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Comment Re:Oh great (Score 1) 96

Neither of them have the IOPS needed for any kind modern applications.

While I agree with just about everything else you wrote; I do take some issue with this particular statement.

Modern applications meaning what exactly? If you're talking about big data then you're right... but you don't use a traditional SAN array for big data if you're smart; you use a proper object-based storage platform and scale it that way. Traditional SAN arrays suck for those workloads. But if you're talking VDI, SQL, web farms and general purpose virtualization then I'm afraid you're wrong.

Realistically when fully kitted out in SYNTHETIC BENCHMARKS, the "low-end" SC4020 will top out at over 400,000 IOPS. Yes, real-world will be a lot lower but you can comfortably expect 150K-200K IOPS with sub millisecond latency pushing about 6GB/s in real world operations. The SC8000 is more like 300K IOPS or thereabouts in those same synthetic benchmarks, but can push a lot more data (around 20GB/s) and still get in the 150K-200K IOPS range due to the fact that it can have more than one SAS chain while the SC4020 only has one. No, it's not the "million IOPS" you get advertised by EMC and the like... but in real world I have rarely seen even the might XTremeIO get anywhere close to that... 300-400K IOPS in real world is more realistic. Yes, faster... but not amazingly faster.

Besides, "modern applications" don't actually require near as much storage IOPS as most people think. I had a customer recently asking me about SANs that ran in excess of 150K IOPS for their new primary storage. We talked about a lot of expensive options (Violin, XTremeIO and so forth) but when we actually did some monitoring of their actual application load they were hovering around 60K IOPS. Even their peak load was under 75K IOPS so they ended up in a lower cost and more expandable solutions... and ironically given this topic here they ended up with a pair of SC8000's with Dell's "Live Volume" capabilities so they could move workloads around on the fly. So much cheaper than the alternatives and fit their actual workloads perfectly... not what some marketing guy was telling them they needed. Each SC8K is storing about a half petabyte each and can scale to about 2PB each.

I find this is incredibly common... most people don't actually know what their workloads are using so they tend to buy into the marketing hype being spouted by the high-end storage vendors. Then they end up overspending for their solution... yeah they have plenty of headroom and there's no doubt in my mind that they're getting the best performance they could possibly get out of it (because their applications don't really scale), but I've been amused when I've seen 5 year old arrays being decommed that aren't even close to their actual maximum performance because some salesdroid said they needed a million IOPS.

And to Dell's credit it's not like they're sitting on their laurels waiting. It's well known they have new stuff in the pipe for Compellent... probably for announcement at the next Dell World conference. I'll be interested to see what they do with their next generation hardware... the SC8K has been a fantastic platform but it is getting a bit long in the tooth. Having said that I think they could probably continue to do more with the SC8K because I've rarely seen one exceed ~10% of the CPU utilization.

Comment Re:Oh great (Score 2) 96

They already can't quite figure out how to merge the two systems and have been selling both. The inside story is that EQL will go away, but they never seem to go away and Compellent can't quite come up with a product as simple and cheap as EQL.

Scuttlebutt is that they're prepping to release firmware for EQL and CML that will allow cross-replication and extend the Enterprise Manager tool to also manage EQL. And the simplicity... well they did just come out with the SCv2000 which is all wizard-driven and about as dead simple to set up as the EQL. I predict we'll see that same level of simplicity making its way into the higher tier products pretty soon.

I think there's also an open question about the mid-long range future of Compellent's primary sales pitch, its automatic tiering of data between different disk speeds (like SSD, 15k and 7.2k) when the future of data storage looks increasingly like it will be all flash, at least for most of the market volume.

What does all that tiering overhead mean in a world dominated by flash? Maybe it makes sense for the absolute largest installs where petabytes are in play, but most of the Compellent installs I've seen have been a shelf of tier 1 and maybe 2 shelves of tier 3. And they're increasingly 10G iSCSI focused, passing on FC.

To me this is interesting. Thing is there's more than one type of SSD technology at play today. There's SLC, (e)MLC and now TLC (3D-NAND). Each of these have different performance stats just like spinning disk. Yeah, even the lowest end of these is 10 times as fast as even a 15K drive but the write performance statistics of each of these drive types in particular is quite different. I remember going from my Samsung SLC 64GB boot drive on my laptop (this is going back several years) to an MLC 128GB drive and despite similar read performance I was always struck by how different the write performance was. Yeah, the MLC was a lot cheaper for the capacity but the write performance suffered greatly. From what I hear, TLC suffers a similar drop in write performance compared to MLC.

The auto tiering if configured correctly can certainly make for an interesting performance story. Put SLC at the top where you want fast writes and allow it to trickle down to MLC and/or TLC... just like 15K->10K->7K. There's a question mark over whether current controllers can really take advantage of the potential performance in this kind of setup, but we're seeing controller performance increasing over generations anyway.

The fact that we can now buy TLC drives at enterprise level for about the same price as 15K per GB is incredibly interesting to me and I think will really shake up the industry.

I can't figure out how they'd blend in EMC to this mix.

What they're probably after is controlling interest in VMware. This would give them a complete vertical play for virtualization, being able to supply compute, networking, storage and hypervisor. They would probably also be in a position to further a lot of network and storage virtualization with control over both sides of the equation, hardware an software.

I do wonder if there's a possible anti-trust question here. I also wonder how Microsoft would feel about it as well.

Ding ding ding! I think we have a winner... even though I have no information here I would guess this is almost certainly the play here. That and RSA would give Dell an even stronger foothold in the Enterprise than they already have. I have to admit they've been making some REALLY interesting changes in their portfolio, support and even sales organizations lately that I think make them a company to watch. Even in networking... they've shit-canned the atrocious Powerconnect line of switches (that some people loved) and replaced with a whole new line of switching from low end to high... and it's really good stuff! I myself just recently replaced my home core switch with an X1018; a low-end half-rack web-managed switch that's actually really bloody good, simple to set up and fanless. Gotta love that. Plus they sell a POE+ version if you want to do security cameras and phones in your house :)

I don't think EMC's storage portfolio would really mesh well with Dell's current storage direction, but who knows? They've been espousing the open platform advantages of Compellent since I bought my first pair of SC8K's at work ~5 years ago (they were brand new at the time as Compellent had just been bought by Dell). I find it unlikely they'd go back to the closed architecture of EMC for enterprise storage... though I'm sure the customer list would be worth something to Dell...

Comment Re:Oh great (Score 2) 96

If you need a smaller array you should check out the SC4020 as well. Runs the same code base as the SC8000 on smaller hardware platform (slower CPU's, less memory) and in some benchmarks (read: not real world typically) can actually outperform the SC8K when fully kitted out due to an internal IPC connection instead of external. You can also happily replicate between the two so the 4020 makes for a great cost-effective DR site replication target when budget is limited. Or a remote datacenter SAN you can replicate to "the mothership".

Given all this though, I'm surprised to hear that Dell would be even slightly interested in EMC. I've run EMC's and I've run Compellents (and HP's, and NetApps), and quite frankly the SC8K/SC4K family are the best arrays I've ever used.

Comment Re:Oh great (Score 1) 96

Dell already owns Equallogic which covers the low to mid-range of the storage market pretty well in Dell's offerings.

Dell ALSO owns Compellent which covers the mid to high range of the storage market too.

The only asset that EMC has that Dell I think might want would be VMware and the installed base of EMC. EMC still sell some nice arrays, but they're pretty spendy for what you get.

Comment Re:Talk to Vendors (Score 1) 219

At least go with Dell. Dell will sell you an MD3860i with 60 6TB hard drives for not much more than what you paid for the your Synology. Performance is just as good as the Synology, you'll get next day on site support from a Dell tech, and a smaller rack/power/cooling footprint as well.

Seconded... though having recently seen a lot of quotes you could do worse than the Dell SCv2000 which is the newer replacement for the MD3860i using the Compellent code. It's faster and cheaper than the MD, mostly because Dell no longer has to pay the Netapp tax for every MD (the MD's are based on an LSI chipset that's owned by Netapp)

Comment Re:*LOTS* of info on the net (Score 1) 150

There's a reason nobody builds deskside compute servers with today's technology. Density, power, and cooling.

And the fact that a deskside system is highly unlikely to be utilized 100% of the time... probably more like 10% of the time. In that case it's more cost-effective to farm it out to a bigger cluster in a server room, or run it in some AWS/Azure nodes for the time it needs and then shut it down.

The fact that there are many more high performance computing resources available relatively cheaply is as good a reason as any not to do deskside compute on a large scale.

Comment Re:Look for other users of the S/W for advice (Score 1) 150

I wish you hadn't posted AC, and I wish I had mod points!

This is the right answer. The workloads aren't clear because we don't know what OP is trying to accomplish with this setup. Is he building an HPC cluster to do engineering analysis, or is he building it because he has convinced his management that it's cool? If the latter... well, he'll be looking for a new job after he builds it and it does nothing to help his customer (his employer).

Start with the application. What are its workload characteristics? What kind of backend does it need?
Then look at the backend. What are ITS workload characteristics.
Only then should you look at hardware. Answers to the first two will answer what hardware you need, but even then there are a lot of moving parts to take into account. How many nodes? How much CPU per node? Highly parallel or high speed? How much memory per node? Storage infrastructure? Output type?

This is a terrible AskSlashdot question because it requires an intimate knowledge of the workload being proposed. I am a consultant for a living so I do exactly this process above every single day. Any answers will literally just be spitballing because the information we have available is so vague... and any actual answers are guaranteed virtually useless and a quick way for OP to lose his job.

Comment You're Overthinking (Score 1) 173

I know this is old now, but honestly you're overthinking this.

First, as others have mentioned here you can use TeamViewer to do remote desktop support, and it's free. No need to upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate or anything else for that matter. I've used it on OSX, Windows and Linux and it works like a champ. I've supported family and friends... and even had a commercial license for TeamViewer for a while because it really is so easy to use and maintain that I found it invaluable. I don't do that job any more, but I still maintain TeamViewer on my computers in my house so I can get into them and manage/maintain them while I'm on a business trip. Same on my son's laptop so if he has a problem I can support him remotely.

Now of course comes to your son. Don't. Seriously... kids are going to be kids, and they're going to work around any controls you put on a computer. The only thing you are LEGALLY required to do is to control what he has access to at YOUR home. Once he's off your network, anything he does is the responsibility of the party that owns the network he's using. Yes, he should be held responsible by you as a parent, but legally there's nothing forcing you to do this. Plus, kids are going to find workarounds regardless; my son is 15 so you can imagine the battles I've had with him over the years. As it stands now, I manage his Internet access at home using a Sonicwall TZ-215 firewall that has Gateway Anti-Virus and some content controls turned on. Honestly, I don't block porn... he's 15... but I do block some categories I personally find distasteful; hate speech and the like. If he needs something for a particular essay he's doing for school that's blocked, he can ask me to unblock it and he does. This way there's mutual trust going on, which to be honest is the RIGHT way to parent.

I also don't check the logs to see where he's going on the web. Just so long as he's not doing anything illegal (and yes, I do block bittorrent for that reason) that could get me in legal hot water I don't particularly concern myself with it. I check his laptop for malware and to make sure updates are in place periodically, but beyond that I don't see the need to get overly stressed about it. Besides, we have an understanding that if he does anything bad that gets his computer malware that's going to be too much trouble to clean up (like more than 30 minutes of work on my part) then his machine gets re-imaged and he gets to reinstall everything, restore his own files etc. I make him responsible for his backups as well.

Is my system perfect? No, but it works. And right now I have a 15 year old boy who may or may not go on porn sites occasionally (I really don't care), plays games occasionally... but generally is a well-behaved kid when it comes to technology.

I guess what I don't get about your requirements; if your primary reason for the site B connection is supporting your parents, then why backhaul all the Internet traffic across your own network? With a decent managed firewall you can do all the controls you like, and there are web-managed options as well. Some of them even support OpenVPN natively or some IPSec variant that you can create a virtual private network for managing stuff. If you really want content controls on your parents network then you really need to review what you're trying to accomplish here. You don't have to get something as fancy as a Sonicwall, there are plenty of other cheaper options but that is certainly one.

I do have a VPN as well as my TeamViewer connections... honestly SSH is easier to manage my Linux boxes than TeamViewer most of the time because I don't need a GUI. As a result, all my Linux boxes partake in an OpenVPN network against a hub system hosted on Linode (where my web server is also hosted). I have the OpenVPN client on my laptops so when I'm out and about I can join the network and SSH to any of the systems no matter where I am (I keep a HOSTS file with all the IP's). Bonus; I can host my own mail server on my home box without using the storage on the Linode because I have it stood up as a VM on my home server... the Linode has a pretty basic Postfix configuration that relays to the private interface via OpenVPN, and the mail server is configured to send mail out via this same relay method. If my mail server goes down then said mail just spools on the Linode until it comes back up. Since I only have a handful of users (family and friends) it's not a big deal. For the record, I use Zimbra as my mail server for simplicity's sake :)

And yes, the Sonicwall also partakes in the OpenVPN... so if I connect to my VPN from an hotel in another city, I can then browse to my Sonicwall's web interface and manage it. For me it's better than "cloud managed" :)

Comment Re:From the description... (Score 1) 267

I hate the fact that you were modded as a troll, because you're completely right. I use MobaXTerm on my Windows 8.1 box and it is great for managing all my Linux boxes.

I spent years trying to get a really functional Linux desktop, but now I'm on Windows and quite happy. Yes, I still use Linux for servers but generally for desktops I see little point in "rocking the boat" so to speak. There's just too much hassle to get Linux happy on some modern hardware; I still have to custom compile a kernel in order to support the WiFi card in my laptop purchased in late January 2015... the appropriate drivers are only available in the bleeding edge kernels in bleeding edge distributions... and to be honest I'd rather just have a laptop that works than one I have to futz with periodically because something broke.

Yeah, I'm getting conservative in my old age... or maybe I just want to get work done.

Comment Re:Generally? You don't. (Score 1) 318

To expand on this, it also depends a lot on the job. While you're absolutely correct for software developer positions, there are other completely different positions that offer work from home that actually works.

One prime example is my job. I'm a consultant who works for a (very) large technology company. In my role I have very clearly defined deliverables that require me to get off my butt and do stuff; namely customer visits, presentation, system designs and so forth. And my pay is structured such that I can live on my base without lifting a finger, but I will live a lot better with the commissions I am paid in addition to my base. Yes, my role is partly sales but I have found I am quite good at it (which was a surprise for someone who spent the last 15 years or so locked up in a datacenter). This means I am measured but also driven... and I get to see an almost immediate return on my investment of time and work.

My job is one that works particularly well for work from home. If I don't work, I get paid less... and eventually those "measurables" show that I'm not doing anything. It might take a couple of quarters but eventually I'll get replaced and that'd be my own fault. But if I work hard and do the job I'm asked to do then I see improvements in my paycheck that encourage me to work even harder, and the statistics show that I'm doing my job. Everyone wins, right? Yeah, there are catches but generally it's good for everyone involved. It doesn't hurt that I enjoy the hell out of my job.

Obviously this doesn't work well for all jobs. My job requires customer face-time so it can't be sent to India. Though theoretically about 80% of my job probably could be done by someone in an office in Bangalore, it's that 20% "soft-skill" stuff that can't. 99% of my customers are quite conservative and would NEVER accept someone trying to do my job via Skype or some other technology. It just doesn't work. By the time the generation of kids coming into the workplace who are weaned on Facetime are in the CIO/CEO/CFO positions that I typically talk to I'll either be dead or retired. Software developers are particularly vulnerable to this problem because they are doing work that can be easily offshored. This is why WFH doesn't work for every job.

I guess my point of this ramble is that Work From Home is possible, and can be extremely enjoyable (I consider it a great perk of my job) but first you need to have the right kind of job. And if you don't want to be constantly concerned about losing your job to someone in India or China then you need a job that's customer-facing and profit-making for the company. Software developer is a no... customer-facing consultant is a yes. Finally, a good incentive program to work hard is not required but certainly makes it a lot easier. Just be wary of the risks of such an endeavour; if your boss doesn't also work from home then you might find yourself excluded by the fact that he doesn't see you every day. Mine works from home in another state so I rarely see him... but he covers an entire region so he rarely sees any of his people in person. But again there's that mindset; he works from home too so he knows how to work with employees who also WFH.

Comment Re:What a stupid comparison! (Score 1) 204

I had an SP1 and now own a Dell Venue 11 Pro (competitor to the Surface/Pro 3). What exactly is the problem with it? I realize it depends a lot on the applications you run, but that is true of any device. For example, if you're using it to run Putty... then no, the SP or its competitors are going to suck. However, if you're using it as a content consumption device, which let's be honest is exactly what a tablet is made for and good at... it's awesome. Now, that comes with the caveat that you're either using apps or the touch browser... desktop side is different.

But on that desktop side, you can run Putty... you can run PowerShell... and you can run any one of a number of desktop browsers and applications, but of course then you have the OPTIONAL keyboard that you can use to operate said applications.

The beauty of the SP3 and its ilk is that it is exactly what you need when you need it. No, none of them are going to be incredible gaming rigs but they're awesome at being productivity tools as well as content consumption devices. If you need solely or primiarly a productivity tool then no the SP and its ilk are probably a bad match. However, if you want a tool that can do both jobs equally well then you really have no choice but to go with one of these Windows 8 devices. But that's not a bad thing, either.

Comment Re:What an embarrassment for Microsoft (Score 1) 204

For $500 you can get a laptop that's built like a Soviet tank, or has atrocious battery life, or has a really slow SSD, or has 2GB of RAM... you get the idea. For someone who wants performance, portability, storage and being useful there aren't a lot of "magical $500 laptops" that really fit the bill. I know; I went shopping recently for new computers (yes, plural).

I ended up with a Venue 11 Pro and an Alienware 15. Yeah, both Dell but they fit my needs perfectly. The AW is my gaming rig and is awesome (runs AC:Unity in Ultra and looks gorgeous) while the VP11 is my computer of choice when I'm on the road (I am extremely mobile at work, traveling sometimes hundreds of miles in a day). Both of them are attached to the same Microsoft account, have Evernote, OneDrive and DropBox installed. As a result, the same files are always available and my workflow benefits greatly from it. As files fall into disuse I migrate them off to the "archive" which is my Linux-based server at home... which is still accessible via an OpenVPN that I have installed on all of my computers if I happen to be on the road.

But you know what? Neither of them will do "all the things" perfectly. They both run the same OS and the same applications, but serve completely different purposes. I would never sit in front of a customer with my AW in part because the battery life is horrendous (it's a gaming laptop, what do you expect?) and is just not really all that portable. Similarly I would never consider playing AC:Unity on my VP11 because... well, it would suck quite frankly. Could I? Yes... but just because we can do a thing does not follow that we should.

So why did I buy two laptops instead of a desktop gaming rig? Well, that was so that when I am traveling for several days (have a trip to Chicago coming up in a few weeks for example) I can still bring my gaming rig with me so I can play in a hotel room. Sure, it rarely leaves my desk but when it does I want to have that powerhouse on-hand.

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre