2019 State of IT: Future Tech in the Workplace

This past July Spiceworks surveyed around 800 technology buyers across North American and European markets across a variety of segments for their 2019 State of Future Workplace Tech report.  Among the findings are high levels of interest in deploying IoT, edge computing, artificial intelligence and block-chain based solutions by 2020.  In positive current trends, organizations of all sizes are increasing investments in both security training for employees and tools.  Read the full report here and the press release below.

 

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Spiceworks: Integrated suite of cloud-based tools

Also announced today at SpiceWorld Spiceworks also announced a free cloud based inventory application that integrates with their existing cloud based Help Desk and Remote Support applications.  It will scan all IP enabled devices on a network giving the usual inventory details such as OS, hardware details and installed software.  To get started with Spiceworks Inventory head over here, or continue reading below for the full press release.

 

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Spiceworks Platform: New AI capabilities

Spiceworks announced today the integration of A.I. into their platform to bring an increasingly personalized experience to the approximately 20 million people who utilize Spiceworks quarterly.  Fast Answer pages is the first application, and groups the best answers for frequently asked questions together for quick access.  To read more about how Spiceworks plans to utilize A.I. see the press release after the jump.

 

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Installing Windows Server 2019 on ESXi 6.7

Ok, So lets get a Virtual machine running on ESXi, and what better to start with than a windows server?  So I jumped on Microsoft’s evaluation center website and grabbed a copy of server 2019.

With iso in hand (on disk anyway) lets connect to an ESXi host and start building.

Firing up Vmware Workstation and a n ESXi 6.7 hypervisor within, once booted we have a helpful message on screen – to manage this host go to http://192.168.0.29..

now as this is my home lab and i don’t have a planned infrastructure, my host DHCP’s, in a production environment running critical services, i would have assigned addresses, but for now that doesn’t matter.

So  connecting to the server via chrome:

Throws a security warning, being a machine i “built” on my local network, I trust it and ignore the warning.

Doing so gets you to a login page.

Logging in takes you to the ESXi home page with at a glance information about the server.

Clicking on virtual machines in the left shows we have no VM’s as yet, so no time like the present, lets make use of the helpful looking “Create/Register Virtual Machine” button..

Predictably this brings up a list of options for adding a virtual machine to ESXi, either via deployment or addition of existing VM’s, or via creation of a new virtual machine.  In this instance i’ll go for the latter.

Taking you to page 2 of the new VM wizard, where i give the VM a name and select the OS type, note server 2019 is not in the list yet, but i am very confident that selecting server 2016 will have no issues whatsoever.

Next page we select a datastore for the VM

Finally a customize settings screen, with a warning about overprovisioning disk, selecting thin provisioned allows me to continue, and while i’m here, lets mount the windows server 2019 ISO.

scrolling down to CD/DVD drive, selecting Datastore ISO file hitting browse.

Selecting the Server ISO i have already uploaded to the datastore and hitting OK.

Takes us back to a summary screen where we can make any changes if necessary, otherwise click finish to create the VM.

Doing so drops us back into the Virtual Machines tab with the new addition of Server 2k19 test VM.

Clicking on the green play button to power on the machine, brings up a boot options screen, selecting the CD-ROM to boot the windows iso.

 

Brings up the reassuring message

and into the classic windows installer interface.

Choose your edition, (my powershell skills are not up to scratch yet so i shall go with Standard Edition with Desktop Experience)

Accept the License Agreement

Being a clean install i selected advanced

Told it to install to the only available disk

And off the installer goes

So once again a very smooth process to install windows server 2019 on ESXi, with absolute minimal user intervention required, and i’m very much looking forward to playing with server 2019.

Thanks for reading, until next time!

Pre SpiceWorld Thoughts

As I sit here watching some college football and trying to size up my expectations for SpiceWorld 2018 next week, along with what I hope to get out of my opportunity to attend, I keep trying to compare it to other conferences I’ve been to. In terms of attendance it seems bigger significantly than Infoblox’s Bloxfest 2017 which was an intimate gathering of a few hundred, but significantly smaller than any recent VMware VMworld. That puts it in the same ballpark of a conference like Dell’s Dell World, Juniper’s NxtWork, or Palo Alto Networks’ Ignite in the two to five thousand range for attendees, which IMO is a good sweet spot. Big enough to attract a good number of sponsors and presenters, while still allowing for people to not get lost in the shuffle between sessions.

For expectations I’m anticipating similar themes to Ignite, A.I./machine learning playing a big part in efforts to product corporations and end users from ever evolving threats as traditional A.V solutions become increasingly ineffective. With IoT devices showing no signs of disappearing or shipping with any semblance of security baked in, I’m fully expecting to see two or three vendors on the expo floor with security gateway products though I hope to be surprised by some new ideas on securing IoT devices. I know there will be one company in attendance focusing on securing cloud workloads as I saw RedLock on the sponsor list, hoping to see others as well. Much like backing up data, securing the data is often overlooked when companies shift applications and services to cloud providers. As a Palo Alto Networks customer I’m particularly interested to speak with the people from Redlock given the recently announced $173M acquisition.

So what am I hoping to get out of attending? An understanding of where SpiceWorks fits into the IT ecosystem tops the list as they’re a company that I don’t often think of. I also hope to learn some new things in regards to security as the roles of network engineers and infosec continue to commingle. And BBQ. No trip to Austin is complete without a meal (or 10) from the numerous purveyors of delectable smoked meats.

SpiceWorld 2018 Preview

Long time no post! Since my last post I’ve gotten deeper in touch with my networking roots, and obtained my Juniper JNCIS-ENT and Palo Alto Networks PNCSE certifications. It’s from that intersection of networking and security enforcement in my day job that my interest in attending Spiceworks’ SpiceWorld 2018 conference in Austin, TX for the first time springs. I’m excited to listen to keynotes by Bruce Scheier and Frank Abagnale, and attend some breakout of the multiple sessions covering a variety of security topics. See you in a couple weeks in Austin, and check back here for follow up posts!

As a matter of disclosure, Touchdown PR is providing me the opportunity to attend at no cost.

US Signal’s 2018 IT Resiliency Survey Reveals that 70 Percent of US Business Respondents Have Experienced Unplanned IT Disruption in the Last 12 Months

Resiliancy and avoiding unplanned downtime is a driving force for all of us in enterprise computing, Downtime can cost businesses vast sums of money.

So it’s very interesting to see the results of the 2018 IT resiliancy servey…

 

US Signal’s 2018 IT Resiliency Survey Reveals that 70 Percent of US Business Respondents Have Experienced Unplanned IT Disruption in the Last 12 Months

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Sept. 11, 2018 – US Signal, a leading end-to-end IT solutions provider, today announced the results of its 2018 IT Resiliency Survey. The survey reveals that 70 percent of respondents from U.S. businesses experienced at least one unplanned IT disruption over the last 12 months. With this confirmation comes mounting concern—66 percent believe they are vulnerable to IT disruption, with one in 10 stating they feel very vulnerable to these interruptions.

 

US Signal’s 2018 IT Resiliency Survey uncovered the four most common forms of IT disruption, ranked in order as:

  1. Outages from natural disasters (53 percent)
  2. Errors while implementing new technology (26 percent)
  3. Ransomware (21 percent)
  4. IT overloads (21 percent)

The survey goes on to reveal that although 58 percent of businesses state that they have a disaster recovery plan in place, they feel there is room for improvement. In addition, one in five respondents admitted that they are not sure how often their disaster recovery strategy is updated—and 8 percent do not have one to begin with.

These findings imply that many businesses have not yet come to grips with planning, implementing or reviewing disaster recovery strategies and that some could benefit from third-party support in either developing, managing or maintaining their disaster recovery plan.

Ensuring that corporate disaster recovery strategies are in line with new compliance legislation, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), was a key concern within the survey, with nearly one quarter of U.S. businesses revealing they were either not confident or were unsure that their current plan was strong enough to meet compliance requirements. GDPR compliance is a key requirement for all businesses that interact with EU citizen data, with high fines and prosecution possible from the European Union Courts if adherence is not maintained.

“The results of US Signal’s 2018 IT Resiliency Survey should sound a wake-up call to businesses across the country. Disaster recovery strategies have to be planned, tested, implemented, modified and updated on a regular basis, and it’s clear that this is not happening in many instances,” said US Signal President Stephen Oyer. “Companies need to recruit the right ITtalent either in-house or through external consultants and invest in the best IT solutions to stay ahead of the game – whether that’s planning for natural disasters or fighting off the latest malware or virus. If they fail to do so, businesses risk being hit by the high costs associated with unplanned IT downtime.”

To learn more, view the full survey here: https://ussignal.com/it-resiliency-results.

About US Signal’s IT Resiliency Survey

US Signal’s IT Resiliency Survey was carried out in July and August 2018 and is based on information gathered from more than 50 IT professionals from a cross-section of sectors. The insights were collected via Survey Monkey.

 

About US Signal 

US Signal is a leading IT solutions provider, offering connectivity, cloud hosting, colocation, data protection, and disaster recovery services – all powered by its wholly owned and operated, robust, fiber network. US Signal also helps customers optimize their IT resources through the provision of managed and professional services.

VMware vForum Online on October 9 2018

VMware is having their latest online vForum on October 9 2018.  If you have never been to one of these, I come to think of it as a mini VMworld online.  You have a virtual exhibit hall where you can see offerings from vendors and even chat with them.  There are breakout sessions and even Hands On Labs!  It is a great way to connect with the latest VMware news and technology without having to physically attend an event.  Did I mention that it is free?  Here is a quick breakdown of what you can expect:

·         Listen to VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger’s keynote presentation: “Technology Superpowers: Pushing Through the Boundaries of What’s Possible”

·         Chat live with IT experts in NSX, vSphere, Horizon, Workspace ONE, and many more VMware solutions

·         Choose between 28 unique technical breakout sessions on VMware products and solutions

·         Take part in 8 expert-led Hands-on Labs

Please use the links below to view a PDF of the agenda as well as register for the vForum!  I hope to see you there!

Agenda

Registration

E8 STORAGE SETS ANOTHER NEW RECORD THIS YEAR IN INDEPENDENT BENCHMARK TEST

 

 Ok, We all like fast storage, and E8 are blazing new trails with their shared NVMe storage solutions, facilitating distributed storage at mind bending speeds, Utilizing the massively parallel capabilities of the NVMe protocol. With massive overhead in the NVMe protocol E8`s potential for expansion and optimization make them a storage provider to watch.

read more in their recent press release :

E8 STORAGE SETS ANOTHER NEW RECORD THIS YEAR IN INDEPENDENT BENCHMARK TEST

E8 Storage to demonstrate record-breaking performance at Flash Memory Summit (FMS) 2018

 

SANTA CLARA, Calif., August 7, 2018 – E8 Storage today announced that the company’s high-performance, shared accelerated storage solution has set a new record for the SPEC SFS® 2014performance benchmark. As the only shared NVMe storage solution to break the 1ms overall response time (ORT) threshold, E8 Storage has once again beat all other previously published SPEC SFS2014_swbuild test results. The solution leverages a single E8-X24 array in combination with an IBM Spectrum Scale 5.0.1 high performance cluster, without requiring any special performance tuning on the storage subsystem.

 

More specifically, E8 Storage delivers the industry’s lowest sub-millisecond overall response time (ORT) of 0.57ms, while meeting previous records on the number of builds. The record-breaking results validate E8 Storage’s vision to bring high performance, low latency and simplified storage management without compromising on reliability, availability or scalability. The configuration powers financial trading systems, real-time data analytics, and genomics sequencing research. Demonstrations of the record-breaking configuration will take place during FMS 2018 at booth 745.

“E8 Storage’s architecture is designed for NVMe and we can use any industry standard drive, allowing us to deliver the power behind innovation, with the lowest possible latency at a much lower TCO than many other cache memory solutions,” says Zivan Ori, co-founder and CEO of E8 Storage. “With the SPEC SFS® 2014 validation, we are delighted to have achieved these ground-breaking results, which showcase our ability to power, accelerate and scale high performance applications, so customers can quickly and efficiently extract value from their data.”

 

Available since April 2018, the E8-X24 also set multiple STAC-M3™ benchmark records, with the fastest tests performing 17x faster than the previous results. These independently verified, record-breaking speeds reaffirm E8 Storage’s vision to extract the full performance of flash for massive scalability of data hungry applications such as data centers with data- and transaction-intensive applications.

 

For a copy of the full results visit: https://www.spec.org/sfs2014/results/res2018q3/sfs2014-20180706-00041.html

 

For more information on purchasing E8 Storage appliances, please contact [email protected].

 

About E8 Storage

E8 Storage is a pioneer in shared NVMe storage for data-intensive, high-performance applications that drive business revenue. E8 Storage’s affordable, reliable and scalable solution is ideally suited for the most demanding low-latency workloads, including real-time analytics, financial and trading applications, genomics and large-scale file systems. Driven by the company’s patented architecture, E8 Storage’s high-performance NVMe over Fabrics certified storage delivers record breaking performance at half the cost of existing storage products. When performance matters, enterprise data centers turn to E8 Storage for unprecedented storage performance, density and scale, without compromising on reliability and availability. Privately held, E8 Storage is based in Santa Clara with R&D in Tel Aviv, and channel partners throughout the US and Europe. For more information, please visit www.e8storage.com, and follow us on Twitter @E8Storage and LinkedIn.

 

vBE – VM Backup Essentials

I have been given the opportunity to blog about a new product from Unitrends.  The new product is called VM Backup Essentials, or vBE for short.  Certain bloggers were provided a blogger release which I am going to post below.  I will add my comments under each section as I downloaded the product into my lab to install and test out the features of this product.

vBE (short for VM Backup Essentials), converges enterprise-grade backup software, ransomware
detection, and cloud continuity into a powerful, easy-to-use, all-in-one platform priced 30% less than
comparable products. An “All-in-One Solution” vBE provides a disruptive approach to backup – with complete vertical integration (including the cloud), fast time to value and an all-in-one solution provided by a single vendor with industry-leading customer service. vBE includes all the software and features you would find in an enterprise-level data protection and recovery solution.
vBE includes operating system, security, backup software, WAN acceleration, replication, cloud integration, and archiving.

With an easy to use interface lost file recovery is one of the most common tasks performed by IT on an
emergency basis and can chew up many hours of your time. vBE ensures easy file recovery. It takes less than five minutes to recover a lost file with vBE, from login to full restoration. The UI is easy and intuitive enough that any member of IT can recover a lost file without having to consult a manual or receive special training.
Easily set all aspects of protection using an advanced, intelligent feature called SLA policy automation.
vBE’s SLA Policy automation intelligently sets your backup schedule based on your RTO and RPO goals.
Built-in one-glance, one-click dashboards and reports keep you fully up-to-date on the health and status
of your backup and continuity strategy.

The UI is fairly easy to navigate.  I was able to easily add my lab vCenter instance so I could select any of the VMs for backup.  I chose to backup one of my Windows VMs once so I could test file recovery as mentioned in the section above.  After the backup was complete, I deleted the downloaded files in my Downloads folder.  I selected the server from the Recover tab and clicked the Recover Files option.  This will mount the backup for use in the File Level Recovery tab.  This will mount them as a CIFS share that you can visit to download the files back to the server they were deleted from.  You can also use iSCSI to mount the backup into the server if preferred for file level recovery.  It would be nice to choose the files in the mounted job and tell it to restore back to the same server so you can do it from one interface

vBE comes with Deep Cloud Integration. The cloud is an ideal way to ensure geographic resilience,
especially those without a secondary location that need to protect copies of their data. vBE easily
manages protection for your VMware workloads in hyperscale clouds such as Google or AWS. However anyone that has worked with hyperscale clouds knows it can be complex and very expensive. vBE has its own purpose-built continuity cloud designed for long-term retention and DRaaS, as well as great integration with AWS and Google. Offloading cloud backup and recovery to experts gives you 100% confidence you will recovery when you need to and let’s you focus on those tasks only you can do – work with your business partners to improve company performance.

As I have no cloud options to test, all I can verify are the options in the UI.  Under the Configure tab, you can add Cloud based storage as a target for backup and recovery.  Currently the options ads Google Cloud Storage, Amazon (S3) and Rackspace Cloud Files.

Licensing to rival all other vendors!
vBE is licensed for $105 per socket and covers VMware virtual machines only. Base prices include one
year of 24x7x365 support with an annual renewal available.
Support terms of 3 or 5 years can be chosen at the time of initial purchase or support plan renewal.

My only comment on this claim is that this pricing is much cheaper than what I have seen out there for comparable products.  I do not use these products on a daily basis anymore but I remember the pricing from one vendor I used to use was in the $700 to $1,000 price range per socket.  If the performance of this Unitrends product matches up to the other backup vendors then this pricing will be a game changer, in my opinion.

Points of note:

  • Total Protection – No limits on the number of virtual machines that can be protected on a host
  • No License Tiering – No tiering of licenses based on the number of cores in the CPU socket.
  • Only License what you need! – Only occupied sockets require a license, but ALL occupied
    sockets of the host must be licensed to protect its virtual machines.
  • Infinite retention! – Retention is directly proportional to the amount of storage that can be
    provided by the customer for backup. The license has no limits on retention.
  • Replication to the Cloud – Site-to-site replication is not supported at this time. vBE does support
    replication to the cloud – both hyperscale clouds such as AWS, Google and Rackspace as well as
    clouds purpose-built for DRaaS services.
  • Advanced Ransomware Protection – New ransomware variants are emerging every day and
    your ransomware protection needs to evolve to keep up.30-Day FREE TRIAL!

A 30-day free trial is available from https://www.unitrends.com/products/vm-backup-essentials
Simply download, deploy, and quickly start backing up all VMware workloads as it includes everything
required for data and application protection and advanced features.

As my lab is small I am not able to fully test every feature of this product but my overall impression is very positive. Being able to test it out for 30 days for free is a great way to see if it will work for protecting your VMs.

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