Musings on IT, data management, whitewater rafting, and backpacking

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Career change

After 35 years in IT Support and Data Management (mostly IT support), I'm moving completely out of IT Support and into Data Management full-time.

No more obsessing over speeds and feeds of handhelds, desktops, servers, networks and data centers.  No more struggling to implement insane support and security policies. No more late night and weekend support calls.

Of course, Data Management has a new set of challenges and headaches.

I asked for this change, but it's still a shock.

This blog will change, too.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Last Comcast Update

Comcast chose not to bid on our Gigabit Ethernet RFP after 16 months of negotiations.

So we're getting AT&T Gigaman Metro Ethernet instead.

Friday, August 12, 2011

New server room first impressions

We're moving into our new server room (data center is a dirty word now). I've mentioned many of the design elements in previous posts.

Here are my first impressions and a few lessons learned.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Backpacking food

I've tried all kinds of systems for planning, preparing, and eating backpacking food.  At one point, I could tell you how many calories, how much fat, how much protein, yadda, yadda, for every part of my backpacking diet.

Useless.  Totally useless.

Old Army saying:  Doesn't matter how many calories you give a man if he won't eat it.

Absolute truth.  Start there.

Here's what worked for me, and what I'd like to try for future trips.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Electric car "range anxiety" workaround

One solution to electric car range anxiety:  When you buy an electric car, you get a life-of-the-car discount on renting a regular car, including parking and charging privileges

If I need to take a long trip, I drive the electric car to the rental car company, move my stuff, plug-in my electric car, and drive away in the regular car. Reverse the steps on return.

Enterprise might be a good choice, since they have many locations.

Simple, and not too much hassle.

Nissan?  Are you listening?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Two missing storage performance metrics

I would really like to see storage system vendors or reviewers release consistent performance metrics for:
  • Worst case RAID rebuild times
  • Worst case storage fill times
Then I can choose my Maximum Storage Pain Threshold.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Adventures with World3 1976-1978

From late 1976 to early 1978, I ran many simulations using the World3 model. World3 was used for the famous book The Limits To Growth.

I was puzzled by my results for many years, until I had an Aha! moment.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Facebook's Prineville Data Center

Data Center Knowledge posted two video tours of Facebook's new data center in Prineville, OR. This data center uses Facebook's Open Compute Project designs. The videos describe many features not found in the Open Compute Project documents.

Here are the direct links on
Observations and comments on features not found in the Open Compute Project documents:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My 2006 IT forecast

In March 2006, I was asked to write an IT forecast for upper management, to guide strategic planning.  I stumbled across that forecast again today, removed some internal references, and posted it below.

To IT people, and in hindsight, these forecasts seem obvious.  But they were not obvious to non-IT upper management at the time.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More Weather Data!

Facebook recently announced their Open Compute project. Good stuff for large data centers.

Facebook's design was optimized for the weather in Prineville, OR. No, make that Redmond, OR. Facebook couldn't get good long-term weather data for Prineville, so they used weather data from Redmond instead (see page 8 of this PDF).

Prineville and Redmond are about 16 miles apart.

Does 16 miles make a big difference in the weather?  3 miles?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Post-RAID storage designs

Large RAID arrays are a pain. Maybe we're better off without them.

Here are some preliminary thoughts on a post-RAID storage design that meets our needs.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mac mini in a data center

Apple dropped the Xserve, pushing the Mac Pro and Mac mini as server alternatives. We need to run many Mac-based applications in our data center, and we've chosen Mac minis.

How do you rack mount a Mac mini? How do you provide IEC C14 or 208V power to a Mac mini?  How do you add an Ethernet management port to a Mac mini? How do you control a Mac mini through a KVM switch?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Let the IPv6 regret storm begin ...

We knew the IPv6 transition was going to be tough for technical reasons.

Now we have the first example of IPv6 security problems that will be tough to fix.

Anti-spam software will have a much harder time blocking spam precisely because of IPv6 3.4 x 10^38 addresses.

I'll bet there are a few more IPv6 security problems waiting to be found.

Let's set arbitrary deadlines to switch to IPv6 before we find or fix these problems!

Oh wait, we've already done that.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Oracle has ruined Sun

Paul Krill at InfoWorld recently wrote that Oracle has saved Sun.

From my perspective – Oracle has ruined Sun.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Offsite backup scenario TCOs

Calculated three year Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for several backup scenarios and our environment and requirements.

Short version:
  • Tape still rules
  • SOHO disks are competitive
  • Enterprise disks are at least 2 times more expensive
  • Amazon S3 cloud storage is 8-10 times more expensive
  • Cost isn't everything

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Long time no post ...

Another multi-month break on blog posts. No dramatic medical issues this time.

My workplace is in multidimensional chaotic free-fall. In the past four months: