New horizons for VMlover

You may have noticed my blog has now changed both to WordPress and to a hosted solution. It was something I had as a goal on my 2010 goals so I can now tick this off :)

After a successfull year on Blogger I felt I needed to jump to a more feature rich and content driven blog with more than just words and pictures, this is something I hope you will begin to see in the near future. Naturally as this is an evening job it will not be quick but I will be making concerted efforts to do this. The current Theme is not the finalised and will change when I have time to decide and build artistic value to the website. 

Anyone on the blogger platform or other Blog hosts I seriously recommend WordPress. After kicking the tyres on the public hosted WordPress site benefits i’ve found include better CMS and more importantly as a person I naturally like control and choice of things, I wanted to have more control on how I manage and operate my blogdom and many other benefits of an environment being at my own destiny, However I am disapointed as I failed to compile a business case and blueprint…..:)

The next steps – A new Domain name

This will come in a bit when I have more time to plan the strategic move and to also find a catchy more professional name, I like my current domain name, it was spontaneous and different, the next one needs to be suitable for other goals I set myself for 2010 which include more strategic and business oriented driven content and also to ensure guest bloggers can be sure they are contributing to something unique.

Keep posted folks

Now for something Cloud related…

This post is short and sweet….

After a week of more Cloud news it strikes me that Cloud is the new Black. In the industry we have big large software corporations who have made their owners and shareholders extremely rich with 20-30 years of business strategy that was a million miles away from Cloud with Client-Server models, most of which are all now pushing the future of their business strategy on the Cloud model.

This has started to sum one thing up for me….mainly around the fact I think
ISV’s want to host services in the Cloud to ensure they do what humans do and learn from there mistakes, with these key feats of history never beckoning their door again by

  • Having complete centralised big brother monitoring of offered software usage, with no stone unturned for organisational usage of offered cloud services. This means no more true ups and no more EA’s or GA’s being operated on a trust basis
  • Being able to change Software license models at the drop of a hat (a bit like your gas/electricity bill),
  • Design applications that do not have excessive and long development periods to mean that they get the potentially underdeveloped software out to the end user and they can start to be more lucrative than competitors, with that under developed software being able to be amended at later points in time,
  • Kill the VAR/SI relationships for quicker PO’s and to reduce internal ISV overheads of relationship management

So there you go…i’ve made some predictions, fail they may but I am more than sure people will start to realise this indirectly in some shape or form.

Home NAS – Iomega IX4-200d

I had the great pleasure of getting my hands on a Storcenter IX4-200d monster NAS box and and I can safely say it has been a massive and beneficial peice of kit for use with my day to day home storage needs. Here is my review and feedback to what I think is a great product for the home and anyone wanting to do some good home lab testing.

Previously I ran VM’s from a USB Drive with WS7, with about 3 Individual SATA disks homed in my local PC for other storage such as iTunes, MP3, Movies and Pics etc. This worried me, it wasn’t raided, it certainly was starting to run low on free space and there is so long you can take running ESX in a VM on WS7. So I was looking around for a NAS solution which would be cost effective, fitted the bill functionality wise and provided good all round storage space. Originally i’d dabbled at the lower end models of the IX2-200d and thought maybe it would suffice, after a think about it something said to me though that an investment in a 1TB (With RAID of course) NAS would suffice on first 6-12 months but over time as my lab grow would probably end up with me wanting more space at some point so I felt the IX4-200d was yes intially oversized at 4TB (2.7TB Usable with RAID 5) but I know it will keep me more than satisfied for future storage needs.

Key selling points and benefits I’ve found for the IX4-200d are as follows;
  • Small form factor, it looked MASSIVE on the Iomega site and I imagined it to arrive like an EMC Celerra would! However I was so surprised when I got it out of the box (which was rather small too I might add) that it was no more than about 10×10 Inches which was excellent for storing in my small lab :)
  • Setup - Setting this up was a breeze, i was literally up and running in about 10 Minutes, it is RAID’ed from the factory (additionally supports RAID 1,5 and 10) and ready to go prepackaged, so easy and to be honest this is the way it should be
  • Protocol/Application support – iOmega is an EMC company, and all iOmega Storcenter devices are fully HCL compatible with vSphere/ESX when using iSCSI and NFS, this is great as I use this for home lab (see next section on this). Additionally DLNA support is available so I can stream movies to my DLNA compatible TV and also PS3! again excellent for playing music and browsing my camera photos
  • Speed - Doing time machine backup was about 20-25MB/s and general VM across NFS is really quick. Also copying files up and to is more than acceptable speed wise along with vSphere VM’s running and cloning etc quite happily at an acceptable speed
  • File Migration - A cool feature is being able to connect my original USB disk and copy that onto the NAS without copying files across the network, I can also use the USB drive across a CIFS share all very good timesavers.
  • LED Screen - This is native to the IX4 and not available on other versions, you get a nice little interface to see storage volume capacity and other stuff like IP Address of the box etc
As said I use this at Home for my home lab, in this lab I have recently purchased a HP ML110 for lab testing and this works very well with the IX4-200d. Coupled with good vSphere kit the IX is a great piece of kit for consolidating out both you home media storage needs and Home Lab needs onto one easy to use and manage NAS, it has Block and File level storage capability which is great for playing with both versions of storage protocol and overall when used with 1GB networking is better than any extremely beefed up PC with Workstation 7. Overall I am very pleased, I am an Nandy pandy hands off Architect in my day job but using this provides me with all the needs that I would typically get when both using vSphere day to day or within a lab environment back in the office.

Product feedback requests

Now for the bad bit….what the IX4-200D doesn’t do for me;

  • Mozy support – I use Mozy backup and it only supports Mozy backup when the IX is connected to a PC with USB (a big USB drive basically), you then use your the relevant drive the IX is mapped as with the Mozy PC Client. I seriously hope EMC/Iomega release an update soooon!
  • Copying files between CIFS shares can’t be done within the Admin web page, I’d like to know or be able to copy files locally via the Lifeline OS and not have to use the device mounting volumes
  • Being a techy I wouldnt mind seeing a bit more performance monitoring from the core hardware, things like disk write/read speed etc would be a great option, even if it was not enabled by default
Great resources for IX4-200d