Friday, December 23, 2011

Beta Testing Begins for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.8

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5Linux vendor Red Hat is fancying itself up with a newer platform but is by no means hanging its older customers out to dry. The company is currently in the process of testing the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.8 release, which will provide customers with updates to the platform.

Red Hat first launched Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 in 2007 and in the latter part of 2010 released Red Hat Linux Enterprise 6, which provided the next generation of enterprise Linux features. Red Hat Enterprise Linux was also recently updated to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2, which gave new control and storage features. The upcoming release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.8, which is now in beta testing, will be getting its own set of updates, though resource control won't be among them.

The resource control functionality found in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 is from the cgroups feature, which is also not present in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.x series. According to Vice President of Linux Engineering at Red Hat Tim Burke, "cgroups was extremely invasive so you'll never see that in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5. We continue to do minor feature enhancements in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5." Burke also added that the minor feature enhancements added to v5 must not be invasive or overly risky and that there is also the potential for additional hardware enablement in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.

Even though cgroups isn't going to be in RHEL 5.8, other types of enterprise controls are. Some of the new features support Power Management Quality of Service (QoS), a feature that provides power savings to enterprise via automated scheduling based on QoS policies. In addition to that, there is something known as "iotop" support. This is said to provide monitoring for I/O from a process perspective that will be helpful in troubleshooting performance issues.

According to Burke, "RHEL 5 is still getting development features so it's definitely not the end of the road for RHEL 5. Remember we have a 10-year product lifecycle. At this point RHEL 5 is only four years old, so we still have a long runway left for RHEL 5."

Source: Server Watch - Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.8 Enters Testing

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Battlefield 3's PC Server Browser Gets Updated

Battlefield 3 PC Server Browser
One thing that PC gaming has always had over console gaming (at least in terms of multiplayer) was the ability to buy your on server to host your favorite games online. In addition to that, you also had the ability to join any server you could find, dramatically increasing the chances of you finding a game. Battlefield 3 brought a little of this functionality to consoles upon its release, though the PC still does it better in my opinion. However, it appears as if PC gamers will have even more to brag about as DICE has made a plethora of "super charged" improvements to the Server Browser for the PC version of Battlefield 3.

The full list of all the changes is as follows:

Filter by Country - This allows you to search for servers by country (obviously). This is highly useful for any gamer looking to play with gamers from all corners of the earth or want to play on the server of your favorite country.

Server Queuing - This is sure to make a lot of gamers happy. Server queuing allows you to be added to a waiting queue if the server you want to play on is full. This is good if you are trying to play a specific map, game mode or with specific players.

New Navigation Icons - New quick links are available that take you directly to some of the more popular areas of Battlelog as well as easy access to things like stats and dog tags.

Easier Server Joining for Parties - The whole process of joining a server with a party of friends has been improved. The update allows everybody in your party to connect to the server asynchronously, without having to wait for your team to ready up.

Battle Report Sharing - You now have the ability to share your favorite battle reports on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, letting all your friends know just how much of a boss you really are (or aren't) at the game.

Improved Server Browser - The server browser has now been equipped with more search options like Kill Cam, Friendly Fire and 3D Spotting. This is sure to make finding specific things in a game much faster and easier.

That's the run-down of all the new features in DICE's update to the Battlefield 3 PC Server Browser system. Hopefully this helps make finding games, servers and parties a lot simpler. Battlefield 3 fans should also keep an eye out for the game's first set of DLC, "Back to Karkand", set to drop on December 13th. Owners of the Limited Edition game will already have free access to the DLC with everybody else having to pay for it.

Source: - Battlefield 3 PC Server Browsers gets 'super charged' update is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Intel Debuts Pentium 350 Chip for Low-End Servers

Intel PentiumIntel, the most widely renowned and largest computer chip manufacturer on the planet, has just introduced a brand new, low-power Pentium 350 processor which is specifically aimed at low-end servers. The company had talked previously about its intentions to move into the low-end server market by producing "server versions" of the Atom processor which would support technologies like ECC memory.

However, Intel has taken that idea and done something that simply has most tech industry professionals scratching their heads. Intel has gone ahead and jumped right into the market, though with a Pentium branded processor instead of an Atom. The processor the company has decided to use? The dual-core 1.2GHz Pentium 350.

Even though the Pentium brand from Intel is extremely well known, the company has relegated it to cut down processors, effectively taking the place of the company's Celeron processors. Regardless, the Pentium 350 supports Hyperthreading and, most importantly, has a thermal design power (TDP) of only 15W.

What makes the Intel Pentium 350 processor a server-oriented chip is the complete lack of an on-chip GPU and support for ECC memory with the memory controller supporting two channels. In addition to that, there is support for Intel's Vpro virtualization technology, presumably meaning that the Pentium 350 chip was designed for very specific and traditional workloads.

The Xeon range of processors from Intel currently dominates the commodity server market, though the company needs to start producing lower power chips to compete with ARM-based servers in the future. It was expected that Chipzilla would serve the low-end server market with an Atom processor, but for now the 15W Pentium chip will have to take its place until 22nm Atom chips begin coming off of Intel's production lines sometime next year.

Source: The Inquirer - Intel outs 15W Pentium 350 chip for servers

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

New SQL Server Licensing from Microsoft

Microsoft SQL Server 2012It seems that most people, on the internet at least, have come to accept some new changes to Microsoft's SQL Server 2012 licensing model which is a clear contrast to the anarchy that ensued over changes to VMware's vSphere 5.0 back in July. In that case complaints forced VMware to modify its pricing. Microsoft debuted SQL Server 2012 earlier in the month as the relational database management system upgraded from SQL 2008. However, it is still going to take some effort by customers to figure out what these new changes mean for them, as well as for their IT budgets.

On the other hand, Microsoft is attempting to make it as easy as possible with an SQL Server 2012 Licensing Datasheet. Microsoft explains, in a six-page PDF, the different licensing options, differences among the different editions and how to transition from SQL 2008 to SQL 2012 licenses. However, it is still recommended that users consult with a Microsoft sales representative, preferably one that is the most familiar with their account.

Last month Microsoft and HP jointly announced the development of HP Alliance which will be able to run SQL 2012. VMware landed in some hot water with more than a few customers when it introduced a new licensing policy with vSphere 5.0, specifically when the company switched from a hardware-based licensing model per physical server to a "vRAM metric", where the company billed the amount of virtual RAM per physical server.

A plethora of blogs and reports noted complaints about the limitation on the number of vRAMs per license and, after only three weeks of customer disapproval, VMware relented and increased the limits per license of vRAM. It is no surprise that the backlash of that business venture is on the minds of the people at Microsoft who are responsible for SQL 2012. Some of the highlights of the new release include a new license category called Business Intelligence (BI) Edition, which fits between the existing Standard Edition (SE) and the Enterprise Edition (EE).

The BI Edition is fine-tuned to manage databases that are tied to a business intelligence application, which just so happens to be a growing category of IT for companies that are looking to crunch petabytes of data in order to get a little insight into how to run their businesses. Each edition of SQL 2012 will offer two broad options, pricing based on computing power and pricing based on the total number of end users. This is known as the Client Access License (CAL). However, computing power in the Enterprise Edition will be based on the number of sockets in a server as opposed to the number of processors.

Pricing information is detailed in the datasheet that notes that in EE a license is $6,874 per core for mission-critical apps. The BI edition is $3,952 per server plus an additional $209 per CAL. The SE edition is sold on a per-server ($898) or per-core ($1,793) basis with the addition of the same $209 per CAL license. It's going to take some calculations on the customer's part to determine if it is financially better to go with a per-server or per-core plan. Regardless, SQL Server 2012 will be available sometime in the first quarter of 2012.

Source: Information Week - Microsoft Revamps SQL Server Licensing

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

ARM Enters the World of 64-bit with New ARMv8 Chip Architecture

ARM chipARM has just introduced its very first 64-bit microprocessor architecture, known as ARMv8. This new architecture should enable wider use of ARM chips in servers as well as other enterprise equipment and also increase the competition the company currently has with Intel.

ARMv8 adds 64-bit addressing capabilities, which is an improvement over the ARMv7-A architecture. The ARMv7-A architecture is capable of up to 40-bit addressing, though this new architecture puts ARM into more direct competition with Intel and its 65-bit Xeon processors.

The new architecture will take time to show up, though. ARM expects to release its first ARMv8 processor designs next year with prototype consumer and enterprise systems not expected to arrive until sometime in 2014 according to ARM. In a speech by ARM CTO Mike Muller at ARM TechCon on Thursday where the new design was announced, Muller stated, "This is the beginning of quite a long road to 64-bit products."

The ARMv8 processor architecture will offer backwards compatibility as well as migration for existing software, ARM added. Most of the PC and server operating systems in today's market ar 64-bit. 64-bit allows computers to address larger amounts of storage and memory, something that is especially useful for data-intensive applications.

ARM licenses processor architectures and designs to mobile chip companies, like Nvidia, Samsung, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, and the company's processors are also used in most smartphones and tablets on today's market. However, the company has practically no presence in the server and PC markets, both of which are dominated by Intel and its x86 processors.

The new ARM architecture will be implemented in chips that range from tiny sensors to large-scale infrastructure equipment, according to ARM, who also stated that it will bring "energy-efficient 64-bit computing" to high-end servers. Microsoft has said previously that 64-bit applications run faster than 32-bit applications, and ARM's new architecture could make future chips with ARM processors capable of running 64-bit Windows applications.

Microsoft's Windows 8 will work on ARM and x86 processors, and devices like tablets have been demonstrated running on ARM's 31-bit processors. The lack of 64-bit capabilities was considered a drawback in ARM's efforts to enter the PC and server markets with most applications running 64-bits. ARM had previously stated that it would address 64-bit only when necessary, pointing out that it would not sacrifice power consumption in order to bring more performance. It looks like that time has come.

Source: Computer World - ARM goes 64-bit with new ARMv8 chip architecture is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Microsoft Announces HP Enterprise Database Consolidation Appliance for SQL Server

Microsoft, along with HP, has just announced that the HP Enterprise Database Consolidation Appliance for SQL Server will be available this November. The hardware-software package is targeted directly at increasing the speed of deployment and simplifying the management of hundreds to thousands of database instances in a virtualized "private cloud" environment.

Microsoft has stated that the appliance will allow customers to deploy new database instances in a matter of minutes while also reducing the cost of operations by as much as 75% over conventional database deployments. This is accomplished via savings on floor space, energy usage and infrastructure.

Microsoft has also described the new appliance as an industry first due to its ability to consolidate a database with no application or database changes using built-in tools for database migration as well as management. However, the device is clearly the Microsoft-HP answer to Oracle's Exadata, which now claims to have more than 1,000 deployments.

The HP Enterprise Database Consolidation Appliance is basically the transactional-side counterpart to the HP Enterprise Data Warehouse Appliance which was introduced earlier in the year. The HP Enterprise Data Warehouse Appliance runs on Microsoft's SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse.

The full rack consolidation appliance provides 58 terabytes of storage as well as 400 hard drives, 192 logical processors and 2 terabytes of RAM. If that seems like it may be overkill for what you need, you can always opt for a half rack option which, obviously, takes everything offered by the full rack and cuts it in half. Supporting software includes Windows Server Datacenter 2008 R2, new Microsoft Database Consolidation 2012 software to manage the appliance, SQL Server virtual machines and new appliance tools for configuration, testing and day-to-day management.

Source: Information Week - Microsoft Counters Exadata With SQL Server Appliance

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

UTStarcom Debuts MS 3005 Blade Server

UTStarcom logoUTStarcom Holdings Corporation, one of the leading providers of interactive IP-based network solutions in iDTV, IPTV, Internet TV and broadband for telecom and operators, has just announced the launch of its MS 3005 streaming media storage unit and blade server, both of which provide users with expanded storage capabilities as well as faster processing capacities.

The MS 3005 server allows operators of IPTV, iDTV and Internet TV to stream large amounts of HD content while also providing added-value services including video-on-demand and expanded recording capabilities. In addition to that, this new product also allows operators to manage and store different types of media data collected from TV, Mobile PC and other digital media more efficiently.

Environmentalist will appreciate the fact that the new MS 3005 server is also more energy efficient compared to the previous version, consuming less electricity per hour. As a result of this energy savings, operators will be able to enjoy energy and maintenance cost-savings. Improved technology as well as high storage density also help reduce costs in processing, storage, and spare parts while at the same time enhancing the operator's efficiency and scalability.

When combined with the new MC6098B HD set-top box, the MS 3005 blade server also enhances the experience of the subscriber while also improving not only the telecom operator's service capabilities but also the cable operator's service capabilities through UTStarcom's integrated Internet TV solution.

Source: Market Watch - UTStarcom Launches MS 3005 Server is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Security Flaw at Oracle Could Take Down Application Servers

OracleOracle just released an emergency patch that is designed to fix a vulnerability that, according to the company, could bring down HTTP application servers sold by Oracle, ones that are also based on Apache 2.0 or 2.2.

According to a statement released by Oracle, hackers have the ability to exploit weaknesses remotely without the need of a username or password for entry. There are multiple products that are affected by the bug, including Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g Release 1, versions, and; Oracle Application Server 10g Release 3, version and Oracle Application Server 10g Release 2, version

The United States Government's National Vulnerability Database has already assigned a Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) rating of 7.8 to the bug, indicating a "complete Operating System denial of service (dos)", according to the company. However, Oracle did take issue with the assessment in its security alert.

According to the company, "A complete Operating System denial of service is not possible on any platform supported by Oracle, and as a result, Oracle has given the vulnerability a CVSS Base Score of 5.0 indicating a complete denial of service of the Oracle HTTP Server but not the Operating System."

Regardless of how you score it, the bug was, evidently, serious enough for Oracle to release a patch for it outside of the company's usual large quarterly update schedule, the next of which is poised to take place on October 18, 2011.

The hack at Oracle is just the latest in a series of hacks against large corporations, government websites and other companies from multiple hacker groups that like to be known as "hacktivists". These attacks have gotten so bad, actually, that the government has started an all out campaign against these hackers in an attempt to stop them before they cause any extremely serious damage.

Source: PC World - Oracle: Security Flaw Could Bring Down App Servers is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Microsoft SQL Server Switching to Open Database Connectivty

Microsoft SQL ServerMicrosoft just announced on Monday a roadmap shift indicating that it will shift focus on supporting the Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) approach for SQL Server application programming interfaces in the very near future. This is an important announcement for C/C++ developers who are writing applications for relational database management systems, especially if they are using other Microsoft-supported APIs like Object Linking and Embedding Database (OLE DB).

In addition to that, Microsoft has announced that it will be slowly cutting ties with OLE DB support. According to Microsoft, there will be a 7-year phase out period for OLE DB which will correspond with the life cycle support period of SQL Server code-named "Denali" after that product launches. Denali will be the last Microsoft SQL Server database management product to support OLE DB.

According to a blog post from Microsoft, "OLE DB will supported for seven years from launch, the life of SQL Server Code Name 'Denali' support, to allow you a large window of opportunity for change before depreciation. We encourage you to adopt ODBC in any future version or new application development."

Microsoft has yet to announce a release date for Denali though the common expectation is that Denali will be released in the fourth quarter of this year. In addition to that, it is also expected that details will come from Microsoft's PASS Summit 2011 event in October.

Interestingly enough, Microsoft is accepting that the OBDC open standard it developed with Simba Technologies back in 1992 has become the widely accepted standard for database APIs. ODBC has overshadowed the other attempts by Microsoft to improve on the standard with its OLE DB according to Simba's history of ODBC.

According to Microsoft, "This depreciation applies to the Microsoft SQL Server OLE DB provider only. Other OLE DB providers as well as the OLE DB standard will continue to be supported until explicitly announced." However, a Microsoft FAQ does indicate that ADO will also be affected by the phase out of OLE DB.

"Providers like which can run on top of OLE DB will not support OLE DB once the latter is depreciated," says the FAQ. "At that time the clients using the underlying provider need to update their application to use a different provider."

If you are a developer, then you should consider moving to ODBC over the 7-year period in order to align with this general plan. OLE DB was the proprietary technology of Microsoft, however, Microsoft has now admitted that ODBC was a better choice.

According to the FAQ, "OLE DB was introduced primarily to provide uniform data access to non-relational data as well as relational data. But it is Microsoft's proprietary technology that worked only on Microsoft platforms. When it comes to uniform data access to SQL Server from different platforms, ODBC has always been a better choice and that was consistently quoted by all of our customers in various surveys, SDRs and forums. By fully aligning with ODBC, Microsoft will be focusing on one set of industry standard APIS that are widely used by many of our customers."

Source: - Microsoft Shifting To Open Database Connectivity for SQL Server

Friday, August 19, 2011

Red Hat Virtualization No Longer Windows Exclusive

Red Hat logoConsidering that it's a Linux Vendor, it isn't a surprise that Red Hat obviously wants its customers to run its technologies on Linux. However, when it comes to the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) management system, customers have always been forced to run the system on Microsoft Windows. However, that is all about to change.

According to Navin Thadani, Senior Director of Red Hat's Virtualization Business, "The management system has been re-written as a Java app that runs on top of a RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) server. So we've removed the Microsoft Windows server dependency."

Thadani did note that RHEV will still support Active Directory for authentication work. Now the system uses the open source PostgreSQL database as well. The new RHEV update is said to be a zero-downtime upgrade according to Thadani. In addition to that, the new Windows-free management piece will not cost anything extra other than that which Red Hat has previously charged for the RHEV versions that had Windows dependencies.

"The way we price RHEV is that we don't charge for the management system separately," Thadani added. "Ours is a single price for the management system and the hypervisor baked into a dollars-per-socket, per-year price." Thadani also added that enterprises just need to count the number of CPU sockets they will use and that is how much they will pay. Thadani also added that he believes that Red Hat's pricing can be 1/7 the cost of VMware. VMware recently changed its pricing model for vSphere. Pricing is now based on virtual RAM allocations.

In addition to the new management server, the other major change in RHEV 3.0 is a new version of KVM. KVM is the core virtualization hypervisor that powers the solution. According to Thadani, "We've replaced the underlying hypervisor to the new KVM that's going to be shipping in RHEL 6.2. With that, we've picked up performance enhancements, including Transparent Huge Pages for database performance, paravirtualized interrupt controllers, async I/O and an entire rewrite of the networking infrastructure."

Thadani also explained that the networking stack has also been moved from userspace to kernel space to deliver better performance to users. Now, the system can scale up to 128 CPUs with 2TB of RAM at the host level, providing for larger virtual machines.
In addition to that, Red Hat is making it easier to provision and deploy new virtual machines as well as create templates and make virtual machines. There is also a new built-in reporting infrastructure that leverages an embedded Jasper Reports engine.

RHEV is not all about server virtualization exclusively, there is also a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) component as well. "We've made improvements to VDI in the area of WAN optimization," Thadani added. The last major release of RHEV was when version 2.2 was released in 2010. When asked about number of customers, Thadani stated, "We've got many, many customers around the world and across industry segments." RHEV 3.0 is currently in beta testing with general availability slated for the end of this year.

Source: Server Watch - Red Hat Revs up Virtualization, Without Windows

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Raytheon Unveils Interoperable Server System

RaytheonRaytheon has just developed a new server-based system that links 4G LTE and P25 systems over the same network. When this happens, it ensures that public safety officials will be able to stay connected when they need to the most. It would allow firefighters using a legacy FM handheld, EMS with a P25 radio or a police officer with an LTE-linked mobile data computer in his squad car to stay connected, no matter what.

The new server from Raytheon is suitable for a wide variety of interoperability applications and is also scalable, making it usable in small towns or big cities, whichever is needed. The system uses gateways, like Raytheon's newly released ACU-5000, for local interoperability. It also uses these gateways to convert non-IP communications, like the ones from radios, telephones and the like, for transfer to the server. IP-based communications are brought directly to the server.

According to Director of Civil Communications Solutions for Raytheon's Network Centric Systems Business Bill Iannacci, "Interoperability in a large-scale disaster is critical. Raytheon's interoperable server solution promotes customer choice, as it integrates the existing equipment of each city and has built-in abilities to support next-generation communications technology. This allows municipalities to upgrade hardware, from their preferred vendors, as budgets allow."

Raytehon's Audio Connect Unit (ACU) technology initiated the radio interoperability gateway concept in the late 1990's and the newer server system assists its users by incorporating all the lessons learned since then. The understanding that during a disaster or other type of incident that requires inter-agency interoperability, most of the links will be local was one of the most prominent lessons learned. This new system maintains this local interoperability, as well as the means to control it, even if infrastructure failure breaks the network link to the server.

Source: PR Newswire - Raytheon Debuts an Interoperable Server System With Digital and Analog Interfaces for Legacy FM Radio, P25 and 4G LTE

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Apple's Lion Server Takes A Different Turn

Mac Lion ServerSo Mac OS X Lion has just been released and the first app to hit the Lion app store is surprising many users. That app is Mac OS X Lion Server, which will cost you $49, a mere fraction of the $499 price tag that was on Snow Leopard's Server. With that the Mac OS X Server that everybody knew is no more. In addition to that, just to make the deal a little sweeter, Apple is giving you Xsan, the SAN software that the company used to sell for $999. With Mac OS X Lion Server you can turn a Mac Pro with a fiber channel card into a super fast bulletproof distributed storage server for Mac networks.

While you may already be drooling over these kinds of prices, it all seems a little odd, and it raises a few questions. Many critics will undoubtedly point the Lion Server drop in price, the abolishment of node-locked licensing, and simplification of the administrative GUI as a foreshadowing of Apple leaving the server market completely. The price of $49 does not mitigate the risk of implementing a server platform that appears to be in decline.

On the other hand, Lion Server doesn't really resemble a last ditch effort by a dying market. Instead it seems to signal a shift in mission. As opposed to trying to displace enterprises Windows, Linux and Unix servers, Lion Server seems to focus primarily on providing easily managed native network services to work groups of iOS and Mac users. Lion Server's Profile Manager is key to enterprise deployments of iOS devices. Profile Manager has the ability to configure a user-owned device that is connected to a company infrastructure for company services that include ones not hosted by Mac OS X or iCloud.

Mac devices, like iPads or iPhones, that are owned by the company can also be locked down with profiles that apply certain defined groups of users or devices. All you have to do as the user is visit a web portal that Lion has set up and hosted automatically. After the profile is loaded, updates can be pushed to a certain device over the air and so can emergency commands such as remote wipe and password change. And that is only one of the many services offered by Lion Server. $49 equips your network with any combination of file, email, calendar, Web, chat, podcast, VPN, directory or backup services. And you know how committed Apple is to standards, so you can rely on the fact that Lion Server remains a good candidate for everyday use.

Source: InfoWorld - Apple's radical new Mac server strategy

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Microsoft Announces General Availability of SBS Essentials 2011

Windows Small Business Server 2011 EssentialsMicrosoft just recently announced the general availability of Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials last week. The server, which was designed to support small businesses with around 25 users, is able to be purchased via Microsoft's volume licensing channels or from original equipment managers and retail outlets. Microsoft's volume licensing customers are also supposed to have had access to Windows SBS 2011 Essentials since May 1.

This announcement claims that most of Microsoft's OEM partners currently offer SBS 2011 Essentials server products. While that may be true, only HP's offering is easy to find at the moment. It's a little confusing because Microsoft provides links to six OEMs on its Windows SBS purchasing options page with most of those links leading to Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard offerings. Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard is slightly different in that it supports up to 75 users. Microsoft released SBS 2011 Standard to OEMs as well as volume licensing customers back in March.

Microsoft's announcement did indicate that more OEM server products using SBS 2011 Essentials software will be available "in the next few months". Windows SBS 2011 Essentials is designed to rely on cloud-based services, more so than Windows SBS 2011 Standard that is. One benefit that SBS 2011 Essentials has over SBS 2011 Standard is that no Client Access Licenses are required to use the Essentials version.

Microsoft is planning a means for better integration with Office 365, the latest collection of cloud-based services from Microsoft. This integration will be carried out via a Microsoft connector known as "Office 365 Integration Module for SBS Essentials". Microsoft expects the release of this module sometime this fall.

IT professionals can currently create new users manually in SBS 2011 Essentials as well as Office 365 and they can also use the same alias name in both the premises-based Essentials as well as in the cloud-based Office 365 suite. The integration module will automate porting user aliases created in Essentials into the Office 365 cloud.

More improvements to SMS 2011 Essentials will be coming in the future, either from Microsoft or one of its many partners. Microsoft did state in the announcement that "many more solutions for cloud backup, hosted email integration and online productivity are already on the market or will be available soon."

In addition to that, there is also an experimental connector currently available for Windows 7 users that is able to assist them in remotely monitoring SBS 2011 Essentials servers via their smartphones. It also works with the Windows Home Server 2011 as well as Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials. The connector is currently available as a release candidate test version and is not recommended by Microsoft for use in production environments.

Source: - Windows SBS 2011 Essentials Released Broadly is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Embotics Releases V-Commander 4.0

Embotics logoManaging private cloud deployments is no small task. Virtualization is supposed to help enterprises consolidate server sprawl as well as realize operational efficiencies. However, it requires the right amount of management infrastructure in order to do so. Software vendor Embotics is looking to deliver on the promise of private cloud virtualization management with its new V-Commander 4.0 release. This new release is targeted specifically at the mid-market for enterprises that have between 250 to 2,000 servers. It also delivers provisioning and service automation features.

According to Founder, CEO and President of Embotics Jay Litkey, "It's infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and we also integrate virtualization management capabilities. Traditionally, people look at IaaS vendors that are just focused on the provisioning of virtual machines, we have all of that and have included the same product real-time monitoring and virtualization management."

The V-Commander 4.0 release includes a new service catalog as well as approval workflow and rapid provisioning capabilities. The approval workflow component allows an enterprise to have a system which lets administrators approve which users gain access to virtual machine assets. In addition to that, the system also tracks the workflow of a service requests allowing both users and administrators to monitor status.

The service catalog is built by the organization using a drag and drop form builder. Litkey also explained that a lot of companies make a template of approved services available. The service catalog portal can also be used in order to request changes to an existing service. The rapid provisioning component comes into play once the service catalog item workflow request has been approved. The V-Commander software is able to run on either a physical or virtual appliance, and currently Embotics doesn't offer the product in a hosted Software-as-a-Service cloud model.

"We don't do that today, it's a conceptual type of deployment, and we haven't seen strong demands for it," Litkey stated. "Clearly, as the world evolves and the world moves to more cloud driven approaches, you can expect that we'll see an uptick in more people asking for it."Litkey explained that a lot of enterprises are more comfortable having automated management software deployed on-site. "People want to first be comfortable with automation within the walls of their own private cloud first."

V-Commander is also currently limited to the management of on-site private clouds as opposed to some form of hybrid deployment which includes public cloud components. Litkey did, however, hint that this could change in the future. "Since we have monitoring of capacity and the automation for creation and destruction of virtual machines, we'll have more investment to tie that information together to make intelligent decisions."

Litkey also noted that in V-Commander 4.0, there is an intelligent placement feature that determines where a new VM should be provisioned. With an improved tie-in to monitoring, the placement feature can be enhanced with historical and compliance data as well. "In 4.0, we started the process and we have more planned in terms of tying this knowledge together to do provisioning in an intelligent, automated fashion."

Source: A Serve Watch - Embotics Takes Command of Private Cloud Servers

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

HP Not Letting Oracle Drop Itanium Support Without A Fight

Oracle vs HPSo, if you haven't already heard, HP has no plans of letting Oracle off the hook for supporting Itanium. Oracle publicly announced back in March that it was officially discontinuing support of Oracle applications running on HP's Intel Itanium powered servers.

Jump forward three months and HP is starting to fight back by claiming that Oracle has a legal obligation to continue supporting Itanium. According to a statement made by HP, "HP believes that Oracle's March 22 statement to discontinue all future software development on the Itanium platform violates legally binding commitments Oracle has made to HP and the more than 140,000 shared HP-Oracle customers. Further, we believe that this is an unlawful attempt to force customers from HP Itanium platforms over to Oracle's own platforms."

HP has sent Oracle a formal legal demand letter telling the company that it needs to reverse its decision on abandoning Itanium. "HP believes that Oracle is legally obligated to continue to offer its software product suite on the Itanium platform and we will take whatever legal actions are available to us necessary to protect our customers' best interests and the significant investments they have made," HP stated.

Oracle, back in March, made numerous claims that HP apparently disagreed with. Not only did Oracle announce publicly that the company was discontinuing support for HP's Itanium but they also claimed that Intel was hopping on board and doing the same thing. According to Oracle, "Intel management made it clear that their strategic focus is on their x86 microprocessor and that Itanium was nearing the end of its life."

The unfortunate thing, for Oracle at least, is that both HP and Intel are refuting Oracle's claims. According to HP, "HP remains committed to a long-term mission-critical server roadmap, including Intel's Itanium processor. Similarly, Intel has repeatedly reinforced its ongoing commitment to the Itanium roadmap."

While HP is going after Oracle for Itanium support, other vendors have already begun abandoning the platform. Microsoft announced back in April of 2010 that it was ending support for Itanium. Will HP win out over Oracle or will Oracle's claims that Intel is dropping Itanium as well come true?

Source: Server Watch - HP Demands Oracle Support Itanium

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Asia-Pacific Server Market Experiences Growth

serversThe first quarter of 2011 saw strong growth in the Asia-Pacific server market. Shipments rose 21% compared to the first quarter of 2010, just one year ago. In addition to that, server revenue increased 29% year-over-year.

The Australian market also experienced growth, however, the market growth was modest. Server revenue in the Australian market increased by 10% this quarter despite shipments falling 5% compared to last year's first quarter.

According to Erica Gadjuli, Gartner Principal Research Analyst, "Enterprise spending on server consolidation using virtualization technology continued to be a key driving factor for server market growth in this region." x86-based server sales also grew 21% in shipments as well as 31% in revenue.

IT investments in key verticals like financial services and the public sector led to year-on-year revenue growth in mainframe and RISC/Itanium Unix servers. Mainframe and RISC/Itanium Unix servers grew 137% and 15.3% respectively during the first quarter.

Blade Servers, which include x86 and non-x86 based, did better than the rest of the market by growing 38% by shipments and 68% in revenue year-over-year compared to other servers like rack mounted, rack optimized, tower and standalone.

The leader in the server market for the first quarter was HP with shipments with a 30% share overall in Asia-Pacific. IBM held the leadership position in revenue, accounting for 41% of the entire market.

Dell was second in shipments with 21.8%, followed by IBM with a 20% market share. Lenovo trailed in fourth with 5.1% with Huawei topping off the top five with 3.7%. All of these vendors in the Asia-Pacific region had their own moments of success during the first quarter of 2011 in both shipments and revenue, experiencing double digit growth year-over-year.

Source: ARN - Asia-Pacific server market on the rise

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Mon.itor.Us Introduces Free Server Monitoring as a Service

MonitisMon.itor.Us has recently announced that it has become the only cloud-based systems monitoring solution of internal servers for organizations at no cost. Mon.itor.Us is the free monitoring section of Monitis, Incorporated and has launched no-cost internal server and network monitoring as one of its services.

Mon.itor.Us has offered users, which consists of entrepreneurs, small to medium-sized businesses, large enterprises, government agencies, schools and non-profit organizations, free external website monitoring since 2005.

According to Founder and CEO of Monitis Hovhannes Avoyan, "The growing popularity of Mon.itor.Us proves there is a high level of demand among the world's companies for free cloud-based website monitoring to easily and accurately check their web servers' uptime and end-user experience, as well as to ensure that all runs smoothly. Our outstanding growth in transactions and users shows that today's enterprises (small or large) want it all - reliable on-demand monitoring tools that are hassle-free to set up and use and are thus more cost-efficient than even free monitoring software."

Mon.itor.Us has recently celebrated its fifth anniversary and extended its free monitoring as a service offering to include systems and network performance monitoring. Mon.itor.Us has significantly enhanced the monitoring services it provides by offering free 24/7 monitoring of internal servers' CPUs, memory, system processes and hard disk space as well as corporate Intranet applications through on-demand, hosted monitoring. This frees up system administrators from worries about poor performance on their IT infrastructure.

"Now consider hosted server monitoring," Avoyan noted. "Having a single small-footprint agent within the firewall and using HTTP(s) protocol for communication eliminates the need for system administrators to alter their firewall just so monitoring software can work properly. We enforce the best monitoring architecture at no dollar and time cost, and the whole setup may take just minutes with hosted monitoring solutions."

The main benefit to hosted monitoring is the fact that it frees up system administrators from long setups, configurations and continual maintenance on software-based monitoring systems. The benefits are pretty easy to spot, Avoyan added, "We are the first and only cloud-based monitoring solution to offer free all-in-one server monitoring."

Source: The Open Press - Mon.itor.Us Introduces World's First Free Server Monitoring as a Service (Monitis)

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Amazon Makes an Apology for Server Outage, Offers Credit as Compensation

Amazon Web has released an apology today for a data-center outage that brought down a bunch of major websites including Foursquare as well as Reddit. In addition to the apology, also offered customers of its Web services a 10-day credit.

Amazon isn't, however, disclosing how much the credit will be. Amazon Web Services accounts for only a small percentage of Amazon's total revenue. However ,the company does have high hopes for the business. The Web service rents out computer time by the hour.

The outage took place at a data center near Dulles Airport outside of Washington, D.C. and was a major stumble for Amazon's service. The company is still trying to restore some of the computers brought down in the incident which started eight days ago.

In a post-mortem report that was released today, Amazon, which is based out of Seattle, stated that human error set off the outage. An automated error-recovery mechanism then went out of control causing many computers to become stuck in recovery mode.

Amazon set up the service in a way to provide redundancy by letting computers in a different zone of availability take over if another one fails. Amazon stated that customers who were set up properly to run their computing tasks over multiple zones were largely unaffected, however, that error made it difficult to switch zones on a whim. It is, however, making changes to prevent that error from recurring.

The 10-day credit applies to each and every customer using the zone that went down, despite whether they were directly affected or not. Amazon has also not revealed exactly how many customers were affected.

Source: Associated Press - Amazon apologizes for server outage

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Red Hat Linux Offered on a Per-Server Basis by IBM on Power Systems

IBMIBM, along with Red Hat, a commercial distributor of Linux, have teamed up to provide Enterprise Linux 6 on IBM's Power Systems that are sold by Big Blue along with first level and second level support provided by Big Blue. Obviously, that isn't very new news.IBM has been a huge OEM partner with Red Hat for years now. What is new is that in an announcement letter, IBM and Red Hat have revealed a per-server license price for Power Systems machines running RHEL 6 which started up back in November. With RHEL 6 out but not certified on the new Power iron, IBM began giving away a free RHEL license on Power Systems Express configurations. IBM has now worked with Red Hat in order to tune up RHEL 6 for Power6, Power6+ and Power7 servers. This includes integration with IBM's PowerVM hypervisor for Power iron. The new licensing for RHEL 6, which became available on April 15th, allows for every pair of sockets in the box to be licensed with 15, 30 or 60 logical partition ceilings per socket pair. A standard 12x5 business hour support contract for RHEL 6 for a socket pair on a Power Systems box costs $1,350 per year for a setup with a 15-LPAR ceiling. Now if you want to increase that to a priority 24x7 support, then your price will increase to $2,150 per year. Doubling up the LPAR ceiling to 30 on a four-socket Power System doubles your support costs and if you quadruple it up to a 60-LPAR ceiling on an eight-socket machine, you quadruple your prices to $5,400 and $8,600 for a 12x5 or a 24x7 coverage. IBM, just like Red Hat, does give discounts to customers who purchase a three-year contract. IBM did, however, stop selling the earlier RHEL 5.5 on April 12. Source: IT Jungle - IBM Offers Red Hat Linux on a Per-Server Basis on Power

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Windows Home Server 2011 Officially Released

Microsoft has officially released its new Windows Home Server 2011. Windows Home Server 2011, with this release to manufacturing, is now expected to reach subscribers of MSDN and TechNet in early April at which point they can download the software through their subscriptions. This latest version of Windows Home Server should start to show its face on computers in May according to Microsoft. Microsoft also noted that manufacturers have already been working with the new home operating system. The official version of Windows Home Server 2011, which has been code-named Vail, comes to techies nearly one year after the beta was released and almost two months since the release candidate made its debut. Windows Home Server 2011 uses the same core operating system as Windows Server 2008 R2 but the new version is designed for people who need to balance multiple PCs, home networks and growing amounts of photos, music, videos and other heavy content. Running Windows Home Server on a dedicated PC allows users to set up network shares in order to access all of their data, back up their networked PCs, remotely access their files and stream their music and as well as their videos. The software offers a central dashboard in order for customers to run the various administrative tasks they will be doing. The previous version of Windows Home Server offered a feature known as Drive Extender which received much praise from users. The feature allowed people to extend multiple disk drives into a single large volume as they added new storage. However, Microsoft has claimed that the drive extender technology "was not meeting our customer needs," so they cut it from Windows Home Server 2011. However, Microsoft did add a feature called the Move Folder Wizard in order to move content between different drives. However, the loss of Drive Extender may turn away many potential users of Windows Home Server 2011. Microsoft has also lost one of their key Windows Home Server hardware partners. Late last year Hewlett-Packard, who was known for their robust Media Smart Windows Home Server servers, announced that they would no longer make computers for the Home Server operating system. The loss of HP only leaves a few key manufacturers, like Acer, who will be building dedicated boxes for Windows Home Server 2011. Windows Home Server 2011 will be released in 19 languages, according to Microsoft, including English, French, Chinese, Russian and Korean. Source: cnet - Microsoft releases Windows Home Server 2011

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Facebook Combines Microserver Technology with Server Virtualization

FacebookHere's something interesting for you. Facebook is using a hybrid server virtualization as well as Intel's microserver technology in order to make the continued expansion of the social networking god more cost effective.

According to the Research Lab Director of Facebook Gio Coglitore, "The firm has already been trailing in new microserver technology and is interested in leveraging the benefits of the solution in its substantial data centers."

One of the keys to the popularity of the single-processor server hardware is the fact that it can be packed more densely which offers more processing power per square inch than traditional server solutions.

"We found in our testing that a realized environment brings efficiencies and the ability to scale more effectively," Coglitore said. "If virtualization was the right approach, we would be a virtualized environment."

Coglitore concluded that virtualization was, indeed, an excellent solution but can become very difficult to manage at a very large scale. Intel introduced their microserver technology back in 2009 where it received high praise from fans and users. The technology has also landed some big clients since then including Dell, Seamicro and Tyan.

Source: onestopclick - Facebook mixes server virtualization with microserver technologies
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Friday, March 4, 2011

Latest Version of Oracle GlassFish Server Launched

Oracle has officially launched a new version of Oracle GlassFish Server as well as an update to the Java Platform Enterprise Edition (Java EE) 6 software development kit (SDK)distribution through the latest release of the Java EE 6 Reference Implementation.

Oracle GlassFish Server is based on the company's open source counterpart, GlassFish Server Open Source Edition, which allows customers to have more control over their product deployments via the publicly available roadmap of product features and priorities.

Oracle stated that Oracle GlassFish Server 3.1 delivers on the roadmap laid out at JavaOne 2010 with a focus on new highly availability features specifically in load balancing, failover, state management and centralized administration. Key features of Oracle GlassFish Server 3.1 include: new features for OSGi Enterprise like support for JDBC and HTTP Service; faster startup/deploy/re-deploy cycle; sophisticated tools integration with NetBeans and Eclipse and increased compatibility with Oracle WebLogic Server 11g.

This new release also features failover as well as load balancing capabilities and even built-in HTTP and Enterprise Java Bean (EJB) state management. High availability messaging with GlassFish MQ is also available. According to Oracle, the new offering's centralized administration enables customers to monitor, and even manage, clusters and standalone servers securely from a single web-based console. This will help decrease operational costs as well as enabling users to respond to change quickly. It even allows centralized policy-driven management of GlassFish Metro Web Services from Oracle Web Services Manager.

Source: CBR - Oracle launches latest version of Orcale GlassFish Server
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Zimbra Updated by VMware

After being in development for over a year, Zimbra 7 is finally being released. VMware acquired Zimbra, an open source collaboration vendor, a little over a year ago from Yahoo, and the Zimbra 7 release is the first thing to come out of the company under the ownership of VMware. Zimbra 7 includes features that expand the usability and scalability of the platform even further than before.

According to Senior Director of Zimbra Products and Marketing at VMware John Robb, "The VMware Zimbra team worked closely with both Zimbra and VMware customers over the last year to prioritize the Zimbra 7 release. VMware is very supportive of open source, community based development, and Zimbra 7 demonstrates our commitment."

Zimbra 7 is the first release from the company since Zimbra 6 was released in September of 2009. Zimbra 6 was the final major release under Yahoo, who acquired Zimbra in September of 2007 for $350 million.

Zimbra 7 includes a lot of good stuff including improved file sharing capabilities that allow users to store and share files in the cloud via the Zimbra briefcase. If you are an administrator, this release includes enhanced delegation capabilities to control permissions and access. There are also new policies for load balancing as well as automatic recovery of Zimbra servers.

VMware virtualization-related enhancements are also included in Zimbra 7. "VMware Zimbra 7 includes support for VMware vSphere HA as well as support for NetApp NFS," according to Robb. "Additionally, the Zimbra Appliance leverages VMware Studio." Robb also added that Zimbra is an important product family at VMware and is part of the VMware End-User Computing Business Unit. "VMware Zimbra is completely integrated into VMware and it is available for all VMware partners to sell," said Robb.

As a part of the Zimbra 7 update, the desktop client is also being updated. Zimbra Desktop was released in 2007 as a way of bringing web-based email to the desktop. Zimbra Desktop was originally built with help from Mozilla Prism technology. Prism, as you know, was a project by Mozilla that targeted enabling web applications to run on your desktop. Mozilla has since moved the Prism project into their new effort called Chromeless.

According to Robb, "We are looking at all options for Zimbra Desktop and we are working closely with the Mozilla team, a Zimbra customer." Robb also noted that the future of Zimbra at VMware is definitely bright. According to Robb, VMware is looking at the future of end-user computing. It is a future where end-users access their data as well as their applications through a workspace that is available as part of their new mobile enterprise.

"VMware wants to provide IT with the ability to securely manage and deploy these workspaces. Zimbra is a key component of delivering on the future of end-user computing because it provides VMware a platform for delivering personal and end-user data and information," according to Robb.

Source - Server Watch - VMware Updates Zimbra

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Why Rent A Network Server?

Server rentals are good for temporary needs such as data migrations, units out for repair, peak work loads, special projects, gaming, disaster recovery and more.

When you need a server rental to help recover from a disaster, contact a Tech Travel Agent from Oftentimes, in the event of an emergency, a Tech Travel Agent can get equipment on its way to you within just a few business hours. Call toll free 800-736-8772 to talk to an agent and set up an account, so you too can be ready for the next disaster. Everything you need can be rented. Below are some examples of equipment we have at the ready at all times.

Rack Mount Server Rentals

Rack-Mount Server Rentals

Rack-Mount Servers are easy to use and highly reliable. These are desirable traits in a server when your company needs a temporary server rental to offset the stress on servers and machines owned by your business.

Server Peripheral Rentals

Server Peripheral Rentals

All server rentals need peripheral rentals. Server peripherals include routers, switches, cables, etc. A Tech Travel Agent can bundle all of these peripherals into a single quote along with your server rental.

Temporary Replacement Server Rentals

Temporary Replacement Server Rentals

If your server is temporarily out of commission for repairs or diagnostics, then you will need a temporary replacement so that you do not lose information or business.

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Most business class projectors will do a good job displaying your PowerPoint presentation. If you have a small presentation group, a 2000 lumen LCD projector will be able to produce a nice and clear picture. For larger audiences you should consider a 5000 lumen LCD projector.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dell and Ubuntu Team Up for Linux Cloud Computing Technology

Dell and UbuntuCanonical, one of the vendors of Ubuntu Linux, is expanding their cloud horizons thanks to a new cloud partnership they have formed with Dell. The partnership consists of Dell making the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) technology available on the Dell PowerEdge C2100 server as well as the Dell PowerEdge C6100 server. The UEC deal marks a huge milestone for Ubuntu as it moves from Dell desktops to Dell servers.

According to Nicolas Barcet, Ubuntu Server Product Manager, "It is the first offer that involves Ubuntu Server Edition at Dell so it's a major step extending the strong relationship we have had on Ubuntu Desktop and Netbook editions."

UEC has been a part of the Ubuntu Linux distro since Januty Jackalope was released in April 2009. Other releases by Ubuntu have improved the technology that is based on the open source Eucalyptus project. Ubuntu stated back in April 2010 that it had 12,000 active deployments of UEC with as many as 200 being added each day. This deal with Dell also involves a fair amount of money but an exact amount is unclear.

"Dell receives a share of the UEC Assist contracts it sells; details are not public. Dell does the entire sell, which includes the reselling of UEC Assist contracts," said Barcet.

There were some questions raised as to why Dell has decided to make UEC available now, and Barcet noted that Canonical and Dell have been working on making a simple yet stable deployment methodology. This methodology is reflected in both reference architecture documents as well as a set of pre-configuration files.

Barcet noted that UEC is not certified or integrated with other hardware from major system vendors other than Dell as of right now. UEC offers Ubuntu the ability to enable their infrastructure to run as either a private cloud deployment or a public cloud deployment. While the price utility of cloud computing has made it a good business investment for some companies, there are still challenges that need to be tackled.

According to Barcet, "Novelty of infrastructure as a service is the strongest barrier. We believe that seeing trusted partners join forces to provide an end-to-end solution will help establish the solution."

Source: Server Watch
File Server rentals are ideal if your company needs an extra storage unit for company information while you are testing various types of storage solutions.

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