Saving Energy on the Other Side of the Rack: UPS and Transformer Efficiency

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, July 2nd 2014 — Categories: Colocation, Disaster Recovery, Green Data Center

A lot of the focus in the data center energy efficiency world is placed on cooling, and rightly so: cooling servers can consume as much as 37% of a well-designed data center, according to Emerson. But there are opportunities to improve efficiency on the other side of the rack, too. The power delivery systems, including Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) and transformers, can deliver significant energy (and cost) savings.

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How to Reduce Your VMware Disk Storage Use

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, June 25th 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, VMware, FAQs

As you grow more comfortable in the cloud, you’ll likely find more and more of your applications making the transition to your VMware environment even as your existing virtual apps continue to grow. Add backups or DR to the list and your storage use might start to get a little out of control, especially with linked clone virtual desktops or snapshot trees that save multiple VM states.

Storage costs can add up, so you’ll want to stay proactive in maximizing disk usage and eliminating inefficiencies. There are a few ways to maximize storage and reduce disk sizes depending on the VMware product and deployment:

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vCloud Director v5.1 Console Viewer Incompatible with Firefox v30

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Tuesday, June 24th 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, VMware

Update: vCloud 5.5 (which the gBlock Cloud was recently updated to) will work with Firefox.

As of June 2014, the newest release of Mozilla Firefox (30) is not compatible with the console viewer of the vCloud Environment. Firefox v30 can be used to navigate the environment itself, but when attempting to console into VMs, the browser experiences hang-ups and is ultimately unable to connect.

VMware is aware of this issue, which is caused by a code update with Firefox 30 that is not supported by vCloud Director 5.1. Unfortunately the latest VMware vCloud Director version is v5.5, so we do not expect support patches for minor issues in v5.1. Currently, Internet Explorer 11 (with compatibility mode ON, and Enhanced Security Configuration OFF) works when attempting to use the console from the vCloud Environment.

The current workaround for the Firefox issue is rolling back to a release before v30 (preferably v29, as it contains many of the same features and look as the newer version). To rollback Firefox to a previously compatible version, follow these steps:

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Plumbing Cloud Depths: Best Practices for Cloud Penetration Testing

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, June 18th 2014 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Security

With more and more companies taking advantage of cloud computing for on-demand infrastructure and additional resources, penetration testers are being called upon to perform more security testing on virtualized environments. Clients may require testing for compliance standards like PCI DSS, or they may be evaluating multiple cloud providers for the most secure option. The cloud brings with it a new set of considerations for testers, as a virtual environment could house multiple tenants on the same architecture.

The first thing to decide is whether you are outsourcing pen testing to a third party or keeping it in-house with your security team. With a third party you will only need to mitigate any contract and SLA problems. Be sure to vet a third party thoroughly, asking exactly what they will test, what tools they will use, scan policies, whether they used white-box or black-box testing (in black box, the tester infiltrates without any previous knowledge of the environment, while white box is the opposite).

Either way you’ll need to know exactly what will be tested including which applications, database servers, devices including storage, and devices.

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Avoiding Damage—Or At Least Downtime—from a Data Center Fire

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, May 28th 2014 — Categories: Data Center Design, Disaster Recovery

A recent post on Government Technology recounts the stressful tale of a data center fire in an Iowa government facility and the subsequent scramble to restore operations. Despite a second available data center, the team chose to get the original facility up and running. Thanks to the fire department and their own fire suppression systems, the equipment was salvaged and back online in just twelve hours.

With the amount of electrical equipment and heat generated in a data center, fires are a real and constant threat. Whether your company has in-house infrastructure or hosts with a data center service provider, knowing which suppression systems to use and how to respond if they fail is essential to avoid downtime should disaster strike.

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