The musings of an IT Consultant

February 28, 2010  5:53 PM

Hardware based iSCSI Storage

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, so in the last post I mentioned some software based iSCSI storage options. In this post I wanted to talk about a great hardware based option for the SMB.

I’m sure most of you have probably heard about the company QNAP. Well QNAP makes great network storage devices both for home and for the SMB corporate world! Now I’m not advocating using this to replace high end storage devices, but this is a great solution for the SMB for secondary archival storage at a cheap price point.

For example, the QNAP 459 Pro model has the ability to have 4 drives installed in it (the product comes without drives and you buy the drives you want and install them), and then you can create your raid levels and carve up your storage to present to your servers. The QNAP is rated as one of the faster network attached storage devices out there and the operating system is a cinch to use. If you go to QNAP’s web site you can even try a live demo of the interface to get a feel for what it would be like to manage the device.

You could easily buy the 459 Pro and toss in four 1 TB drives in a RAID 5 for under 1500 bucks after tax and shipping. That would give you 3 TB usable space!

Not only does it present the storage, it also supports thin provisioning and remote replication. The best part? QNAP is on VMware’s hardware compatibility list so you can use it in a home test lab to try out all sorts of sandbox scenarios.


February 28, 2010  5:45 PM

Cheap iSCSI Storage

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! Sorry for the late postings but I’ve been neck deep in projects this month! Anyways, I wanted to spend a few posts talking about iSCSI storage options.

One of the great things about storage is that there are so many different options. You can go direct attached, FC, NAS, NFS or even iSCSI. I really like iSCSI it’s great for the SMB and it’s great for secondary storage. It’s one of those options that can provide you with lots of bang for your buck.

Well one of the first options I wanted to talk to you about is Starwind iSCSI SAN Storage software. There is a free product that you can try out, and also a fully functional 30 day trial as well. I’ve trialing it for the past little while and I have to say it’s a nice product.

In a nut shell, you can take the software and install it on a Windows box (even a workstation) and then point it at any of your disks (even external USB drives) and then mount them as iSCSI storage! Now I know there are a lot of free options out there but there is something to be said about a pay for product with features such as thin provisioning, remote replication and automatic failover!

If the pay for model isn’t your thing then I urge you to check out FreeNAS and Openfiler!


February 17, 2010  4:53 PM

Time for rest is over…

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! So now that I’m done my CCNP the time for rest is over. I’m really eager to get back to studying again (yes I know, I’m a geek) and see what other certifications I can knock down.

I think I want to go after more Cisco certs, and the next one that is easiest for me to go after is the CCDP. Since I already have the CCNP, all I have to do is write the CCDA exam (one exam) and I will get my CCDP certification. Then after i’m done that I think I will look into going down the VoIP track to see what I can learn there.

Cisco has an enterprise version of the CCNA Voice which they introduced last year and I find that material quite interesting and applicable to the real world. I find that in today’s day and age, the telephony and network worlds have slowly come together and it never hurts to have knowledge from both areas to help support your clients!


February 1, 2010  6:34 PM

Just passed the Cisco ONT, I am now a CCNP!!!!

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, I just passed the Cisco ONT exam!!! I am now a CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional)!!!! YAY! 🙂 Sorry I can’t contain my excitement, this has been a long time coming.

This exam was actually quite hard, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it but I was able to pass it in the end. There was tons of stuff on QoS, VoIP, Wireless, and even AutoQoS with the SDM. The Cisco exam blueprint was bang on and I was able to come out with the win!

The things I used to study were my course at Boson taught by CCIE Bryan Baize, the Bryant study guide by CCIE Chris Bryant, the Cisco Press study guide, my course text books, and lots of practice using the Boson practice sims and my own lab equipment.

If you’re taking this exam don’t take it lightly, make sure you study hard!


January 31, 2010  10:04 PM

Getting ready to write my last CCNP exam

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! As I’ve mentioned before, I have one more exam left in the CCNP track from Cisco. I was getting ready earlier to finish my CCNP ONT exam (642-845) but then had to stop and change direction to write some different exams that I needed to get done. So I never got around to going for it yet.

Well now I have the time and I’m back on track! So coming soon I will write my CCNP ONT exam and hopefully knock it out of the ballpark. Right now I’m knee deep in reading about QoS, VoIP and all that other good stuff that makes up the ONT.

The wireless stuff regarding WLSE and the SDM stuff seems severely outdated as it’s not something you’d use these days, but like I posted before, they have updated the CCNP certification and it’s changing for the better. Now that we have a wireless track with Cisco, all of that material will get moved over there, and as far as the SDM goes, I hope it just goes away. 🙂

I shall keep you guys posted on how the exam goes!


January 28, 2010  7:56 PM

mRemote, a great tool for remote connections

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! Today I wanted to talk about a great product called mRemote. Have you ever had tons of saved RDP, VNC and Putty sessions, and they just get out of control? Well I know I do! When you work on as many different networks as I do on a daily basis, you need some way to organize it all. That’s where mRemote comes in!

mRemote is a program that saves a copy of the connection settings for RDP, Putty, VNC, HTTP, HTTPS, Citrix and many other connection types. You can even configure it to launch external apps. For example I have saved connections to various VMware servers. Once it’s all saved you can export the connections as .xml files and then import them into another mRemote installation on another computer. This makes it easy to share commonly used remote sessions with your co-workers.

mRemote also has the ability to import existing sessions such as importing existing RDP connections but it breaks when you try and import RDP sessions that use non-standard ports. Those you have to edit manually. It also has something called smartsizing which auto-sizes the remote session to your screen within the mRemote window so you don’t always have to specify full screen. All in all a great product! IT gurus of the world rejoice!

You can download it from here.


January 25, 2010  11:27 PM

WordPress App for BlackBerry

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! Continued from my last post, I found an even better app for posting to your ITKE blog. It’s called WordPress for BlackBerry!

To install it, first download WordPress for BlackBerry from here. Then after you install it, enter your WordPress username and password and enter your Blog URL with /xmlrpc.php on the end like I mentioned in my previous post.

Then when you start WordPress you should be able to post blog posts, save to a local draft on your BlackBerry and also upload to your online drafts folder as well. Tags also seem to work in this application. I much prefer this to BBMetaBlog.

If anyone else knows of any cool BlackBerry blogging apps, feel free to post a comment here!

-Cheers, RP

January 25, 2010  5:46 PM

Blog posts to ITKE using your BlackBerry

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! So I’ve been looking for a way to post to my ITKE from my BlackBerry and I think I have found the way. With the help of ITKE’s Michael Morisy he has pointed me in the direction of Christina Warren’s blog which gives detailed instructions on how to accomplish this.

The first thing you will need is for Michael to enable XML-RPC on your blog. Send him an email with your blog URL and he can enable this for you. Only e-mail Michael if you have a blog here on ITKE, this does not apply to people who don’t have ITKE blogs. If you have a blog elsewhere you would have to email your blog administrator.

The next thing you need to do is install the BBMetaBlog application on your BlackBerry. Then run the app and open the config and enter your WordPress username and password. Then in the section that asks for your Access URL, enter your ITKE blog URL followed by /xmlrpc.php. So http://blogurl/xmlrpc.php. So for example, my blog url is

So I would enter:

You can use this to post new posts, but most of the other functionality I couldn’t get to work such as downloading categories or editing existing posts.

A big thank you to Christina Warren for posting the details on how to do this!


January 22, 2010  4:05 PM

Cisco CCNP Certification Changing

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! So as you know I’ve been working on the CCNP certification for the past while. Well recently some new information came to light about how the certification is changing.

Word on the street is that Cisco will be making an official announcement at the end of January 2010. What I’ve heard is that they are changing it from the current format of 4 exams down to a 3 exam format. This will consist of one routing exam, one switching exam, and one troubleshooting exam.

After the announcement they will retire the old exams this year, but will allow people who are in the middle of completing their CCNP to finish off their certification with the old exams (BSCI, BCMSN, ISCW, ONT).

You can read more about it here.


January 21, 2010  10:39 PM

How to prepare for VCP 4

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks! So how did I prepare for VCP 4? By working with it of course! Since I work for a VMware Enterprise Partner, it’s pretty easy to get experience with the software. This helped contribute to my success.

I also borrowed the course textbooks from one of my friends who had taken the course and had the textbooks. This helped in my studying along with all the pdfs that I used from VMware’s website to prepare for the exam.

My co-worker Nathan who also has a blog here has posted some exam resources over here. He has some really great links that he recommends that I used and were quite helpful.

I also used Simon Long’s blog web site where he broke down the exam blueprint with hyperlinks to each piece of information you need. Simon, if you are reading this, thank you very much! Here is the link.


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