The Real (and Virtual) Adventures of Nathan the IT Guy

February 23, 2010  3:07 AM

Why RAID 6 stops working in 2019

Nathan Simon Nathan Simon Profile: Nathan Simon

To think that technology has come so far in the last 10 years, and now RAID arrays are becoming a risk! This is information everyone should read…

The problem with RAID 5 is that disk drives have read errors. SATA drives are commonly specified with an unrecoverable read error rate (URE) of 10^14. Which means that once every 200,000,000 sectors, the disk will not be able to read a sector.

2 hundred million sectors is about 12 terabytes. When a drive fails in a 7 drive, 2 TB SATA disk RAID 5, you’ll have 6 remaining 2 TB drives. As the RAID controller is reconstructing the data it is very likely it will see an URE. At that point the RAID reconstruction stops.

Here’s the math:
1 – 1 /(2.4 x 10^10)) ^ (2.3 x 10^10) = 0.3835

You have a 62% chance of data loss due to an uncorrectable read error on a 7 drive RAID with one failed disk, assuming a 10^14 read error rate and ~23 billion sectors in 12 TB. Feeling lucky?

Read the rest of the article over at ZDNet.


February 21, 2010  9:04 PM

Windows 7 RC1 Expiring

Nathan Simon Nathan Simon Profile: Nathan Simon

Well I don’t have to remind everyone that your evaluation copy of Windows 7 will be expiring soon. As of March 1st 2010, you PC will begin to shutdown every 2 hours. On June 1st 2010, Windows 7 will stop working altogether. So to alleviate yourself from the stresses of a PC that just doesn’t want to keep running, go out and buy yourself a copy already. It was nice enough that Microsoft allowed us to use this amazing OS for free for all this time…

If you order from Microsoft you can download and burn it right away. Go here to select your version of Windows 7, obviously i would recommend Windows 7 Ultimate, its only 20$ more than Windows 7 Home Premium.

Lucky me, since I have a buddy that is an MCT, I was able to use one of his activation keys.


February 19, 2010  4:16 AM

QNAP NAS Devices

Nathan Simon Nathan Simon Profile: Nathan Simon

My co-worker Raj and I were going over a solution that we could present to SMB clients, and we were looking for a product that could be utilized pretty much anywhere, well i think we found such a device! QNAP a little known vendor produces some of the coolest NAS devices out there… they range from 2 drive hot-swap enclosures to a whopping 8 drives. With SATA-2 drives being 2TB, just think of how much space you can have… 14TB Raid 5 with a hot-spare, that’s crazy. The price is very affordable as well,  you have to check out the web interface. Watch the video below and let me know what you think!

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

The specific device that we are looking into is the QNAP TS-439 Pro Turbo NAS. See Insert below from their website.

QNAP TS-439 Pro is the new generation 4-bay model of the worldwide award-winning Turbo NAS Series, providing superior performance for massive data sharing, powerful all-in-one business server features, advanced RAID data protection, built-in iSCSI target service, AES 256-bit volume-based encryption, and rock-solid hot-swappable hard drive design for business.

Powered by Intel 1.6 GHz CPU, 1GB DDRII memory, the TS-439 Pro delivers superior performance for multiple business applications. Advanced RAID configurations, including RAID 0/ 1/ 5/ 6/ 5+Spare, JBOD, Online RAID Capacity Expansion, and Online RAID Level Migration are all supported.

All in all, I would love to get my hands on one of these devices! Hey QNAP, why don’t you send me one and I can review it! 🙂

Have a great Friday!


February 19, 2010  3:59 AM

BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express

Nathan Simon Nathan Simon Profile: Nathan Simon

Okay, maybe its me, but I think BlackBerry knows that Windows 7 Mobile is coming and with Windows 7 Mobile, you do not need anything in between Exchange and a Windows Mobile device. So what does BlackBerry do? They release BES Express!

BES Express can be installed right on your exchange server or Small Business Server. With support up to 75 devices and near BlackBerry Enterprise Server capabilities, the price tag seems quite desirable. What does it cost you ask? Well apparently its free! Yes you hear me correctly free.

BlackBerry® Enterprise Server Express enables businesses of any size to quickly and easily get started with the BlackBerry solution. It provides advanced BlackBerry smartphone features with no additional software or user license fees, and works with any Internet-enabled BlackBerry data plan or a BlackBerry enterprise data plan.

For full details, and to sign up for notice of when the software is available, go here.


February 14, 2010  8:53 PM

Windows Mobile 7

Nathan Simon Nathan Simon Profile: Nathan Simon

Can Windows Mobile 7 breath new life into Microsoft smart-phones? My guess is if they put as much effort into making Windows Mobile 7 as they did with Windows 7 then we may have a worthy successor. If the mobile OS gets good ratings, it may bring Microsoft back into the running.

BARCELONA–Microsoft is expected to show off the long-awaited Windows Mobile 7 operating system for smart-phones at Mobile World Congress, as the company attempts to resurrect itself in this arena and better compete against rivals Apple and Google.

There are some interesting articles out there talking about Windows Mobile 7 like this story over at PC World. Google has some cool videos, and imagesof the new mobile OS. Microsoft is also integrating Xbox Live into mobile OS 7, that should attract alot of the younger crowd, im guessing Microsoft is banking on this.

Alas in the time in my life I am quite the Blackberry fan-boy, so I don’t see myself moving over to a Windows smart-phone, maybe sometime in the future, but right now, i will stick with my blackberry.


February 13, 2010  4:35 PM

Cannot Upgrade ESX 3.5u4 to vSphere using vSphere Host Update Utility

Nathan Simon Nathan Simon Profile: Nathan Simon

I am doing an upgrade right now to ESX vSphere4, using the Host Update Utility, sure enough it failed (nothing ever works the first time, right?) with this error message Upgrade Package Validation Failed: Unsupported ESX version: esx-4.0.0-1.9-208167-release .

Basically what it is saying to you is that you have to download the matching revision of VMware vSphere Client and Host Update Utility. For the above release you will need the VMware-viclient-all-4.0.0-208111. Once installed you should have no issues!


February 5, 2010  6:36 AM

ESX Host and SSH Commands Unresponsive

Nathan Simon Nathan Simon Profile: Nathan Simon

Just had this issue with a college, one of our ESX hosts was unresponsive, ie if you typed in a command to list Virtual Machines; vmware-cmd -l nothing would show up, like it was hung.

Here is what you need to do…

ps -ef | grep vmware-hostd

You should see something like:

root 3545 3504 1 11:40 ? 00:00:12 /usr/lib/vmware/hostd/vmware-hostd /etc/vmware/hostd/config.xml -u

You can now kill the process by:

kill -9 <PID> (e.g. kill -9 3545)

You should then be able to restart the mgmt-vmware service. By this time, it should already be running and you will see a list like the one below…

[root@esx01]# service mgmt-vmware restart
Stopping VMware ESX Server Management services:
VMware ESX Server Host Agent Watchdog                   [  OK ]
VMware ESX Server Host Agent                            [  OK ]
Starting VMware ESX Server Management services:
VMware ESX Server Host Agent (background)               [  OK ]
Availability report startup (background)                [  OK ]

Next I would execute the command below.

[root@server]# service vmware-vpxa restart
Stopping vmware-vpxa:                                      [  OK ]
Starting vmware-vpxa:                                      [  OK ]

After that you should be able to run commands against the console.

Vmware-cmd -l should now return you a list of running VMs.


January 31, 2010  6:53 PM

Windows on iPad? You bet…

Nathan Simon Nathan Simon Profile: Nathan Simon

Well all you apple freaks, Windows has already invaded the iPad, Citrix has release an “App” to allow users to connect to there windows desktops from anywhere in the world.

The Citrix Receiver software is free and already available for Citrix customers with an iPhone, since a Citrix Xen vitalization back-end is required to make this all work. Essentially the iPad becomes a thin client displaying Windows 7 running on a server. Citrix said it has more than 200,000 customers that already use Citrix Xen Desktop or Citrix XenApp.

You know, this might actually make me consider buying an iPad, I would be able to check on my home PC, connect to client machines, play music, and check up on the latest news stories.

As I am sure iPad will also support Windows Terminal services so you don’t have to rely on Citrix to get connected to your work or home PCs. The price point is right and the functionality is there… I guess I might be on the iPad bandwagon.

And its only time until Windows 7 is installed on the iPad, based on the fact that Apple harware is now based on Intel architecture, now that would be interesting.


January 28, 2010  4:35 AM

IPad – 60 days and counting

Nathan Simon Nathan Simon Profile: Nathan Simon

Well Apple is finally going to release its version of the tablet PC, its just under two months to launch and it is said that there is no Canadian data deal. With the low cost of the tablet, it might seem attractive, for the WIFI version that is, but the 3G model will incur a data plan of sorts. South of the boarder AT&T are offering data plans for 14.99US(250MB/mnth) / 29.99US (Unlimited Data). Personally i think this wont stop the masses from adopting this new “toy”, for myself, I’d rather wait till Acer, Dell, or HP release a more powerful netbook.

A 16-gigabyte model that can access 3G mobile networks sells for US$629. The priciest iPads are US$699 for a 64-gigabyte Wi-Fi model and US$829 for a 64-gigabyte 3G model.

For the complete story go here.


January 27, 2010  5:42 AM

USB Raid Flash Drive

Nathan Simon Nathan Simon Profile: Nathan Simon

Well I don’t know if any of you have seen this yet, but there is a new SuperTalent USB flash drive out in the wild, called “RaidDrive USB 3.0” Apparently this thing is supposed to sustain transfer speeds up to 200MB/sec using a USB 3.0 port. It is also fully backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and even 1.0, here are the quick specs and a link to the product page.

– 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
– Full compatibility with USB 3.0 and 2.0
– Transfer speeds over 300MBps in USB 3.0
– Hot plug and play; Functions like another hard drive
– Slim and sleek casing style
– Windows® 7 compatible
– LED indicates power, busy
– More than 10 years data retention
– 2 years warranty

Toms Hardware wrote a quick review on it also, check it out here. If anyone has purchased one of these please let me know how they are, as I am very temped in buying one…


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