The musings of an IT Consultant


October 31, 2009  9:14 PM

The BlackBerry Bold 9700

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hello all you BlackBerry addicts out there! The new BlackBerry Bold 9700 is here, and Bold lovers everywhere are rejoicing! You see I have a few friends with Bolds and a few friends with the Curve 8900. They are constantly bickering with each other over who has the better BlackBerry.

The Curve 8900 is the smaller and lighter version of a Bold but with better features such as a nicer screen resolution and higher MP camera. The Bold on the other hand has a larger screen and is easier to work with for people who can’t read such a small screen.

Well the new Bold 9700 has the best of both worlds, it features all the upgrades of the Curve 9700 but in a bold formfactor. To make it even better, the new Bold 9700 is lighter than it’s predecessor coming in at 4.27 ounces versus 4.8 ounces. To compare the Curve 8900 is a paltry 3.8 ounces in weight.

Will I be going to a Bold 9700? Heck no! I love my Curve 8900 for the time being. But I know of a few friends that won’t be able to resist this upgrade. Once again BlackBerry scores a home run in the business world with another great smartphone!

-RP

October 31, 2009  9:09 PM

Tethering your BlackBerry

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, so if you’re like me, you might find yourself locked away in a high security managed data center somewhere working on a problem with limited network access and no Internet access whatsoever. You run into a problem and you want to use trusty old Google to find the answer. But with no Internet what do you do?

Well if you’re a BlackBerry user, never fear! There is an app called TetherBerry which allows you to use your BlackBerry as a modem and use your data plan for the charges. This is great because it gives you decent web browsing Internet access in a pinch. You could use it for other things but then you might find that a tad slow.

You can download a 30 day free trial from TetherBerry here. I found installation quite simple and was able to get it up and running in short order. If you’re an IT person on the go, you will definitely find this app extremely valuable!

-RP


October 31, 2009  9:00 PM

Is your data network ready for VoIP?

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! One of the greatest things about today’s network is that it seems to be able to handle anything. It doesn’t seem to matter what you want to do on your network, there is always a technology around the corner that can make it happen for you.

Well one of the most common things happening today is the conversion of data networks to voice and data networks. With the coming of VoIP, network engineers have been put under an increasing burden to support the world of the telephone when historically data and voice have been two separate entities.

There are a lot of people that erroneously think that VoIP is all about the phones and the PBX, but in reality if you don’t have a data network that can handle the traffic, none of that is really going to matter. Some of things network administrators find out in the end is that a switch isn’t always just a switch. What I mean by this is that administrators have been forced to cut and slash budgets and buy cheaper equipment only to find out that their switch is sub-par and cannot support a voice network. They are then faced with redoing their entire data network infrastructure which makes the cost of going to VoIP prohibitively expensive.

If administrators really look at what is offered to them when they buy network equipment such as switches, they can then plan for future VoIP deployments so when the time comes their data network will be ready. Things such as QOS and POE are two items that are not paid heed to when buying switches if VoIP isn’t in the equation, but then you find out you need it when the company starts going in the VoIP direction.

What I’m trying to say here is that in the future, almost all of us will be using VoIP, so you might as well start planning for getting your data networks ready now.

-RP


October 31, 2009  8:46 PM

Epic Technology Day a great success!

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, so as you know I work for the largest locally owned IT consulting company in Manitoba. Twice a year we hold one of the largest HP partner events in North America called Epic Technology Day. This year I did a presentation on VoIP and Wireless and I was very happy with the turnout and buzz generated by the presentation.

Well after all was said and done we broke yet another record and had our largest registration numbers yet. I just wanted to thank all of you that came out for the event and I hope to see you again in April for our next Technology Day.

If there any particular presentations you want to see at the next event, please don’t hesitate to let us know so we can help tailor the event to the needs of our customers. I hope to be presenting again at the next Tech Day and look forward to seeing you all again soon!

-RP


October 31, 2009  8:40 PM

Cisco’s SDM, how much do you hate it?

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, so as a Cisco certified individual that works for a Cisco partner, it’s pretty easy to guess that I would like all things Cisco. Well almost all things. The one thing I hate immensley is the Cisco SDM. This is the gui software that was used to manage Cisco routers in the past.

Now lately you can use other things to manage the routers, and you can always use the trusty CLI (Command Line Interface) which is my favorite way of managing anything Cisco. But unfortunately I still see many administrators trying to use the SDM. Heck even in my CCNP training they advocate using the SDM. Talk about out of date training material.

So what I’m trying to say here is that I just want the SDM to die and go away. It hasn’t even been updated since 2007 according to the release notes. If you’re an administrator and you’re still using the SDM, please stay away from it. It will cause you more grief than good. There are a ton of bugs in it and there are better ways for you to be managing your routers.

-RP


October 31, 2009  8:35 PM

The Cisco ESW 500 Series Switches for the SMB

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hello again folks! I wanted to talk a little bit about switching again. This time in the SMB! In the SMB space it has been historically hard to find good quality but cheap switching. Especially if you require POE switching for things such as VoIP or POE powered access points in your wireless network.

Well Cisco has a great solution for the SMB with their ESW 500 series line of switches. These switches are also from their Small Business Pro line. There are a variety of models to choose from including POE models. For those clients that just need basic switching with vlans and POE these are great switches to choose from.

Granted, Cisco has the 2960 switches with the Lan Lite images, but they aren’t at the same price point. The ESW 500 series are aggressively priced against competing brands.

-RP


October 31, 2009  8:26 PM

Great small business firewall from Cisco

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

So as a result of Cisco getting more and more into the small business world, they have finally decided to position a small business firewall in the market for the smallest of small businesses. The Cisco SA 500 series of security appliances. This is from the Cisco Small Business Pro line.

The Cisco SA 500 series comes in a variety of models, the SA 520, 520W and 540. The 520W is particularly nice because it provides built-in wireless functionality as well. The 540 is basically the version that supports the most throughput and is the higher end version of the bunch.

From using the SA 520, it is apparent from the start that it is meant to be user friendly. The entire device is configured via the GUI and there is no command line to worry aobut. If you just need a small appliance to drop into a very small business for basic Internet access and firewalling capability, this is a great solution. On top of all that it has VPN and VLAN support so you can do some business-like configuration of the device instead of just throwing in a home based router/firewall.

-RP


October 31, 2009  8:19 PM

How to monitor free space on a LUN?

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! So further to my last post, once you’ve decided on free space for your LUN, how the heck do you monitor it?

There are a few scripts out there that will do this for you and a few free programs that will show you the free space. But how do you get it to check and then email you an alert if you go past your set threshold? Veeam of course!

The good people at Veeam have a product called Veeam Monitor, which will not only monitor your storage but also monitor a myriad of other VMware related things. Features such as hardware monitoring and performance analysis will also help you with your VMware administration duties.

You can check out the free version of Veeam Monitor here and if you like it you can then opt to purchase the full product.

-RP


October 31, 2009  8:11 PM

How much free space is needed on a LUN for VMware?

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! One of the common questions you might find in the virtual world with VMware is how much free space do I leave on a LUN? When is it not enough?

A common mistake is to think you only need enough free space for the size of the VM itself and not much more. Well if you do that you’ll quickly find out the hard way that you should have allocated more. You see VMware needs space for things such as snapshots and space for emergency situations where you might need the space for shuffling things around from LUN to LUN.

The general consensus for free space on a VMware LUN is 10% to 20% free space. This isn’t just for snapshots, but also to account for any emergencies you might have to deal with on a VM where you need the free space. So if you don’t have  10% to 20% free space, then essentially you should treat the disk as full for all intents and purposes. 20% can be considered on the conservative side but it doesn’t hurt to be cautious.

I have heard people say 10% to 15% is good enough but only if you have very strict snapshot policies to ensure that you are monitoring the disk space closely.

-RP


October 6, 2009  7:17 PM

Windows Mobile 6.5 to challenge BlackBerry and iPhone

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hello again! Windows Mobile 6.5 is released! And the world went crazy……ummm…yeah….no, not really. I think Windows Mobile 6.5 has been released without much fanfare actually. It’s not like all the hype around the iPhone or the BlackBerry Storm.

I think what has happened is Microsoft has seen declining market share surrounding their mobile products for one good reason……they’re not that great. I can list countless good things about BlackBerries and iPhones, with only a few downsides. But I’ve had no end of issues with the many Windows Mobile based phones I’ve owned in the past. As a matter of fact, it was my horrific experience with Windows Mobile that actually pushed me right into BlackBerry’s waiting arms a long time ago. :)

Now hopefully this new version is a lot better so the Windows Mobile users out there can get a better experience, but they always claim things are better with the next version and it never really has been that great. If Microsoft wants to really get serious about this, they better really focus on what makes BlackBerry and iPhone so successful and see if they can do something about it.

For now, I will continue to recommend either BlackBerry devices or iPhones to my corporate customers based on their needs as those two devices are both proven in my opinion.

-RP


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