ITKE Community Blog

September 17, 2009  3:12 PM

Featured IT Blogger: Michael Hay of The Storage Muse

JennyMack Jenny Mackintosh Profile: JennyMack

Michael Hay of The Storage Muse has plenty to say about enterprise storage — he’s an R&D strategist at Hitachi Data Systems, working to understand customer needs for storage solutions. In The Storage Muse, he’s recently written on LUN migration and file-level migration, as well as the Google File System. Be sure to visit Michael’s blog today.

September 17, 2009  2:13 PM

The IT Blog Top 10: Sept. 17, 2009

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

10. Standard Server 2003 Migration to SBS 2008 Part 3 Roger Crawford’s server migration guide has been a helpful resource as IT professionals navigate the treacherous upgrade process.

9. Three new free administration tools from Vizioncore Eric Siebert shares three free tools that can remove headaches from the life of a VMWare administrator.

8. Choosing a block size when creating VMFS datastores Eric Siebert provides some clear, helpful guidelines for creating VMFS datastores.

7. Looking for low-cost business processes? Check out GE WorkOut and FTD Karen Guglielmo suggests looking to some unlikely inspirations as companies look for business process benefits without Six Sigma’s price tag.

6. Using VRDP to view VirtualBox virtual machines remotely Rick Vanover’s post dives into some of the finer points of using Sun’s xVM VirtualBox. Continued »

September 15, 2009  12:35 PM

The most-watched IT questions this week: Sept. 15, 2009

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

Thursday we launched a weekly feature highlighting the top 10 blog posts, and now we’re doing the same for questions. The questions featured below are the 10 most “watched,” often because others have the same question or are just interested in how are community will answer it. All but one, about Oracle 11g remote servers, are answered but, as the saying goes, there’s more than one way to DROP a table.
Incidentally, as we continue to add more regular features to the Community Blog, we’ve decided that my non-community update posts will be moved to a new blog that will focus on general IT news and bringing you top expert voices via guest posts. If you have ideas on what you’d like to see there, or features you’d like to see on the Community Blog, just get in touch at

1. Virtualization vs Consolidation was asked by Jim4522 and answered by a number of members.
2. Tracing a Computer to an IP Address was asked by NeedtoKnowNow and answered by MrDenny and KevinBeaver.
3. connect remote oracle 11g server in VB6.0 was asked via e-mail, and still hasn’t been answered!
4. How to utlize multiple static IP’s when ISP limits physical router connectinos to 1 was asked by Ph0t0nS0ccer and answered by MrDenny, with an alternative solution from BlankReg.
5. OWA fails about every four weeks Exchange 2003 was asked via e-mail, with Labnuke99 offering an answers and Technochic offering follow up guidance.
6. What does it mean by related data in a database? was asked by Amitkumar163 and answered by MrDenny and MeandYou.
7. Windows Server 2003 error reporting feature was asked via e-mail and answered by Carlosdl.
8. SQL Help needed was asked by CompEng and answered by Philpl1jb and BigKat.
9. How to load an Image from an SQL Server 2005 database using VB.NET 2005 coding? was asked by Obhasha07 and answered by MrDenny.
10. Is share point an alternative / more than SQL Server? was asked by SQLServer2008 and answered by MrDenny and TaulPall.

September 10, 2009  6:38 PM

Swine Flu hits hard: 5 things to get your enterprise H1N1 ready

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

If your company is like most, it’s not ready for an H1N1 outbreak, very likely coming soon to a neighborhood near you. As the AP reports, a Harvard School of Public Health study had frightening results:

… two-thirds of the more than 1,000 businesses questioned nationwide said they could not maintain normal operations if half their workers were out for two weeks. Four out of every five businesses expect severe problems if half their workers are out for a month.

“What we found is that a minority of businesses have started some sort of emergency planning,” said Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and leader of the project sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Most, I don’t think, have thought through the implications of something so widespread.”

A company’s IT infrastructure could be critical in reducing the effects of an outbreak, both in preventing employees from getting the flu and letting those who do have it keep up a nominal productivity level by working remote. Linda Tucci, with SearchCIO, did a pair of interviews with the CIO of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), James Seligman. He offered 5 strategies for getting a business H1N1 prepared:

  1. Have a detailed pandemic influenza plan ready with buy-in from the highest levels.
  2. Cross-train employees to make sure that every critical position has a two- or three-person deep fallback.
  3. Pre-requisition supplies from ink and paper to respirator masks and hand sanitizer.
  4. Check supplier readiness to make sure key outsourcers and partners are equally prepared.
  5. Check HR policies to see if remote working and paid leave policies make sense in terms of preventing a spreading outbreak.

Linda’s interview goes into more depth on Swine Flu, with her follow up drawing parallels between H1N1 and the Conficker computer virus.

H1N1 Swine Flu Preparation Resources:

September 10, 2009  4:08 PM

TDWI World Conference Orlando Provides Essential Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing Education

JennyMack Jenny Mackintosh Profile: JennyMack

IT Knowledge Exchange is a proud sponsor of the 2009 TDWI World Conference Series — below is information pertaining to the fourth event in the series, taking place in Orlando, FL in November.

The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) has announced it will host its fall 2009 World Conference in Orlando, FL, from November 1–6, 2009. Industry leaders such as Cindi Howson, founder of BIScorecard, and Wayne Eckerson, director of TDWI Research, will deliver keynote presentations to support the conference. Howson will speak on the secrets to BI success, while Eckerson will present the future of business intelligence.

TDWI’s World Conference in Orlando is a vendor-neutral BI and DW education event that offers more than 45 full- and half-day courses taught by industry practitioners. TDWI’s Orlando conference also features many unique offerings, including Certified Business Intelligence Professional (CBIP) training and testing, peer networking sessions, Guru Sessions, and more.

For more information on TDWI’s upcoming conference, visit

September 10, 2009  2:54 PM

The IT Blog Top 10: Sept. 10, 2009

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

As part of a new feature on the Community Blog, each week I’ll be doing a run down of the 10 most popular blog posts over the previous week, in case you were wondering what your peers were reading or a hot topic somehow missed your radar. Still think we missed something? Send me an e-mail at and let me know, or better yet, request your own blog, hosted right here on ITKnowledgeExchange.

10. Bob Cancilla on the future of System i One of the Sytem i’s biggest fans also shares a dose of hard reality as he sees it.

9. The EU fiddles while Sun burns Ed Scannell takes the European Union to task for kicking Sun while they’re down.

8. How to allow the root user to log in to VMware ESX Server with SSH An old post but hot this week, David Davis explains a tricky procedure in clear terms.

7. Importing VMDK disk files into Sun xVM VirtualBox Rick Vanover (VCP, MCITP,MCTS, MCSA) offers another how-to, fresh off the presses and quite in demand.

6. Swine flu and business continuity planning resources Anne McCrory combs through the web to bring together the best resources on preparing for an H1N1 outbreak.

Read on for the top 5 … Continued »

September 10, 2009  1:59 PM

Performance = Availability (Storage Guest Post by Greg Schulz)

JennyMack Jenny Mackintosh Profile: JennyMack

Greg Schulz was our “Featured IT Blogger” last week; this week, he’s back to write a guest post on storage performance and availability. Welcome, Greg!


Yes that is correct, performance equals availability, along with the inverse, availability equals performance also holds true. The two are very much intertwined yet seldom discussed, so let’s take a quick look at how they are interrelated.

Here’s why, if you do not have availability how do you have performance, if you do not have adequate performance to meet QoS or other time sensitive needs, how do you have availability?

Given current economic conditions and the pressure to do more with less, or, do more with what you have, IT Data Center infrastructure and storage optimization are popular topics. In the continued quest to optimize IT infrastructures including storage to achieve more efficient use and effective service delivery, a focus has been on space capacity utilization. However the other aspect of boosting efficiency and productivity is identifying, isolating and addressing bottlenecks in IT data center infrastructures including storage.

A simple example of how performance and availability are related is in the form of RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive/Independent Disks), you know, the 20+ year old technology that some have declared as being dead. Yet, RAID continues to be commonly deployed and is ubiquitous from consumer to soho to SMB to SME to enterprise in all of its different forms (See figure 1). Various RAID levels (Figure 1) allow different levels of performance and availability along with capacity options to be aligned and meet specific needs.

Figure 1 – Impact of RAID levels of performance and availability

Other impacts on performance and availability include failed adapters, controllers or other components include automatic disk drive rebuilds in RAID sets using hot spares. Background tasks including parity scrubbing or data consistency checks, snapshots, replication, deferred or post processing for data deduplication, virus and other tasks can also manifest themselves as performance or availability impacts.

Availability and performance issues are not limited to storage systems; they also apply to servers and I/O network or data paths including switches and routers. Keep an eye on alternate pathing configurations for I/O adapters along with error counts. On switches or routers, monitor error counts, retries along with how they compare with normal baseline performance profiles.

Some general tips and comments:

  • Establish baseline performance indicators during normal periods of time
  • Compare normal baseline performance and other indicators to problem times
  • Review RAID storage system configuration for low cost near-term opportunities
  • Fast servers need fast I/O paths, networks and storage systems
  • Align tiered storage to meet performance, availability, capacity and energy needs
  • SSD attached to slow or high latency controllers can introduce bottlenecks
  • Look beyond IOPS and Bandwidth keeping response time or latency in focus
  • Keep availability in perspective as errors or failures can cause performance issues

Hopefully this helps to put availability and performance as being interrelated into perspective providing food for thought. Learn more in my Storage Decisions New York City fall 2009 talk titled “The Other Green — Storage Efficiency and Optimization” as well in my books, “The Green and Virtual Data Center” (CRC) and “Resilient Storage Networks” (Elsevier) at

Greg Schulz

About the author
Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO Group, an IT Industry Analyst and Consultancy firm who can be found at and twitter @storageio.

September 8, 2009  1:30 PM

President Obama’s back-to-school speech tells students to pursue technology. What’s your advice?

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

President Obama’s back-to-school speech has stirred up a bit of controversy even before he’s given it (it’s set for noon EST today), but the transcript (see below) has him sticking to the fundamentals: Work hard, stay in school, wash your hands, he will admonish the nation’s schoolchildren. At least, the ones whose schools participate.

He also urges students to forget making their millions by “rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star,” and instead focus on more practical pursuits, including careers in technology. “Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other,” he is set to say. “Come up with the next iPhone.”

So if America’s going to have a new generation of technophile careerists, what’s it going to take to make it on top? What’s your advice for the next generation, particularly if they want to make a career in a technology field? Let me know at or join the discussion below.

Continued »

September 3, 2009  5:38 PM

The #GoneGoogle meta-revolt

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

Last post on the Google Guerrillas and I promise I’ll find a new topic to harp on for a while, but just thought you might find it interesting how Google’s viral campaign has turned against them.

As PaidContent reports:

As part of its new campaign to promote Google Apps Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has been encouraging users to Tweet on the benefits of ‘going Google’ under the hashtag ‘Gone Google.’ But with Gmail officially down the hashtag has taken on a new meaning, as a number of users have used it to circulate their complaints.

PaidContent also notes that Microsoft is quietly pushing news of the revolt out there, with COO Kevin Turner pointing to news of the outage to convince current Microsoft customers to stay on board.

More on managing the user revolt:

September 3, 2009  4:47 PM

Help user-IT relations with a party: So crazy it might just work

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

I received a number of responses to my post on whether Shakespeare would slice up the server admin if he were around today, both via e-mail and in the comments.

Wayne M., an IT Director in Needham, Mass., had little patience for uppity users:

I can’t speak for anybody else’s company, but the users at my company (with very very few exceptions) seem about as technology challenged as possible!    And to say that they can manage their security better than IT?  We spend much of our time installing desktop and network security protection to keep them from shooting us in the foot!

On top of that, most of the user community that I know might be technical at home, but want to have nothing to do with it at work!  They aren’t paid enough!  I’ve been told that to my face time and time again.  “You guys in IT get the big bucks!  Why should I know how to handle a (simple) PC problem?!”

Let’s stop dreaming and come back to Earth.

Others were a little more forgiving, with Nottslanding suggesting that a peace could be brokered, based on her own experience with an annual mixer that went a long way towards breaking down the red tape between IT and the users they serve:

The first one was staged as part of a Halloween costume day in a rather “straight” company. We convinced the uppermost management that since a significant part of their operating budget went to technology costs and there was often grumbling about that outside the technology “silo”, maybe the customers didn’t understand how that money was spent. Likewise, as the mainframe systems technology manager (not applications), hearing the grumbling from my staff about sudden changes in priorities, or “unlimited” use of valuable resources, or introduction of new technology that hadn’t been blessed by Tech Support, convinced me that the techies weren’t really aware of the driving business requirements. Almost no one below the top executive officers had ever been in the highly secured computer room.

The operations staff had a wonderful time decorating the computer center. Their first theme was the “hazards” of being a computer operator, enhanced by clever placement of straw dummies – e.g. a dummy squished by a huge roll of printout paper, one mostly covered in tape cartridges from a rack under which a floor panel had collapsed, the legs of a cable puller crawling under the raised floor, and a
dummy, totally covered by paper, except for its legs, in the recycle bin (among other things). Each small group of people was escorted through the data center by a technical person. The technical people started by finding out which systems the tour group supported, and most of the operators knew what resources those systems used. The customers had NO idea of all that went on back there. Meanwhile, just by being face-to-face, both parties got to see the people they sometimes communicated with, or whose names became linked to applications. Most the computer people didn’t really know what some of those applications did, and the visitors were encouraged to fill them in. There at the last station – just before they were led into the telephone switch part of the computing facility, the dummy in the recycle bin suddenly sat up, as if startled and awakened from a nap. That drew both screams and laughter. We even got the CEO on camera at the surprise!

On the day of the event, the Data Center managers all came dressed in “grunge”. We’d done a Saturday shopping trip to all the Goodwill stores to get our outfits. On the morning of, we assembled ourselves in costume, and arrived as a group. An elderly couple getting into our elevator, chose not to ride with us. Before we did anything else, we crashed an Executive meeting, with an entry something like “we’re the data center and we’ve got your data. If you want it back, you have to spring for the refreshments.” – which they did.

That was certainly NOT a dull meeting. The size of the tour groups got larger throughout the first day, as it was recommended among peers. A good time was had by all.

As I mentioned, it became an annual event (different themes, of course, which were always arranged by the operators who almost never got out of the computer room). All the executives extolled its success, especially since they got such positive feedback from all the different departments (as did the Data Center). Response grew so that we had to schedule Halloween tours. The production services personnel (the ones who provided the human interface with input/output and distribution at the data center) set up the tour schedules. The customers got to see the life cycle of a “trouble ticket”, presented by the folks at the help desk. The “techy geeks” actually knew quite a few of the customers because they were always in the trenches fixing customers’ problems. The techs introduced the customers to all the work they normally do in addition to direct customer support, explaining how “maintenance” interruptions and new hardware and software provided stability and new functionality for systems. The managers of each of those groups took care of setting the focus for each year so it wouldn’t be the same old stuff every year.

And as an offshoot, from then on, every Halloween became a costume day throughout the HQ building.

So: What you have you found successful: Giving peace a chance or locking ’em down before they cause trouble? Let me know your thoughts at or in the comments below.

More on managing the user revolt:

Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: