Category Archives: Stiri IT Externe

A Day in the Life


From blasting performance bottlenecks and slashing application downtime to defending against data loss and endlessly having to instruct end users to “turn it off and on again,” system administrators are the grease that keep the wheels of modern businesses turning day in and day out.

Since 2000, these typically unsung heroes of the enterprise have been recognized in July with System Administrator Appreciation Day. The holiday, celebrated on the last Friday of July, was created by sysadmin Ted Kekatos, who was inspired by a Hewlett-Packard ad for laser printers. The ad showed a sysadmin receiving flowers and gifts from grateful co-workers.

For SysAdmin Appreciation Day 2017, and to honor sysadmins around the world for all the times they’ve come to rescue, SolarWinds polled its THWACK community of 130,000 IT professionals to caption “A Day in the Life of the sysadmin.” They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so SolarWinds captured the best captions that show the witty and funny side of life as a sysadmin.

Happy SysAdmin Day 2017!



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Endless OS, a Distribution Without Internet » Linux Magazine


Linux may or may not be able to crack the declining consumer PC market, thanks to smartphones and tablets, but a huge market exists that still needs to be tapped. One open source company, Endless Inc., is looking at that market with their Linux-based operating system called Endless OS.

Endless OS is a Debian-based distribution that offers a customized Gnome experience. It’s designed for PCs with no or intermittent Internet connectivity. The OS uses Gnome’s OSTree tool and offers only Flatpak applications. The experience is similar to Chrome OS, where updates are installed automatically without user intervention.

In an interview, Michael Hall, the community manager of Endless Inc., pointed out that billions of people still don’t own a PC. Many countries in emerging economies lack the infrastructure for high-speed broadband Internet. What good is a computer without Internet? That’s the problem Endless is trying to solve with their Linux-based distribution called Endless OS.

The main highlight of the distribution is offline applications and content. Endless is available in two versions: the basic version and the full version. The basic edition is meant for PCs with standard Internet connectivity, so users can install applications and access content as they want. The full edition comes in different languages, with ISO images that can be as big as 13GB, and comes with offline apps, in which Endless teams have bundled freely available content with the OS though in-house applications.

With thousands of Wikipedia pages, thousands of tutorials articles, and what not, once you get a system with Endless OS, you pretty much have a treasury of information on your system, without the need for Internet. However, you can’t expect people in emerging economies with very poor Internet to download 13GB of data. Endless works with major hardware vendors like Asus, HP, and others to sell PCs with Endless OS. Customers can just walk into a store and buy a PC with offline Internet installed.

Endless also works with cellular networks and ISPs to offer inexpensive Internet to these users at non-peak hours, so they can get system updates; otherwise, content is updated as they are connected. Endless offers not just offline articles, they are also working with local news publishers to package news stories. The way it works is, during night, when traffic is low, the OS syncs the news applications and pulls updates, so in the morning, you are greeted with the latest news stories.



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Kolab Now Integrates Collabora Online » Linux Magazine


Kolab Systems AG, a Switzerland-based, in cooperation with Collabora Productivity, a UK-based company that offers LibreOffice-based solutions, are offering a browser-based online office suite. Kolab Now customers can now run fully featured Collabora Online to create and edit all their documents.

Kolab offers standalone, fully open source Kolab Groupware solutions that anyone can run on their servers; they also offer Kolab Now, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that is similar to Google Apps for businesses, but with privacy in mind.

In a press release, Kolab said, “With Kolab Now, your data is stored by a Swiss company; using open source, peer-reviewed and audited software; developed by some of the most privacy-conscious engineers in the world; and protected by Switzerland’s strictest privacy laws. We have integrated Kolab Now’s new office apps into a space so safe and private that future Edward Snowdens shall feel safe and secure.”

Because the political landscape is changing, with state-sponsored cyberattacks on the rise and governments becoming hostile toward the privacy of their citizens, it’s becoming increasingly important to protect one’s privacy, especially the many professionals, like political activists, researchers, and investigative journalists, who need tools to protect their sources and communications. This is the market to which Swiss-based Kolab Systems AG means to cater.



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Software-Defined Storage: 4 Factors Fueling Demand


As organizations look for cost-effective ways to house their ever-growing stores of data, many of them are turning to software-defined storage. According to market researchers at ESG, 52% of organizations are committed to software-defined storage (SDS) as a long-term strategy.

Some vendor-sponsored studies have found even higher rates of SDS adoption; while the findings are self-serving, they’re still noteworthy. For example, a SUSE report published in 2017 found that 63% of enterprises surveyed planned to adopt SDS within 12 months, and in DataCore Software’s sixth annual State of Software-Defined Storage, Hyperconverged and Cloud Storage survey, only 6% of respondents said they were not considering SDS.

What’s driving this interest in SDS? Let’s look at four important reasons why enterprises are considering the technology.

1. Avoid vendor lock-in

In an interview, Camberley Bates, managing director and analyst at Evaluator Group who spoke about SDS at Interop ITX,  said, “The primary driver of SDS is the belief that it delivers independence, and the cost benefit of not being tied to the hardware vendor.”

In fact, when DataCore asked IT professionals about the business drivers for SDS, 52% said that they wanted to avoid hardware lock-in from storage manufacturers.

However, Bates cautioned that organizations need to consider the costs and risk associated with integrating storage hardware and software on their own. She said that many organizations do not want the hassle of integration, which is driving up sales of pre-integrated appliances based on SDS technology.

2. Cost savings

Of course, SDS can also have financial benefits beyond avoiding lock-in. In the SUSE study, 72% of respondents said they evaluate their storage purchases based on total cost of ownership (TCO) over time, and 81% of those surveyed said the business case for SDS is compelling.

Part of the reason why SDS can deliver low TCO is because of its ability to simplify storage management. The DataCore study found that the top business driver for SDS, cited by 55% of respondents was “to simplify management of different models of storage.”

3. Support IT initiatives

Another key reason why organizations are investigating SDS is because they need to support other IT initiatives. In the SUSE survey, IT pros said that key technologies influencing their storage decisions included cloud computing (54%), big-data analytics (50%), mobility (47%) and the internet of things (46%).

Organizations are looking ahead to how these trends might change their future infrastructure needs. Not surprisingly, in the DataCore report, 53% of organizations said a desire to help future-proof their data centers was driving their SDS move.

4. Scalability

Many of those key trends that are spurring the SDS transition are dramatically increasing the amount of data organizations need to store. Because it offers excellent scalability, SDS appeals to enterprises experiencing fast data growth.

In the SUSE study, 96% of companies surveyed said they like the business scalability offered by SDS. In addition, 95% found scalable performance and capacity appealing.

As data storage demands continue to grow, this need to increase capacity while keeping overall costs down may be the critical factor in determining whether businesses choose to invest in SDS.

 



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Data Center Architecture: Converged, HCI, and Hyperscale


A comparison of three approaches to enterprise infrastructure.

If you are planning an infrastructure refresh or designing a greenfield data center from scratch, the hype around converged infrastructure, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and hyperscale might have you scratching your head. In this blog, I’ll compare and contrast the three approaches and consider scenarios where one infrastructure architecture would be a better fit than the others.

Converged infrastructure

Converged infrastructure (CI) incorporates compute, storage and networking in a pre-packaged, turnkey solution. The primary driver behind convergence was server virtualization: expanding the flexibility of server virtualization to storage and network components. With CI, administrators could use automation and management tools to control the core components of the data center. This allowed for a single admin to provision, de-provision and make any compute, storage or networking changes on the fly.

Converged infrastructure platforms use the same silo-centric infrastructure components of traditional data centers. They’re simply pre-architected and pre-configured by the manufacturers. The glue that unifies the components is specialized management software. One of the earliest and most popular CI examples is Virtual Computing Environment (VCE). This was a joint venture by Cisco Systems, EMC, and VMware that developed and sold various sized converged infrastructure solutions known as Vblock. Today, Vblock systems are sold by the combined Dell-EMC entity, Dell Technologies.

CI solutions are a great choice for infrastructure pros who want an all-in-one solution that’s easy to buy and pre-packaged direct from the factory. CI is also easier from a support standpoint. If you maintain support contracts on your CI system, the manufacture will assist in troubleshooting end-to-end. That said, many vendors are shifting their focus towards hyperconverged infrastructures.

Hyperconverged infrastructure

HCI builds on CI. In addition to combining the three core components of a data center together, hyperconverged infrastructure leverages software to integrate compute, network and storage into a single unit as opposed to using separate components. This architecture design offers performance advantages and eliminates a great deal of physical cabling compared to silo- and CI-based data centers.  

Hyperconverged solutions also provide far more capability in terms of unified management and orchestration. The mobility of applications and data is greatly improved, as is the setup and management of functions like backups, snapshots, and restores. These operational efficiencies make HCI architectures more attractive from a cost-benefit analysis when compared to traditional converged infrastructure solutions.

In the end, a hyperconverged solution is all about simplicity and speed. A great use case for HCI would be a new virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployment. Using the orchestration and automation tools available, you have the ideal platform to easily roll out hundreds or thousands of virtual desktops.

Hyperscale

The key attribute of hyperscale computing is the de-coupling of compute, network and storage software from the hardware. That’s right, while HCI combined everything into a single chassis, hyperscale decouples the components.

This approach, as practiced by hyperscale companies like Facebook and Google, provides more flexibility than hyperconverged solutions, which tend to grow in a linear fashion. For example, if you need more storage on your HCI system, you typically must add a node blade that includes both compute and built-in storage. Some hyperconverged solutions are better than others in this regard, but most fall prey to linear scaling problems if your workloads don’t scale in step.

Another benefit of hyperscale architectures is that you can manage both virtual and bare metal servers on a single system. This is ideal for databases that tend to operate in a non-virtualized manner. Hyperscale is most useful in situations where you need to scale-out one resource independently from the others. A good example is IoT because it requires a lot of data storage, but not much compute. A hyperscale architecture also helps in situations where it’s beneficial to continue operating bare metal compute resources, yet manage storage resources in elastic pools.



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