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Alan Stevens

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Servers: My place or yours?

It’s practically easier to have your DC in your basement, but strategically silly. If you don’t need physical servers, it’s time to decide if it’s better to locate the virtual servers outside your building. From a practical standpoint, locating servers in your own data centres and offices would seem to be a good idea. You know …
Alan Stevens, 06 Jul 2011
server room

DIY provisioning: the answer to your virtualisation dreams?

If you have ever had to justify the deployment of a new server, you will know what an uphill struggle it can be to clear all kinds of technical and business hurdles. Some of these can be addressed by virtualisation, but often all that does is move the bottlenecks further down the line, as well as add a few “virtual” problems …
Alan Stevens, 05 Jul 2011
DVD it in many colours

Do we really want 100Gig Ethernet?

Remember when Ethernet networks were invented? Probably not: it was over 30 years ago, after all, and you are probably too young. Even if you are not, you have probably dismissed from memory the woefully inadequate 10 meg of bandwidth on offer at the time – less than you get with most broadband services these days. Still, the …
Alan Stevens, 01 Jul 2011

Spikes in demand get lost in the cloud

One approach to smoothing out application demand is a load-balanced server farm. Another is virtualisation to bring extra resources to bear when needed. But what about public cloud services? Surely they could be used to mop up excess demand? More disk space, more bandwidth? Certainly, how would you like to pay? The answer is …
Alan Stevens, 30 Jun 2011

Everything is converging on the network

According to my dictionary (a book, not one of those new-fangled online jobs), convergence is “the act of coming together”. In networking terms that originally meant voice over IP technology carrying circuit-switched telephone traffic over the same wiring as packet-switched data. More recently, however, it has evolved to mean …
Alan Stevens, 30 Jun 2011
Cat 5 cable

When hybrid clouds are a mixed blessing

Cloud computing is a perfect fit for some, while others prefer the flexibility, security and certainty of in-house applications. Between the two are those looking to embrace the cloud without throwing their IT investments out with the bath water, and for them the hybrid cloud seems to be the way forward. What is involved and …
Alan Stevens, 29 Jun 2011

Time to lower the data centre’s temperature

At first glance the data centre power and cooling equation seems straightforward. More processing power calls for more energy, resulting in a need for costly cooling measures. Dig a little deeper, however, and you find it is nowhere near that simple. There are lots of ways of boosting data centre performance without raising …
Alan Stevens, 28 Jun 2011
cable

Can virtualisation rejuvenate your old servers?

It is a commonly held belief that most servers sit around doing very little most of the time. So, according to the theory, it makes sense to take advantage of that otherwise wasted capacity by loading up a hypervisor and running multiple virtual servers on the same hardware. If only it were that simple. This kind of server …
Alan Stevens, 25 Jun 2011

From virtualisation to private cloud

We all know what virtualisation consists of: a host containing one or more virtual machines, usually, but not necessarily, servers. Scale that up and you get dozens, or hundreds, of servers powering hundreds, if not thousands, of virtual machines. That is becoming typical of today's data centre. So what is a private cloud in …
Alan Stevens, 20 Jun 2011
Cat 5 cable

What a mix-up: using different hypervisors

When asked to write about the pros and cons of deploying multiple hypervisors, my first thought was that nobody in their right mind would want to do such a thing, especially if the software was from different vendors. Management would be a nightmare and so would all kinds of compatibility issues. On further investigation, it …
Alan Stevens, 17 Jun 2011

When tuning the server, don't forget the network

It really doesn’t matter how you configure your servers, how many processor cores they have or how much memory: if the network doesn’t have the bandwidth to service their needs, they will seem slow. Users will complain, dissatisfaction will soar and customers will click off to the competition. Likewise, if the network …
Alan Stevens, 16 Jun 2011

Faster, Network! Kill! Kill!

The networking landscape has altered, and altered considerably since the 1970s, a decade that saw both the introduction of shoulder pads and the beginnings of the Ethernet network. In the thirty or so years since, fashion has, thankfully, moved on and so, too, has networking, which is what concerns us here. In particular what’s …
Alan Stevens, 16 Mar 2011