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Azure Introduces Storage Service Encryption for Managed Disks with No Additional Cost
Posted by Augusto Alvarez on June 19, 2017
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As we referenced several times, security is one of the main topics for cloud providers looking to guarantee privacy for their customers’ data and information. Microsoft just announced the public availability for Storage Service Encryption (SSE) for Azure Managed Disks, with no additional cost.

Azure Storage Service Encryption

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StarWind VVols for VMware vSphere Environment
Posted by Dmytro Malynka on June 16, 2017
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Introduction

VMDK file to LUN storage architecture has been the most usable scenario for years until VMware released Virtual Volumes in vSphere 6.0. In the case of an array with block access, own VMware file system – VMFS  – was used -, and NFS was used for file storage. The array capacity was divided into LUNs or NFS-shares and presented ESXi hosts in the datastore form. Frequently, datastore is a large capacity storage housing numerous VMs. In fact, allocating a separate datastore for each VM is quite inconvenient and time-consuming in terms of administration.

With this approach, the VM storage maintenance operations are at the datastore level, and not at the Virtual Machine level. The operations like snapshots, replication, deduplication, encryption, etc. are performed at the storage level, thus being implemented faster with no use of compute and networking resources. The traditional VM storage technology described in vSphere is still supported. At once, Virtual Volumes (VVols) is an object containing VM files virtual disks and their derivatives.

This handy and at the same time advanced technology was integrated with StarWind Products, that I am about to implement.

StarWind Virtual SAN setup window

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VMware vCenter Server Appliance Homelab tips
Posted by Vladan Seget on June 15, 2017
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Many IT administrators or virtualization guys runs their homelabs at home. It is a good way to learn new technologies, be able to break things in a lab to get stronger skills.

It is sometimes a challenge, to squeeze as much RAM as possible from it. The main challenge is always a memory utilization. VMware VMs are getting memory hungry all the time and they are not “optimized” for Homelab use, but rather for production environments. Yes, it is the main purpose of those VMs after all.

One of the large VMs, but most critical, is VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA). This product is becoming very popular within VMware communities and it is very easy to setup. Today we will have a look if we can do some optimizations and some “tweaks” to make it less memory hungry.

Set service startup manual

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StarWind Swordfish Provider
Posted by Alex Bykovskyi on June 12, 2017
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Introduction

The fast-paced world of system administration is growing on a large scale and picking up steam all the time. The migration of business to the cloud we can see these days is a good example of the above said. Thus, the continuous pursuit of a tool that would simplify the life of a system administrator constantly stays on the agenda of the IT world. The main goal behind the development of the Storage Management Initiative (SMI) is eliminating the long journey of finding the right solution.

To simplify the life of system administrators to an even greater extent, the StarWind team has decided to additionally complete the feature set by developing the StarWind Swordfish Provider.

StarWind Management console Creating a profile for the Storage Node

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AWS Bigger in SMBs but Azure is the Service Most Likely to Renew or Purchase, says Study
Posted by Augusto Alvarez on June 9, 2017
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We all already know the two biggest Public Cloud providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure and, unless a catastrophic event occurs, these two will be leading the market in the next couple of years. A recent study between 550 companies showed some interesting results: AWS is the most preferred vendor in SMBs; Microsoft the “most known” in enterprises; AWS has been reviewed the most between all companies but Azure is the most used.

Azure vs AWS

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Design a ROBO infrastructure. Part 4: HCI solutions
Posted by Andrea Mauro on June 7, 2017
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2-nodes hyperconverged solution

As written in the previous post, for ROBO scenario the most interesting HCI (Hyper-Converged Infrastructure) configuration is a two nodes configuration, considering that two nodes could be enough to run dozen VMs (or also more).

For this reason, not all hyperconverged solutions could be suitable for this case (for example Nutanix or Simplivity need at least 3 nodes). And is not simple scale down an enterprise solution to a small size, due to the architecture constraints.

Actually, there are some interesting products specific for HCI in ROBO scenario:

StarWind Virtual SAN overall architecture

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Why do we always see Responder CQE Errors with RoCE RDMA?
Posted by Didier Van Hoye on June 2, 2017
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Why do we always see Responder CQE Errors with RoCE RDMA?

Anyone who has configured and used SMB Direct with RoCE RDMA Mellanox cards appreciates the excellent diagnostic counters Mellanox provides for use with Windows Performance Monitor. They are instrumental when it comes to finding issues and verifying everything is working correctly.

Many have complained about the complexity of DCB configuration but in all earnest, any large network under congestion which needs specialized configurations has challenges due to scale. This is no different for DCB. You need the will to tackle the job at hand and do it right. Doing anything at scale reliable and consistent means automating it.  Lossless Ethernet, mandatory or not, requires DCB to shine. There is little other choice today until networking technology & newer hardware solutions take an evolutionary step forward. I hope to address this in a future article. But, this I not what we are going to discuss here. We’ve moved beyond that challenge. We’ll talk about one of the issues that confuse a lot of people.

Responder CQE errors report after virtual machines migration from Hyper-V cluster

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Windows Server 2016: NIC Teaming functionality
Posted by Mikhail Rodionov on May 30, 2017
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NIC teaming is not something we got with Windows Server 2016 but I just find it interesting to review this functionality as we have it in the current iteration of Windows Server, as usual, touching a bit on basics and history of this feature.

NIC teaming feature reached its maturity in Server 2012 R2 and there are (almost) no major changes in this department in Server 2016, yet if you just starting out with a practical use of NIC teaming on prepping for any related Microsoft exam you may find it useful to review this feature thoroughly.

Windows Server NIC Teaming key facts

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You can’t have too much monitoring
Posted by Gary Williams on May 25, 2017
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One of the things I come across time and again is a lack of monitoring in what are supposed to be corporate environments. I am honestly surprised at how little monitoring is carried out on infrastructure. These days, it is quite possible to carry out some very in-depth monitoring by using a freely available software on Linux and Windows. In this article, I’m going to go through the various monitoring tools that I use to monitor both production and my lab environment.

Having extensive monitoring in a lab is handy when testing systems as not only are it possible to get an idea of the sorts of information you can get from the device when it’s in production but you also get to see how it works thanks to having a greater visibility of the system. These little insights are always handy for putting into documentation ahead of deploying to production plus it’s a huge help when you’ve already seen error messages before and have a clearer understanding of what may have caused them.

Graylog view server CPU usage diagram

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Intraforest Migration in Windows Server 2016 with Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT) 3.2
Posted by Karim Buzdar on May 23, 2017
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In this first blog post, I’ll walk you through to migrate Active Directory objects (users, groups, and workstations or member servers) between two domains in the same forest (Intraforest) using Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT) 3.2.

ADMT allows you to migrate objects (including users, groups, computers, profiles, service and managed service accounts) with the help of ADMT console, command line, and VBScript. However, in this post, I’ll focus only on ADMT console and command line.

Lab topology overview

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