More stories

big dog little dog, image Shutterstock

Microsoft vs AWS: If you can't bark with the BIG DOGS get off the PORCH

Don’t be fooled: Microsoft’s cloud business is not bigger than that of Amazon’s AWS, although that’s the immediate implication. Whether it’s better is another matter, and that could be what helps tip the balance Redmond’s way in this neck-and-neck business. Amazon used the occasion of its first-quarter results on Thursday to …
Gavin Clarke, 24 Apr 2015
10 Downing Street. Pic: Sgt Tom Robinson RLC/Crown copyright

Surveillance, broadband, zero hours: Tech policy in a UK hung Parliament

Election 2015 Five years after its first coalition government for decades, Britain again looks likely to refuse to elect a single party to government. The Liberal Democrats, which joined the 2010 government as the Conservative’s junior partners, look set to lose a significant number of seats, meaning the party may not have the numbers to form …
SA Mathieson, 24 Apr 2015

Watch out for the products that have snuck in behind your back

The mention of shadow IT can produce beads of sweat on the brow of any knowledgeable IT staff member. For those who do not know, the term covers any company systems and services that are not procured by the IT department. The toil and trouble of a single shadow IT occurrence can cause a headache that sticks with the company for …
Adam Fowler, 24 Apr 2015

The huge flaw in Moore’s Law? It's NOT a law after all

Critics have had half a century to pick apart and predict the end of Moore’s Law, which marked its Big Five Zero birthday this week. It’s unlikely that Gordon Earle Moore, the former electrical engineer who authored the eponymous law for a 1965 article, and who two-years later co-founded Intel, has any doubts over its value. …
Dave Wilby, 23 Apr 2015
Rows of washing machines in shop aisle

If hypervisor is commodity, why is VMware still on top?

The hypervisor is a commodity. VMware's ESXi, Microsoft's Hyper-V and the open-source community's Xen and KVM are all right and proper tools for virtualising workloads. Does that mean we should all stampede away from expensive proprietary hypervisors and dine on the open-source freebies? This being IT, the answer is "it depends …
Trevor Pott, 23 Apr 2015
Racks inside Rackspace's Sydney Data Centre

Hyperconverged solutions can't live without flash

In the world of hyperconverged virtualisation, flash is important. It forms a big part of the hyperconvergence value proposition as vendors create distributed hybrid storage arrays from local resources. But hyperconvergence is moving away from every node in the cluster having an identical storage/compute ratio, and this means …
Trevor Pott, 22 Apr 2015
cake

Excessively fat virtual worlds – come on, it's your guilty secret

Now that virtualisation is seen as a robust and mature technology, managers and administrators are looking to reduce server deployment and management costs further. One area of potential cost reduction is reclaiming unused or under-utilised infrastructure capacity. Most virtual estates that have grown organically over the years …
Stuart Burns, 22 Apr 2015

Thank heavens for the silicon chip: A BRIEF history of data

Data Pair – Part 1 Data was born around 20,000 years ago, around the time the last ice age was at its peak and Cro-Magnon man was appearing in Europe. Data was made both by those early humans' minds and these humans’ ability to store facts outside their brains. Why the human mind? It is because data doesn’t exist outside the context of the mind. …
Mark Whitehorn, 21 Apr 2015
B&W film still of man with electric drill.

Thinking of following Facebook and going DIY? Think again

DIY vs COTS: Part 1 Microsoft is doing it, Apple is doing it – so is IBM. The giants are spending billions of dollars building fantastic data centres. But what about the rest of us? Do you walk in the footsteps of the giants and Do It Yourself (DIY) or buy something Commercial, Off The Shelf (COTS): it's an ages-old debate. The former demands …
Trevor Pott, 21 Apr 2015

Nork hackers no pantomime villains, but a hugely unpredictable menace

RSA 2015 North Korea's cyber attack on Sony Pictures revealed two uncomfortable truths about cybersecurity: businesses don't have to be an obvious target to get hacked, and their aggressors don't have to be superpowers. Welcome, ladies and gentleman, to the world of asymmetric warfare on the interwebs, a themes that's likely to feature …
John Leyden, 21 Apr 2015
Hacked US CENTCOM Twitter account

IT'S WAR: Hacktivists throw in their lot with spies and the military

Feature Hacktivism has lost its innocence. Once characterised in the early days of Anonymous back in 2008 by assaults against the Church of Scientology, it has now become part and parcel of far darker plans, such as the spread of terrorist propaganda by Islamic militants. Meanwhile, over in the Ukraine, cyber militias of patriot hackers …
John Leyden, 20 Apr 2015
Planet Earth in all its glory

Green your data centre – without ending up in the Job Centre

Going Green: Tactics (Part 2) Data centres are big, noisy places that seem to have an emphasis on generating heat and making lots of bright lights flash. The first time you visit one, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the service provider's emphasis was on anything but the green credentials. And of course you'd occasionally be quite right: there are DCs …
Dave Cartwright, 20 Apr 2015

America was founded on a dislike of taxes, so how did it get the IRS?

The eXpat files Welcome again to the eXpat files, our now-occasional visit with readers who've moved to a new land in search of adventure, sunshine and, in the case of this week's chap, bewildering and labyrinthine tax and credit regulations. The chap in question is David Hough, currently resident in Newark, California (not New Jersey). David's …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Apr 2015

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Tortilla de patatas

As regular readers know, the Special Projects Bureau's headquarters is a mountaintop redoubt in a sleepy corner of rural Spain, so it was inevitable that we'd eventually turn our wobbly dining attention to the legendary "tortilla de patatas" (potato omelette). This no-frills classic – comprising just eggs, spuds and onion – is …
Lester Haines, 18 Apr 2015
Apple's solar array in Maiden, North Carolina

Want to go green like Apple, but don't have billions in the bank?

Going Green: Strategy (Part 1) How much energy is required to power the ever-expanding online world? With data centres the factories of the 21st Century, this may be a conundrum high on the environmentalist’s agenda, but what about those building the new Satanic mills? Last year, Greenpeace estimated that the aggregate electricity demand of the cloud ( …
Rachel Willcox, 17 Apr 2015
Facebookserveraisle

Why are enterprises being irresistibly drawn towards SSDs?

SSDs have been the subject of hype, hype and more hype. Any of us who have used them in our personal computers know the benefits SSDs bring, but personal experiences and hype alone don't explain the robustness of enterprise flash adoption. Flash has a lot of naysayers. Any article on The Register about flash inevitably invites …
Trevor Pott, 14 Apr 2015
Need for Speed: The Run

Need speed? Then PCIe it is – server power without the politics

How many PCI Express (PCIe) lanes does your computer have? How many of those are directly provided by the CPU? With only a few exceptions, nobody except high-end gamers and the High Performance Computing (HPC) crowd care. Regular punters (maybe) care about how many PCIe slots they have. So why is it that gamers and HPC types get …
Trevor Pott, 14 Apr 2015

You’ll be the coolest guy in IT if you ain't got your ID

On-call Welcome again to On-call, our almost-regular look at readers' escapades on client sites at odd times of day or night. This week's contributor offers up a story “of personal stupidity more than anything” so we'll spare him the blushes that come with a name. Our hero's tale starts with a downed Terminal Access Controller Access …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Apr 2015
The Tramp: Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance

Silence is golden: Charlie Chaplin's The Tramp is 100 today

Feature It’s 100 years to the day since Charlie Chaplin’s film The Tramp was released – the movie that, more than any other, projected silent comedy to new artistic and commercial heights. The Tramp: Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance The Tramp: Chaplin's character is momentarily tempted to steal money from the farm girl (Edna …
Phil Strongman, 11 Apr 2015

What type of storage does your application really need?

When you are doing the spec for some new server hardware, what do you consider? Well, first you decide whether you will go for a physical server infrastructure or a virtual one. For the former you buy several modest-sized servers, and for the latter you look at a small number of socking great machines or perhaps a blade-based …
Leonidas, king of Sparta, as portrayed by Gerard Butler in the film 300. Pic copyright: Warner Bros

Data centre doesn't like your face? That's a good thing

Your company has decided, quite sensibly, that it wants to move its application infrastructure to a data centre rather than living with the risk of an on-premise approach. So how do you choose the data centre you should move to? Location Location is a compromise of locality versus suitability, but in my mind you should lean …

Bored with Blighty? Relocation lessons for the data centre jetset

Building a data centre in the UK is a difficult business: the land’s expensive, planning permission is tough and the operating costs are high, particularly where power is concerned. As an epicentre of business and commerce, London is the obvious choice – it hosts the country’s major internet transit hub to boot – but it scores …
Tom Baines, 8 Apr 2015

Can you recover your data if disaster strikes? Sure?

Disaster recovery is complicated and usually expensive. It comes in many forms, and many companies mandate a minimum of off-site backups for various reasons, from regulatory compliance to risk aversion. Disaster recovery planning is considered to be part of standard IT best practices today, but which solutions are appropriate …
Trevor Pott, 7 Apr 2015
Wile E. Coyote goes over the edge again

Win Server 2003 addict? Tick, tock: Your options are running out

Windows XP is officially gone but its server companions Windows Server 2003 and Server 2003 R2 live – just not for much longer. Mainstream support for the server duo ended on 13 July 2010 but the expiration of extended support is now just three months away: 14 July 2015. The date is critical as that’s when security updates and …
Tim Anderson, 7 Apr 2015

Saturn's rings, radio waves ... poetry? At home with Scotland's Mr Physics

Geek's Guide to Britain Say the the word “radio” and the mind goes to Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian emigrant whose work on the watershed of Cornwall and the Atlantic Ocean helped turn wireless into the defining medium of the early 20th Century. But radio wasn’t invented by Marconi – or any one person. Rather, it was discovered, and the man who drove …
Bill Ray, 6 Apr 2015
Asigra RLM small

It's all got complicated: The costs of data recovery

Data protection companies have multiplied in the past 10 years and they are locked in a bitter battle for market share. Before Amazon arrived on the scene, the main options were owning all links in the data protection chain or renting or leasing appliances, with or without attached offsite services. Thanks to Amazon-style …
Trevor Pott, 6 Apr 2015
Scary Mary Haunted Mirror

Are you sure there are servers in this cold, dark basement?

On-call Welcome to On-call, our getting-a-bit-more-regular look at the odd things readers experience when called out to do things at night. This week, reader Pauly tells us that “a couple of Mondays ago I was asked to go and install some temperature-monitoring equipment at a prestigious hotel in Knightsbridge”. That's the posh bit of …

Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Deep-fried cheesy Hungarian

Last month, we ventured onto the streets of the Czech Republic to bring our wobbly dining fans smažený sýr – a deep-fried cheese delicacy entirely suitable for post-pub consumption. It didn't take long for a couple of Hungarian readers to flag up local classic flat bread-based lángos as an alternative nosh neckfiller, and given …
Lester Haines, 5 Apr 2015
Snakes on a Plane, kind of

Snakes on a backplane: Server-room cabling horrors

Twisted Pair The internet is not something you can just dump something on. It’s not a big truck. Nor is it a series of tubes. It’s an unimaginably large collection of computers connected by cables and radio waves. The more computers you have, the more cables you need. And that’s a problem. We’re now moving into the era of software-defined …
Josh Folland, 31 Mar 2015
pipes

The internet IS a series of tubes. Kinda: A Reg 101 guide to cabling

There are so many types of cables and connectors it can be confusing when you are building a data centre. I’ve taken a look at the pros and cons of each so you can decide which is the best option for you. The 10GbE standards were first published in 2002 by the IEEE and since then have been adopted gradually for use in data …
The Tanami Desert en route to Willowara

Going strictly hands-off: Managing your data centre from afar

If your core servers – and hence your core applications – live in a data centre, then by definition they're not on your premises. In many cases they may be hundreds of miles away – in fact, in a previous life, my employer's most distant data centre was six time zones away in the US Midwest. This means that you don't have the …
Dave Cartwright, 30 Mar 2015
The Chocolate Festival, London

Exercising with chocolate: Festival and tours galore

Chocolate and exercise together, whatever next? Well, for the chocoholics and general lovers of cacao based products, there are various chocolate tours springing up at various locations around the country including Edinburgh, Oxford and one taking place in London this weekend. The Chocolate Festival, London Naughty, but nice … …
Simon Crisp, 28 Mar 2015
Liz, Pistols Girl, 1978 Copyright Phil Strongman

Street Culture: Reg man's snazzy snaps of punky London go on display

For the next four days a London exhibition features the youth cult photos of Register contributor Phil Strongman. Here he explains the whys and wherefores – and how technology has changed such shows. The last time I mounted an exhibition was at The Foundry in a Shoreditch that was still quite wild, many years ago. It literally …
Phil Strongman, 28 Mar 2015
Register Roundtable at the Soho hotel

How tech bosses manage their teams for fun and profit

CIO Manifesto It's seven years on from the great crash and IT departments are moving from the bunker mentality of keeping the lights on and maintaining legacy VB6. But what does that mean for the way we manage tech teams? We invited an eclectic mix of senior IT execs to our own well-appointed bunker underneath a central London hotel to try …
Dominic Connor, 26 Mar 2015

How a hack on Prince Philip's Prestel account led to UK computer law

This week marks the 30th anniversary of arrests in the infamous Prestel hack case. It led to arrests, breached the Royal Family's security and helped give birth to the UK's first computer crime law. What began as a hack against the Prestel Viewdata system – which opened up access to Prince Philip's mailbox – later led to the …
John Leyden, 26 Mar 2015
money trap conceptual illustration

Got a killer Microsoft or Oracle cloud deal? Start sweating

Analysis Feeling pressured? A sense you’re being rushed into something you’re not sure about? Or, perhaps, you have a nagging feeling about that free gift you accepted. That sensation is your IT supplier pushing you into their cloud. Oracle and Microsoft, two of the biggest names in corporate IT, have been left standing by the success of …
Gavin Clarke, 23 Mar 2015
storage arrays superimposed on cloudy sky

Backing up cloud applications is never easy but Asigra gets it done

Review As the recent Code Spaces debacle has taught us, just because you use cloud computing doesn't mean you can't properly engineer your IT design. A huge part of that is having proper backups that are set up on separate providers with different administrative credentials. Asigra is a data protection company that claims it can …
Trevor Pott, 23 Mar 2015
Houses of Parliament at night-time

Millions of voters are missing: It’s another #GovtDigiShambles

Millions of people may be unable to vote in May's general election because the Cabinet Office refused to heed warnings from its own pilot programmes two years ago. Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) at local authorities who have spoken to us on condition of anonymity say the Cabinet Office – the secretive Whitehall …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Mar 2015
Digital Voice Recorders

Ten things you always wanted to know about IP Voice

When I was a contractor building IT architectures, it was common to find that people had a rather old phone system and were looking to move to something newer. The question they asked was always: what shall we do to get something stable but future-proof? Phone lines or IP trunks? Even in 2015 you seldom see an organisation that …
Dave Cartwright, 23 Mar 2015
Pocket Kodak

Mono Magic: Photography, Breaking Bad style

Feature Digital cameras are cheap and convenient. But some people feel they also lack soul, or encourage us all to often to experience life through an LCD screen, firing off hundreds of shots we'll probably never look at, rather than absorbing our surroundings. Film, on the other hand, according to some, can lend itself to a more …
Nigel Whitfield, 22 Mar 2015
Apple Maiden data center server

3,500 servers go down – so my FIRST AID training kicks in

On-call Welcome again to On-Call, our getting-slightly-more-regular look at Reg readers professional escapades at odd times of the day or night, usually in odd places. This week's tale comes from Pat Dufresne, who tells us he spent two years on the night shift at a hosting company in Montreal, Canada, and rates the gig “the best two …
Simon Sharwood, 22 Mar 2015
Google's data centre in Hamina, Finland

Forget Nokia: Finland's promising future is to be server central

Finland isn’t just known as the country with the highest number of saunas and heavy metal bands per capita, it also counts Linus Torvalds as its most famed technology son and has a growing data centre development culture. Of course, all Scandinavian countries have the potential to grow their data centre businesses, but Finland …