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.

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
wolves_shutterstock_compressed

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
Flash Gordon

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
Spy hides in dustbin, lifts lid to take photograph

Paranoid about the NSA? The case for dumping cloud's Big 3

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) may be the most important public cloud providers of the next decade. Hosting your data with an ISP has a number of advantages over choosing the dominant American cloud providers: advantages that run the gamut from technical to political. ISPs have been in the co-location business practically …
Trevor Pott, 29 Apr 2015
Apple Mac Mini late 2014

Close encounter: Apple Macs invade the business world

Companies big and small are running Macs. They are showing up everywhere, from IBM to Google to the SMB. It has been a few years since I seriously looked at OSX in the enterprise and it is time to revisit the topic to see how things have changed. When discussing Apple in the enterprise a clear line has to be drawn between …
Trevor Pott, 28 Apr 2015
Rows of washing machines in shop aisle

If hypervisor is commodity, why is VMware still on top?

The hypervisor is a commodity. VMware's ESXi, Microsoft's Hyper-V and the open-source community's Xen and KVM are all right and proper tools for virtualising workloads. Does that mean we should all stampede away from expensive proprietary hypervisors and dine on the open-source freebies? This being IT, the answer is "it depends …
Trevor Pott, 23 Apr 2015
Dragon

Beowulf Gods — rip into cloud's coding entrails

Distributed computing is no longer something that only occurs in universities or the basements of the really frightening nerds with Beowulf clusters made of yesteryear's recycled horrors. Distributed computing is sneaking back into our data centres on a number of fronts and it looks like it's probably here to stay. The thing is …
Trevor Pott, 23 Apr 2015
Racks inside Rackspace's Sydney Data Centre

Hyperconverged solutions can't live without flash

In the world of hyperconverged virtualisation, flash is important. It forms a big part of the hyperconvergence value proposition as vendors create distributed hybrid storage arrays from local resources. But hyperconvergence is moving away from every node in the cluster having an identical storage/compute ratio, and this means …
Trevor Pott, 22 Apr 2015
B&W film still of man with electric drill.

Thinking of following Facebook and going DIY? Think again

DIY vs COTS: Part 1 Microsoft is doing it, Apple is doing it – so is IBM. The giants are spending billions of dollars building fantastic data centres. But what about the rest of us? Do you walk in the footsteps of the giants and Do It Yourself (DIY) or buy something Commercial, Off The Shelf (COTS): it's an ages-old debate. The former demands …
Trevor Pott, 21 Apr 2015
Facebookserveraisle

Why are enterprises being irresistibly drawn towards SSDs?

SSDs have been the subject of hype, hype and more hype. Any of us who have used them in our personal computers know the benefits SSDs bring, but personal experiences and hype alone don't explain the robustness of enterprise flash adoption. Flash has a lot of naysayers. Any article on The Register about flash inevitably invites …
Trevor Pott, 14 Apr 2015
Need for Speed: The Run

Need speed? Then PCIe it is – server power without the politics

How many PCI Express (PCIe) lanes does your computer have? How many of those are directly provided by the CPU? With only a few exceptions, nobody except high-end gamers and the High Performance Computing (HPC) crowd care. Regular punters (maybe) care about how many PCIe slots they have. So why is it that gamers and HPC types get …
Trevor Pott, 14 Apr 2015

The VMware, Nutanix mud wrestle is hilarious, but which one is crying with fear on the inside?

Sysadmin blog So Nutanix is in yet another spat with VMware. The big ones are getting to be a yearly affair. That's great for them: these little soap operas seem amusing, but underneath it all, there are some very serious issues being hashed out. VMware wants control of our data centers. The whole stack, top to bottom. It wants to be the only …
Trevor Pott, 08 Apr 2015

Can you recover your data if disaster strikes? Sure?

Disaster recovery is complicated and usually expensive. It comes in many forms, and many companies mandate a minimum of off-site backups for various reasons, from regulatory compliance to risk aversion. Disaster recovery planning is considered to be part of standard IT best practices today, but which solutions are appropriate …
Trevor Pott, 07 Apr 2015
Asigra RLM small

It's all got complicated: The costs of data recovery

Data protection companies have multiplied in the past 10 years and they are locked in a bitter battle for market share. Before Amazon arrived on the scene, the main options were owning all links in the data protection chain or renting or leasing appliances, with or without attached offsite services. Thanks to Amazon-style …
Trevor Pott, 06 Apr 2015
Ice maiden. Pic: Futurilla, Flickr

In-depth: Supermicro's youngest Twin is a real silent ice maiden

Sysadmin blog Supermicro has released the first of its new line of Twin series unblade* servers and El Reg has taken the opportunity to given them a right good kicking. The 2028TP-DC0FR and 2028TP-DC1R models have crossed our lab and here's what's what with the 2015 Twins. As would be expected when designing a line of mostly similar systems …
Trevor Pott, 27 Mar 2015
Borked computer keyboard

Review: McAfee Endpoint Protection for SMB

Anti-virus – sorry, endpoint security - programs suck. I loathe them and they have been the bane of my professional existence for the better part of 20 years. Despite the crushing, crushing sadness that they cause, the call came down to review Intel Security’s latest endpoint security product, McAfee Endpoint Protection Advanced …
Trevor Pott, 23 Mar 2015
storage arrays superimposed on cloudy sky

Backing up cloud applications is never easy but Asigra gets it done

Review As the recent Code Spaces debacle has taught us, just because you use cloud computing doesn't mean you can't properly engineer your IT design. A huge part of that is having proper backups that are set up on separate providers with different administrative credentials. Asigra is a data protection company that claims it can …
Trevor Pott, 23 Mar 2015
storage arrays superimposed on cloudy sky

There's more than one way to back up your data

In the world of data protection you don't get fired for losing money, you get fired for losing data. Companies tend to make many copies of data, some of which hang around, zombie-like, for years. Data protection is without question critically important and we need to understand how it has evolved if we are to decide which …
Trevor Pott, 25 Feb 2015

How good a techie are you? Objective about yourself and your skills?

Sysadmin blog How objective are you? Can you design IT solutions outside your own experience? Are you capable of testing unfamiliar and uncomfortable software, services and solutions with an open mind or do you immediately lash out against the mere idea of change? How far outside of your direct experience can you really step and at what point …
Trevor Pott, 24 Feb 2015
Facepalm by Ron Mander

Superfish: Lenovo? More like Lolnono – until they get real on privacy

Sysadmin blog Everyone and their dog has an opinion on the Superfish debacle which has struck once mighty Lolnovo Lenovo a potentially critical public relations blow. The Register's own Ian Thomson had little nice to say on the subject, and both social media and anecdotal experience indicate to me that his feelings are reasonably widespread. …
Trevor Pott, 21 Feb 2015
VMware vSphere 5.1 Summary View

vSphere 6.0 is BADASS. Not that I've played with it or anything. Ahem

Sysadmin blog VMware has officially launched vSphere 6.0, and I can say without reservation that it is a truly excellent release. I have spent much of the past year expressing skepticism about VMware; face-first exposure to the darker, more political aspects of the organisation had caused me to lose faith in the company. So good is vSphere 6 …
Trevor Pott, 04 Feb 2015
Exploding Kitten Goal Cartoon

What gets the internet REALLY excited? Kittens? No. EXPLODING Kittens

Sysadmin Blog Let the internet run amok for long enough and you'll eventually find someone making millions with exploding kittens. Curious? Well look no further, because the internet has delivered! As of the time of publication, Exploding Kittens: The Card Game has achieved $3,207,001 of its $10,000 goal with 27 days left to go. Exploding …
Trevor Pott, 26 Jan 2015
arrow pointing up

SimpliVity claims fivefold sales boost, hugs Cisco tightly

Sysadmin blog Things are looking up for hyperconverged vendor SimpliVity, which reported record growth in 2014 on the back of a number of strategic wins and a key partnership with Cisco. Simplivity is claiming a nearly 500 per cent increase in sales compared to 2013 and has now passed 400 employees worldwide, all of which makes me wonder what …
Trevor Pott, 20 Jan 2015
The Oatmeal Grizzly Burn

HOLD IT! Last minute gifts for one's nerd minions

Sysadmin blog It's that time of year again. You have to go forth and buy things for your gaggle of nerdly minions, but you've no idea what they want. In the rare instances they emerge from their caves they mostly spend the time alternating between heartfelt invocations about "the burning painball in the sky" and a lack of caffeine. Social …
Trevor Pott, 23 Dec 2014

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