Following up on my last post, [Netatalk on NexentaStor], I mentioned there that I only use Time Machine for “bare metal” type backups. As in if I need to restore something specific to the OS itself, or reload the OS in event of a hardware failure. I use CrashPlan for all my actual data backups, because I think it’s superior to Time Machine. For why I think that, check out the details. I’ve also had Time Machine crap out on me more than once when the disk gets full & tries to expire too much data, the only solution being to wipe the drive & start backups over. Not cool. Never had that problem with CrashPlan.
My 3 year old son has been using my wife’s iPad since he was 1. He’s pretty good at it & we think it adds some valuable child development skills. Of course, we use a heavy duty case, but we haven’t really had an instance where he tried to break it. It’s great for things like Netflix for Kids & playing Angry Birds, but also educational apps that makes learning how to count & spell more fun. He’s doing pretty well in those areas so we think it’s been worth it. However, we have to be careful not to let him get too addicted to it. We kinda fell into this rut a little, especially since our second son was born in December & it’s easier to let the 3 year old keep himself occupied with the iPad. We’re scaling back, but in the process I looked for ways to make limiting usage a little easier.
NexentaStor is NCP (Nexenta Core Platform) underneath, so you really do have all the power & flexibility of an open unix system. That’s one of the reasons I love the project. If you want to add on additional functionality, it’s not so hard to do so. Everything I’ve done to “extend” NexentaStor to my liking has not interfered with the core NMV/NMC functionality. That said, one of the great things about apt in Solaris is apt-clone; something gets messed up, you can revert your system back leveraging the power of ZFS snapshots. So, when installing a lot of stuff using apt, use apt-clone instead of apt-get.
One of the things I wanted to use all that disk space I have in my ZFS/ESXi All-In-One for is Time Machine Backups for the 3 Macs in my house. I use a combination of Time Machine & CrashPlan for my backups. Yes, I’m using CrashPlan on NexentaStor as well; that’s a future post.
To (finally) follow up on my original post, ZFS/ESXi All-In-One, Part 1, this post will go over how to configure ESXi & NexentaStor to work with each other, all from within one physical server. Typically, ESXi will connect to a physically separate server or appliance that provides storage. For production environments, this is preferred. For testing/development, it can be prohibitively expensive. The All-In-One solution provides a good alternative.
First off, this post will help alleviate some of the guilt I’ve been having for neglecting my blog. Second, I just wanted to write it down for my reference. There’s probably a better way to do this but this worked for me.
In preparation for Lion, I planned to do a fresh install & wanted to secure erase my OCZ Vertex 2 SSD to get it working as optimally as possible. Nothing like a shiny new OS, ridden of all the cruft that builds up over the years. The problem? No easy way to secure erase an SSD in a Mac that doesn’t involve using some Windows tool on one of a few compatible SATA controllers that your Mac probably doesn’t have. It’s possible, but not very easy. It requires using hdparm & a compatible Linux LiveCD.
We’re obsessed with making our lives easier. For as long as history spans, the human race has consistently found ways to improve & make things better &/or more efficient. Bigger, smaller, better, faster,
One of the lesser known features in OS X is the ability to resize your hard drive partition without losing data. No special software or gimmicks are required; this is built right into the OS. You can repartition your boot drive or any other drive your computer is using, such as external drives. Multiple partitions can have a lot of good uses. In my case, I have been beta testing OS X Lion, & I didn’t want to use an entire disk or lose the ability to boot to Snow Leopard as my primary OS, so I resized one of the extra disks in my Mac Pro to add a 100GB partition & installed Lion to that. When I’m done with my testing, I can boot back to my primary Snow Leopard OS, fire up Disk Utility, delete the partition I created for Lion, then resize the disk back to normal. Pretty cool, huh? Here’s how to do it.
Any IT admin worth his/her salt knows that virtualization is the big thing in IT right now & has been for a few years at least. It allows you to do things you wouldn’t be able to do on bare metal servers, such as move a server OS from one server to another while it is running (called vMotion). Love them or hate them, VMware is the king of virtualization in the datacenter. Luckily for guys like me (broke), they make a bare-metal hypervisor called VMware vSphere (formerly ESXi) available to use for free. A hypervisor is basically software that provides hardware emulation. Some of you may have experience running VMware Fusion (OS X), Workstation, Server, or Player (Windows). These are called type 2 hypervisors, meaning they run a hypervisor on top of an operating system. This is a great way to get started with virtual machines or just to get those few Windows programs running on your Mac, but it is not by any means an efficient way to run a virtual machine. That’s where bare metal hypervisors, or Type 1 hypervisors, come in. They’re the only “physical” OS installed on that computer/workstation/server, and they have very little overhead on the actual hardware itself. That means more direct resources available for “guest” VM’s, so performance will be better.
The hot topic in the technology world right now is cloud computing. Everybody’s talking about it, using it, monetizing on it. It’s true meaning depends on who you talk to. I won’t factor in enterprise cloud deployments, because that’s usually whatever they make of it. Just look at all the different cloud-related products VMware & Citrix offers. Instead, I’ll focus on two main players, Apple & Google. Yeah, there’s Amazon & Microsoft, & they do offer pretty good services, but does anyone really use them? More on that later.
Google considers their cloud to be entirely hosted via web browser based technologies. The Chrome Netbook is basically a glorified full-screen Chrome browser built on top of a very lightweight Linux system. You can’t do much with it if you don’t have a network connection. All of your data is stored on Google’s servers, not the device you’re using. While this does have some convenience (you shouldn’t have to worry about data loss), your data is not really in your control. If Google’s servers go down, you can’t get your data. Granted, that does not happen often. I do seem to remember reading about a few Google accounts being accidentally disabled/deleted a while back. Things like this that involves not having the data in your control will always sit in the back of your head, while you conjure up all those “what-if” scenarios.