Archive for February, 2010

RecoverPoint/CE – What’s that?

February 28, 2010

Recently we’ve had some clients interested in the ability to geographically separate some of their Microsoft clusters.  Honestly I wasn’t aware that EMC even had a product to enable this until one of my colleagues mentioned RecoverPoint/CE.  So I did a little reading and thought I give a brief summary of what it is and how it can benefit you.  RecoverPoint/CE is an add-on software package to RecoverPoint.  The “CE” stands for Cluster Enabler and it essentially integrates RecoverPoint with your Microsoft Failover Clustering software to allow geographically dispersed cluster nodes in your environment.  RP/CE will manages the cluster failover between your production and DR storage systems using RecoverPoint API’s.

So what are some of the advantages to doing this?  Most importantly….higher availability and a reduced Recovery Time Objectives (RTO).  CE enables your clusters to automatically manage app failover and manage resources.  Should a failure take place the amount of time required to get your app back online is greatly reduced.  There could also be a reduction in the amount of hardware and software resources required.  In many environments there would be a Microsoft cluster in the production and then another clustered environment at the DR site.  Now with the ability to geographically disperse the nodes, DR becomes both cheaper and easier. 

From a cost perspective, CE is not terribly expensive but it is licensed based on capacity of your existing RecoverPoint environment.  If you have multiple sites and run Microsoft Clustering it is definitely worth taking a look at.  If you want deeper technical detail around RecoverPoint/CE check out the EMC website or do a quick Google search on the product. I did find a YouTube video that gives a quick demo of the product.  There is no sound but it at least shows how the product works.  Check it out here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_E9mH8mAww

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WYSE Pocket Cloud – Thin Client Computing For Your iPhone

February 21, 2010

I finally bit the bullet and downloaded the WYSE Pocket Cloud application from the App Store.  My hesitation…….at $29.95 it’s not exactly the cheapest app you can find.  I have to say however that after I downloaded the app it was well worth the money.  I had tried several other RDP type clients for the iPhone and none of them even came close to the functionality of the WYSE solution.  The Pocket Cloud is compatible with both RDP and VMware View 4 and supports encryption.

So what makes it different/better than other RDP apps?……The ability to actually use it.  Most apps I have used make it impossible to use the desktop once is has been resized to fit a small mobile device screen.  WYSE solves this with an innovative mouse pointer that allows you to accurately move and click the mouse even on the smallest objects.  Combine this with the ability to zoom and rotate on the iPhone screen and you have a very usable application.  Now would you want to try and do 4 hours of work and network administration on it?  Definitely not, but if you are an administration you probably have times that you wish you could login to the network quickly to perform quick tasks like restarting a machine or a service when you don’t have your laptop nearby.  For times like this, this app is perfect.

As cool as this app is, what I’m really looking forward to is using this app on the new Apple iPad when it is released in March.  The larger screen should make this a great thin client device.  There is already talk of its development. Read more here:  http://www.crn.com.au/News/166152,wyse-talks-up-apple-ipad-as-thin-client.aspx

If you want to check out more about the WYSE Pocket Cloud check out the WYSE site here:  http://www.wyse.com/products/software/pocketcloud/index.asp

EMC 146GB Drives Get Shanked!

February 7, 2010

It’s all over for the 146GB drives.  Last week EMC announced that the 146GB fibre channel disk drives will no longer be available for new Clariion and Celerra platforms.  I don’t see this as a huge deal to most customers but for some very specific applications the drives were very useful. 

Some databases that we run across have very high I/O requirements but really do not require much disk capacity.  For applications like these where you many need 20+ spindles to get the performance you need the 146GB drives were perfect because of their price point.  The other situation where the 146GB drives were handy was for the Vault on the Clariion and Celerra platforms.  As a general practice you don’t want to use the remaining space on the Vault drives for anything with high I/O requirement as to not affect the performance of the array.  For many clients they would not put anything on the remaining space on the Vault.  So why use 300GB of 450GB drives for the Vaults 4+1 RAID5 when you really only need 300GB – the 146s were perfect for this.

On the flip side of this argument, drives prices over the last year have come down significantly so having to use 300GB drives really doesn’t cause a huge financial impact on new arrays.  The fact is that for most of the clients we’ve worked with, 146GB drives were just too small for the majority of applications.  Let’s face it; the trend of data growth is going upwards steeply.  Most reports and studies I’ve seen show industry average data growth anywhere from 30 – 50% per year.  With that kind of growth smaller capacity drives will continue to become “legacy hardware”.