The musings of an IT Consultant

November 21, 2008  1:11 AM

Deduplication, a great way to store stuff.

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, long time no talk, I’m sitting here enjoying my vacation and it’s time to catch up on some blogging as it’s almost over.

So who here has heard of deduplication? Deduplication is essentially a form of single instance storage. What it allows for is the ability to store lots of data without replicating the similar pieces of data over and over again while it’s storing it. Instead there are just pointers to the duplicate pieces of data so what happens is you end up with greatly enhanced storage capacity.

The storage ratio goes along to the tune of 20 to 1 on average for most deduplication solutions out there and as large as 50 to 1 in best cas scenarios. A few companies can provide you with this solution such as HP or even Data Domain. If you haven’t had a chance to read about it, check it out!


November 9, 2008  11:16 PM

Cisco Nexus 1000V switch announced for VMware!

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

As you may have already heard, not to long ago Cisco announced the Cisco Nexus 1000V switch for use with VMware. This is a virtual switch that leverages VMware’s technology but uses the power of Cisco networking. Why is this good?

Well if you are already using Cisco networking gear in your entire or most of  your network this is just a natural fit. If this virtual switch (it’s not a physical switch) supports all of the Cisco features you know and love it’s just another reason to go the VMware route for virtualization instead of Hyper-V.

You might think you will just wait until Cisco releases something similar for Microsoft’s Hyper-V. Think again! Cisco now owns even more shares in VMware as they once again have purchased some more stock in the company as you can read here.

In my opinion,  the growing relationship between these two companies can only mean good news for the world of networking.


November 9, 2008  10:55 PM

BlackBerry Enterprise Server Mobile Voice System (BES MVS)

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, so here’s a nice new product from the folks at RIM. BlackBerry Enterprise Server Mobile Voice System, or BES MVS for short. It’s an add-on that you purchase to implement in your BES environment and what it gives you is the ability to leverage your VOIP system for use with your BlackBerry devices. Some of the features you can leverage?

  • Call someone from your BlackBerry as if you are calling from your office phone
  • Someone can call you at one “reach me anywhere number” and your office phone, and BlackBerry cell phone will ring at the same time
  • Make long distance calls from your BlackBerry as if you were making them from your office VOIP system

Some of these features are available in other software systems out there, but for those of us that are already leveraging RIM’s solutions, this is a perfect tie in.  You can read more about it here. BlackBerry is using the technology acquired from their acquistion of Ascendant back in 2006 to provide us with this service.

 You will require BES version 4.1.4 in order to use MVS.


November 9, 2008  10:44 PM

VMware Update 3 is out! Vizioncore will be releasing VRanger support for ESXi 3.5 soon!

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, VMware Update 3 is now out and it addresses quite a few outstanding issues. You can read about the resolved issues in the release notes here. With VMware Update 3 out now once again you should pay heed to proper patch procedures as I always recommend. Please apply the patch in a test lab environment and watch how it affects things.

After you have spent the time patching and testing in the lab you will eventually have an opportunity to deploy this to your production environment. Don’t deploy it to every single server, just deploy it to one ESX host, see how thtat goes and then start to deploying it to other ESX hosts. This way you have something to fail back to if something goes wrong. You can download the update here.

In other news, Vizioncore will be releasing a version of VRanger that supports backing up of virtual machines in ESXi 3.5 in the first quarter of 2009! This  is great news as currently there isn’t an easy way to do this. Right now the easiest way to back up an entire virtual machine while it’s running live is to be running the paid for versions of VMware as opposed to the free ESXi 3.5. With the release of VRanger for ESXi 3.5 next year this is going to make ESXi 3.5 an even more appealing solution to the budget concious IT administrator looking to dip their toe into the waters of virtualization.


October 14, 2008  5:29 PM

RIM takeover rumour by Microsoft

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

So I don’t know if you guys heard yet but the rumour mill is starting to crank out some interesting tidbits about RIM! The rumour is that Microsoft wants to takeover RIM. RIM is the company that makes the famous BlackBerry devices.

Now this would be a great move for Microsoft in the mobile market and could help launch Microsoft to the top of the mobile device heap to make them King of the Hill. Don’t get me wrong, Windows Mobile is popular, but my personal opinion is that it doesn’t hold a candle to BlackBerries or the iPhone. This could be Microsoft also positioning to be prepared for Google Android.

If Microsoft were to buy them, it makes you wonder what would happen to our beloved BlackBerries. Would Microsoft merge the technologies of BlackBerry OS and Windows Mobile, or dump one in favour of the other, or keep everything status quo? Some interesting questions for sure. Whatever happens it’s gonna be a fun ride!


October 14, 2008  1:31 PM

Nice study resources for your Microsoft Certifications

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

When studying for your Microsoft Certifications I would always recommend studying using a mixture of classroom time, Microsoft study guides, and Microsoft approved practice exams.

The classroom time will always give you the opportunity to ask those questions in class of the teacher that you otherwise couldn’t get answered through another medium. This kind of one on one interaction is always great for the budding IT engineer first venturing out into the world of certification.

The Microsoft Press study guides direct from Microsoft are also great. You can easily find them at Amazon and order them online. They are larger than some of the smaller exam cram books but they definitely cover all the material.

Then the approved practice exams are the final step. I find that the Microsoft recommended Self Test Software exams are great as they really do a great job of testing on the proper exam objectives to prepare you for the exam. There are a lot of companies out there that claim they have good practice tests but the reality of it is that a lot of them are just garbage.

Finally, last but not least….schedule the exam already!!!! I see lots of people who have every intent of writing the exam but never go and schedule it. So what ends up happening is they keep postponing and putting off the exam until they never actually end up writing it. By forcing yourself to schedule the exam you are putting yourself into the exam/study mindset and that will give you the necessary push to go out there and do it. Trust me, it works!


October 13, 2008  5:50 AM

HP buys LeftHand Networks and Colubris

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, there’s some more news from the storage world. HP bought LeftHand Networks to the tune of $360 million dollars. Now that’s a big chunk of change. They also went out and bought Colubris. Also don’t forget their acquisition of EDS earlier this year.

HP has definitely been on an acquisition binge and that leaves one wondering what the heck are they positioning themselves for. Well the purchase of EDS is well known. That just leaves the other two. I suspect HP wasn’t happy with their current wireless strategy and would like to focus it a bit more with the purchase of Colubris which specializes in wireless technologies. I’ve worked with Colubris devices and they have a myriad of options and features not available on similar wireless devices.

The purchase of LeftHand would be to shore up their lower end iSCSI storage offerings I suspect. I’ve worked with the current HP iSCSI offerings on a regular basis so it should be interesting to see how this development plays out with the current product line.


October 11, 2008  8:49 PM

Hyper-V standalone version announced…Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

Hi folks, as you may have heard by now, Microsoft has announced the standalone version of Hyper-V! They have decided to call it Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008. It should be interesting to see what this announcement yields in the virtual world.

Hyper-V Server 2008 does not have support for Microsoft’s quick migration, has no large memory support, and does not support greater than 4 processors. If you want these features you will have to move to the Windows 2008 Enterprise or higher version of Hyper-V.

The new standalone version supports the VHD format for virutal machines, has Live Backup support to backup your vms and supports up to 32 GB of RAM although 1 GB of ram is reserved for Hyper-V itself. I for one am very glad this product is here as now the competition between Microsoft and VMWare can really heat up!

You can read more about the new version of Hyper-V here.


October 11, 2008  8:08 PM

There’s a storm brewing…..the BlackBerry Storm!

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

So RIM has announced the coming arrival of the BlackBerry Storm exclusively from Verizon. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you should know that it’s supposed to be the next iPhone killer. A touch screen BlackBerry with no thumb wheel and no trackball.

This is great news to challenge the juggernaut that is Apple. Don’t get me wrong, I love the iPhone, it’s a great device. But I think what cellular companies are doing to lock you into a contract just to own one is ridiculous. I’m hoping a little friendly competition from RIM will make these companies loosen their hold on consumers.

The new BlackBerry Storm is touch screen like I said before, and also has a 3.2 MP camera, removable memory, removable battery, and picture messaging. It also has a “click” touch screen so you can feel when you touch the screen. This type of tactile feedback should make it much easier to use than traditional touch screens.

You can signup for BlackBerry Storm alerts at the Verizon Wireless web site here. You can also read a bit more about it here.


October 11, 2008  7:13 PM

To certify or not to certify?

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

So you’ve graduated from university or college and you’re ready to go out into the world and nail that first awesome IT job. You and your family and friends all know how good you are. You’re the resident computer whiz and you think to yourself “People would be crazy not to hire me!”. So you go out into the world and you find that you get little to no bites on your resumes.

One of the reasons is because everyone and their dog thinks they know IT but unfortunately it’s getting increasingly harder for employers to tell the difference between a wannabe and the real deal. As someone who has been regularly engaged in the hiring process over the course of my career, I can tell you about two things that stand out on a resume for an IT prospect – experience, and certifications.

One without the other just doesn’t cut it. You can have all the experience in the world but if you don’t have the certs then people will wonder how good that experience actually is. You can have a billion and one certs, but if you don’t have the experience with actual projects people are going to think you’re all flash and no substance. The “paper MCSE” comes to mind here.

So how do you get both of these? Well if you are having problems finding work, what you should do is during your education get enrolled in a good co-op program (combination of study and work) where your school places you in a company to learn the trade for a few months of the year. This way you graduate with both experience and theory.

The other way is to volunteer at many organizations that need volunteer IT help. This is a great way to get experience and do something good for your community. This also looks great on resumes. This will also help you when you go to write your certification exams because some experience in the real world will always help you pass those exams.

I always hear people make fun of certifications, but those are usually the people who don’t have the kahonas to go and write them and feel like they have to put them down to legitimize themselves. Instead ignore those naysayers and go out and get that experience and those certifications. Together that will put you a cut above the rest!


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