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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.
Nutanix cloud appliance exploded view

Would you put a Virtual SAN in a brownfield? Or a minefield?

In my previous article I looked at the various virtual SANs on the market. In this article, I'm going to take a look at the issues they face trying to get customers to migrate from existing storage solutions. Brownfield conversion strategies are an issue for all players. If your goal is to get rid of SANs by distributing storage …
Trevor Pott, 18 Feb 2014
Sony CV-2000 reel-to-reel consumer video recorder

I want SDN and I want it now!

A recent demonstration of Juniper's Software Defined Networking (SDN) showed a level of automation that makes me loathe the mundanity of my day job all the more. Software defined networking is a collection of technologies that could free me to do far more business-critical things with my time, like research, automating more …
Trevor Pott, 14 Feb 2014
Synology RS3614xs+

SME storage challengers emerge one feature at a time

The storage market is in the middle of an evolution. To what, nobody knows, but a whole lot of people expect to get very rich between now and when we've got it all figured out. The only market that matters to most companies is the enterprise, because that's where the big margins are. One sales junket, lots of terabytes sold. …
Trevor Pott, 12 Feb 2014
Spicerex says roar

Spiceworks scoops $57m in 'last funding round before IPO'

Spiceworks, the Texas-based web-2.0 platform for sysadmins, has announced that it has closed a $57 million round of funding - which it expects to be its last before an IPO. The funding is led by Goldman Sachs and brings the total amount raised by the company to $111 million. In exchange for the cash splash, Goldman Sachs gets …
Trevor Pott, 04 Feb 2014
Super Micro's 8-node FatTwin server

Let... the SAN shine: 2013 – the year of virtual storage area networks

Converged infrastructure – the trend of using one piece of kit for some pretty varied tasks, including networking, computing and storage, software and automation – really took off in 2013, mostly thanks to a group of robust virtual SAN players entering the market. Barring an unexpected new entrant, 2014's big names in the vSAN …
Trevor Pott, 24 Dec 2013
Azure icon

What you need to know about moving to the Azure public cloud

In case you hadn't heard, Microsoft is trifling with this "cloud" thing. It even has a new strategy, Cloud OS, discussed in the first part of this three-part series. Cloud service providers, the focus of part two, are important to Microsoft's plans as well. But Microsoft's plans do not end there: the company has gone and built …
Trevor Pott, 11 Dec 2013
Synology RS3614xs+

Is it a NAS? Is it a SAN? No. It's Synology's Rackstation 'NASSAN'

Today Synology launches the RackStation RS3614xs+, the latest addition to their XS+ line of devices aimed at SMEs. What sticks out to me is the shift in marketing tone, pitching the RS3614xs+ as "a midpoint between NAS and SAN". Synology pitches the XS+ line as "a storage solution that can grow with a business." The RS3614xs+ is …
Trevor Pott, 10 Dec 2013

Concerning Microsoft's Azure pitch to cloud service providers

Microsoft is advancing non-Microsoft service providers as a core part of its Cloud OS strategy. In part one of this series I looked at what Cloud OS was and why you might care about using it on your own premises. This article will examine how those service providers fit into the equation. To be clear, "service providers" in the …
Trevor Pott, 06 Dec 2013
High-altitude snap from Dave Akerman's Cloud 7 payload

What lies beneath Microsoft's Cloud OS?

Microsoft has a new branding exercise for you called Cloud OS, and for the first time in a while I am on board with the idea. The concepts behind Cloud OS are relatively easy to grasp, but as ever the devil is in the details. This is the first in a three-part series exploring Microsoft's vision and how it stitches together in …
Trevor Pott, 02 Dec 2013
REID index

Keeping warm in winter the el Reg way: Setting a NAS box ON FIRE

Hardware reviews are typically boring, tedious affairs with a fairly predictable outcome: someone sends you a minor iteration of a product and you verify that it behaves as expected. Every now and again, however, someone makes a claim so outrageous that you simply must test whether or not it's true. Such is the case with the …
VMworld 2013

I dived deep into the VMware community. Here's what I found...

The VMware community is more complex than any other IT community I've studied. El Reg sysadmin blogger Phoummala Schmitt has given a fantastic look at the stark contrast between the VMware and Microsoft communities. I am going to delve into the details of the VMware community a little more thoroughly. The tweets must flow If …
Trevor Pott, 28 Nov 2013

WTF is the Internet of Things and how insurers will use it against you

What is "the internet of things" and why should we care? Put simply, the internet of things is a catch-all term for ultra-low-power embedded devices that mostly consist of sensors and control systems. This market segment is expanding rapidly; devices falling into this category will soon outnumber all other types of computers on …
Trevor Pott, 27 Nov 2013
Throwboys' iCEO

Why Microsoft absolutely DOESN'T need its own Steve Jobs

Microsoft is a company in transition. Speculation is rampant and everyone in the IT industry seems to have a strong opinion on what Microsoft should – and shouldn't – do. Analysts are increasingly lumping PCs in with mobile devices, a trend that's decidedly bad for Microsoft. Others remain sceptical of the practice and seem to …
Trevor Pott, 26 Nov 2013
AIC JBOD top image

Dude, relax – it's Just a Bunch Of Disks: Our man walks you through how JBODs work

I'm one of those terrible people who "learn best by doing" and have always had a difficult time wrapping my head around exactly how high availability using "JBOD" external disk chassis systems was supposed to work. But my initial ignorance can work for both of us as we learn together. As luck would have it, AIC was interested in …
Trevor Pott, 25 Nov 2013
Robots breaking down walls and fixing leaky pipes

Who will recover your data if disaster strikes?

Who here has a disaster recovery plan? OK, that's most of you. How many of you have a disaster recovery plan that isn't "panic"? That's a more reasonable number. How many of you have disaster recovery plans that you have actually tested? Excellent! This is encouraging. Now how many of you could implement the full plan before …
Trevor Pott, 15 Nov 2013
Sysadmin Coffee Index image

Concerning Spiceworks' evil plans for world domination

Spiceworld 2013 In the first article in my two-part series on Spiceworks I discussed the company's ambitions for "owning the stack". Not only does it own the coalface administrator's eyeballs, it is starting to own the relationships that VARs, MSPs, and CSPs have with those coalface admins, each other, other vendors and, …
Trevor Pott, 14 Nov 2013

Microsoft's Office 365 email, Lync cloud 'in worldwide wobble'

Users say they were unable to access Microsoft's Office 365 email and instant-chat Lync services this evening as Redmond's systems suffered a small global outage. When a company signs up for Office 365, it is assigned an onmicrosoft.com sub-domain that glues its account together. This domain is used to create per-user addresses …
Trevor Pott, 14 Nov 2013

Why build a cloud when you can get one ready made?

We small business sysadmins don't get the luxury of doing as we are told. If I built all my networks according to all the whitepapers I am given and used the industry best-practice vendors and products, then none of my customers would be able to afford networks at all. Not to put too fine a point on it, the simplest industry …
Trevor Pott, 12 Nov 2013
Maxta Index Logo

Maxta chucks vSAN out of stealth and into El Reg review suite

Maxta has officially come out of stealth, and its first stop has been our very own testing lab. As previously discussed, Maxta Storage Platform (MxSP) is typically spoken of in the same breath as VMware's VSAN, Nutanix or Simplivity. The Register has taken the time to see what makes Maxta think it has the stuff to take on the …
Trevor Pott, 12 Nov 2013
Bearded dragon handing out with Spicerex

Wanted: IT world domination. Can Spiceworks succeed?

Spiceworld 2013 Austin, Texas-based Spiceworks used the opening keynotes of its 2013 user conference – Spiceworld – to challenge all rivals. The challenge wasn't as overt as walking up to Zuckerberg with an iron glove, slapping him across the face and casting it upon the ground, but a challenge was made nonetheless. LinkedIn …
Trevor Pott, 09 Nov 2013
Index Movember 2013

Canadian Vultures shave bare for winter

For those of you unaware, Movember is a movement to raise awareness and funding for men's cancer research during the month of November. Participants grow moustaches for the duration of the month to raise awareness and encourage others to donate to their Movember team. Two of your El Reg team as well as a number of VMware …
Trevor Pott, 07 Nov 2013

Enabling the on-demand data centre with SDN

The hybrid cloud is becoming a notable thing. Companies such as Microsoft are pushing visions like CloudOS while work patterns change to allow more flexibility in worker location. Traditional networks focused on situations where workers perform all duties on premises owned by the company. How will that change? I sat down with …
Trevor Pott, 07 Nov 2013
Spiceworld Index image

I survived Spiceworld 2013, heat and all: Here's how I did it

My second Spiceworld has wrapped up. I've safely returned home to Edmonton, trading the smothering humidity and overwhelming heat for a far more civilized 15cm of snow. This year's Spiceworld has some differences from the last; the biggest change being that it has moved into the Austin convention center. In many other ways …
Trevor Pott, 06 Nov 2013

Tech today: Popular kids, geeks, bitchfests... Welcome back to HIGH SCHOOL, nerds

Brand tribalism runs our industry. It's a term that encompasses the mentality of all those fanbois and fangurls whose interaction with products simply doesn't end at the purchase and use of said products. It's a relatively new term, but research into the area is heating up and I think it sums up the mentality quite nicely. We …
Trevor Pott, 05 Nov 2013
VMware's monster VM

Yellow-bellied journo dons black tie, sees flip side of VMWorld

As I write this, VMworld San Francisco 2013 is two months behind me. I went, I saw, I schmoozed, and I came away from the event unsettled. I had expected the event to be a glorification of VMware – a rich parade of the ecosystem that surrounds it and cheerleading by its users. What I found was anything but. I entered the …
Trevor Pott, 04 Nov 2013

It's all in the fabric for the data centre network

IT infrastructure is worth exactly nothing if the network doesn't work. The network designs we have grown so comfortable with over the past 15 years or so are wholly inadequate if you are building a cloud or merely undergoing a refresh that will see more virtual machines packed into newer, more capable servers. The traditional …
Trevor Pott, 04 Nov 2013
REID index

Ahhh, SATISFACTION: Watch while we set a NAS on FIRE

A vendor has made the silly mistake of claiming its kit is fireproof, prompting a certain El Reg hack to ponder where he'd left his matches... The vendor in question is IOsafe, whose products have been reviewed on El Reg before. Last time, its single-disk unit survived being dunked in a well for far longer than originally …
management mobile

Tracing the direction of data centre travel

The data centre has been evolving constantly but for almost 15 years networking has not. But even networking will have to adapt to the times eventually, so The Register sat down with Brocade's Julian Starr to understand where we are and where we are going. Starr's first statement after the inititial pleasantries was: "What you …
Trevor Pott, 24 Oct 2013
Micron PCI-E Flash

Hey, how'd that guy get to be a BAZILLIONAIRE?

Ready to hear about the next IT startup niche? It's an emerging market called "host-based caching", and you might wish to pay attention if you'd like to understand how a few people got stupidly rich a few years from now. The Cliff's notes version of host-based caching is that it turns flash drives inside your virtual hosts into …
Trevor Pott, 18 Oct 2013
Sentinel DS6100 Index

WD Sentinel DS 6100: What does a disk-peddler know about servers?

Western Digital (WD) has revamped its SMB NAS lineup with a Server 2012 Essentials system that I find hard to hate. I have never been comfortable with the idea of WD entering into the server space; it's a disk-peddler, what could it possibly know about servers? This is the second generation of these units I've had in for review …
Trevor Pott, 10 Oct 2013

Prolong the working life of your cloud applications

Application lifecycle management (ALM) is a critical foundational concept. We haven't always called it this – and no doubt there will be new names as marketing requires them – but the idea has been there all along. In the past few years we have started to formalise processes around this concept, just in time for the cloud to …
Trevor Pott, 04 Oct 2013

How many apps does it take to back up your data?

What is the better approach to backups: a single service that can back up everything on your network or a collection of applications for backing up different items? Over the course of my career I have been on both sides of this argument and I am still not convinced either is right. Now a pending network upgrade has forced me to …
Trevor Pott, 23 Sep 2013
Photo of a US KitKat wrapper advertising an Android contest giveaway

Office 365 goes to work on an Android

Unlike the video editing or CAD workstation beasts that are still utterly reliant on Windows, Android is slowly evolving into a workable platform for basic productivity. Browsers are becoming passable. Onboard applications are decent and there are an ever-growing number of applications designed for both touch input and mouse. …
Trevor Pott, 20 Sep 2013

Five reasons why you'll take your storage to the cloud

The cloud will inevitably replace all other forms of IT. The cloud is a passing fad. The cloud is good, it is bad and it is hideously ugly. The cloud is a paradigm shift that will obliterate all previous technological developments. The cloud is an iterative evolutionary augmentation of extant technologies and nothing to write …
Trevor Pott, 19 Sep 2013
SOURCE: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/959469

Cloud storage: Is the convenience worth the extra expense?

Judging by my inbox, quite a few businesses have taken to heart my warnings about the legal issues that arise when you allow your data to be exposed to US jurisdiction. Companies outside the US sense a gap in the market and are pouring in. Within a few years I suspect I will be perfectly comfortable with recommending nation- …
Trevor Pott, 17 Sep 2013
yellow measuring tape - black writing

How do you choose your vendors?

Part of ranking vendors (and their products) involves attaching a certain level of priority to the different categories you judge them on. Everyone is going to value different elements of a supplier relationship differently, so the items on my list should be considered to be "in no particular order." I leave it as an exercise …
Trevor Pott, 17 Sep 2013

Privacy lawsuits: Will sueballs lobbed at US cloud services hit you where it HURTS?

Thinking of using US cloud services, outsourcing to a US-based provider or just leasing a piece of their cloud and concerned about lawsuits? Here's some food for thought. Privacy, of course, became the overarching concern of many after former US National Security Agency sysadmin Edward Snowden leaked documents about the country' …
Trevor Pott, 13 Sep 2013
Our intrepid party playmonaut on a sofa, surrounded by blondes

Sysadmins: Be the hand up the backside at PuppetConf, VMworld

It's nearly the end of August, which means time to sign up for PuppetConf and VMworld San Francisco is nearly up. El Reg will be covering both events. Dance Puppet, dance The user communities for VMware and PuppetLabs overlap significantly and the companies have been cosying up recently. VMware shooed away other investors …
Trevor Pott, 19 Aug 2013

It's now or never for old sysadmins to learn new tricks

In most fields of human endeavour the complete invalidation of a person's formal training and skillset generally takes decades, if not generations. Within IT the tools, applications, operating systems and cloud services learned at the beginning of a bachelor's degree can already be defunct before that degree is completed. I …
Trevor Pott, 09 Aug 2013

Microsoft haters: You gotta lop off a lot of legs to slay Ballmer's monster

Contrary to increasingly popular belief, Microsoft is not a “dead” company, nor at immediate risk of collapse. I do, however, believe that Microsoft’s “Windows on the endpoint” monopoly days have passed, that Microsoft’s senior management are aware of this and are actively taking steps to compensate. Similarly, I believe that …
Trevor Pott, 29 Jul 2013
Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code

Rejoice! Sysadmin day is... TODAY. Now get in here and win free stuff

Today, this very Friday, is Sysadmin Day. As a system administrator, I'm naturally biased and think every day should be sysadmin day, but it's nice to know we have at least one day a year set aside for some recognition. What is really heartening to see is just how much awareness of the day has grown since its inception. As you …
Trevor Pott, 26 Jul 2013
German shepherd guard dog standing in flood water

Back up all you like - but can you resuscitate your data after a flood?

When it comes to backups two sayings are worth keeping in mind: "if your data doesn't exist in at least two places, it doesn't exist" and "a backup whose restore process has not been tested is no backup at all”. There is nothing like a natural disaster affecting one of your live locations to test your procedures. I have just …
Trevor Pott, 25 Jul 2013

Cloud backups: Where's my get out of jail card?

It is time for your reminder to review, test and otherwise care about backups. Today's twist is probing the cloud to see if we need to worry about cloudy backup ourselves. If so, how exactly do we do it? The more I delve into the state of cloud services the more I am disturbed by what I see. Every vendor has a completely …
Trevor Pott, 19 Jul 2013
nuts

Promisec Endpoint Manager: So we gotta cope with BYOD... Help!

The explosion of internet-connected gadgets, sensors and other devices that underpins the "internet of things" concept makes my head hurt. When combined with the completely new security model presented by IPv6, BYOD and cloud computing, automation of endpoint management is rapidly becoming non-optional. I've started taking a …
Trevor Pott, 18 Jul 2013

The IT crowd: Fiercely loyal geeks or 'inflexible, budget-padding' creeps?

The comment thread on my recently posted digital divide article seems to be going strong, several days later. One recent post by an anonymous coward sticks out to me. I can't help but hear it read out in the sarcastic voice of the PHB of one of my clients - filled with outdated prejudices that have proven so counterproductive …
Trevor Pott, 16 Jul 2013
Dark Blue Window - detail of Windows Server logo

Graphical front ends for PowerShell? Here's a couple for you

For many sysadmins Hyper-V Server is an area where Microsoft's TCO and ROI documents - built around the "Hyper-V Server is free" market-speak - fails to align with reality. If you're a PowerShell guru – or willing and able to use Windows 8 – then Hyper-V server mostly lines up with the Microsoft pitch. If you're a PowerShell …
Trevor Pott, 15 Jul 2013
Bearded dragon handing out with Spicerex

Sysadmin Day free give away

It's that time of year again: Sysadmin Day is upon us! July 26, 2013 is the international day of recognition for all those who toil in datacenter obscurity, fighting off cyber-ninjas so that videos of my cats flow unhindered through the tubes. As is typical, contests are popping up like weeds to attract the valuable eyeballs of …
Trevor Pott, 13 Jul 2013

Why I'm sick of the new 'digital divide' between SMEs and the big boys

Recently I have been spending most of my time with enterprise CIOs and vendors' "product owners"; their dismissiveness of the needs of small and medium-sized businesses has finally got to me. As a rule, talking about the needs of corner cases is boring to the masses, but today I just need to get up on my soapbox and talk a …
Trevor Pott, 12 Jul 2013
Broken CD with wrench

Microsoft waves goodbye to Small Business Server

Small Business Server from Microsoft is "going off the air." With Dell's announcement of unavailability access to the last remaining copies will prove ever more scarce. If you are a managed service provider that specializes in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) I recommend you shake down your suppliers and build up …
Trevor Pott, 11 Jul 2013
Mushroom cloud explosion

Virtual brownfields: Microsoft's push to woo the VMware masses

The virtualisation war is heating up. With Server 2012 Microsoft is at last bringing a viable platform to the table and Server 2012 R2 looks set to eclipse that. You will get different numbers depending on who you talk to but the general consensus is that Microsoft has managed to grab about one quarter of all new installs. It …
Trevor Pott, 08 Jul 2013