The musings of an IT Consultant


March 31, 2010  10:55 PM

Cisco ASA upgrades….

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, so are you a fan of the Cisco ASA firewall? I am too! However if you use it, and want to use the latest firmware update you will need a RAM upgrade!

With the latest upgrade to the Cisco ASA, unfortunately you need to order more RAM. But once you have this you will be good for all the latest updates. However if you are buying a new ASA  you can order the new ASA stock and it should come with the right amount of base memory in it to run the new firmware.

If you have a Cisco ASA, make sure you get your RAM upgrade before attempting this. For example the original ASA 5505 comes with 256 MB and the ram upgrade ups it to 512 MB.

-Cheers, RP

March 31, 2010  10:50 PM

Standards and different vendors

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi there, so if you’re from the world of routing and switching you’ve probably run into this before. Dueling vendors in the same data center for network equipment.

So everything supports the same standards but for some reason you can’t get different network equipment to play nice? Welcome to the real world! In this day and age of standards, even when someone says their equipment supports the latest and greatest standards, take that with a grain of salt. All too often you can run into an issue where two different company’s network products won’t inter-operate.

What do you do in this situation? Well typically you contact the vendor and find a workaround. But what else can you do to avoid this? Find a vendor that meets your needs (whatever they may be) and stick with them. If you standardize on one vendor you will probably save yourself a world of hurt and tons of troubleshooting.

-RP


March 31, 2010  10:45 PM

Cisco Wireless for cheap

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, here’s a common question I get regarding managed wireless access points. How do I get cheap wireless that is managed for a low budget?

The answer is the Cisco Wireless Express solution! Normally I would recommend a wireless lan controller that manages it’s access points from the 2000 series or 4000 series of controllers but for the really small business you can easily get away with using the express solution.

The downside? You don’t get support for wireless N. Currently the only access points you can use with the Cisco 526 wireless lan controller is the 521 access point from Cisco. This access point only supports b/g. Hopefully Cisco will come out with an N version of this access point in the future and then people can take advantage of this good deal. The 526 WLC can support up to 12 access points.

You can read more about it here.

-RP


March 31, 2010  10:39 PM

Jumbo frames and virtualization

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, I want to talk about slow backups and virtualization. Sometimes we encounter problems where people have tried to setup backups but they are having problems with the speed of the backups to their network attached storage.

So what is a person to do? Well check to see if you have enabled jumbo frames. If you don’t enable jumbo frames this can easily adversely affect your backup speeds. Make sure you enabled jumbo frames not just in VMware but also in your physical network as well.

This can go a long way to solving the headache! You can read more about enabling jumbo frames support in VMware here.

-RP


March 31, 2010  10:33 PM

Buying a laptop that is more powerful than you need

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! So working in consulting I sometimes see people buy or want quotes on laptops that are well beyond what they need.

There are a lot of sleazy sales types out there that will be happy to sell you on the most expensive thing in their inventory and won’t bother to question you on how you actually use your computer. The proper thing to do is actually stop and think about what you’re going to use your computer for. Do you need Office, web browsing, and nothing else? Or are you a power user that needs tons of memory and cpu for running tons of virtual machines in VMware workstation for example?

The biggest thing you can do to save money when buying a new laptop is to size the laptop to your needs instead of getting carried away with the eye candy of the latest tech specs on the latest laptop and make an informed purchase decision. Sure Core i7′s are out now, but do you really need one? You might be able to buy an older laptop with an older processor still sitting on the shelf and get a great deal out of it! Something to think about….

-RP


March 31, 2010  10:28 PM

Hard core storage at a great price point!

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

So for those businesses that need critical storage for those critical apps, what do you do? There are a plethora of storage options out there, but the ones you need for those really critical applications can cost an arm and a leg.

Well I wanted to tell you a little bit about the HP EVA. This is one of HP’s higher end fiber channel SANs that has a ton of capacity and a good solid history of reliability. The EVA is one of those SANs that you can entrust some of your most high end apps too without breaking a sweat. I highly recommend using this SAN in those type of environments where you don’t want to trust your data to cheap iSCSI storage.

You can easily get into an HP EVA starter kit for a small price, and if you want to grow the solution will grow with you. The base EVA 4400 is even expandable to 96 TB which is nothing to sneeze at. The higher end 8400 EVA is expandable all the way to 324 TB!

You can read more here.

-RP


March 31, 2010  10:24 PM

Don’t underestimate the power of Windows Backup

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, so with all the crazy and cool software packages out there, we often overlook some of the simplest things right in front of our noses.

In this case I’m talking about NT backup, or Windows backup as it’s commonly referred to. This is the built-in backup into every Windows operating system that people can use to backup their systems.

Often, putting in an enterprise backup solution can be very expensive. Sometimes you only need this type of solution at the head office, and for small branch offices that aggregate backups to head office, you only need a cheap, quick and dirty solution. Windows backup is great for that!

You can easily configure it and then configure a script to email you the results of whether it failed or succeeded. The next time you are planning backup for a small business this is worth looking into!

-RP


March 31, 2010  10:19 PM

Cisco Live! 2010

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! So coming up this year again is the North American version of Cisco Live! This is Cisco’s yearly conference that contains all the great stuff that is Cisco!

Cisco Live is a great place to learn about all the new and current things Cisco as well as to meet like minded individuals in the Cisco community. You can also do technical training and try and earn some certs while you’re there.

This year I shall be attending and hope to see you all there. The dates for Cisco Live! this year are June 27 – July1, 2010 in Las Vegas. The conference will be at Mandalay Bay.

You can read more about it here.

-RP


March 31, 2010  10:13 PM

Usings Kaseya, random instances of server slow?

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, here’s an interesting problem I ran into. I recently had some complaints about something causing some slow server issues. Having never seen this before I decided to investigate further.

After investigating I found that there were a bunch of snmpget.exe requests running on the server that was pinning the cpu. Upon further investigation I found that it was the Kaseya agent spawning the process. Kaseya is a monitoring package that is commonly used in the Managed Services industry.

After finding the problem I was able to trace it to a computer audit being run by Kaseya during the day. I cancelled the tasks and then rescheduled the audit to run on the server during off business hours. This fixed the issue. Happy monitoring!

-RP


March 31, 2010  10:09 PM

QNAP update

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

So I’ve been using the QNAP NAS for quite some time now as per my previous blog posts. I just waned to post an update for you guys.

This device is great! If you need a cheap san for secondary storage or for a home lab environment it is great! The device does take some time to initially provision and configure when crreating the luns but once everything is setup, it is good to go!

I did some performance tests to it by shuttling backups to and fro via iSCSI and I was getting great speeds. This is definitely one of my favorite small business storage devices!

-RP


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