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Stuart Burns

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Cloud may be the future, but it ain't all sunshine and rainbows

Yes, cloud might be the future but what truths lie hidden beneath this rock of certainty? You've heard the hype, pros and cons, but there's plenty the average cloud user may not have considered in the clamour to get up there. Our company recently heeded the cloud's call, and this is what we discovered. Where cloud excels is …
Stuart Burns, 21 Jun 2017
Storm clouds photo via Shutterstock

Cloud eye for the sysadmin guy: Get tooled up proper, like

Like it or not, the cloud in all forms is approaching at great speed, irrespective of your employer's size. All sysadmins need to get onboard or be left behind. Me? After 17 years working in a range of environments, I did at one point believe I had ages before the cloud arrived at large-scale enterprises like the one where I'm …
Stuart Burns, 06 Jun 2017
Oh no, photo via Shutterstock

You deleted the customer. What now? Human error - deal with it

Blog Everyone I speak to about system security seems to panic about malware, cloud failure system crashes and bad patches. But the biggest threat isn’t good or bad code, or systems that may or may not fail. It’s people. What we call Liveware errors range from the mundane to the catastrophic and they happen all the time at all levels …
Stuart Burns, 30 May 2016
Laptop user, photo via Shutterstock

Hacked in a public space? Thanks, HTTPS

Have you ever bothered to look at who your browser trusts? The padlock of a HTTPS connection doesn't mean anything if you can't trust the other end of the connection and its upstream signatories. Do you trust CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Centre). What about Turkistan trust or many other “who are they” type …
Stuart Burns, 20 May 2016
Girl magnifying glass, photo via Shutterstock

Big, fat fail? Here's how to avoid that: Microservices and you

Sure, we've all heard about "microservices" but just what use are they and why would you want them? How do you even start designing microservices? Most applications built more than a couple a years ago would more than likely use classic application design methodology that is monolithic in nature, i.e. everything is bundled …
Stuart Burns, 16 Feb 2016
Still from the Star Trek original series episode "arena" of enterprise using photon torpedo.  Pic copyright:  Paramount Pictures, CBS Studios

Photon taster: Flirting with VMware's CoreOS gambit

There's growing interest in VMware’s Photon. Essentially, Photon lets highly optimised Docker containers into VMware Land. One of the great things about deploying Docker is that it can take mere seconds to spin up a new instance. Photon can be thought of as a competitor to CoreOS and similar offerings. What is different about …
Stuart Burns, 15 Jan 2016
Rowing_photo_via_Shutterstock

Working with Asperger's in tech: We're in this together

Comment Some time has passed since my first article on the subject of being an Aspie in the work world. So, I thought it may be time to cover a subject closer to my heart, namely being an Aspie in social settings. Work, after all, isn’t just about what you do – it’s how you interact with people as well. First, let's start with my wife …
Stuart Burns, 09 Nov 2015
Data scientist image via Shutterstock

Let’s hear it for data scientists! Making our lives more and more frictionless

There’s a lot of hype around data scientists. You can blame big data and the cloud. Data scientists are lauded, hunted and positively desired by those wanting to squeeze the most from their information. In accordance with such demand come large salaries – the average is $123,000 in the US. Like the Yanks of WWII, data …
Stuart Burns, 24 Sep 2015
Spock

Modernise and prosper: It's time to imbibe server orchestration

Server farm deployment used to be a simple enough process. Sometimes it was manual, sometimes it was automated. The odd shell script here or there, or some basic file manipulation was the order of the day along with PXE and other automation tools. It was workable at best. As virtualisation technology matured, so did the …
Stuart Burns, 11 Sep 2015
sniper

Attention sysadmins! Here’s how to dodge bullets in a post-Ashley Madison world

If the Ashley Madison saga has taught us one thing – well, many things, but one main thing – it was never, ever, ever use a work email account for personal pursuits online. Once trawled, data from the leaked site revealed that thousands of those with Ashley Madison accounts – presumably men, given the site’s overwhelming …
Stuart Burns, 07 Sep 2015
Man and Superman

Security for those who know they can't win the security war

In a post-Snowden world most IT people are painfully aware that most of us would not win a fight against a well-funded organisation, or government, that wants the data on your network, laptop or device. When someone is targeted by such an entity, they won’t go for the ever-popular “spooks” style secret bugging or custom zero- …
Stuart Burns, 27 Aug 2015
Handing over dollars picture via Shutterstock

Windows 10 marks the end of 'pay once, use forever' software

Comment Windows 10 is the last version of Windows that will ever be released. If this really is the last version of Windows desktop operating system ever, though, where will Microsoft make its money? Microsoft, after-all, has built a multi-billion-dollar business on sales of new versions of Windows through retailers and to PC makers, …
Stuart Burns, 31 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
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, 09 Jul 2015
Vulcan bomber bomb bays, photo Phil Holding

Goodbye Vulcan: Blighty's nuclear bomber retires for the last time

Visit a British air show before September and it's possible you’ll get the opportunity to witness the last Vulcan bomber in flight - and this is definitely the last year you'll get the chance, this time. Alongside the staple leather-clad wing-walking ladies, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, simulated Apache attack- …
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

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
Chains image via Shutterstock

Virty servers' independence promise has been betrayed

Server virtualisation in its current state is pretty much done. The market is mature and critical tier one workloads are absolutely at home on tier one virtualised platforms such as VMware and HyperV. Virtualisation tends to be a very useful technology in larger organisations for what most administrators would say are the wrong …
Stuart Burns, 08 Jun 2015
Signs on the Metreon, across the street from San Francisco's Moscone West, in preparation for Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference

A world of conferences beckons for the Apple sysadmin

Unlike most of its rivals, Apple is primarily a hardware company which also happens to make the operating system and application delivery platform, taking a cut from the sales of software and media that others create for its platform. Mass laptop and desktop management is not really what Apple does; it lets others fill this void …
Stuart Burns, 07 May 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 …
Stuart Burns, 22 Apr 2015

Are YOU The One? Become a guru of your chosen sysadmin path

Systems administrators are system administrators, right? Not really. Once upon a time systems admins were jack of all trades and (perhaps) master of them all. Most of the IT-related functions were performed by an administrator and if some new technology came along they adapted and learnt the new package or system. However, as …
Stuart Burns, 17 Apr 2015

Learn yourself hireable: Top tips for improving your tech appeal

There comes a point in most people’s career when they get a bit bored of the day job and start looking to move. but one factor that can prevent upward mobility is a tired CV. Aside from the obvious updating and checking for grammar and punctuation errors, what else can give that bit of sparkle back to the resumé and get it …
Stuart Burns, 13 Apr 2015
Facebook data center - interior, lit up

One day all this could be yours: Be Facebook, without being Facebook

Data centre design is a costly business, costing Apple $1.2bn for a pair of “next-generation” carbon-neutral plants in Ireland and Denmark. Even the smallest average Joe data centre will easily cost north of $1m once the options such as multihomed networks, HVAC systems and other such critical kit is installed with redundancy, …
Stuart Burns, 30 Mar 2015
French fries

Sysadmins: Step away from the Big Mac. No more Heartbleed-style 2am patch dashes

Patching is a necessary evil for network administrators. Unfortunately, an awful lot of them have been burning not only the midnight oil, but also the weekend oil to keep up with patches such as – but not limited to – Heartbleed and Shellshock. The bad news is that this is only the start. As software vendors move towards a …
Stuart Burns, 04 Mar 2015
Boring Christmas

Reg man confesses: I took my wife out to choose a laptop for Xmas. NOOOO

We love our gadgets and phones and suchlike. Gadgets can also make great gifts, so long as you get the "right one". Some this Christmas season - like me - will no doubt have thought what a great idea it would have been to buy their partners (or some other significant loved one in the family) a new laptop, device, or tablet as …
Stuart Burns, 25 Dec 2014

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