Stories by Paul Venezia

Seven ways the iPhone sucks

I've used iPhones and I have an iPod Touch. I love the interface, and I dig the device. Initially, I had to resist the urge to just buy an iPhone and deal with these problems, but I didn't, opting to get a Nokia N95 instead. A year has passed, and I've realized that I definitely made the right choice -- the limitations of the original iPhone (and the iPhone 2.0) are simply too numerous. Perhaps I've been spoiled by my N95 (and truth be told, I'll be getting an N96 in the next few months), but no matter how you slice it, I've decided that the iPhone just isn't my cup of tea. Here's why:

Test Center review: Firefox 3 comes out sizzling

As the window to the Internet, the Web browser is arguably the most important application ever developed, and it will only become more important in the coming years, as applications continue their retreat from the local system and into Web frameworks built on Apache, IIS, Python, PHP, Perl, Ruby, and countless other languages and tools. Against this backdrop, today's official introduction of Firefox 3 may in fact be a watershed event in the history of computing.

Open source on the wire

Once upon a time, using open-source servers and applications for business was frowned upon in many circles. Today, you'd be hard pressed to find any sizeable infrastructure that doesn't leverage open-source code in some form or another, be it a few MySQL databases, Apache on the Web servers, or a pile of Perl, PHP, Ruby, or Python applications holding things together.

Sun's X4150 shows the beef

Sun has developed a 1U chassis design that can handle an impressive number of drives, yet also provide for a standard two-socket Intel-based mainboard and the company's signature four gigabit Ethernet interfaces, not to mention a relatively advanced Lights-Out Management coprocessor. The Intel-based Sun Fire X4150, AMD-based X4140, and SPARC-based T5120 and T5140 servers all look identical to the casual observer, but each offers a different take on the purpose of the ubiquitous 1U server.

Sun's octo-core SPARC is made to multitask

The past few years have seen some major changes in Sun hardware. The return of Andy Bechtolsheim has brought forth an impressive array of new server hardware, and reinvented Sun as an x86 server vendor. But where does that leave the SPARC?

Device breaks the low-end NAS wide open

I've been on a bit of a green kick around here for the past few months. A computer lab is notoriously power hungry, with servers running at 100 percent utilization for days on end, generating traffic or running test harnesses. There are certain areas where I can make some reductions, however, such as collapsing a half-dozen less-utilized boxes onto a single VMware ESX server. There are some other ways, too.

Review: Stratus' fault-tolerant, RHEL juggernaut

The last time I had a Stratus server in the lab, it was the ftServer W Series 4300, back in January 2006. That was a Windows-based system, and discussions with Stratus about Linux distributions showed that although it had a Linux version, it was the company's own distribution, and not standard. For some Linux shops, this wasn't a problem, but for those looking to run specific applications and services -- such as Oracle Database -- that require a certified distribution, it was an obstacle.

Cisco's switch upgrades tout speed, ease, innovation

Cisco Systems has introduced a new chassis and supervisor module in its midrange Catalyst 4500 series of switches, and a new supervisor for its flagship Catalyst 6500 series. Both sets of announcements -- one evolutionary and one revolutionary -- give Cisco admins and network architects plenty to get excited about.

Open Source VOIP Connects to Business

Nearly three years since Jon "maddog" Hall predicted that "VOIP using an open source solution, such as Asterisk, will generate more business than the entire Linux marketplace today," open source VOIP for the enterprise remains a wild frontier. SMB uptake has been considerable, as open source VOIP's promise of control and cost savings make it a natural fit. But when it comes to large-scale implementations, open source voice has yet to get most enterprises to listen.

EqualLogic SAN array hits high notes

It seems that every time I configure an EqualLogic iSCSI SAN array in the company of folks who've never seen the process, they ask the same question: "Really? You're already done?" The answer, always, is Yes.

Blade server shootout: Dell vs. HP vs. Sun

Dawn broke over Diamondhead on Oahu as I shrugged off my jetlag and drove to the Advanced Network Computing Lab at the University of Hawaii. It was a beautiful Saturday morning, but there was to be no lying on the beach today. By the time 6 p.m. rolled around, Brian Chee and I had uncrated half a dozen huge shipping containers; eaten more than our share of sushi; installed three out of four blade chassis; broken four drill bits, one window pane, and a coffee press; and Brian's eyebrow had finally stopped bleeding from a brief but violent altercation with the business end of L6-20 plug.

Cisco injects old 7200 with new power

It's not terribly often that hardware vendors are so forward-thinking that they can retrofit a whole new class of hardware into an existing chassis. Cisco Systems, however, seems to be able to do this with ease. The new Cisco 7200 router is a perfect example.

Sun's new big iron bends the rules

Looking at Sun's brand-new sun Fire x4600 M2, most would figure it for a quad-socket system. After all, at 4U it matches the profile of the four-way HP ProLiant DL585 and Dell PowerEdge 6850. A quick peek under the hood tells a different tale, however: The Sun Fire x4600 M2 holds eight (eight!) easily swappable sockets.

Scalent Virtual Operating Environment

Not many products truly deliver what they promise. Scalent V/OE (Virtual Operating Environment) 2.0, however, comes as close to keeping its pledge as anything I've seen. Scalent is attempting -- and succeeding -- at reaching the pinnacle of datacenter management: a truly adaptive infrastructure.