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.

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?

Feature 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

Review 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

Review 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

Review 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?

Sysadmin blog 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?

Sysadmin blog 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?

Sysadmin blog 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

Review 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

Test lab 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

Part Two 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

Sysadmin blog 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

Opinion 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

Review 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

Part one 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

Feeding the 10Gbit monster 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

Sysadmin blog 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

Sysdmin blog 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?

Sysadmin blog 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

Sysadmin blog 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

Sysadmin blog 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

Sysadmin blog 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

Sysadmin blog 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

Spiceheads keep Austin weird at IT's Comic Con

Sysadmin blog Spiceworld 2012* was in Austin, Texas. I spent my time there grilling vendor reps at the booths, talking to attendees and collaborating with Spiceworks employees. I'll save the article on "what's new in Spiceworks" as well as the feeds and speeds for later, after I've done some compare-and-contrast in the lab. Instead, I bring …
Trevor Pott, 15 Oct 2012

Unrootable: Mash these bits together to get a CLASSIFIED spyphone

Sysadmin blog What does it take to build a classified smartphone? Demand clearly exists Given how readily every iPhone and Android device is rooted, infected, and otherwise compromised, the answer isn't simply "better software." In the battle to secure our mobile endpoints, operating system tricks and mobile device management will only take …
Trevor Pott, 12 Oct 2012
Pano Logic's Pano Device "zero client" - front

I can't wait for Pano to thrust some hard 3D love into size-zero models

Sysadmin Blog Around this time last year I reviewed Pano Logic's Zero Client Solution, a sort of super-thin-client set of kit. I was test-driving the company's first-generation hardware and a software suite two versions behind the latest release. I've now had a chance to review the second-generation hardware with its latest software, and I …
Trevor Pott, 08 Oct 2012
Microsoft System Center logo

Windows System Center 2012: The review

Deep dive Microsoft's System Center suite of products is not easy to categorize as a group. The breadth of the offerings falling under the System Center moniker makes being asked to review all of System Center in a single article somewhat intimidating. Microsoft System Center logo System Center 2012 has already seen production …
Trevor Pott, 01 Oct 2012

Keep your Playboy mansion, Supermicro is my nerd vice palace

Sysadmin blog With several clients facing refresh cycles, I've decided to poke my nose back into the tier-2 space to see what’s going on. Supermicro has been on my preferred vendor list for years, so when I was in the Bay Area this summer I stopped in to see what’s new. I left impressed with what I saw, and got a swank backpack admittedly …
Trevor Pott, 01 Oct 2012

Inside the guts of a fiendish Internet Explorer 0-day attack

Sysadmin blog The latest use-after-free vulnerability in Microsoft's Internet Explorer is being actively exploited in the wild. While this comes as a surprise to nobody, we all get to live in fear for a while until the software giant manages to get a patch out the door. In the interests of attempting to overcome a particularly nasty bout of …
Trevor Pott, 19 Sep 2012
Picture of the Miss Piggy puppet

How to be a Puppet master: Make Amazon, VMware dance for you

Sysadmin blog Puppet, if you haven't heard of it, is automation software that takes on a role similar to Active Directory's group policy. Puppet can also handle application deployment, image deployment and anything else you can imagine that you would typically manage with scripts. Puppet is both cross platform and very simple to use. Born as …
Trevor Pott, 14 Sep 2012

Titans of tech: Why I'll never trust 'em

Sysadmin blog I am responsible for making decisions regarding the purchase of computer hardware, software and services. I advise others regarding the tactical and strategic implementations of technologies and IT-related services. The financial security and stability of my own company, the companies of my clients and all the associated …
Trevor Pott, 07 Sep 2012

Oh no, sysadmins! VMware touts data centre that runs itself

Now that vCloud Suite 5.1 has arrived, VMware is pushing a new term: the software-defined data centre (SDD). It's easy at first to dismiss this as merely another marketing buzzword, meaningless PR babble like "cloud" or "synergy". If you poke your head behind the curtain, you'll find there's good reason for this newest bit of …
Trevor Pott, 05 Sep 2012
bug on keyboard

Thanks ever so much Java, for that biz-wide rootkit infection

Sysadmin blog Right on cue, Java has responded to my hatred in kind. Shortly after I awoke to discover my previous article denouncing the language had been published, a client called to inform me his computer had contracted some malware. Java has, if you'll forgive the anthropomorphization of a bytecode virtualization engine, decided to exact …
Trevor Pott, 03 Sep 2012
VSphere UI. Credit: VMware

Love vSphere? You're going to have to love Flash too

If you're considering building your cloud infrastructure on the latest version of vSphere, you probably weren't banking on Adobe Flash being part of your set-up. VMware has announced vSphere 5.1 and along with it an updated web based management client. Features new to vSphere 5.1 will only be available in the new web client, …
Trevor Pott, 30 Aug 2012

Why Java would still stink even if it weren't security swiss cheese

Sysadmin blog Java is horrible and I hate it. Good, now there's a strong intro: attention grabbing, and it gets the natives all riled up. Sadly, the extremist sentiment of my statement is not that far from the truth. Hating or loving a logical construction such as a programming language is irrational, illogical and otherwise nonsensical. As a …
Trevor Pott, 30 Aug 2012

Tech conferences: Not just here for the FREE BEER

Sysadmin blog Tech conferences have real value to sysadmins, something that goes far deeper than the cynical tropes of expensing beer out to the company or a free vacation. The excuse used to sell conference attendance to the brass is that they provide valuable training and a good look at upcoming technologies. The real value is in the …
Trevor Pott, 23 Aug 2012
Suitcase bulging with cash

Tech hacks should admit taking corporate coin, but don't start a witch hunt

Sysadmin blog Judge Alsup has required Google and Oracle to divulge a list of their paid shills - the bloggers and journos they've paid to comment on their copyright court showdown. This sets a major precedent, the consequences of which could echo throughout tech journalism. While there is a lot of blitting in the back buffers over this, I …
Trevor Pott, 16 Aug 2012
Victorinox Swisstool Spirit plus

Sick of juggling apps on biz PCs? This install tool will save your sanity

Sysadmin blog I've spent most of the past week in the San Francisco bay area. I've visited Nerd Mecca (Xerox PARC), various universities and Big Tech campuses. I've seen the Golden Gate Bridge, cursed San Francisco drivers, and discovered why Americans loathe AT&T. I've had a fantastic time down here, but the highlight of the trip has been …
Trevor Pott, 10 Aug 2012

Sysadmins! There's no shame in using a mouse to delete files

Sysadmin blog I am curious about the thought process of some systems administrators. When Linux is mentioned in an El Reg article, the discussion in the comments section can collapse into a tired debate of GUIs versus CLIs: a bitterly fought war over point-and-click visual interfaces in software versus typing out lines of commands and reading …
Trevor Pott, 26 Jul 2012
server room

Fear not, Linux admins: There are TOOLS to help you

Sysadmin blog Most Linux distributions have a significant focus on security. This does not mean they are necessarily ready for production out of the box. Tools like SELinux, excellent firewall options, and robust access controls can make Linux exceptionally secure. Despite this, actually deploying a Linux system into production still requires …
Trevor Pott, 23 Jul 2012