a storage startup and thought: 'Pshaw. I could do that?'

Part One You read The Register about people getting ahead with the most ridiculous startup ideas and ask: "Why that can't be you?" How is the game played? Well, let's design a storage startup from scratch and find out. I'm picking storage as the market for my hypothetical startup in part because I have worked closely with a number of …
Trevor Pott, 29 Sep 2016

The perimeterless, ever-shifting enterprise: What would a real, red-blooded IT team do?

If you work in a manufacturing, plant measuring productivity is simple: you measure the number of widgets produced in a given time frame. A person in this environment must not be the one holding up the production line. Nothing more, nothing less. But what does productivity mean for less tangible "knowledge work" occupations such …
Trevor Pott, 19 Sep 2016

Non-big IT vendors: Trying to understand where startups fit in tech

Sysadmin blog Are startups to be avoided? You'll get different answers depending on who you talk to, but the arguments have relevance for the virtualization and storage markets as, today, most of the innovation is occurring with startups. I've been a champion of working with startups for some time now. I don't advocate engaging with …
Trevor Pott, 19 Sep 2016
keyboard with 'Help' key

Dear sysadmin: This is how you stay relevant

Sysadmin blog Who are the sysadmins of tomorrow? Are they today's sysadmins, evolved? Or are they something new – a different breed of administrator that looks at the world differently, lacking the biases of those who built their careers hugging servers? Anything that touches even tangentially on hot-button fear topics like job security is …
Trevor Pott, 15 Sep 2016

My Dell merger wish list

Sysadmin Blog It's merger day, it's merger day! Everyone please crank out a pile of speculation, research, facts, and innuendo about Dell, EMC, VMware and the ever important "what it all means". We will watch and participate as the entire internet completely overloads everyone's signal-to-noise filters by bombarding them with unprecedented …
Trevor Pott, 07 Sep 2016
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VMworld 2016: What happens in Vegas ... could be just a desert trip

Sysadmin Blog VMworld 2016 is just around the corner. While some are giving VMworld a pass in 2016, things are looking up from earlier this year. If you don't mind Vegas in the summer, it might be worth your while. VMworld's return to Vegas marks something of a turning point for VMware. Over the past several years VMware has seemed to be in …
Trevor Pott, 03 Aug 2016
Angry man yelling on phone while reading vintage printer paper report. Photo by SHutterstock

VMware: We're gonna patent hot-swapping your VMs' host OS

Comment VMware looks set to renew its relevancy with a new patent application. The patent application lists inventors Mukund Gunti, Vishnu Sekhar and Bernhard Poess and assigns the patent to VMware. The short version of the patent is that, if granted, VMware will have effectively patented the ability to hot swap a host server's …
Trevor Pott, 02 Aug 2016
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My Microsoft Office 365 woes: Constant crashes, malware macros – and settings from Hell

Sysadmin blog Microsoft Office remains one of the most important software products available, despite some rather nasty flaws. For me, Microsoft Office and video games anchor me to Windows. While video games seem set to remain largely Windows-only for the foreseeable future, Office is losing its grip. For a long time, I used Office because …
Trevor Pott, 29 Jul 2016

Happy Sysadmin Day!

To all you systems administrators out there, wherever and whomever you are: Happy Systems Administrators Day! That's right, ladies, gentlemen and emacs users, the yearly holiday of sysadmin day is upon us! This year marks the 17th annual sysadmin day and with any luck 17-fold increase in appreciation to some of the most …
Trevor Pott, 29 Jul 2016