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.
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
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
Man getting a facial. Not that kind of facial, you pervs. Photo by Shutterstock

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
Elvis in Las Vegas. EDItorial use only - photo by Maridav via Shutterstock

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
Hammer and hardhat, image via Shutterstock

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
An angry mob

It's time for a discussion about malvertising

Sysadmin Blog I don't know that I can afford to read the news anymore. As a columnist for several tech magazines I find this somewhat ironic, but my occupation makes the truth of it no less real. Technology can solve this problem for me, but politics probably won't allow it. News can be consumed in a few different ways. The first through …
Trevor Pott, 29 Jul 2016

Keep up the pressure on the telcos, Canada

Sysadmin Blog Bell Canada has lost their second appeal of the July 2015 decision by the CRTC requiring the opening of fibre networks by Canada's major telcos for wholesale consumption by third party ISPs. The result solidifies Canada's presence amongst the nations embracing Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) and heralds a round of massive changes in …
Trevor Pott, 12 Jul 2016

When is a refurbished server not refurbished? Ask this Dell reseller

Sysadmin blog What's the difference between a refurbished server and a new one? The term refurbished has a negative connotation, conjuring images of open box returns and non-existent warranties, but in at least one case – Dell's ecosystem – that narrative doesn't quite fit. xByte Technologies is a company of about 50 people based out of …
Trevor Pott, 08 Jul 2016
Dell Poweredge R730 motherboard

Our man pops the hood on Intel's v4 engine: Broadwell Xeons

Sysadmin Blog Recently, I reviewed Supermicro's Microblade system. One of the goals of this review was to compare the new Intel v4 (Broadwell) Xeons to their predecessor v3 (Haswell) Xeons. This was not as easy as it should have been. My front line tool for benchmarking CPUs is Prime 95. Supermicro provided me with 2x Intel Xeon E5 2695 v4 …
Trevor Pott, 07 Jul 2016
Supermicro MicroBlade Chassis

Supermicro's macro Microblade: That chassis is... huge

Review Supermicro has a neat new product it calls "Microblades". Supermicro has made blade servers for some time, and Microblades are blade servers, but smaller. Supermicro sent a chassis and a pair of blades over for review. Each vendor has its own approach to server management, be that blade management or baseband management …
Trevor Pott, 05 Jul 2016
A freight train travels through the Bow Valley - Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.  Photo by Brian Lasenby via Shutterstock

The problem with Canada? The price of broadband is too damn high

Opinion Openmedia, a digital rights advocacy group, has quickly become one of Canada's leading civil liberties organizations. Established in 2008 by Steve Anderson, Openmedia has run a series of successful campaigns which have made it the bane of Canada's telecoms oligopoly. Past campaigns have focused on everything from net …
Trevor Pott, 29 Jun 2016
Micron 9100 NVMe HHHL SSD

NVMe SSDs tormented for months in some kind of sick review game

Review NVM Express (NVMe) is the next generation specification for accessing non-volatile memory such as flash. Traditional technologies such as SAS and SATA are just too slow. In order to demonstrate how much of a difference NVMe makes, Micron has provided 12 9100 NVMe flash drives, 800GB each in the HHHL (standard PCIe card) format …
Trevor Pott, 27 Jun 2016
Woman cuddles 'sly-looking' Fennec fox. Photo by Shutterstock

Put storage inside the individual hosts of a virtual cluster? You're CRAZY... Like a fox

Sysadmin blog Hyperconvergence, putting storage inside the individual hosts of a virtual cluster, was supposed to save us from the cost and expense of centralized storage. Thus far, mainstream providers of hyperconvergence have largely failed to deliver on this promise. 2016 looks set to be the year this finally changes. Nutanix has been …
Trevor Pott, 23 Jun 2016