Tag Archives: servers

Hyperconvergence Market in Flux


When Cisco announced Monday that it was buying hyperconvergence software startup Springpath, it did what many industry observers had been expecting for more than a year. In March 2017, Cisco unveiled its HyperFlex hyperconverged infrastructure system on its UCS platform in partnership with Springpath. The networking giant also made a significant investment into the startup.

“Cisco is just wrapping up what it started a year and a half ago,” Keith Townsend, principal at The CTO Advisor, said in an interview. “There’s nothing net new.”

The Cisco-Springpath $320 million deal culminates Cisco’s entry into the hyperconvergence market, a space that a few years ago was dominated by startups such as SimpliVity and Nutanix. Earlier this year, SimpliVity was acquired by Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. Nutanix, which went public last fall, remains a top player, and there are other startups such as Pivot3 and Scale Computing, but they face stiff competition from established players.

With HPE and Cisco now offering viable hyperconverged infrastructure, along with industry giant Dell Technologies, the technology is starting to become more of a feature than a standalone product, Townsend said. The acquisitions by HPE and Cisco filled out their respective portfolios, and provided them with a way to give enterprises less reason to jump ship, he added.

By all accounts, the hyperconverged market is hot. According to IDC, sales of hyperconverged systems grew nearly 65% year over year during the first quarter of 2017, generating $665 million in sales. Transparency Market Research expects the global HCI market to reach nearly $31 billion by 2025. Hyperconverged infrastructure leverages software to integrate compute, storage, and networking in a single appliance on commodity hardware.

But hyperconverged infrastructure players are all clamoring for the hybrid cloud space, which has yet to settle on a solution, said Camberley Bates, managing partner and analyst at Evaluator Group.

“That hybrid cloud environment has yet to figure out a standard,” she told me in an interview. “There are a lot of options enterprises are looking at. There’s been a lot of starts and stops.”

Enterprises are considering everything from converged systems – HCI’s predecessor — to building an environment with scale-out SAN storage, Bates said. “There’s no one architecture that’s winning out in that [hybrid cloud] space.”

Hyperconvergence is well suited for virtual desktop infrastructure environments – VDI has been its top use case so far, Bates said. Remote and branch offices and selected applications are other use cases. The technology is ideal for midmarket companies that don’t have a lot of IT staff, providing them with great agility and simplicity, she said.

Her firm sees the hyperconverged infrastructure market splitting into two types of systems: those that can scale and manage large environments and those that have difficulty doing that. The former type may wind up being more of a converged, scale-out architecture along the lines of what NetApp is expected to release with a SolidFire-based system later this year, she said.

Townsend said enterprises should assess hyperconverged infrastructure systems like any other platform. Enterprises that are comfortable with niche players should consider them, but others can easily find a product from one of their existing vendors. “You can get a respectable HCI solution from one of your large vendors that integrates with your existing purchasing strategy,” he said.

With so many choices when it comes to hybrid cloud, Bates said enterprises should start by defining their requirements. “Define what you’re trying to do, then build requirements before you look at technology solutions. There are lots of ways to address this.”

 



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What Users Say About Top Vendors


The all-flash array has matured to the point where it is now powering much of the growth in the enterprise storage business. Advances in the design, performance and management capabilities of solid state drive (SSDs), coupled with declines in cost, make flash storage viable for many workloads. Enterprise storage is relentlessly demanding, though, so potential buyers need to think critically when they choose an AFA.

According to product reviews by IT Central Station users, the top all-flash array vendors on the market are Hewlett-Packard Enterprise with 3PAR flash storageNetAppTintri, Nimble Storage (now part of HPE), Pure Storage, and IBM.

Based on their experience with AFAs from these vendors, contributors at IT Central Station shared their thoughts, including benefits the products provide and areas where they could improve.

HPE 3PAR

Brent Dunington, systems architect at a university, described his company’s decision-making process for choosing HPE 3PAR flash storage:

“We went through a whole data center refresh cycle and one of the things is that we needed to look at our disk system. Everything was for spinning disks, so we decided to make the leap to an all-SSD data center. We brought in all the competitors, went through an RFP process, and 3PAR came ahead.”

A system administrator at an insurance company shared how HPE 3PAR compares to other storage solutions he has used in the past:

“The speed of the Flash Array is better than what we had with the previous products. We like their blades better than the Cisco blades. It is easier to manage.”

Eric Slabbinck, project manager at a government agency, suggested specific features that could improve HPE 3PAR:

“From a personal point of view, what would interest me is a mechanism that detects file rot, i.e., whether a file or sector has become corrupt, e.g., as a result of copying the sector to other locations from the original location.”

NetApp

A lead storage/system engineer at a financial services firm described how NetApp All Flash has helped his organization:

“We have been looking for a flash solution that scales horizontally along with a proven application integration stack. NetApp has been helpful and stable, and enabled us to buy capacity as needed, as well as help in quickly refreshing UAT/DEV environments as needed.”

An R&D executive supervisor at a media company explained what he values most in All Flash FAS:

“It is very user friendly. Someone in my position needs to be able to bring up the system quickly, efficiently, and shut it down if there’s a power outage quickly and efficiently without having trouble. It also supports VMware, which is what we use; but we use the NetApp as our only filer.”

A computer systems engineer at a government agency wrote about product improvements that he’s looking forward to using once they’re released by NetApp:

“We’re interested or excited in getting to 32 GB fiber channel. With their new models, NetApp will be moving to 32 GB fiber. That would potentially raise performance and or lower our port counts, simplifying or minimizing the amount of cables we need to put in places.”

Tintri VMstore

Mike Geller, network administrator at a healthcare company, wrote about the value Tintri has added to his organization:

“Tintri has a great web UI that allows you to view performance of individual VMs, as well as performance of the overall VMstore. Code upgrades are really simple.”

Donald Lopez, IT manager at a tech services company, shared how his organization has benefitted from Tintri:

“Immediately upon installation, we benefited from a 5X speed/performance increase in the overall system for all of our VMs migrated to the unit from an old unreliable Synology storage unit.”

Raymond Handels, system engineer at a university, weighed in on how Tintri could further improve its storage solution:

“Speed of our VDI machines. We have a very high login and logout ratio and machines are being refreshed instantly so we have a constant boot storm on our storage.”

Nimble Storage

Brian Butler, senior network analyst at a financial services firm, explained how deploying Nimble Storage benefitted his organization:

“It has vastly improved the responsiveness of our servers. It adds snapshots to help with our DR. The snapshots are sent across the way into our DR site, so we have DR copies of everything. It’s all around just improved the flow of everything.”

Paul Sabin, senior network and infrastructure manager at a legal firm, noted a shortcoming with Nimble Storage:

“I really would like to see synchronous replication. This is something that when we have multiple arrays in our environment and being able to do something like a zero RPO. Being a law firm, we really want our data to be protected all the time.”

Pure Storage

An information systems analyst at a pharma/biotech company described the value in Pure Storage’s VDI capabilities:

“For VDI, there’s a consistent user experience. Users don’t switch to VDI if it’s not at the same speed as a laptop or desktop, and Pure Storage provides that.”

Andrea Spinazi, chief of information, facility, purchasing and services manager at Roma Metropolitane S.r.l., explained what he finds most beneficial with Pure Storage:

“The most valuable features are extremely low latency, high IOPS with VMware, inline deduplication and compression….We liked the non-disruptive downgrade from FA-420 (POC) to FA-405 in production and the non-disruptive upgrade from FA-405 to M20.”

However, Leonardo Perez, deputy head of IT at a government agency, warned of a Pure Storage drawback:

“Be careful with the type of information you allocate to this storage. The solution is good for virtual machines and databases, but not for images and videos. Compression rates are not good for these types of data.”

IBM FlashSystem

A design engineer at a recruiting/HR firm described the features he values most in IBM FlashSystem:

“The performance is really good. From an operations perspective, definitely the ease of use stands out. Compared to other products and other vendors, it’s much, much easier.”

A senior solutions architect at a tech services company shared how his company has benefitted from IBM FlashSystem:

“The V9000 incorporates both the Spectrum virtualization layer as well as flash technology. It does it in such a unique manner that it provides super-fast response times. There’s low latency for the customers. It’s very simple and easy.”

Joseph King, CTO at CAS Severn, suggested a way IBM FlashSystem could improve:

“We think that IBM has to continue to invest in additional data reduction capabilities, which are on their roadmap. Being able to use flash most efficiently, where the least amount of data is physically being stored on the V9000, is really where IBM needs to make additional investment. They are doing that.”

You can read more all-flash array reviews on IT Central Station.

 

 



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Install Freeradius on ubuntu 17.04 Server and manage using daloradius (Freeradius web management application)


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RADIUS, which stands for “Remote Authentication Dial In User Service”, is a network protocol — a system that defines rules and conventions for communication between network devices — for remote user authentication and accounting. Commonly used by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), cellular network providers, and corporate and educational networks, the RADIUS protocol serves three primary functions:

• Authenticates users or devices before allowing them access to a network

• Authorizes those users or devices for specific network services

• Accounts for and tracks the usage of those services

Freeradius Features

• An open and scalable solution

• Broad support by a large vendor base

• Easy modification

• Separation of security and communication processes

• Adaptable to most security systems

• Workable with any communication device that supports RADIUS client protocol

daloRADIUS is an advanced RADIUS web platform aimed at managing Hotspots and general-purpose ISP deployments. It features rich user management, graphical reporting, accounting, and integrates with GoogleMaps for geo-locating (GIS). daloRADIUS is written in PHP and JavaScript and utilizes a database abstraction layer which means that it supports many database systems, among them the popular MySQL, PostgreSQL, Sqlite, MsSQL, and many others.

It is based on a FreeRADIUS deployment with a database server serving as the backend. Among other features it implements ACLs, GoogleMaps integration for locating hotspots/access points visually and many more features. daloRADIUS is essentially a web application to manage a radius server so theoretically it can manage any radius server but specifically it manages FreeRADIUS and it’s database structure. Since version 0.9-3 daloRADIUS has introduced an application-wide database abstraction layer based on PHP’s PEAR::DB package which support a range of database servers.

Before Installing make sure you have Ubuntu 17.04 LAMP server installed and ready for freeradius.

Preparing your system

Open the terminal and run the following command

sudo apt-get install php-common php-gd php-curl php-mail php-mail-mime php-pear php-db php-mysql

Install freeradius using the following command

sudo apt-get install freeradius freeradius-mysql freeradius-utils

Create Freeradius Database

You can use the following command to create freeradius database

sudo mysql -u root -p

Enter password:

mysql> create database radius;

mysql> grant all on radius.* to radius@localhost identified by “password”;

Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

Insert the freeradius database scheme using the following commands

sudo mysql -u root -p radius

Enter password:

sudo mysql -u root -p radius

Enter password:

Create new user for radius database

sudo mysql -u root -p

mysql> use radius;

Reading table information for completion of table and column names

You can turn off this feature to get a quicker startup with -A

Database changed

mysql> INSERT INTO radcheck (UserName, Attribute, Value) VALUES (‘sqltest’, ‘Password’, ‘testpwd’);

Query OK, 1 row affected (0.04 sec)

mysql> exit

Bye

Freeradius Configuration

You need to edit /etc/freeradius/sql.conf file

sudo vi /etc/freeradius/sql.conf

Make sure you have the following details

database = mysql
login = radius
password = password

Uncomment the following

readclients = yes

Save and Exit the file

Now you need to edit the /etc/freeradius/sites-enabled/default file

sudo vi /etc/freeradius/sites-enabled/default

Uncomment the sql option in the following sections

accounting

# See “Authorization Queries” in sql.conf

sql

session

# See “Authorization Queries” in sql.conf

sql

Post-Auth-Type

# See “Authorization Queries” in sql.conf

sql

Save and Exit the file

Now edit /etc/freeradius/radiusd.conf file

sudo vi /etc/freeradius/radiusd.conf

#Uncomment the following option

$INCLUDE sql.conf

Save and exit the file

Now you can stop the free radius server using the following command

sudo /etc/init.d/freeradius stop

Run freeradius in debugging mode. If there is no error, you are ready to go.

sudo freeradius -X

Start the freeradius using the following command

sudo /etc/init.d/freeradius start

Test the radius server using the following command

sudo radtest sqltest testpwd localhost 18128 testing123

Ouput as follows

Sending Access-Request of id 68 to 127.0.0.1 port 1812
User-Name = “sqltest”
User-Password = “testpwd”
NAS-IP-Address = 127.0.1.1
NAS-Port = 18128
Message-Authenticator = 0x00000000000000000000000000000000
rad_recv: Access-Accept packet from host 127.0.0.1 port 1812, id=68, length=20

Daloradius Installation

You can download the Daloradius latest version from here

Once you downloaded the daloradius-0.9-9.tar.gz file you need to extract using the following command

$ tar xvfz daloradius-0.9-9.tar.gz

$ mv daloradius-0.9-9 daloradius

$ mv daloradius /var/www/html

Change Permissions

sudo chown www-data:www-data /var/www/html/daloradius -R

sudo chmod 644 /var/www/html/daloradius/library/daloradius.conf.php

Mysql database need to setup for daloradius.We need to do is to import the daloradius scheme into our existing radius database.

$ cd /var/www/html/daloradius/contrib/db

sudo mysql -u root -p radius
configure the following daloradius setting.

sudo vi /var/www/html/daloradius/library/daloradius.conf.php

Change the database password

$configValues[‘CONFIG_DB_PASS’] = ‘password’;

Save and exit the file

Now you need to configure daloradius website under /etc/apache2/sites-available

sudo vi /etc/apache2/sites-available/daloradius.conf

add the following lines

Alias /daloradius “/var/www/html/daloradius/”

<Directory /var/www/html/daloradius/>
Options None
Order allow,deny
allow from all
</Directory>

Save and exit the file

Enable daloradius website using the following command

sudo a2ensite daloradius

Enabling site daloradius.

To activate the new configuration, you need to run:

sudo service apache2 reload

Daloradius Web GUI

you can access daloradius GUI using http://server-ip/daloradius and the login screen as follows

1

Use the following login details

username: administrator
password: radius

If you are running PHP 7 then you might see the following error

Database connection error
Error Message: DB Error: extension not found

To fix the above error you need to do the following changes Credit goes here

Changing file library/daloradius.conf.php

It’s required to update daloRADIUS’s database connection code so that it identifies the MySQL server using the new and improved mysqli driver:

Open for editing the file library/daloradius.conf.php and locate the configuration variable CONFIG_DB_ENGINE and change it to the value of mysqli (it is now probably set to mysql, notice the extra i). It should end up looking as follows: $configValues[‘CONFIG_DB_ENGINE’] = ‘mysqli’;
Changing file library/opendb.php

Open for editing the file library/opendb.php

At the very end of the file just add this new line of code: $dbSocket->query(“SET GLOBAL sql_mode = “;”); which makes the MySQL version work with less strict SQL syntax

Once you logged in you should see similar to the following screen

2

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Easily Update Ubuntu and Debian Systems with uCareSystem | Linux.com


Updates are something that are often ignored for one reason or another. However, if you’re not making a daily (or at least weekly) habit of updating your systems, then you are doing yourself, your servers, and your company a disservice.

And, even if you are regularly updating your Ubuntu and Debian systems, you may be doing the bare minimum, thereby leaving out some rather important steps.

As with nearly every aspect of Linux, fortunately, there’s an app that does an outstanding job of taking care of those upgrading tasks. A single command will:

  • Update the list of available packages

  • Download and install all available updates for the system

  • Check for and remove any old Linux kernels (retaining the current running kernel and one previous version)

  • Clear the retrieved packages

  • Uninstall obsolete and orphaned packages

  • Delete package settings from previously uninstalled software

That’s a lot of jobs for one command—but ucaresystem-core handles all this with ease. Considering that one command takes the place of at least eight commands, that’s a big time saver.

In fact, here are the commands ucaresystem-core can take care of:

  • apt update

  • apt upgrade

  • apt autoremove

  • apt clean

  • uname -r (do NOT remove this kernel)

  • dpkg –list | grep linux-image

  • sudo apt-get purge linux-image-X.X.X-X-generic (Where X.X.X-X is the kernel to be removed)

  • sudo update-grub2

If you love spending time at a terminal window, that’s great. But if you have a lot of systems to update, you’re probably looking out for something to make your job a bit more efficient. That’s where ucaresystem-core comes in.

I’ve been using ucaresystem-core for more than a year now (with Elementary OS and Ubuntu) and have yet to encounter a single problem. In fact, this particular tool has become one of the first I install on all Ubuntu and Debian systems. I trust it…it works.

So, how can you get this incredibly handy tool? Let’s walk through the process of installing ucaresystem-core, how to use it, and how to automate it.

Installation

The first thing you must do is install ucaresystem-core. We’ll be downloading the .deb file (as the Utappia repository seems to no longer contain a release file). Here’s how:

  1. Download the .deb file that matches your operating system release into your ~/Downloads directory

  2. Change into the ~/Downloads directory with the command cd ~/Downloads

  3. Install the deborphan dependency with the command sudo apt install deborphan

  4. Install ucaresystem-core with the command sudo dpkg -i ucaresystem-core*.deb

That’s it for the installation; ucaresystem-core is ready to go.

Running ucaresystem-core

You might have guessed by now that running this all-in-one command is very simple, and you would be correct. To fire up ucaresystem-core, go back to your terminal and issue the command:

sudo ucaresystem-core

This will launch the tool, which will immediately warn you that it will kick off in five seconds (Figure 1).

As the command runs, it requires zero user input, so you can walk away and wait for the process to complete (how long it takes will depend upon how much needs to be updated, how much needs to be removed, the speed of your system, and the speed of your Internet connection).

The one caveat to ucaresystem-core is that it does not warn you should you need to reboot your machine (if a newer kernel be installed). Instead, you have to scroll up to near the beginning of the output to see what has been upgraded (Figure 2).

If you cannot scroll up in your terminal, you can always view the dpkg log found in /var/log/dpkg.log. In this file, you will see everything ucaresystem-core has upgraded (including a handy time-stamp — Figure 3).

How much space did we gain?

Since my Elementary OS is set up such that ucaresystem-core is run as a cron job, I installed a fresh instance on a Ubuntu 17.10 desktop to test how much space would be freed after a single run. This instance was a VirtualBox VM, so space was at a premium. Prior to running the ucaresystem-core command the VM was using 6.8GB out of 12GB. After the run, the VM was using 6.2GB out of 12GB. Although that may not seem like a large amount, when you’re dealing with limited space, every bit counts. Plus, if you consider it went from 37 percent to 34 percent usage, it might seem like a better savings. On top of that, the system is now clean and running the most recent versions of all software…with the help of a single command.

Automating the task

Because ucaresystem-core doesn’t require user input, it is very easy to automate this, with the help of cron. Let’s say you want to run ucaresystem-core every night at midnight. To do this, open a terminal window and issue the command sudo crontab -e. Once you’re in your crontab editor, add the following to the bottom of the file:

0 0 * * * /usr/bin/ucaresystem-core

Save and close the crontab file. The command will now run every night at Midnight. Thanks to the dpkg log file, you can check to see the results.

Should you want to set up ucaresystem-core to run at a different time/day, I suggest using the Crontab Guru to help you know how to enter the time/date for your cron job.

Keep it simple, keep it clean

You will be hard-pressed to find a simpler method to keep your Ubuntu and Debian systems both updated and clean, than with ucaresystem-core. I highly recommend you employ this very handy tool for any system that you want always updated and free of the cruft that can be left behind by such a process.

Of course, if you prefer to do everything by hand, that is an even more reliable method. However, when you don’t always have time for that, there’s always ucaresystem-core.

Learn more about Linux through the free “Introduction to Linux” course from The Linux Foundation and edX.

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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