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    Friday
    Jan102014

    The SmallBizWindows HP Networking PS1810-8G Switch Review

    The HP Networking PS1810-8G Managed Switch is truly The Little Switch that CouldPS1810_8Gswitch_FT

    smallbizwindows1As part of a review package for the HP Proliant MicroServer Gen8, I received the HP Networking PS1810-8G switch, a conformably-designed companion managed switch to the MicroServer.

    Sporting 8 ports, it is immediately apparent that this device is designed for small offices.

    Consequently, I reviewed it personally on a subnet here at The Orbiting O’Odua initially, and I put it to use in a company rightly sized for it.

    The HP Networking PS1810-8G Switch

    2013-07-21 HP Proliant MicroServer Gen8 026x

    The HP Networking PS1810-8G Switch as it sits on a Proliant MicroServer Gen8

    Aesthetically, this little switch is just like any other switch you can pick up for mere pennies at any mega-big-box store.

    However, by being a managed switch, it offers a whole lot more.

    This device offers a high level of default specs, but the ones that matter to me are:

    • HP Proliant Server Dashboard — enables autodiscovery of HP ProLiant Gen8 servers in the network; provides up-to-date server health status for up to ten monitored servers
    • Simple web management — allows easy management of device by even nontechnical users with its intuitive Web GUI
    • Secure web GUI — provides a secure, easy-to-use graphical interface for configuring the module via HTTPS
    • SNMPv1, v2c — enables devices to be discovered and monitored from an SNMP management station
    • Dual flash images — provides independent primary and secondary operating system files for backup while upgrading
    • Port mirroring — enables traffic on a port to be simultaneously sent to a network analyzer for monitoring
    • IEEE 802.1AB Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) — advertises and receives management information from adjacent devices on a network, facilitating easy mapping by network management applications
    • IEEE 802.3af PoE-powered device option — obtains power provided by a standard PoE device connected to Port 1; deploy the switch wherever an Ethernet cable can reach as a power outlet is not needed (8-port model only)
    • VLAN support and tagging — supports up to 64 port-based VLANs and dynamic configuration of IEEE 802.1Q VLAN tagging, providing security between workgroups
    • Jumbo packet support — improves the performance of large data transfers; supports frame size of up to 9220-bytes
    • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) — encrypts all HTTP traffic, allowing secure access to the browser-based management GUI in the switch
    • Automatic denial-of-service protection — monitors six types of malicious attacks and protects the network by blocking the attacks
    • Management password — provides security so that only authorized access to the Web browser interface is allowed

    A full list of the specs can be found here.

    I connected the PS1810-8G directly to our router using the ready pipe I have installed for just that very purpose

    Managed switches differ from unmanaged switches in that some operational parameters can be modified by users in order to customize performance of said switches to the user’s networking environment.PS1810_8Gswitch_BK

    Using the HP Networking PS1810-8G Switch
    I connected the PS1810-8G to four of the HP Proliant servers here at the Orbiting O’Odua: a ProLiant MicroServer, a Proliant MicroServer Gen8, a Proliant ML350 G7, and a Proliant ML320e Gen 8. The final port went to primary 24-port managed switch* in use here at the O’Odua.

    Autodiscovery of Proliant servers is one of the PS1810 series, and it did its job here.

    For the MicroServer Gen8, I used the trunking feature of the switch to combine two ports on the switch, and the two NICs on the MicroServer in order to create greater bandwidth. MicroServer Gen8 is being used here for file services, with 10 TB of hard drive storage provisioned by its embedded HP SmartArray controller.

    In order to do so, I directed my browser to the switch’s default IP address of 192.168.2.10, which brought up the simple web management interface.

    For a very cost-efficient – read that as “relatively cheap” switch – manageability is one of the reasons why this device seems to be a bargain: Proliant Gen8 server autodiscovery, VLAN support, the use of trunking, are features that can be configured via the web interface.PS1810_8Gswitch_BKLF

    Next up was the real world test of PS1810-8G.

    For this, I selected an attorney friend’s offices in Los Angeles. He has a single lawyer, 2 paralegal practice in the San Fernando Valley.

    I set up the device in place of his current cheapo Trendnet 8-port device.

    Going into the web interface again, I added his Dell server – he’s a friend, not a client! – to the managed servers list, trunked it, and let them use it.

    Conclusions
    smallbizwindows1This is quite a nice device, both for its functionalities and its price.

    Light, web-managed, advanced features, and HP Networking reliability, and Proliant autodiscovery make this a very good buy.

    It was easy to use, and unobtrusive in operation.

    For the price and manageability, we think it is a very good value, and we recommend it.

     

     

    * We currently use a rival 24-port managed switch here in the Orbiting O’Odua.)

    ** The SmallBizWindows HP Proliant MicroServer Gen8 Review is here.

    © 2002 – 2014, John Obeto for Blackground Media Unlimited

    clinic cropped

    Friday
    Feb182011

    The SmallBizWindows Products of the Year 2010

    In 2010, we had the good fortune to use, review, and enjoy several products.

    Over the next few days, we would be revealing out selections for products of the year across several categories.

    There are some surprises, you’ll see….

    The products are here.

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    Thursday
    Sep092010

    VMware Pilot initiated at Logikworx

    Virtualization is here, and for the near future, it is a trend that we all must contend with.

    As Logikworx, we are about as non-virtual as we can possibly be, having just started to bone up on virtualization as a means to reducing our cap-ex for our updated datacenter, and our op-ex with better system utilization within that datacenter.

    Naturally, we have been looking into Hyper-V as our virtualization vehicle. However, the current market leader is VMware, both in market share, and in ecosystem development.

    VMware creeps into my consciousness
    Over the past year, in person and online, I have met quite a few VMware pros who have seemed to be pretty engaged with VMware, the company and its eponymous products.

    I have been impressed with the level of engagement, especially since it reminded me of the close-knit NetWare community from the days of yore*. Moreover, the VMware people I know and/or follow have been extremely helpful, from suggestions to pointers. (Another key difference is that these professionals are very normal, and do not have the inflated egos of the Novell ‘Certified NetWare Engineers’.)

    As a result of that helpfulness, I started to examine VMware.

    Enter Train Signal
    I met David Davis, a vExpert and author of the VMware vSphere series for Train Signal Inc., the leading producer of video-based computer training, in Boston earlier this year.

    In fact, we have been able to secure a series of Train Signal videos that we have given away from our non-monetary relationship with Train Signal.

    Also coming out of that was a series of vSphere training videos authored by David Davis. I gave them to my staff to use as a primer, and based on their feedback, I have decided that VMware merits enough consideration that I authorized a VMware pilot for us today, over the objections of several members of my senior staff, most notably my general manager, Rod Kowalsky.

    This decision was hard from a philosophical standpoint, since we are about a 100% Microsoft shop. However, we are not blinded to the fact that there are other ways to get there – wherever there is – from here.

    The Logikworx VMware Pilot
    This is not going to be a cakewalk for VMware.

    For this pilot, apart from the training and acquisition expenses for VMware, I expect costs to be in line with Hyper-V. Concurrent with this VMware pilot, we are going to use the same identical data and hardware for one of our Hyper-V pilot programs. I want to see which product of these fits our needs or those of our clients better. Could be one or the other, or both.

    We will keep you informed.

    I would like to thank Train Signal in general and David M. Davis in particular, for the massive assist they have rendered in getting us here.

    Hopefully, that analogous resemblance to NetWare is just that, and not a portend of a very insular culture, one that would desperately cling to vestiges of all things VMware in order to maintain margins while unable to see any oncoming onslaught.

    That though, is a topic for another day.

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    Monday
    Mar082010

    HP at HIMSS 2010

    I was at HIMSS 2010 in Atlanta last week.

    Several videos were made, and the following 7 videos are of my tour around the HP booth.

    The HP Booth tour

    HIMSS 2010 in HD #1: HP Healthcare & Life Sciences Strategy from absolutelywindows on Vimeo.

    A talk with Jared Walker, Lead Industry Technologist for HP Healthcare/Life Sciences Initiatives

    HIMSS 2010 in HD #2: Talking with Jared Walker from absolutelywindows on Vimeo.

    Secure printing using plain paper

    HIMSS 2010 in HD #3: Secure Printing from absolutelywindows on Vimeo.

    The Digital Hospital

    HIMSS 2010 in HD #4: The Digital Hospital from absolutelywindows on Vimeo.

    PDI Patient Information & Entertainment Systems

    HIMSS 2010 in HD #5: - PDI Patient Info Systems from absolutelywindows on Vimeo.

    Nurse Call/Notification Systems

    HIMSS 2010 in HD #6: Nurse Call & Notification Equipment from absolutelywindows on Vimeo.

    The Microsoft Surface Table

    HIMSS 2010 in HD #7: Multitouch in Healthcare using the Microsoft Surface Table from absolutelywindows on Vimeo.

     

     

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    Wednesday
    Mar032010

    The HP Infrastructure Tech Day for Blade Servers 2010

    I was recently at the HP Campus in Houston, Texas, for the 2010 HP Infrastructure Tech Day for Blade Servers.

    In the market for servers of any kind, HP is a leader, and when this opportunity to reprise my 2009 visit to the (HP) Blades Team presented itself, I just had to take it.

    Fact: HP manufactures a server every 12 seconds.

    A pedigree like that is not easy to live up to, and surpass, especially in the challenging economic environment we have had recently around the globe. However, I am a believer in innovation, an HP has shown itself to be innovative.

    Alyson Griffin welcomed us to the event, and Gary Thome, VP for Blades then took over.

    Data Center Trends
    Datacenters around the world have found out some looming and costly side effects of datacenter sprawl: power and cooling concerns.

    I should know. For we have the same issues at our datacenter, which, unfortunately, is located in California. (Not unfortunate that it is in lovely California; unfortunate that it is located in California where power is muy expensive.)

    At the ProLiant G6 launch last year, I had the opportunity to be briefed on the new servers, and be introduced to blade computing. Gary Thome introduced us to blades, Brad May and his Blade Server SWAT Team were educated us on the benefits of blades, and Dan Bowers broke down several of the new blades. It was at this time that I had an epiphany: for Logikworx and our clients going forward, we were no longer going to consider rackmounts as the next step in the evolution of our datacenter, it would be blades, and blades only. Unless, of course, something better showed up.

    Fact: HP is the world leader in Industry-Standard servers

    Since that launch, HP hasn’t been sitting still. It has released the SL-series of blades and also storage blades.

    Power Capping* and Thermal Logic functionalities are built into HP blade servers. These technologies allow data center admins to granularly control the power and thermal footprints of servers deployed in datacenters. Power capping can also be selective.

    If you include the ‘sea of sensors’ and the multiple options available for the servers, including the usage of Intel Xeon ‘Nehalem’ CPUs, 1333 MHz RAM, and Virtual Connect, you have a world-class series of server blades. Don’t forget HP Insight Suite.

    * Power capping functionality is hardware-based.

    Virtual Connect
    One of the innovations in HP blades is Virtual Connect.

    Just what, you might ask, is Virtual Connect?

    Virtual Connect is a technology devised by HP that allows network administrators to add, replace, recover, and manage server blades on an ad hoc basis. The most visible part of Virtual Connect is Flex-10.

    From HP:

    Virtual Connect Flex-10 technology is a hardware based solution that enables server administrators to partition each 10 gigabit Ethernet port into 4 and regulate the data speed of each partition. HP Flex-10 technology is available only with Virtual Connect (VC).

    The Virtual Connect Flex-10 feature set enables VC to configure a single 10Gb network port of BladeSystem servers to represent four physical NIC devices, also called FlexNICs, with a total bandwidth of 10Gbps. These four FlexNICs appear to the operating system (OS) as discrete network interface controllers (NIC), each with its own driver. While the FlexNICs share the same physical port, traffic flow for each one is isolated with its own MAC address and virtual local area network (VLAN) tags between the FlexNIC and VC Flex-10 interconnect module. The bandwidth available to each FlexNIC is controlled by the server administrator through the Virtual Connect Manager interface.

    Suffice it to say, when you have technology like this at your disposal, those <censored> dreams of on-the-fly configuration of network resources become a pleasant reality.

    Fact: HP Blade Servers were used in the production of Avatar, the best-selling movie of all time.

    Furthermore, we were told, the amount of headroom built into Virtual Connect Flex-10 future-proofs your investment in the product.

    That added benefit alone makes it a good buy.

    Insight Software
    HP Insight is a suite of software management products from HP that provide hooks into the hardware.

    Insight Software consists of two suites: Insight Control for essential management, and Insight Dynamics for advanced management. A third layer is the Insight Manager.

    Some of the functionality in Insight Control is direct ProLiant management for deployment, system health, power management, and remote access.

    As usual, Insight integrates with HP OpenView, as well as Microsoft SCCM (Systems Center Configuration Manager) and VMWare.

    StorageWorks CTO Perez
    Calvin Zito, @HPStorageGuy, was able to persuade Paul Perez, HP StorageWorks VP and Chief technologist, to come over and talk to us about HP StorageWorks, and how the products relate to innovations in storage.

    One thing I like in a product manager/owner is confidence in their products, and their choices. Paul was able to exude that confidence about HP’s storage, a condition that permeated the room.

    He led us through the fruits of the IBRIX acquisition.

    Then he laid a good one: he thinks memristors will be at the vanguard of evolutionary advances in storage over the next few years. Furthermore, he added, he considers spindles to passé, declaring the era of spindles for IOPs to be over!

    Asked about SSDs, he informs us that they are viewed within his OU as an extension of RAM (main computer memory).

    HP ProLiant Blades Labs
    My second visit in as many years to the HP Blades Lab was just as informative as the first.

    This time though, the focus was on the HP BladeSystem c7000 enclosures.

    We were walked through several configs, and a few facts were also revealed:

    BladeSystems have four fan zones with variably spinning fans and 23-stage fans.

    Unquestioned efficiency

    Client Virtualization
    One of the technologies I am enamored with is client virtualization, and the promise it holds for compat mediation.

    Joseph George walked us through HP’s strategy in this space.

    HP is committed to bringing its products and technologies to market here. HP has been in client virtualization for several years, and has been making company and technology buys to round out their offerings, despite the fact that most of the technology is home grown.

    HP’s offerings are designed to work with client virtualization products from most of the major client virtualization vendors, especially Microsoft Med-V, formerly SoftGrid.

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