Green House Data announced the addition of Azure cloud to our stable of managed cloud services this week. For some, this may come as a bit of a shock. We’ve been a VMware shop since the company was formed, with the gBlock Cloud hosted within our data centers on the vSphere platform.
We’ll continue to offer our own hosted VMware cloud as well as VMware cloud management on behalf of our clients, but we’ve expanded our scope to include Azure managed services. There are a number of reasons for this shift in strategy, which ultimately allows clients a wider breadth of service options to best suit their IT infrastructure goals.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or aren’t in the IT field at all, by now you’ve likely heard about the widespread Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities affecting an enormous swath of processors manufactured by Intel and AMD, the industry leaders, leading to security vulnerabilities and performance problems.
Green House Data staff have been hard at work patching systems as fixes have come available this week. Here’s a quick summary of the vulnerabilities, their effects on cloud and general computing performance, and what we’ve done to fix them so far. We also provide a few links for users who need to patch their own operating systems or investigate further.
Moving to Office 365? The user experience is bound to shift, with one of the biggest changes coming to the login process.
Each workstation might previously have had Office software installed locally, so once users signed in, they were free to launch and work on Word or answer e-mails in Outlook. With Office 365, you’ll have to configure user identity settings in a specific way to replicate this — or you can go the cloud-only route and have them sign-in again online in order to access these programs.
Here are some of the factors you’ll have to consider when setting up user identity management in Office 365.
When designing the architecture for your SQL Server virtualized on VMware vSphere, your requirements will determine which SQL availability or vSphere availability features you should use. There are several availability features packaged with SQL server before you even get to vSphere features like Distributed Resource Scheduler, High Availability, Fault Tolerance, or vMotion, each of which have their own considerations when interacting with SQL.
To get started, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions about your SQL deployment.
You know what they say: a clean Active Directory keeps the attackers at bay. Or they should say it, anyway. Active Directory is a piece of Windows Server in charge of authentication and authorization for any “object” connected to the network. That includes users, systems, resources, and services.
As you might imagine, enterprises often manage sprawling Active Directories with thousands or even hundreds of thousands of objects, from laptops to printers. When a user leaves the company, their login may still reside in Active Directory. Groups used to organize different pieces of the directory may now lie empty.
Cleaning up your Active Directory not only improves database and server performance, but can plug holes in your security left from old accounts. A regularly scheduled Active Directory cleanup should be included with maintenance activities and performed at least annually.
Assuming your Active Directory server is hosted in the cloud, decluttering can also save you storage costs, while improving performance also lowers your monthly bills as bandwidth charges and compute resources can both drop.
HTTPS is supposed to be secure, right? Of course, nothing on the internet is ever truly safe. This week, a new vulnerability in OpenSSL was uncovered, allowing hackers to access websites secured with SSLv2. Although this security protocol is out of date, over 11 million websites—1/3 of all HTTPS secured servers—are at risk.
Plenty of websites that store sensitive information like credit card details are vulnerable to DROWN, which is an acronym for Decrypting RSA with Obsolete and Weakened eNcryption. Websites can be hacked in just minutes using this attack vector.
Learn how to check your site for DROWN vulnerability and what you should use to replace SSLv2 after the jump.
Amazon stirred the cloud hosting pot a bit early this month by announcing that users could now bring their own Windows or Oracle licenses to the EC2 public cloud, supposedly solving the dilemma of high license costs in the cloud. In truth, the solution is a simple one that many cloud providers—including Green House Data—have offered for a long time.
Last year's VMworld showed the company was serious about making containers work alongside and inside of virtual machines, but with Docker and other container technology continuing to make strides even in the enterprise, VMworld 2015 delivered serious development efforts on VMware's behalf. The result? Photon Platform, a forked version of Linux specifically designed to integrate containers into vSphere, as well as vSphere Integrated Containers.
While containers have been viewed with great interest by the enterprise, they can lack security and integrations with backup and other software. VMware needs a way to solve these problems while also providing a platform to manage containers alongside virtual machines in vSphere.
Here's what you need to know about how these new tools can help you efficiently managed containers in and alongside your vSphere environment.
As Director of Engineering and Operations at Green House Data, Mike Mazarakis has helped his share of companies migrate to the cloud. With 20 years of data center and networking experience, he's a self-described “pragmatist in IT” who has watched virtualization evolve into the concept of cloud we all know today.
Mike answered questions submitted by the public in a webcast last month. We interviewed him to get the answers to the most pressing cloud migration questions and help you plan your move to hosted IT. Look for more features in our cloud migration series in the coming weeks.
After the jump, learn how small businesses and enterprises differ in their approach to the cloud, read a walkthrough of one company's quest to move to the cloud while continuing to use existing IT assets, and see the three primary types of new cloud users—plus more!
E-mail, as we noted in last week’s blog, remains critical to business functions, and Microsoft Exchange is the most widely used e-mail client in the world. Virtualizing Exchange servers on VMware can improve performance, allow you to consolidate various Exchange server roles, combine mailboxes, and increase flexibility of your Exchange infrastructure, so you can scale up or down as your e-mail loads demand.
You’ll end up with 5-10x less physical hardware and more responsive Exchange, plus you can design your environment for your current workload. No need to guess at your resource utilization 3-5 years down the road—just provision a few more VMs when the time comes.
While virtualization can increase performance (VMware claims a 16 core server with vSphere produced double the throughput as physical hardware), Exchange has its own set of requirements and demands, so take a look at these best practices before you start up the installer in your virtual environment.