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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.
Hyperspace

Let's get graphical with Hyper-V

We recently had a good look at what it takes to get a Hyper-V failover cluster up and running using PowerShell. It isn't quite as scary as it is often made out to be, but like many command line interfaces it is the stuff of laminated cheat sheets for administrators who don't use those commands every day. The alternative is to …
Trevor Pott, 05 Jun 2013

El Reg drills into Office 365: The science of compliance

Office 365 may well be the most impressive attempt at providing international information on legal compliance ever attempted. Microsoft has hired many of the world's foremost experts on the various layers of legal compliance that exist and has created a software solution that helps enterprises meet compliance levels that would …
Trevor Pott, 05 Jun 2013
Screenshot of Microsoft promotional video touting Office 2013's cloud integration

El Reg drills into Office 365: User and device management

Over the last couple of weeks, our sysadmin columnist Trevor Pott has been digging deep in to Office 365, producing a series of hands-on articles and videos. This, the third of four videos, is about the user and device management features you can find in O365. Watch Video ® Screenshot of Microsoft promotional video touting …
Trevor Pott, 03 Jun 2013

My bleak tech reality: You can't trust anyone or anything, anymore

Virtually everything we work with on a day-to-day basis is built by someone else. Avoiding insanity requires trusting those who designed, developed and manufactured the instruments of our daily existence. All these other industries we rely on have evolved codes of conduct, regulations, and ultimately laws to ensure minimum …
Trevor Pott, 03 Jun 2013
Screenshot of Microsoft promotional video touting Office 2013's cloud integration

El Reg drills into Office365: Mass email migration

Spinning up a new instance of Office 365 to provide email for a brand new domain is easy; migrating email from other domains is not. If you are a systems administrator who can count to 10 more or less accurately you are probably ready to dive in but the everyday user may find it a bit of a struggle. Let's take a look at the …
Trevor Pott, 31 May 2013

The good and the bad in Hyper-V's PowerShell

As the great virtual war between Microsoft, VMware and various also-rans has rumbled on, many column inches have been devoted to Microsoft's Hyper-V Server. You can light up a cluster of 64 nodes and 8,000 virtual machines if you choose, it is said. Hyper-V server is free, you don't have to pay Microsoft a dime. That's a great …
Trevor Pott, 30 May 2013
Intel Centerton in a Supermicro Chassis

Intel Centerton server-class Atoms: How low can you go?

In late 2012 Intel launched Centerton: the first in its new line of Atom-based server processors. Hoping to cut ARM's invasion of the data centre off at the pass, these low-power CPUs are targeted at an emerging "Metal as a Service" movement that sees a return of unique workloads to individual processors. I've finally gotten my …
Trevor Pott, 14 May 2013

El Reg drills into Office 365: What's under the hood?

Microsoft's cloudy services offering have had an overhaul. Office 365 is faster, stronger, smarter, better and more like TIFKAM (the interface formerly known as Metro), or Modern User as it is now called, than ever before. The new overhaul is a major upgrade in usability and administer ability. Let's take a peek under the hood …
Trevor Pott, 13 May 2013

Not cool, Adobe: Give the Ninite guys a job, not the middle finger

Adobe wants the ability to easily roll out Flash updates removed from Ninite, the sysadmin Swiss army knife. I'm going to explain why this is a terrible thing. First, though, I would like to discuss the real-world practical uses of products such as Ninite. Ninite is used by systems administrators and ordinary folk alike to …
Trevor Pott, 01 May 2013
WD Sentinel DX4000

Review: Western Digital Sentinel DX4000

Western Digital makes Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices and recently sent a Sentinel DX4000 to El Reg for review. When I was asked to write about it I was initially unsure exactly how I would approach this: where's the novelty in a small consumer or SME device? The Sentinel stands out for me not only because it's the first …
Trevor Pott, 25 Apr 2013
Tintri interface Index

You got your Tintri hat, beermat and cat: But what does it all mean?

Virtual storage upstart Tintri is a great example of a company I would never normally care about: when it comes to storage area networks (SANs) these folks are building the data vault equivalent of Falcon 9 rockets while I'm scraping together spare change for a Vespa. If you have an astounding offering that is aimed at a …
Trevor Pott, 23 Apr 2013
Prometheus is all out of batteries

Are you being robbed of sleep by badly designed servers?

How should we design the servers and end-user computers of the future? The construction of my testlab has given me the opportunity to play with technologies I normally wouldn't be able to get my hands on. The "advanced" features in them – standard fare by now for large enterprises – have caused a measure of introspection …
Trevor Pott, 22 Apr 2013
Chinese Buffet self-service

Whatever happened to self-service computing?

According to Gartner's Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle for 2012, cloud computing has passed the peak of inflated expectations and is heading for the trough of disillusionment at full speed. Cloud computing didn't live up to the overblown hype. We have to get over the disappointment before we start to rationally accept the …
Trevor Pott, 08 Apr 2013
Some wires and a switch

IT Pro confession: How I helped in the BIGGEST DDoS OF ALL TIME

I contributed to the massive DDoS attack against Spamhaus. What flowed through my network wasn't huge - it averaged 500Kbit/sec – but it contributed. This occurred because I made a simple configuration error when setting up a DNS server; it's fixed now, so let's do an autopsy. The problem I should start off by apologizing to …
Trevor Pott, 28 Mar 2013

Security damn well IS a dirty word, actually

An interesting feature popped up on Ars Technica recently; website journo Nate Anderson discusses how he learned to crack passwords. The feature is good; good enough for to me to flag it up despite that journalistic competition thing*. That said, the feature gently nudges – but does not explore – a few important points that are …
Trevor Pott, 26 Mar 2013

New-age tech marketing secrets REVEALED

Traditional marketing is all about risk management. Say nice things about your product. Do whatever you can to prevent people from saying bad things about your product. Run down the competition, but do so without being obvious about it. Never under any circumstances admit you're wrong. This "control the message" marketing …
Trevor Pott, 25 Mar 2013
channel_partners_deal_handshake

Sysadmins: Let's perch on Microsoft Santa's lap, show him our wish list

Griping is easy. Solving problems in an acceptable way is not. I've had a year to chew on what exactly it is about Microsoft's recent moves that bugs me, so it's time to put my money where my mouth is and try to be constructive. Here is my wish list for the next iteration of Windows, offered in the vain hope that someone at …
Trevor Pott, 19 Mar 2013

These mobile devices just aren't going away. What'll we do, Trevor?

Mobile Device Management (MDM) has become an important sector of the IT industry, but is also something of a moving target. Companies from the level of my own three man shop to the largest enterprises are weighing their options for securing mobile devices. For many, Microsoft's System Center 2012 is the barometer by which all …
Trevor Pott, 14 Mar 2013

Perish the fault! Can your storage array take a bullet AND LIVE?

Storage doesn't have to be hard. It isn't really all that hard. If you ask yourself "can my storage setup lead to data loss" then you have already begun your journey. As a primer, I will attempt to demystify the major technologies in use today to solve that very problem. Certain types of storage technologies (rsync, DFSR) are …
Trevor Pott, 13 Mar 2013
VMware logo

VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus: An El Reg deep dive

Given the plethora of virtualisation kit on the market, VMware customers – and potential customers – just want an answer to this very simple question: are VMware's offerings worth the money? A truthful response is fantastically complicated. VMware has many levels of offerings; what's more there are a lot of different companies …
Trevor Pott, 12 Mar 2013
Super Micro's 8-node FatTwin server

Review: Supermicro FatTwin

My testlab has a new arrival: a Supermicro FatTwin™ F617R2-F73. As always when something lands in my lab, I will valiantly kick the crap out of it on behalf of El Reg's discerning readership. There are already a few different systems in my testlab - let's see how this thing stacks up. I'd like to kick off this review by pointing …
Trevor Pott, 08 Mar 2013

Mmmm, TOE jam: Trev shoves Intel's NICs in his bonkers test lab

Tech offerings are rarely "good" to me, merely "less awful than others." In this case, however, I'll be looking at the complete package of Intel networking's efforts - the hardware, software and ongoing support - and might even attribute that word to its efforts. This isn't to say that everything in the Intel networking universe …
Trevor Pott, 07 Mar 2013
Dlink Index

Drilling into a half-decent gigabit small-biz switch... from D-Link

I have a confession to make, dear readers. While I'm aware that this admission opens me up to virtually unlimited heckling from the Cisco-indoctrinated crowd, the truth of the matter is that D-Link switches have served me in good stead for over a decade. After having spent the past month reviewing D-Link's DGS-3420-28TC, I've …
Trevor Pott, 25 Feb 2013

Microsoft's own code should prevent an Azure SSL fail: So what went wrong?

Server 2012 is the Microsoft operating system that, in my opinion, makes cloud computing a reality. As far as I am concerned it is as big a leap over Server 2008 R2 as that OS was over Server 2003. With it you can build anything from a small cluster to a service as big as Microsoft's own Azure platform. Which is why I am …
Trevor Pott, 25 Feb 2013

Which Linux admin tools and tricks would YOU stake your career on?

Those seeking to enter the rewarding world of Linux system administration can be scared off by the platform's sometimes outright hostility towards the concept of "administrator friendliness". Linux – and the community that surrounds the open-source OS – can seem intimidating to the uninitiated, but it does not have to be so. To …
Trevor Pott, 21 Feb 2013
A picture of a cat.

Is social networking good for anything more than cat pics?

LinkedIn made money in 2012. By all accounts it has done better than it had the year before, and as a result its stock price has soared. Despite this, I have some serious questions about the service, even as my fellow technorati fall all over themselves to heap praise upon the company. I get why LinkedIn is attractive to certain …
Trevor Pott, 12 Feb 2013
Unitrends Appliance Index Image

Review: Unitrends backup appliances

In my experience, backup software sucks. Normally, I chalk that up to a lack of exposure to non-crap alternatives on my part. Talking to backup admins and doing the maths on the licensing leads me to believe my original assessment is correct; there are precious few backups applications and vendors that don't cause some form of …
Trevor Pott, 07 Feb 2013
Index picture of the OOB and Console port of a Dell switch

Life after Cisco: I've got 99 problems but a switch ain't one

Pending network upgrades have reignited an old debate: what exactly makes a switch "good enough?" I have the opportunity to give two switches a truly thorough battering; my lab contains a Dell PowerConnect 8132F and a Supermicro SSE-X24S. Try as I might, I can't find fault with either unit. 10GBase-T, SFP+ and Fibre Optic ports …
Trevor Pott, 06 Feb 2013
A Bearded Dragon on an Alienware MX18

Netbooks were a GOOD thing and we threw them under a bus

Packing for a week-and-a-half road trip to Silicon Valley and back triggered a moment of introspection over the impending end of netbook production. I had some devices to choose from for my journey. I could have taken my Alienware MX18, my first-generation Samsung Galaxy Tab, my Asus Transformer, my Samsung NF210 Netbook, my …
Trevor Pott, 01 Feb 2013
Bonkers Test Lab 2 Index

How to build a BONKERS 7.5TB, 10GbE test lab for under £60,000

In part one of The Register's Build A Bonkers Test Lab feature, I showed you how to build a test lab on the cheap; great for a home or SMB setup, but what if we need to test 10GbE? Part two is a wander through my current test lab to see how I've managed to pull together enough testing capability to give enterprise-class …
Trevor Pott, 22 Jan 2013
data_center_centre

How to build a perfect private cloud with Windows Server 2012

So you want to build a Microsoft-based private cloud. While using the latest software is not always the best move (never use version 1.0 of anything) Microsoft's 2012 stack of products is mature, stable and capable of meeting all your cloudy needs. Let's take a look at what's required for a private cloud in Microsoft's world. …
Trevor Pott, 14 Jan 2013
Borg

iPhones, tablets... Pah: By 2020, we'll froth over hot new SOFTWEAR

Within some admittedly fuzzy error bars, computing adoption seems to work in decade-long phases over the course of about 50 years. By my reckoning, those decades roughly work out to precursor technologies, niche adoption, commercialisation, mass market and eventual displacement. Within my lifetime, I have seen the rise of the PC …
Trevor Pott, 11 Jan 2013
Windows server 2012 logo

The 10 best … Windows Server 2012 features

Microsoft's Windows Server 2012 is out. For many systems administrators, the question about this latest iteration of Microsoft's server family is not "What's new?" but "Why care?" Server 2008 R2 is a great operating system, while Server 2012 bears the stigma of Metro and the Windows 8 controversy. But the answer to "why care" …
Trevor Pott, 10 Jan 2013
Some network cables

Soz, switch-fondlers: Doesn't look like 2013 is 10Gb Ethernet's year

It is becoming increasingly unlikely that 2013 will be the year that sees widespread adoption of 10 gigabit Ethernet. Of course we'll be told it will be, just as we have been told for years that wholesale shift is right on the horizon. The reason? It's not a question of technological capability – the technology for 10GbE has …
Trevor Pott, 03 Jan 2013

Drobo B1200i: The heavy-duty array even your mum could use

Drobo has jumped in to the enterprise storage market with the B800i and the B1200i iSCSI appliances designed to be the simplest devices of their kind. For the past month, I have put the larger of the two - the 12-disk Drobo B1200i - to the test. It has both served in my test lab and been pressed into production; I've tormented …
Trevor Pott, 01 Jan 2013
Sandia National Laboratories fin fan test bed

Build a BONKERS test lab: Everything you need before you deploy

Every systems administrator needs a test lab and over the course of the next month I am going to share with you the details of my latest. In part one of The Register's Build a Bonkers Test Lab, we look at getting the best bang for your buck and doing it all on the cheap. Here is a look at my “Eris 3” test lab nodes; I have …
Trevor Pott, 31 Dec 2012

Red-faced, sweating and still in your chair: Welcome to eSports

Video games are believed by many to be a waste of time - but this is something consistently being challenged by the people who love them. And despite the fact that video games just can't seem shrug off the label of "just for kids", new research (PDF) would suggest that you're never too old for them. And as the debate over the …
HyperX SSD

Review: Kingston Hyper-X 3K 240GB SSD

To build storage capable of running tests that can challenge 10Gbit network cards and switches, a flash array is required. I chose eight Kingston Hyper X 3K 240 SSDs to provide this high-speed storage layer. Before I built my VMware cluster of ultimate doom, however, the SSDs needed some torture testing. The drives advertise …
Trevor Pott, 24 Dec 2012
Champagne parachute

It MUST be the END of the WORLD... El Reg man thanks commentards

As the year draws to a close, I'd like to take the time out to thank companies and individuals that have made my life as a writer, a systems administrator, and business owner easier in 2012. Readers of The Register - myself among them - are notorious for their endless cynicism and love of a right good digital kicking, but some …
Trevor Pott, 21 Dec 2012

Copyright trolls, biz scum, freetards - it's NOT black and white

A new intellectual property rights organisation has popped up in the United States called New Media Rights. New Media Rights strikes a different balance than most intellectual property organisations; they champion the rights of independent creators as well as those of individual consumers. New Media Rights provide free legal …
Trevor Pott, 15 Dec 2012
The Register breaking news

Amazon unzips its digital-only Brazilian, waves Kindles at Canada

Amazon has entered the Brazilian market by launching Amazon.com.br - but it will just sell Kindles and ebooks to see if a digital-only operation can sink or swim. Shortly after its midnight launch, the website was spotted by sharp-eyed tweeters before any announcement was made. Even before the official press notification machine …
Trevor Pott, 06 Dec 2012
The Register breaking news

Tech titans lose our loyalty: Are fanbois a dying breed?

We've hit an inflection point in computing this year; one where which company makes your widget, operating system or office package finally matters less than it did the year before. Windows 8, Android, the latest iWidget and so forth are becoming interchangeable for an increasing number of people. As I compose this article, I am …
Trevor Pott, 03 Dec 2012
BYOD

BYOD: A bigger headache for IT bosses than Windows Metro?

Nothing elicits passionate debate quite like the suggestion that consumer technology is dictating workplace IT - with the exception of arguments over the Windows 8 Metro desktop, perhaps. The debate on the consumerisation of IT is packed with business, legal and human resources headaches. Individual prejudices and experience …
Trevor Pott, 27 Nov 2012

Tool time with Trevor: 'Organic' sysadmins' spice mush still pretty edible

I've talked before about Spiceworks as a social network. It's time to look at the application that serves as the carrot to get you hooked on that social network. Spiceworks has an organic development history; it has grown through developer vision but also through end-user and vendor feedback. This is both Spiceworks's greatest …
Trevor Pott, 27 Nov 2012

Never mind fat-bellied tech titans, give enterprise upstarts a chance

In the IT world, momentum is everything. The past few months of talking to various start-ups have been an eye-opener for me; but none so much as talking to Bill Karpovich of Zenoss. Zenoss's story reflects one I've heard from many other start-ups of late; they have great software and are growing rapidly, but there's always that …
Trevor Pott, 16 Nov 2012
SNIA cloud storage diagram

Hold it! Don't back up to a cloud until you've eyed up these figures

Online data vaults are everywhere. On the small storage side, we have options such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Teamdrive. My Synology NAS, the upcoming 2012 Microsoft Server Suite and any number of virtual appliances can all back up bulk data to the cloud. The software side of things may be settled, but is this all truly …
Trevor Pott, 15 Nov 2012

2.5 million trades a DAY: How ISE admins became Puppet masters

The International Securities Exchange (ISE) has just completed the first phase of a Puppet Enterprise deployment. Their approach and the lessons they have learned are a teaching tool for all of us. Even in the cases where two organisations seek to accomplish the same task with the same product, the rationale and methodology can …
Trevor Pott, 07 Nov 2012
Apple Macintosh

So you want an office of Apple Macs - here's a survival guide

Apple Macs are ready for the enterprise. Unsurprisingly, they can already be found in organisations of all sizes. The five sigma announcement by CERN of the Higgs boson bordered on an Apple advertisement. IBM has more than 10,000 Macbooks deployed. My own SME clients have heterogeneous networks, some are even Mac only. With so …
Trevor Pott, 05 Nov 2012

Alienware assimilates Dell FROM THE INSIDE!

Gaming notebooks are a secret hobby of mine. I don't actually game that much – even my wife logs more hours than I do – but gaming notebooks are the only way to get the best of the best in a luggable form factor. Alienware is the name to beat in this space, but I've always wondered how they managed to survive the Dell …
Trevor Pott, 29 Oct 2012

I just LOVE Server 2012, but count me out on Windows 8 for now

Overall, I think Windows 8 is a truly wonderful operating system. The under-the-hood changes make it a fantastic improvement over Windows 7. I am completely in love with Server 2012; I can't imagine the next few years without it. Despite being in love with the technology underpinning Windows 8, I ultimately have to walk away …
Trevor Pott, 22 Oct 2012