I mentioned in an earlier post about how Quickbooks ties many accountants to Windows. Well I’ve found a partial yet money-saving workaround. We leverage virtualization even more but not in the typical way. Instead of setting up a NAS/DAS/SAN you run it off local stoarge. For SMB’s this saves on costs both short and long run. Allow me to explain:
First you need to figure out exactly how many of your employees actually do work inside of Quickbooks at the same time. Not on the same files at the same time but how many of them actually are actively using Quickbooks at the same time. I bet it’s not even half of your employees. For the sake of math let’s say you have 15 employees. Here’s what you do next:
You buy a new virtualization host server. You then fire up only that amount of windows virtual machines on that server. Once that is done you then convert all machines to Linux. Providing printing is solved(which it can be) you only need to pay for 7 windows licenses and 7 Quickbooks licenses. Considering Linux is free your software costs hit the floor and then burrow underneath it..:) Now instead of constantly replacing hardware to put up with QB and windows bloat you just let them sit on the virtual machines. Your hardware lasts longer due to not needing to be replaced every 3-5 years for the latest windows environment cycle and you buy much less software. of course if your cloudy apps hammer your cpu that’s where individual cpu (maybe motherbaords too)upgrades come into play(aka whiteboxes anyone?). I’m not going to go into specifics on how i would build my vm host for this..if you want to know contact me for a discussion and quote.
Not too long after the market punished the Hard Disk industry for dropping warranties before the industry is now moving to cratering hard disk warranties again. I bet they are going to be introducing a new technology for manufacturing hard disks and they are dropping the warranties until the industry works the bugs out. Be forewarned and check the length of the warranty of any hard disk you buy. If it isn’t at least 3 years i would not buy it.
Some desktop and notebook barebones drives will have their warranties slashed from 5 years to 1 year.
Last week, Western Digital revealed that it was cutting the warranty on its Caviar Blue/Green and Scorpio Blue drives from three years to two years. Now, it looks like Seagate just couldn’t stand by and let Western Digital have all fun when it comes to cutting hard drive warranties.
The Register is reporting that Seagate is upping the ante by slashing some warranties from five years down to one year. Here are some of the “highlights” of the warranty cuts:
Constellation 2 and ES.2 drives: 5 years reduced to 3 years
Barracuda and Barracuda Green drives: 5 years reduced to 1 year
Barracuda XT: 5 years reduced to 3 years
Momentus 2.5-inch (5400 and 7200rpm): 5 years reduced to 1 year
Momentus XT: 5 years reduced to 3 years
via DailyTech – Seagate Joins Western Digital in HDD Warranty Massacre, Doubles Down with 1-Year Warranties.
PERC S300 – can it be made to work?.
I saw this on the Dell Linux mailing list. I did a bit of research and found this is a windows only FAKERAID product. What I mean by FAKERAID is the card fakes like it is a raid card but all of the work is done on the cpu. Because of this the driver is proprietary and in this case windows only. If you want a RAID card make sure it is really a hardware raid card. If you can’t spend that kind of money use the Linux built in RAID which is much more efficient than any FAKERAID. Windows also has software raid that’s quite a bit more efficient than this FAKERAID. If you read the pdf you’ll see that htis is actually a DESKTOP product(the h55 is a desktop chipset form Intel) so it really has no business in servers. PDF detailing the S Series is here.
SSD’s are so fast that if you use more than one SSD(which you have to for ANY RAID) you may just hit a wall due to the RAID controllers not being fast enough to keep up. What’s interesting is at one point they went to purely software RAID and saw the kind of speed increases they knew they should have been seeing. RAID cards used to be a bottleneck but they got much much faster than any magnetic drive or groups of magnetic drives could get to…now they are once again the bottleneck. I wonder how long it’s going to take for the RAID card manufacturers to catch up?
Here’s a three part article about SSD’s from an enterprise point of view. It’s a good series. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. The author has other articles as well here, here, here.
SSD versus Enterprise SAS and SATA disks – AnandTech :: Your Source for Hardware Analysis and News.
The SSD Anthology: Understanding SSDs and New Drives from OCZ – AnandTech :: Your Source for Hardware Analysis and News.
I don’t know why I didn’t blog this last year. It’s becoming more and more relevant though as folks start diving into SSD’s without realizing the major differences between SSD’s and mechanical hard disks.
ZFS – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
I am going to look into this more. This feature alone would allow storage admins to better utilize storage space. Right now it’s only available on FreeBSD 8.0 and Solaris. I may have to fire up a BSD VM on a dedicated drive set to learn how to utilize this technology. Right now it’s CLI only..no gui(that i know of) to make things “easier”..:)
AMD Does RAID On a Chip – www.enterprisestorageforum.com.
This thing is FRAID or software raid. It’s no better than ICHx or any other chipset based “raid” system. When you see somehting like this:
Dot Hill’s RAIDCore technology enables host-based RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and 50 directly on motherboard SATA I/O ports, and the same software stack with additional features enabled may also be used for SAS systems that use a built-in or PCIe host adapter-based SAS/SATA chipset.
Also a bit a googling reveals a small thread where I already researched this:
The host based is what gives it away. Anything that is host based puts the processing load on your cpu. In the case of RAID 5 or 6 that load is high. Never turn this garbage on..use a real RAID controller.
Channelweb Connect: SMB Channel Voice: SMB Storage Challenges – Two Nice MS Utilities.
The Search Server Express is one thing i like. It allows you to have your server index by content everything on your server including PDF’s. This is one i am going to look into for all of my clients.
I reccommended to my Mother in Law that a netbook would be perfect for her based on her needs. It IS perfect except she is running out of room on the 8 gig SSD. I went to find an upgrade for her SSD and found one by a company called Runcore. Let’s jsut say 160 bucks later and 5 days of pain the SSd is not bootable…the mini simply refuses to detect the drive. This is apparently a widespread issue which I jsut found out about. Unfortunatly returns look like a 15% hit. Lovely.
This is why when I recommend a product it’s only after it’s been out for a while. I will not deviate from that again.