Friday, February 24, 2017

The Geek Closet - Netfinity Project

I was rummaging around my geek closet....

You know you have one.  That dark little room crammed with discarded tech that you haven't touched in years but you "may have a use for someday."

In there I have a tapestry of my career in IT.  From bins of cables, cards and their associated connecting tissue to stacks of hardware long since retired to "someday" status.

Someday has come for you....

About 10 years ago while working for one of my clients during an upgrade project I purchased their soon to be unused and obsolete server hardware. 

I knew what I was getting into having actually installed these servers years before.  I had some vague ideas about what I'd do with them but nothing definitive.  

For all I knew they'd never be more than impromptu jack stands but I saw an opportunity even if I didn't know what fruit that would bear.

Within a few months I did manage to find a purpose for a few of them when I went into business with a friend of mine.  But after a year the business passed away into obscurity like so many others and they returned to the geek closet.

Until the other day.

I opened the geek closet and gazed upon these once mighty hunks of iron sadly sitting idle under stacks of similarly situated techno-cruft.

No, I needed, wanted, to do something with these servers and as luck would have it I was desperately searching for new content for my IT channel on YouTube.

Thus the Netfinity Project was born.  

It's a new video series that covers my attempt to re-purpose a couple of these old servers and gives you some insight into what I consider to be the golden age of hardware and IT.  From the late 90's to the early 2000's IT was all about the hardware and the only talk of "clouds" and "as a service" had to do with rain and valet parking. 

Hardware got better because the software demanded it.  Hardware is unquestionably better now but it lives in bland, clinical warehouses far from view.  An abstraction out of sight and out of mind.  

There's something sad about that.  I remember the pride of IT Manager's throwing open the doors of the server room.  This was where the magic happened, a tangible representation of the greatness of his enterprise.  Whirring, beeping, lights flashing and disks spinning.  You could almost feel the heartbeat of business within those cold server cases.

It's worth documenting and to some extent resurrecting if I can.

Thus the video series where I go through the highs and lows of making some old IBM Netfinity 5000's relevant again.

Check out this blog for regular updates on the video series.  The first few are below.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

More windows 10 FUD

Source: ZDNet

"Windows 7 "does not meet the requirements of modern technology, nor the high security requirements of IT departments", said Markus Nitschke, head of Windows at Microsoft Germany."

You'd think ol' Satjay would have gotten the message with the backlash over the forced upgrade of millions of PC's across the globe with Windows 10's tricky dialog box.

Apparently not...

Today we find the latest salvo against poor old Windows 7 by the proclamation that somehow enterprises are at a serious risk in continuing with Windows 7 ONE MINUTE LONGER!

Please.  The laughable assumption that Windows 10 is the cure for all the ills that plague the enterprise is getting a bit tired.

Consider that even with the recent walkbacks of draconian control of the Windows 10 desktop from IT departments the fact remains that security is not a question of what OS you run.  It's a matter of how good your security policies are and as I've said before the way we treat security will always fail so long as the end user is treated as an adversary.

What about productivity?  What about freedom from nagging popup ads for Office 365 or Cortana getting in the way of a simple search for a hidden app in your start menu?  What about compatibility with current software and most importantly HARDWARE!

If you're an enterprise with a fleet of Kaby Lake desktops maybe Windows 10 is a better fit for you but it's going to have virtually NOTHING to do with how secure your enterprise is.

That takes a good security policy with end-user buy-in or it will fail.

If security was such a concern then Microsoft should have started producing a Linux Distro instead of another flaky, cruft laden OS.  It would have been cheaper and a hell of a lot easier to patch.

If Microsoft still thinks that as they go so goes the world then we'd all be running Linux with a Microsoft logo.  

But that won't happen because everybody knows that paid Linux distributions that nickel and dime you for every app and feature always fail regardless of how good they are.

If this news concerns you, let me provide some salve that's more relevant.  

Security isn't about an OS, it's about your security practices.  Good practice can keep even Windows XP secure in the enterprise...

I've seen it in practice and it has A LOT to do with what you ALLOW in the enterprise.  

Look, you can drive the safest car in the world but if you're determined to drive off a cliff to your death there's nothing that's going to stop that.

Remember where this is coming from.  A company that wants to SELL you an Operating System so that it can SELL you more of it's products.

That's reality.