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.
The Black Knight

Got VDI questions? Fire them at our expert panel

Webinar The Register is hosting a webinar about VDI in the real world at 11am Pacific (7pm BST, 2pm Eastern) on 11 June. Unsure what it takes to make VDI go? Have questions, or just want to get more up to date? This is your chance! VDI deployments are undertaken with great fanfare and hype, but never seem to deliver on the promise. …
Trevor Pott, 05 Jun 2014
Homer Simpson reading on PC

How I poured a client's emails straight into the spam bin – with one Friday evening change

Sysadmin blog By misunderstanding how a single word was being used, I caused a boo-boo that counts as "really stepped in it this time". After a lot of research and testing, I thought that months of "the spam filter is crap, make all the spam go away" warring with "the spam filter is too restrictive because $client can't send me his JavaScript …
Trevor Pott, 04 Jun 2014
Telemba Logo

Reg reader champions robotic reuse

Register reader Hajime Saito and a group of robotics experts known as "frtp" are looking to put a little fun back into robotics with a project called Telemba. I stumbled across their Kickstarter while researching telepresence robots and was intrigued by the idea of using a Roomba and an Android tablet to solve the problem. You …
Trevor Pott, 02 Jun 2014
Pair of pliers with other tools

Readers' choice: What every small-business sysadmin needs

Sysadmin blog In response to a previous article, a number of readers have submitted their views on essential systems administration tools. A few responses stand out from the rest. Michael Wilkinson rightly rebukes me for not including hardware tools in the discussion, with the BOFH's signature cattleprod being first to mind. Malle-herbert …
Trevor Pott, 28 May 2014
Vodafone advert

Video review: Our sysadmins drink in the latest SIP phones

As I've mentioned before, it's hard to make phones sexy, especially SIP phones. The local vultures and I all had a good chuckle at that when I turned in that article, but eventually we stopped and thought: wait, how much fun can we have reviewing SIP phones? It's tough to match setting an IOsafe NAS on fire, but we have this …

Review: GFI Cloud eliminates need to nursemaid Windows

How do you take care of a network's worth of PCs if you are short of time and resources? Recently, I have been looking at the kinds of tools that systems administrators need and have come to the conclusion that for those who are time-poor and overworked, GFI Cloud ticks several of the important boxes. The purpose of GFI Cloud …
Trevor Pott, 06 May 2014
Aberdeen Stirling X888

Speedy storage server sales stumps sysadmin scribe: Who buys this?

Sysadmin blog Every once in a while I need to ask a question I know is going to get me in a world of trouble. It's the sort of question that triggers panicked emails from corporate PRs, and sometimes even the odd thinly veiled threat for daring to ask such things in a public forum. I'm pretty lucky in that Chris Mellor, Storagebod, and others …
Trevor Pott, 05 May 2014
A crowd, photo by Ben Schumin

VMware loses top community man Troyer

VMware's community manager, John Troyer is leaving VMware. Troyer is striking out to create a new, vendor-neutral community called TechReckoning, and will fund this venture by freelance consulting with vendors on how they can build up communities of their own. It might seem odd to those who aren't part of the VMware community to …
Trevor Pott, 02 May 2014

Everything you always wanted to know about VDI but were afraid to ask (no, it's not an STD)

Feature So you know your way around a data center just fine, but you've been told to roll out VDI – aka that highly riveting technology, virtual desktop infrastructure. This is your first time juggling virtualization on this scale. What do you need to worry about? How will you test and benchmark it? Our sysadmin blogger Trevor Pott …
Trevor Pott, 28 Apr 2014
The Four Horsemen Apocalypse ride up the grassy mound that adorns the WinXP desktop

The... Windows... XPocalypse... is... NIGH

Sysadmin Blog The XPocalypse is upon us, gentlebeings, and those of us who must keep XP around are doomed! Or so some very expensive marketing pushes would have us believe. As you know by now, I have to keep some XP systems around. In some cases they'll probably be around for a decade or more. If you believe the breathtaking hyperbole of …
Trevor Pott, 08 Apr 2014
Sleep Cycle iOS app screenshot

Where the HELL is my ROBOT BUTLER?

Sysadmin blog For decades the development of the computer has been driven by businesses. Businesses bought mainframes, PCs and servers. They bought in such quantity that the consumer was, for most technology companies, a mere afterthought. Today, consumer purchases of endpoints outstrip business purchases by a wide margin. None of this is …
Trevor Pott, 04 Apr 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

How Microsoft can keep Win XP alive – and WHY: A real-world example

Sysadmin blog What if Microsoft announced it's not ending support for Windows XP next Tuesday after all, and instead will offer perpetual updates (for a small fee, of course). Something inside me, somewhere between my sense of humor and soul-crushing cynicism, drove me to turn that dream into an April Fool for this year. But all cruel joking …
Trevor Pott, 02 Apr 2014
Titanfall

Titanfall, shoot-'em-up gamers, cloudy contracts and cattle

Sysadmin blog A "servers are cattle, not pets", DevOps-style approach is the only feasible way for a small number of people to run modern cloud-scale data centres. Small teams running large server farms are necessary to grind down costs so as to keep up with the Amazon-fearing race to the bottom. But even when cloud computing works exactly as …
Trevor Pott, 01 Apr 2014
Smartphones

3CX Phone System takes on the corporate mobiles

It is hard to make phones sexy, never mind SIP phones and software. Yet increasingly my job requires me to be on the phone for hours every day to people all over the world. The local telco wants roughly the GDP of Brunei to let me do this, making SIP providers look attractive. As a result, I have investigated a company called …
Trevor Pott, 31 Mar 2014
Akaash Tablet

Schoolkids given WORLD'S CHEAPEST TABLETS: Is it really that hard to swallow?

Sysadmin Blog For some time now The Register has been tracking an effort by the Indian government to provide their schoolchildren with low cost tablets. The subsidised cost of the devices for Indian families is slated to be 1,500 rupees (£14, $24), with the unsubsidised version available to the rest of the world for £30. The decision to …
Trevor Pott, 25 Mar 2014
Tools

A sysadmin always comes prepared: Grasp those essential tools

+Competition We have prizes up for grabs. The first 30 people to sign up for a GFI Cloud free trial and add two or more devices to the console get a limited edition T-shirt from The Register. All signs ups that add two or more devices before this competition ends will be entered into a draw to win a 10-user licence of GFI Cloud’s AntiMalware …
Trevor Pott, 20 Mar 2014

Azure promises to guard virtual machines against migration dangers

Azure support for infrastructure as a service (IaaS) brings with it the ability to move virtual machines between your own data centre and the Azure public cloud. The ability to move workloads – be they properly coded cloud apps or traditional persistent virtual machines – is one of the core aspects of Microsoft's Cloud OS. Today …
Trevor Pott, 19 Mar 2014

GFI LanGuard 2014: Go on. Find my weaknesses and point them out

Review GFI has launched GFI LanGuard 2014, version 11.2 of its well-tested vulnerability scanning software. I have used LanGuard since 2001, when version 2.0 was released. It has been an invaluable tool in my sysadmin's toolkit and I am curious to see how the software has evolved over the past 13 years. The basic purpose hasn't changed …
Trevor Pott, 17 Mar 2014

How to shop wisely for the IT department of the future

If your IT department is inefficient it is entirely possible that the responsibility does not properly belong with the nerds who run it. It is human nature to cast about for blame, but chances are the problem of IT cost overruns and project delays lies with the business. An inability to reach the promised "agile" nirvana so …
Trevor Pott, 11 Mar 2014

VMware wanted to keep its VSAN pricing secret – now it's all over the web

VMware launched its VSAN virtual storage array today, and the feedback was generally positive – with one sticking point: VMware's decision to withhold pricing information until "the week of March 10." The lack of official pricing is causing more than just snarky comments among IT buyers: many competing server SAN providers are …
Trevor Pott, 06 Mar 2014

Cloud buyers: Why it makes sense to think local

Analysis Cloud computing holds the promise of someone else taking care of automating your IT, but just because that gives you a fleet of power tools doesn't mean you should throw out your hammer, wrench set and screwdrivers. An Anonymous Coward comment about a recent article of mine:What you need to know about moving to the Azure public …
Trevor Pott, 04 Mar 2014
Smartphones

Yes! New company smartphones! ... But I don't WANT one

Sysadmin Blog It's mobile update month at my company, and that means it's time for a look at the smartphones. I've researched every single unit that will work on a Canadian cellular network and come to some interesting conclusions. For the first time I'm looking at a refresh cycle more from the standpoint of a business owner and end-user …
Trevor Pott, 24 Feb 2014

Something rotten stalks the Cloud Kingdom

Sysadmin Blog A good lord builds his castle to both serve as the center of commerce for his lands and to offer protection to his people in case of an attack. The peasants have neither the resources nor the knowledge to defend themselves, and they look to their lords for help. Against most foes, this model works well. Should the land come …
Trevor Pott, 22 Feb 2014
Nutanix cloud appliance exploded view

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

Sysadmin Blog 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!

Sysadmin Blog 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

Sysadmin Blog 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

Sysadmin blog 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

Feature 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?

Analysis 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 Test 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...

Sysadmin blog 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

Sysadmin Blog 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

Sysadmin Blog 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

Sysadmin blog 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

Analysis 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

Exclusive 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?

Analysis 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

Interview 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

Sysadmin blog 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

Sysadmin blog 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

Sysadmin blog 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 …