Thursday, July 28, 2011

This is not your father's virus

Malware delivery networks have reached the big time, according to this report from Blue Coat Security Labs (download PDF here).

Why should you be concerned? Drive-by infections, targeted email campaigns (phishing and spear-phishing), poisoned Google search results and social networks drive 70% of malware infections.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Fun

We're prepping a new Hyper-V server to host a Citrix XenApp guest. IBM x3550 M3 1U server with 2x Xeon E5640 quad-core CPUs, 48GB RAM and 4x 146GB SAS 10K 2.5" drives. No DVD drive.

Mike Hanley's Blog has a great tip on using DISKPART to create a Windows Server 2008R2 USB install key.  Check it out.

Microsoft's USB utility didn't like my USB drive, so Mike's guide saved the day.  If I were at home I'd be drinking a nice, cold beer in celebration.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Into Microsoft's warm embrace

What's an IT manager to do? That was the question I asked myself when contemplating VMware, Microsoft server and hardware maintenance renewals.

At the time, VMware represented the best-performing and best-supported virtualization platform on the market. Our interest in server virtualization was not really about consolidation. Rather, our focus was disaster recovery. The ability to fire up a guest server on a different host in case of hardware failure was a compelling reason to move forward. Downtime, even for our small enterprise, was costly - several tens of thousands of dollars per hour. Being able to drag a running guest from one host to another was even better.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Getting my hands dirty

In my first post I promised to dribble out our "simple IT" story a few bits at a time.  October 2008 begins with me in my new role as "one man IT" for our formerly burgeoning enterprise.  What was the IT landscape?

In the server room we were 80% into our migration from discrete servers to VMware ESX.  We had seven ESX hosts, about seven virtual servers and about eight workstation-level guests performing various functions - EDI gateway, shop-floor programming gateway, report crunching, etc.  There were about three remaining servers to be virtualized.  One EMC CX300 fibre-channel SAN mirrored to a d-i-y SATA array.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"An Oddly Perverse Dynamic"

Aaron Levie, the founder of Box.net wrote a guest post on TechCruch yesterday discussing his perspective on the enterprise software business model.  He describes the sales cycle as "... an oddly perverse dynamic where the vendors with the most feature-rich solutions win the contracts, but the users lose due to the complexity of the technology."

We took Box.net for spin last year when we launched a maquila facility in México.  It's a great product, but at that time our needs and its capabilities weren't congruent.  I'm keeping an eye on cloud storage because the idea intrigues me - more on that later.  Mr. Levie's post interested me because we had in-depth exposure to that sales model during our new ERP system selection process.  In fact our existing "old and busted" ERP could be its poster-child.

He offers an interesting perspective on why SaaS / cloud services have rapidly gained traction in the enterprise.  Read it for yourself and let me know what you think:  http://tcrn.ch/mXQ1AE

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summertime Blues

ma • laise

noun - a vague or unfocused feeling of mental uneasiness, lethargy, or discomfort

Almost three weeks into summer, my project list is long and my pile of paperwork is high. Yet here I sit on a Saturday afternoon trying to shake off whatever's got me glued to my chair. Not the most promising start to yet another IT blog; channeling Eddie Cochran only worked for The Who and the Stray Cats.

So what am I going to write about? Topics of interest to the typical small-to-medium-enterprise IT manager. But with a different perspective: where is your business going, and are you helping it get there? That's a question that cuts both ways, doesn't it?