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Sysadmin Day 2015: Fun things to do – and prizes to win from El Reg

Sysadmin Blog Friday, July 31 is 2015's Systems Administrator Appreciation Day, better known as Sysadmin Day. It is a day during which sysadmins feel sad that nobody remembers there is a day dedicated to them, and they go on being as unappreciated as every other day of the year. The exception being vendors and other sysadmins; they remember …
Trevor Pott, 29 Jul 2015
IT Crowd's Roy: "Have you turned it off and on again?"

Windows 10: A SYSADMIN speaks his brains – and says MEH

Sysadmin blog It's Windows 10 day. That means it's time for a completely biased and in-no-way-even-remotely-objective assessment of Windows 10. The internet is filled with people trying to act all objective about Microsoft and Windows 10, and explain what it all "means." I'm forgoing all of that this round. This review is not from the …
Trevor Pott, 29 Jul 2015
Violin_G_Dead_webpage

Violin Memory thinks it'll boost sales by copying face cream giants

Comment The Grateful Dead concert was only the start to a sustained, brand-led marketing effort by Violin Memory, which aims to rewrite the rules of tech product marketing. Techy speeds and feeds and flashy tactical positioning statements will be subsumed into a disciplined, co-ordinated and orchestrated marketing campaign led by Amy …
Chris Mellor, 27 Jul 2015
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IT in Iran: Servers sold on the grey market, and the rule of FOSS

The eXpat Files Usually for the eXpat Files we talk to folk who have moved to another country. But this week, Vulture Weekend has varied things a little to chat to 28 year-old Roozbeh Shafiee from Tehran, Iran. As readers doubtless know, Iran restricts internet access and hasn't always been keen on freedom of assembly. It's also the subject …
Simon Sharwood, 26 Jul 2015
Banksy_death

Server storage slips on robes, grabs scythe, stalks legacy SANs

Analysis In ten years, legacy enterprise storage-area networks (SANs), network-attached storage (NAS), and direct-attached storage (DAS) revenues will have lost 88 per cent of their present value, according to Wikibon research. Nearly 90 per cent of today's storage revenues will then be split between enterprise server SANs and …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jul 2015
woman's arm flexing biceps

Facebook's React Native is exciting devs. Or is it, really?

Facebook's React Native framework is hot. The question is, for how long? After all, while Facebook-born React is smoking, it wasn’t very long ago that Google-spawned AngularJS had the web world all a’flutter. Before that, it was Backbone, SproutCore, and a variety of other hot-until-not JavaScript frameworks. On the one hand …
Matt Asay, 17 Jul 2015
"Typical E-scrapping dismantling operation. 100,000 such migrant workers labor in Guiyu breaking down imported computers in hundreds of small operations like this one in a four village area surrounding the Lianjiang River."

You care about TIN? Why the Open Compute Project is irrelevant

There’s a lot of angst right now over the Open Compute Project, Facebook’s open-source data centre gift to the world. Some, as detailed by El Reg, describe Open Compute testing as “a complete and utter joke.” One that isn’t apparently very funny. At least, not to Cole Crawford, executive director of the Open Compute Project. …
Matt Asay, 16 Jul 2015
Frustation, image via Shutterstock

Run Windows 10 on your existing PC you say, Microsoft? Hmmm.

Throughout my career I have seen many Windows releases with minimum requirements that were a little bit deceiving. Sure, the machines would boot, but you would sometimes have enough time to brew a fresh pot of coffee before the computer was in a usable state. That usable state excluded any applications you wanted to run on top …
Stuart Burns, 15 Jul 2015
Transamerica_tower

Gazing at the future: Taking a look at two $20m storage upstarts

Comment Startups Jut and CoreOS are each funded to the tune of twenty million dollars but spend their money differently, inhabiting different geographies in Silicon Valley's mental landscape. Both are based in the valley's new centre of startup gravity, San Francisco, where office rents are going up to – and beyond – $63 per square …
Chris Mellor, 14 Jul 2015
Genus_Mustela

Hey WD. Are you killing off Arkeia? 'Solutions... contracts... burble'

Is WD killing off its Arkeia backup product? After writing about some WD community forum members who have been told the product is effectively going end-of-life, we were sent a "clear statement from WD." Here it is; see what you think. WD has been developing a full portfolio of network storage solutions for a number of years …
Chris Mellor, 13 Jul 2015
MOFCOM

China's STILL holding up the full WD-HGST integration. Why?

Comment WD's buyout of HGST took place in 2012. MOFCOM, China’s Ministry of Commerce – here concerned with competition – said it was delaying its approval for two years. During that time, HGST and WD had to be run as two separate businesses subject to strict conditions. Those conditions were: Maintenance of HGST at pre-transaction …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jul 2015
Old_King_Cole

OCP supporters hit back over testing claims – but there's dissent in the ranks

Comment Open Compute Project aficionados did not like our story about its allegedly insufficient hardware testing procedures and said so, publicly and loudly. “Terrible journalism” whinged one, adding it was an attack on the entire open source movement. Is this fair? It seems a can of worms has been opened. Cole Crawford, the …
Chris Mellor, 10 Jul 2015
Ship scrapyard photo via Shutterstock

Why the USS NetApp is a doomed ship

Comment NetApp last month changed chief executives, and in May laid off just over 500 people. Some believe this is the start of great new things and a turnaround for NetApp. I disagree. To put this as bluntly as I can, NetApp is most likely doomed. Getting rid of the CEO won't save it. NetApp's problem is that the culture of: "The …
Trevor Pott, 9 Jul 2015
Scotty - Star Trek

I cannae dae it, cap'n! Why I had to quit the madness of frontline IT

Sysadmin blog It took a massive hack attack against the United States government resulting in the theft of up to 14 million 21.5 million records to make me realise why I want to quit working in IT. Over the past year I've significantly drawn down my involvement in day-to-day IT operations, and I'm much happier for it. The US Office of …
Trevor Pott, 9 Jul 2015
Hipster with laptop photo via Shutterstock

Summer breeze makes IT fine, blowing through sysadmins in my mind

Comment Summer is here and IT bods can rejoice because if users aren’t already on their annual two-week holiday then those remaining – the ones with kids – will be soon once schools break up in mid July. It’s the time of year when the heavy lifting side (physical or virtual) of infrastructure upgrades can be done without pesky users …
Stuart Burns, 9 Jul 2015
Mist and condensation, image via Shutterstock

Stay Misty for Me: G-Cloud’s transparency called into question

Comment The cash flowing through the G-Cloud is rising exponentially, increasing by £400m last year alone to total a very nice £600m. But while the cloudy framework's flexibility and choice is proving increasingly popular with buyers and sellers, it's worth examining what that money is – and isn't – being spent on. In fact, only a …
Kat Hall, 9 Jul 2015
Topgun fighters

All-flash is a synonym for a tough market

Comment Last week NetApp launched a new line of all-flash arrays (AFAs) called AFF. It’s based on a specialised version of ONTAP, which has added particular optimizations to read/write data paths. It’s not the notorious FlashRay yet, but it’s not that bad and it has something to say... especially if you are already a NetApp customer. …
MC Hammer

Don't touch this! Seven types of open source to dance away from

Comment In a world where even Microsoft gets the open source religion, the planet’s overall quota for positivity and good karma must be increasing, right? Of course this is not the case, there are bad eggs in every basket and open source has had its share of so-called “openwashing” from time to time. For the record, it’s not Microsoft …
fbservers_648

Open Compute Project testing is a 'complete and total joke'

Comment Facebook's Open Compute Project testing is sub-standard and doesn't follow well-established industry procedures, according to The Register's sources. The Open Compute Project (OCP) was formed in 2011 and involves the Facebook-initiated design of bare-bones computer equipment that can supposedly be built, installed and operated …
Chris Mellor, 7 Jul 2015
7/7 London bombings headlines. Pic credit: Elly Waterman under cc 3.0

7/7 memories: I was on a helpdesk that day and one of my users died

Ten years ago today I was sitting at my IT support desk at an ad agency in central London – covering the early shift and waiting for the first calls of the morning to come in from tired, agitated users. But on that day, the phones remained eerily silent and as the minutes ticked by none of my fellow techies had yet turned up …
Kelly Fiveash, 7 Jul 2015
Windows Server

Migrating from WS2003 to *nix in a month? It ain't happening, folks

Sysadmin blog Some people take exception to my recommendation that those running Win32 applications try to move to a newer version of Windows. They believe that if I were a "credible" IT professional I would counsel a move to *nix technologies such as Linux, Unix or BSD. The context for this debate is that Windows Server 2003's end is upon …
Trevor Pott, 6 Jul 2015
qantas_route_tracker_648

Reg hack survives world's longest commercial flight

The Airbus A380 has a range of 15,200km, but the longest scheduled commercial flight using the aircraft is the 13,804km Dallas (USA) to Sydney (Australia) jaunt flown by Australia's Qantas. Heading from Oz to the USA, the trip takes just 15 hours and 35 minutes, which at only about an hour longer than a Sydney-Los Angeles flight …
PInwheel_galaxy

It's not for everyone, but hyperconvergence is still a valuable solution

Comment I love the concept of hyperconvergence. Who doesn’t? An IT infrastructure built out of relatively balanced (and small) nodes, all contributing together to a large pool of computing and storage resources, which can linearly scale just by adding more nodes. This kind of infrastructure, thanks to the latest advancements in software …
White boxes

The case against Open Compute Project Storage flotation

Interview Did you know there was a storage part of the Open Compute Project? If not, you do now. The Facebook-generated OCP aims to make good, basic hardware available for data centres at low cost, with no bezel tax and no unwanted supplier differentiation justifying high prices. Its main focus is servers, but that's not all, as there is …
Chris Mellor, 2 Jul 2015
Easter_Island_Monoliths

Don't start reading the last rites for monolithic storage just yet

Monolithic storage arrays may well claim that rumours of their death have been exaggerated, but that doesn't mean that they aren't entering the digital care-home for the soon-to-be-departed. These boxes — the mainframes of storage — are magnificent beasts, like do-everything battleships of the storage wars in an era in which …
Chris Mellor, 1 Jul 2015
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Speaking in Tech: Just slacking off and keeping things contained

Podcast speaking_in_tech Greg Knieriemen podcast enterprise Hosted by Greg Knieriemen, Ed Saipetch and Sarah Vela. This week, Sarah is on vacation while Eddie and Greg slack it off on Sheryl Sandberg, API copyrights and containers. Our special guest this week is Chad Sakac, president, global systems engineering, EMC. This week we …
Team Register, 1 Jul 2015
Satya Nadella and Stephen Elop

Ditching political Elop makes for a more Nadella Microsoft

Comment With bad things possibly in the post for Microsoft’s Windows phone business, its commander Stephen Elop has been shown the door by Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella. As a hardened Elop detractor I literally cheered at the news. The reason I cheer Elop's departure is actually a little complicated, and not entirely for the reasons …
Trevor Pott, 29 Jun 2015
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Pure's mass disk drive killer lays out plans for flash hegemony

Comment Fresh from a big product and business model launch, Pure Storage was undestandably reticent about future technologies at a briefing in Mountain View. However, interesting tidbits did drop from speakers' lips. Co-founder John "Coz" Colgrove said: "Our goal is to make all disk storage extinct." Dressed in his signature long t- …
Chris Mellor, 25 Jun 2015
Three Telstra vans restore one line

The slow strangulation of telework in Australia

From the day I arrived in Australia, I’ve had a high-speed broadband connection. The owner of the ISP came over to my flat to set it up, attaching a point-to-point wireless link to my terrace, then aiming it at his offices. Within a few minutes I had the very same 5 Mbps symmetric connection that I’ve enjoyed ever since - even …
Mark Pesce, 25 Jun 2015
Data scientist image via Shutterstock

The wonderful madness of metrics: Different things to different folk

Managers and customers love statistics and metrics. Companies can live or die by how good their metrics are and the potential penalties for failing to meet the required service levels as defined in agreements. It can also be: “Have my team met their SLA” or: “What is the uptime on the server farm”. The dictionary defines the …
Stuart Burns, 23 Jun 2015
Falcon explodes

SPICEWORKS FAIL: Are we ready for ‘social’ network administration?

Analysis Yesterday, a security screw up with the Spiceworks application was noticed, and reported a little earlier by our good selves. Anyone with a Facebook or LinkedIn account could log in to Spiceworks installs running the latest version and it would create an administrative account for them. This is not OK, not at all. Many …
Trevor Pott, 23 Jun 2015
Sir Maurice Wilkes photo Computer Laboratory University of Cambridge

So what are you doing about your legacy MS 16-bit applications?

This is the last gasp migration for Microsoft ecosystem 16-bit applications. Windows Server 2008 x86 is the last Microsoft server operating system to support them. You can upgrade from Server 2003 to Server 2008 and buy yourself a few more years, but extended support for Server 2008 runs out in 2020. The migration won't be …
Trevor Pott, 22 Jun 2015
Mustard

Can Said Ouissal really cut Violin’s sales mustard?

Has Violin’s new worldwide sales head Said Ouissal got what it takes to lift sales at the recovering all-flash array company? He comes to the SVP position with no prior direct sales management experience, and told us he joined Violin in April last year to be SVP for product management and strategy. He came from Juniper Networks …
Chris Mellor, 22 Jun 2015
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All-flash array reports aren't all about all-flash arrays, rages Gartner

Comment Our earlier pop at Gartner's all-flash array methodology has generated a response from Gartner. Joe Unsworth from Gartner – the author of the Market Share report and co-author on the Solid-State Arrays magic quadrant – has been in touch. We said corrective glasses were needed to read the report. View what follows as corrective …
Chris Mellor, 18 Jun 2015

Data AWOL? Thank God for backup. You backed up, right?

Backup is a fundamental component of a healthy infrastructure. I admit backups are neither cutting edge nor sexy but they are important. It is an often-quoted statistic that of the companies that suffer serious data loss, one third go out of business within three years. Actually, it’s worse than that: 94 per cent of companies …
Stuart Burns, 18 Jun 2015
Stll_life_with_skull

Disk is dead, screeches Violin – and here's how it might happen

Analysis And in a flash, disk is dead. Well, actually, not that fast. But flash array flogger Violin Memory is convinced disk is dying in the data centre, killed by a series of NAND acronyms: 2D MLC, 3D TLC and, the final blow, 3D QLC. Is this view realistic? Even remotely realistic? It starts from a pair of observations by Violin …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jun 2015

The insidious danger of the lone wolf control freak sysadmin

Often within teams there is a certain shared camaraderie and level of trust between team members. They chew the fat, have a moan or playful poke at other staff during a day’s work. They cover for each other and stuff usually gets done. At the end of the day, they spend more time with each other than family. Occasionally, however …
Team Register, 17 Jun 2015
Railway line split. Pic: Ian Sane

VMware doubles the VM count for EVO: RAIL systems

VMware has pumped up the power of its hyper-converged EVO: RAIL nodes with more memory and storage, so they can run twice as many VMs. As detailed in a VMware blog, the latest node options look like this: Dual 6, 8, 10 or 12 core Intel Haswell or Ivy Bridge CPUs per node 128GB to 512GB of memory per node, up from 192GB VMware …
Chris Mellor, 17 Jun 2015
management intelligence

Corrective lenses needed for Gartner's flashy array vision

Comment Gartner's gnomes gnosticated on all flash array sales (AFA) and revenues recently. Dell did not appear at all in its charts or revenue numbers and neither did HDS, leading us to suppose Dell revenues were lower than any of the eight AFA vendors mentioned. Yes, really. What's happened is a consequence of Gartner's requirements …
Chris Mellor, 16 Jun 2015
Wall St bull image via Shutterstock

The Hound of Hounslow: No $40m Wall Street wobbler

I'm keen on energy efficiency. Some would also describe me as a cheapskate (I'd sue 'em all if I could find a cheap lawyer.) In our living room we have nice (cheap) pair of lined, M&S curtains with a (cheap) solar reflective blind hanging behind on the same hooks, which helps keep the room lovely and cosy in winter and cool in …
Wine Taps by N Wong, Flickr, CC 2.0 License

Hyperconvergence isn't about hardware: It's server-makers becoming software companies

Public cloud is supposed to be a mortal threat to enterprise hardware vendors, whose wares look clunky and costly compared to a servers-for-an-hour-for-cents cloud and the threat looks scary … until you actually use a public cloud for a while. The Reg increasingly hears that the cost of operating in a public cloud quickly adds …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jun 2015
Photographic plate image of the colliding galaxies NGC 6769, 6770, and 6771.

Data Dynamics chap lifts curtain on anti-fluster cluster thruster tool

Comment There's no need to get in a fluster over clusters. Data Dynamics reckons it has a better tool to migrate NetApp's non-clustered array users to the joys of clusterdom; having separate NetApp arrays function and be managed as one. The move to clustered Data ONTAP (CDOT) from the original ONTAP operating system — 7mode — has proved …
Chris Mellor, 11 Jun 2015