* Posts by danXtrate

17 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Nov 2013

Bloodied and broken AFA pioneer Violin picks itself up and tries again


Re: Violent Memories: The Book

please, oh please, say some more

Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.


Aquired taste

Well.... I wouldn't say smartwatches are useless, but they are something I could live without. Been using my Moto 360 Gen 1 for a couple of years now and I've grown to love it. I'm so used to it that even when I'm not wearing it I look at my watch first when my phone receives a call or a notification. Yes, I have to charge it every night, but my smartphone also requires daily charging, so it's just another thing to place in the charging station at night. I use it for cycling (Strava), send short emails or messages, receive tweets and all notifications I've setup in the phone app. Oh, yeah, and check the time.

Fibre Channel over Ethernet is dead. Woah, contain yourselves


FCoE is not positioned correctly

In my opinion FCoE was pushed into the marketplace a bit too early, unpolished and positioned very badly.

The early claims were that it simplifies management, will evolve along the Ethernet standards, is very flexible and can be used end to end in a datacenter, it's cheaper than a 10Gig Ethernet + 8Gig FC solution.

It got most of these things wrong:

1. It's does not have simple management, it just puts together storage and ethernet admins. And those guys don't really mix up.

2. Can't be used as an end to end solution without an FCF, and that brings the price up a lot. The FCF is usually contained in a converged switch or separately, but I only know of one such product.

3. It's not really cheaper. You can get Nexus levels of performance with Juniper + Brocade combos at three quarter the price.

4. You can't do proper FC zoning without actually using FC switches connected to the converged ones and this kind of defies the purpose of simplicity and ease of management.

5. Computing power for a two socket server has increased to the point where a two port converged adapter is no longer enough and you need a second one in order to run without bottlenecks. Spread some FlexFabric or VirtualFabric icing and you have a highly complex, dynamic and intensely administered cake. And the SAN is usually a serene place, with blue skies and where change rarely happens.

I believe FCoE still has a place in the enterprise, but strictly as a way to get both FC and Ethernet to ToR or Blade Converged switches where you can split the traffic between FC and Ethernet. It can succeed if the industry comes up with cheap converged switches that do just that, while Ethernet and FC people can handle their networks separately.

Welcome to the fast-moving world of flash connectors


Is it just me or this article gets iSCSI all wrong? iSCSI means sending and receiving SCSI commands through an IP network. Key word: IP. You can send SCSI commands through other types of networks such FC.

Behold the Lumia 535 NOTkia: Microsoft wipes Nokia brand from mobes


Does it really matter in this day and age what platform you use as a home user? Unless you are a serious mobile gamer (the term made me smile as I typed it) or install and test apps each day after going through the morning read of the pseudo techo consumer websites that proclamate themselves as "the bible" it makes little difference if you use Android, iOS or WinPho in their latest versions.

I personally find iPhones nice devices and have the utmost respect for Apple for being able to keep up the Jobsian hype while literally herding fanbois to Apple stores with each release. I'll never pay the insane prices they ask for but good for them they still have a large loyal fanbase.

Android is a different story. Since it's available to so many suppliers, many of them botch the customization and really mess up marketing wize. Look at Sony, HTC and Samsung. I've used great high end phones from all of them but I always found myself rooting and installing custom firmware because of lack of support and crapware I couldn't get rid of. The best Android experience I've ever had was a Moto G with bog standard Android. Nexus devices aren't sold by Google in my are and are kind of expensive.

WinPho is great for business use, where you just need a fast interface for even low end devices, integration with the software infrastructure (and MS has a rock solid foothold there) in a secure and manageable way and decent to great battery life. As a consumer I am impressed with what WinPho can do with few hardware resources, which is actually a first for Microsoft, the ease of use even for first time smartphone users and the quality and snappiness of even low end devices.

I'm a technical guy by trade and my next phone will be OnePlus One, but both my girlfriend and my mother use Lumia phones and they couldn't care less they don't have a full file browser. They care that the phones are fast, get good battery life, have facebook, twitter, onedrive, skype and lightweight games and full office editor. The 535 dual sim is in my sights as a christmas present for at least one of them.

Reg man has the cure for IBM storage: Just swallow 10 firms


Re: New POWER8 servers:

VMware did not kill them, they have just repositioned. You cannot get the availability, flexibility and uptime of a Power based machine or VM on x86. Not yet at least.

KVM is supported on Power CPUs, by the way.


Yes, I do. But you do realize that GTS figures are not taken into consideration when reporting storage numbers, right? GTS is just a large VAR from my point of view, they would resell whatever the customer wants.

@rvandolson Have you considered a migration to Storwize Unified? I believe you can virtualize older storage with a unified Gen2 box now and with the added compression cards you will bring new life to ageing NSerries boxes. Provided you also use FC of course. How do you addredd the extra bandwidth needs in the Bladecenter chassis? I've had customers migrating to Flex rather than upgrading their current Bladecenter chassises because of complexity of upgrades and cost of investment in an ageing architecture.


Re: IBM Cures

Server based flash and spinning drives may serve their purpose, but arrays still serve their purpose. You cannot get the availability and redundancy a serious virtualized environment needs. Software defined everything companies promote that software wil rule everything, but fail to realize that without a serious hardware foundation the entire structure will collapse. And to be honest server based controllers are not nearly as powerfull as array based controllers. You could scale out, but that has it's own performance challenges as you add and add nodes.


Dear Reg Man,

I think you need a little more insight in the storage ranges of EMC and IBM.

For once, IBM has quite a great combo between SVC/Storwize/FlashSystem and Tivoli Storage management products and Cloud Manager.

You have SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center as a Software Defined Storage management gateway with which you can easily integrate whatever storage you might consider.

Storage Virtualization is years in front of ANY other competitor. EMC basically give VPLEX away with midrange VNX arrays just to be able to compete with Storwize v5000 and v7000.

As for Flash, why bother with hybrid arrays (which you can have just by adding SSD's to Storwize) when you can virtualize FlashSystem with storwize v7000 (Gen2 especially) and San Volume Controller?

Where IBM is truly lacking right now are the unified versions of Storwize v3700 and v5000 arrays, EMC is quite a few steps ahead in the game in this area.

SONAS and Isilon are quite evenly matched, but again at the high end. Isilon can be better at the lower end of the scale out NAS market.

If you look at the IBM Storage division results patterns over the last couple of years you could realize that the major market losses coincide with the scaling down and eventually dropping out of the OEM partnership with Netapp.

IBM was developing their storage portfolio with LSI and since they were bought by Netapp most of IBMs entry and midrange portfolio was in the hands of a major competitor. All of the DS and N Series ranges were phased out and replaced by Storwize. It was quite a hit, but I see IBM recovering from it.

I'd really love to see Storwize and FlashSystem being sold to Lenovo, IBM has a really hard time marketing their products to end customers while EMC has some great marketing programs. We'll see what next year will bring, Lenovo seems to be in a buying mood.

Federation fracture: EMC's post-Tucci future is either SALE or SPLIT


It's a pity to see one of the last true great tech companies tear itself apart because of "activist investors". These guys are nothing more than modern day pirates as they invest solely for short term gains, not caring what happens to the company as a whole. I'm pretty sure EMC will go the way of the dodo bird if they sell off VMware.

Recommendations for NAS-based home media set-up


My tested setup

After trying out multiple solutions, here's what I ended up with. I've tried to recycle most of my gaming PC setup and upgrade as "value oriented" as possible.

1. Zyxel NSA325 NAS with 2x3TB WD RED drives configured as a RAID 1 array. It runs file services for my entire network, a DLNA server and that's about it. This little NAS is dirt cheap, has decent software options and also THREE usb ports, one of each is USB3.0 and automounts any external drive you would connect to it. It's been running without issues for one a half years now with minimal downtime. It can also replicate folders to a remote FTP site which is pretty neat for a device available for about 150 EUR without any drives.

2. Single 40" dumb TV with an LG DP1 wired media player. Does 1080p videos brilliantly and is also a DLNA client.

3. TP Link 841 wireless AP handling connectivity and VPN services for the entire network.

4. Various notebooks, tablets and smartphones running VLC (for Windows) and Bubble UPNP and MX player (for smartphones and tablets) as media players.

5. Creative Extigy sound card working as a makeshift receiver for my Creative T6060 system. I connect both the LG DP1 and my set top box to it and it has a nice little feature called CMSS so I can listen to stereo sound from all the speakers in my system.

I don't do 3D or 4K television, so 1080p video and decent audio is all I need.

Soon to be replaced:

the LG DP1 is a nice little player but I need some more features (web browser, online video services) which I will get from a Samsung Smart Blu Ray player such as the BD-E6100 which you can get refurbished for about 100 EUR right now.

Also I find 5.1 audio a little over rated for living room media so I'll replace the Extigy and T6060 setup with a refurbished Onkyo or NAD receiver and a pair of multi channel tower speakers. And maybe a nice pair of headphones, AKG or Sennheiser.

I'd really recommend my setup, is good value and easy to set up and use, requiring minimal maintenance.

My work-from-home setup's better than the office. It's GLORIOUS


Always better hardware at work

I'm a presales consultant and I've always made a point in getting the best hardware needed for my job. I always managed to get it as appropriate hardware helps me deliver better and faster results. Testing technical proposals is a big part of my daily routine so I have my own little server farm to play with, together with all flash arrays and some other juicy bits. My production notebook has to be portable, quiet and powerfull enough for my mobile work and able to drive at least two external displays at my desktop.

I've been using thinkpads for at 7 years now and they've never let me down. Right now I'm using a T420 i5, 8GB RAM, 120GB mSATA SSD, 500GB HDD notebook and two 23" displays connected to the docking station. I'm looking at ways to add 8 more Gigs of RAM but I wouldn't change it for anything newer right now. I loathe chiclet style keyboards and unfortunately the old school extra tough extra usable keyboard Thinkpads were famous for have gone the way of the Dodo bird.

My home setup is much more multimedia oriented, I've got a dual drive NAS streaming music, movies and photos to varoius devices such as older thinkpads, TVs, tablets, smartphones and so on. I've given up computer based gaming and I'm thinking about geting a console in the near future, but no space for hardcore home hardware for me. I've got enough of it at work. Been thinking of doing a new ITX build for my photo editing but I think I won't be able to get much use out of it, as time is so short.

P.S. Seeing what almost everybody else's posts, I think I'm one of the lucky few who have almost everything they ask for provided by their employer.

Is FCoE faster than Fibre Channel? Who knows? Just run your own tests


Re: AC Are native FCoE networks currently deployable?

What FCoE is supposed to be is hassle free easily manageable networking. At least this is how its major backers push it onto unsuspecting targets.

Management is basically the same as in usual architectures, the single difference being that you do both Ethernet and FC management from the same console. No REAL advantage here.

But let's talk about the disadvantages:

FCoE switches are more expensive than normal 10Gbit switches and 8Gig FC switches combined.

The standard is evolving as we speak and maybe the new FC-BB-6 standard will solve the cost problem.

Ethernet changes are more frequent than SAN changes and this leaves the door open for administration SNAFUs affecting both the communication and data access of the infrastructure.

And in the end, if you take a step back you begin to wonder why Cisco is so eager in pushing FCoE when the entire industry is shifting to the Software Defined Network which works just fine with cheap dump Ethernet and FC switches.

P.S. don't even get me started on Cisco half arsed, "good enough" implementation of their bladeserver systems. Had they not offered the products basically for free while suckling profits from their networking business they would be a mere spec of dust on the server radar.


Re: AC Are native FCoE networks currently deployable?

Nice point there, Matt! I honestly think that Anonymous Coward is either getting his info from Cisco FUD or is just trolling at this point. I can hardly imagine a large enterprise using a storage connection technology that you cant even use for basic disaster recovery without insanely expensive gear. Native FCoE (and when I say native I mean going from an FCoE initiator to a FCoE target without any bridges) can be done but the switches able to handle this kind of traffic are extremely expensive as they need to include a Fibre Channel Forwarder in order to deliver the FC part of FCoE to the target. I've done it, it works. The major problem with FCoE is that it supports a small number of hops ( three, I believe) so you cannot scale up a native FCoE solution properly. You'd have to add FC switches thus denying any theoretical advantage. I was a big fan of FCoE when it became economically viable, but all that vanished when I was faced with the first installations at my customers.


As far as I know you still have to do zoning inside a VSAN, so where is the plus there? Yes, you could make things work without zoning, but that would really be a management nightmare as the architecture gets more complex.

In my opinion FCoE is less complex from a marketing point of view, not from the actual implementation guy's point of view.


From a deployment point of view, I'd the best way to go is FC. It's simple, reliable and fast. FCoE adds complexity as you'd have to manage both Ethernet and FC from the same switches which sounds great but is a real pain. I think FCoE is flawed right now as you cannot do proper zoning on the FC side without going through proper FC switches.

Death of the business Desktop


Nice trend, crappy licensing

I've trying to make VDI projects happen to many customers, but all but a few have come close to fruition. ROI and TCO projections are always the problem, even if you take into consideration operating and administration costs for 5 years.

Infrastructure costs, especially storage, are really high and that's because sizing guides provided by VMware, Citrix and co always underestimate the IOPS/Throughput and read/write ratio for VDI data.

New flashy arrays such as ExtremIO and RamSan/IBM FlashSystem will help bring the storage cost down. I've tested the new IBM Flashsystem 810 and it's absolutely awesome, but this takes care of only half the problem.

Software solution like Atlantis iLIO are quite interesting but the bring fundamental changes to the usual VDI model and still have to find traction in the market. Mokafive seemed to be an interesting approach but any attempt to contact them has ended in radio silence on their behalf.

Big companies are tied to Microsoft and migrating to a VDI or DaaS environment implies enormous licensing costs as MS tries to ride the VDI wagon as profitably as possible.

Desktop performance and user expectation are big issues that need to be set in the early stages of a project.

A basic 500 EUR PC comes with Core i3, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Win 7 Pro license and a decent 19-20" display and it can handle most workloads a usual company employee can throw at it. Trying to match the same level of performance in a VDI environment requires careful user profiling and monitoring and for relatively normal use cases you will find yourself proposing zero client solutions using the Teradici chipset and VMware Horizon backend, both of witch come with a higher cost per user when you factor in Windows licensing costs.

And then you have the peripheral devices problem. Specific devices such as USB scanners are a nightmare to integrate in a zero client VDI solution.

Last but not least if the end user has a distributed environment, with many small locations you will find yourself modifying the networking infrastructure as to ensure at least a basic level of functionality if the main connection to the central datacenter should fail.

Another thing to consider is user rejection of the platform, as it can be viewed as an advanced form of employer control.

All in all I think VDI, BYOD and DaaS are the next big thing in corporate environments but VMware, Citrix and Microsoft need to come to their senses and bring licensing costs down or at least provide an alternative licensing model. I guess a monthly per user fee would fare much better. The other alternative would be a completely open source solution based on KVM and maybe RedHat would be a great alternative if they could provide a stable, scalable and cheap solution.